You may not realize it, but your lawn mower needs routine maintenance in the same way that your car does. Keeping your lawn mower in top shape will not only make it run better, it will also make it last longer!
You should give your lawn mower a good tune-up every spring. If you don’t use your lawn mower a lot, you may be able to skip a season. But, whether you use it a lot or not, it’s been sitting all winter and really needs a little care!
There are only three main steps to getting your lawn mower ready for a hassle free season! You should change the oil, the spark plug and the air filter. With very little tools and time, you can keep your lawn mower running at it’s best!
To be extra safe, remove the spark plug wire anytime you work on your lawn mower. It’s highly unlikely that it’s just going to start and run on it’s own, but better safe than sorry!
Choosing the right type of oil and filters is very important. It’s also important that your spark plug is gapped at the right specification for your model. Spark plugs are usually pre-gapped at the factory, but it may not be set for your exact lawn mower.
A gapping tool is very inexpensive, usually under a couple of dollars. If you don’t already have one, pick one up when you buy the plug, the same tool can be used on your car’s spark plugs!
If you’re not sure about the information for your lawn mower, you can check your owners manual, ask a salesperson or even search your model and make online.
Before removing the spark plug make sure that you clean the area around it. An old rag will work, but it’s better to use a small brush. You don’t want any old grass or dirt to fall inside the motor!
Then use a socket wrench to remove the old plug. You’ll have to have a deep welled socket that will fit over the plug. Check the new plug to make sure it’s gapped correctly and then just screw it into place! If you’re done working on your mower, remember to replace the plug wire!
Your lawn mower will either require a paper air filter or one made of foam. To replace a paper air filter, just remove the cover and replace the old filter with the pleats facing outward.
A foam air filter is inside a filter unit, but it’s still just a matter of unscrewing the cover. However, the unit is removable and you’ll need to clean it thoroughly. Usually a little kerosene will remove all of the old sludge from the unit.
The new piece of foam will also need to be soaked in clean oil. Once it has completely soaked, use an old rag to squeeze out the oil. Insert it into the unit and replace the cover.
The first thing you’ll want to do when changing the oil is to use an old rag to clean any dirt or debris off of your oil tank. You may even need to use an old toothbrush, you want to make sure that nothing falls into the oil tank.
There will be a small plug on the bottom of your oil tank. Before unscrewing the plug, you’ll need to have a container to catch all of the old oil. Removing the dip stick will provide air for the oil to completely drain.
Once you’ve got the container in place you’re ready to remove the drain plug. You can use a pair of vise grips to loosen plug and then remove it with your fingers.
If the oil is really dirty, or it’s became thick and clumpy, clean the drain plug and the dip stick. Replace the drain plug and just tighten it to a good snug fit.
Although most lawn mowers don’t use a oil filter, there are some that do. If your model requires an oil filter you will want to change that as well.
It will be one of two types of filters, the screw on type like a car uses or a canister filter. Just wait until you’ve drained all of the old oil before removing the filter.
The screw on type is simply screwed off and replaced the same way. The canister type will be inside a housing, there will be a bolt in the center of the housing that holds it in place.
Just remove the bolt and lower the housing a little to remove the old cartridge. Place the new cartridge inside the housing and replace the bolt and tighten it back up.
Now, your ready to fill it back up with clean oil! Before adding the new oil just remove any blocks that you used to raise the lawn mower and make sure it’s sitting nice and level!
Anytime that you change the oil, you should start your lawn mower and let it run for a little while. Watch around the oil tank and oil filter to make sure there aren’t any leaks. If you do notice a leak, just tighten them a little more!