Caring for your lawnmower
Every lawnmower is uniquely designed and may require additional maintenance beyond the advise in our checklist. Always defer to your owners manual for the recommendations and instructions of the manufacturer. This checklist is based on the suggestions and expertise of our sales and service team.
This checklist concerns lawnmowers but applies to all small engines including handheld blowers, trimmers, edgers and other outdoor power equipment.
Start Your Season
Start your season with a basic tune-up with all new oil, fresh fuel, new filters and blades. We offer complete services and convenient tune-up kits at our website.
Before Every Mowing Session
- Check your oil – Every small engine will use oil throughout operation so a quick check of your dipstick to make sure your mower has the right level of prevents major internal damage.
- Clean debris – Any dirt, grass, leaves or other debris that collects around the engine, cutting deck or between the frame and wheels should be removed to prevent damage
- Fill fuel tank – Lawnmower fuel systems are gravity fed. These engines run strongest on a full tank of fuel. A fuel tank also reduces the amount of moisture and air impairing the fuel system so topping off your tank when you finish mowing is a great habit.
- Walk Your Lawn – Rocks, twigs, pavers, underground utility access covers and most notoriously, basketball goal post screws quickly damage blades, break belts and bend crankshafts. The most common cause for major damage to lawnmowers is striking an unseen object with you lawnmower blades. A quick survey around the lawn will save major repairs.
- Add or change oil – For most homeowners an annual oil change is adequate. For larger properties, midseason oil changes are a great task to eliminate dirt and moisture from your crankcase. Adding oil throughout the year should be expected as summer temperatures rise and mowers age.
- Inspect Air Filter – Like oil, air filters typically last an entire mowing season. Under harsh conditions filters become clogged with airborne dirt and need to be replaced more frequently. Foam prefilters can be wiped off or quickly cleaned with water. Paper elements should be removed prior to cleaning the air filter case with water. Paper elements should only be reinstalled once surfaces are dry.
- Sharpen and Clean Blade – Spring is a great time to install new blades. Throughout the season cleaning the blade and sharpening once every 8-12 cuts reduces strain on belts and engines. Lawnmower blades do not need to be razor sharp but a clean, consistent angle improves performance and reduces damage to your lawn.
- Refresh Your Fuel – If you have fuel more than 30 days dispose of it properly or simply add it to a vehicle’s tank. Aging fuel is the primary reason engines will not start and run poorly.
- Clean the cutting deck – Grass clippings, especially damp spring time grass compacts under the cutting deck. Removing the grass clippings will improve your mower’s performance and prevents corrosion of the deck. Walk Power Mowers are easy to clean with a simple putty knife. Lifting a riding mower to access the deck is a bit more a chore.
- Inspect Cables – Cables are simple to replace and catastrophic when they break. Choke cables, brake cables, throttle cables and self propel cables should move freely within the plastic sheath. If a cable is stiff, kinked or stretched then you can plan to replace it before it snaps. When inspecting cables make sure the anchors, zip ties and knobs that secure the cable are clean and in place.
- Inspect tires and wheels –
- Walk Power Mowers – Worn tread indicates internal gear wear. When drive wheel tread is worn, replace both at the same time. Wheel replacement is as easy as removing a bolt so many homeowners do this themselves.
- Riding Mower – tires commonly lose pressure because of damage from unseen debris. Rear tires can be repaired or replaced. Front caster tires are often easiest to replace because repairs tend to be temporary. Proper tire pressure improves ride comfort and level cut.
- Charge your battery – If you have a riding mower or an electric start walk power mower, a battery charger will improve the life and performance of the starter and engine.
- Check your belt –
- Walk Power Mowers – Belts often break during operation because debris a small as a chunk of mulch is lodge between a pulley and the belt. Inspecting a belt is a simple as looking for debris and observing any cracks or abnormal wear on the belt.
- Riding Mowers – Deck belts worn extremely hard and eventually break. Inevitably the break happens halfway through cutting your lawn. Replacing a deck belt is pretty simple so having a spare belt is a good idea. If a deck belt or pump belt has cracks, replacing prior to break is smart. Preventative replacement safeguards damage to springs, idler arms and deck pulleys.