Just like a car, a lawn mower requires regular maintenance in order to perform properly and last for many years. When a mower is kept properly maintained and best mowing practices are followed, your lawn will look beautiful all year long. Whether you own a riding lawn mower or a push mower, our handy guide will teach you everything you need to know about how to maintain your lawn mower.
When To Perform Lawn Mower Maintenance
It is recommended that you perform maintenance on your lawn mower annually. The best time of year to do it is at the end of the mowing season, before you put the mower away until spring. This allows you to winterize the mower and carry out other maintenance tasks all at once, and it will save you time when mowing season starts up again.
While full maintenance is recommended annually, there are some DIY things you can do every time you use your mower to keep it and your lawn in tip-top shape.
- Mow when the grass is dry to prevent clogs and build-up of clippings.
- Make sure your lawn is clear of sticks, rocks and other objects that can damage your mower blades. A dull blade won’t cut as evenly and can damage your grass.
- Brush off any grass clippings that build up on the blades and mower deck.
- Ensure that your grass is being cut to the proper length, according to the type of grass that you have. As a general rule, cut warm-season grass shorter in the spring and cool season turf shorter in the fall by lowering the mower blades. Lift the blades to allow grass to grow longer in the summer, or in times of drought. Your turf care professional can recommend a good mower height for your lawn.
Steps to Maintain a Lawn Mower
When it comes time to perform your annual mower maintenance, follow these steps for the best results:
- If you do not feel confident enough to perform the maintenance yourself, there are plenty of qualified lawn mower repair shops in your area. Simply search for “lawn mower repair near me.”
- Familiarize yourself with the owner’s manual. Each different brand such as John Deere, Toro, Snapper and Husqvarna has slightly different recommendations for taking care of their machines. it is good to know exactly what your manufacturer recommends.
- Remove the spark plug. This should always be done before working on your mower to keep it from starting accidentally. After you have finished all of the other maintenance, replace it with a new plug.
- If you are preparing to put your mower away for the winter, run it until all of the gasoline is gone, or drain the gas. Gas that sits in a mower for as little as 30 days can cause problems.
- Regular oil changes are also important. Change the motor oil by removing the drain plug underneath the mower. Drain the old oil into an oil-safe receptacle and dispose of it properly according to laws where you live. Always replace the oil with small engine oil to keep your mower working properly.
- Remove the air filter. Replace paper air filters that look dirty. For mowers with a plastic foam filter, clean the filter with warm, soapy water and allow it to dry thoroughly. Lightly coat the filter with a small amount of clean mower oil and reinstall it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Be sure to check your air filter throughout the season, as it may need to be changed or cleaned more than once per year.
- Sharpen your mower blades. Be sure that the spark plug is removed first, and then remove the blades. Sharpen them with a file or bench grinder, keeping the blades at a 45 degree angle. If you prefer to leave this step to the professionals, contact a local lawn mower service center for blade sharpening.
- Clean the underside of the mower thoroughly using a hose to spray off the mower deck. Allow it to completely dry before storing.
With our helpful tips, it is pretty simple to keep your lawn mower performing the way that it should. Taking the time to properly maintain your mower is an important step in achieving the beautiful yard that you want. Combine good lawn mowing practices with a professional lawn care program, and your turf will be the talk of the neighborhood.