Waking Your Lawn Mower

With the warmer weather of the spring season you get to enjoy April showers, May flowers, chirping birds, and green grass. It is also the time of year that you must wake up your lawn mower, as your yard has been out of commission for the harsh winter months. Most people think that after a long hibernation in the garage or shed, the lawn mower will be raring to go. Not so!

Remember, a lawn mower is an investment, so proper lawn mower care is crucial to maintaining an effective machine. A good lawn mower will also help you maintain a great-looking lawn. When winter comes, there are certain precautions you should take to store the lawn mower, while it is not in use. Here are some helpful tips on how to prepare your lawn mower for the spring and summer.

Check the Battery

One of the best lawn mower care tips for the winter months is to recharge the battery throughout the off-season. This can be done by starting the engine from time to time or simply attaching the battery to a charger.

Check the Fuel

All engines, including your lawn mower’s can be damaged by old or deteriorated fuel. In as little as just one month, gasoline can deteriorate damage the mower’s small engine. This can clog the carburetor and cause the engine to lose firing power or not start at all. A tip for throughout the spring and summer months is to add a fuel stabilizer each time you fill the tank.

Check the Oil

Just like automotive engines, small engines must undergo regular oil changes. Oil is essential for lubricating the engine during use, which prevents premature damage. Before starting the lawn mower in the spring, give it an oil change. This is especially important if you did not change the oil before storing it for the winter.

Lubricate Moving Parts

The engine is not the only part of your lawn mower that requires proper lubrication. It is a good idea to keep all moving parts, such as the wheels and cables, adequately lubricated with oil or grease. If you still have the owner’s manual, check it for details on properly lubricating moving parts.

Replace Spark Plugs and Filters

Replacing spark plugs and air filters before the first spring use is an inexpensive way to properly maintain and protect your lawn mower. It is a good idea to do this every year to maximize the life of your mower. If the air filters are paper, simply replace them. If the filters are foam, give them a good wash and let them air dry before putting them back in. Don’t forget to change the fuel filter as well.

Check the Blades

The blades are an essential part of your lawn mower. Every spring, you should have the blades sharpened. Dull blades will end up damaging your lawn and will cause the lawn mower to be less fuel efficient. A damaged lawn and inefficient mower will also make you work much harder than you need do. It is a good idea to sharpen the lawn mower blades at lease once a month during the peak season.

Clean the Deck

A dirty deck can cause your mower to work harder than it should and to burn more fuel. It can also damage your lawn. Cleaning the deck is relatively simple and should be done after each use. Simply turn the mower onto its side, carefully positioning it so that motor oil does not leak into the fuel system. Then just scrape or hose off lawn clippings from the deck of the mower. It is always a good idea to spray silicone lubricant onto the deck to reduce build up during use, if you can. Make sure the mower is completely off before doing this to avoid injury.

Just as you would care for your lawn, your mower needs care, too. You don’t need to spend a lot of money, you just need to use common sense and take care of your mower. As long as you follow these simple tips when preparing your lawn mower for the spring and summer, you should enjoy a good working mower for many years to come.

~Ben Anton, 2009

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