Prepare your lawnmower for summer heat

It looks like the cool pleasant days of spring are behind us. As summer heat approaches, we recommend some midseason maintenance to relieve mower stress. When I checked my mower this weekend, the oil was low and black and the blade was dull. So, I created this simple checklist to spruce up my mower.

  • Check and secure loose cables and hardware. Bumping against fences, trees, bushes or just the vibration of mowing may knock cables and hardware out of place.
  • Check the engine oil. Engine oil should be changed according to your owners’ manual. However, all small engines may lose oil from use and/or worn seals and gaskets. Topping off your oil will protect internal parts from damage.
  • Check your air filter. Air filters should be changed once a year, but knocking dirt out or replacing them twice during a stressful season delivers clean air to the carburetor. This prevents debris from clogging up your fuel system.
  • Scrape your mowing deck. As wet as June was, most mowers have accumulated a build-up of clippings. Scraping the deck improves cut quality and prevents the spread of fungus.
  • Sharpen or replace dull blade(s).
  • As always, make sure that your fuel is fresh (less than 30 days old). If your fuel is older than 30 days, dispose of it by adding it to your car’s gas tank.

Although I used this list just for my mower, handheld equipment like blowers and trimmers could use a variation of this same inspection.