If you’re like most people who have a decent sized yard, you probably own a lawn mower. Whether it’s a standard push mower, riding mower, or zero-turn; you’ll definitely have to maintain it to keep it in good working condition. Though most people aren’t necessarily certified mechanics, there are some basic tune-ups that can be performed by the average person.
Without these tune-ups; repairs are sure to follow. Lawn mower repair can be somewhat expensive, depending on the problem, but with just a few maintenance tricks you’ll be able to keep your mower in tip-top running conditions. Here are a few ways for maintaining or increasing the efficiency of your home mowing machine.
Changing The Oil, Filter, and Spark Plug
This is one of the most basic maintenance tips you can do yourself without having much stress. People are so focused on getting the job done as fast as possible that they tend to forget about adding oil to the mower.
Oil is just as important, if not more important than the gasoline you put in it. Without oil your lawn mower’s engine will literally explode.
Make sure you dis-connect your lawn mower battery before ever working on your mower!
First thing you want to do is to loosen the air filter cover, which can be on the top or side depending on what brand you’re using. The cover should drop down and now you can pull the used air filter out. Before putting in the new one is to make sure the pleats/grooves is facing outward. Now just replace the cover and tighten up the cover screws. That’s it!
With a new filter in your mower it’ll run more efficiently because the air filter helps the engine breathe much better.
Next tip is to change the oil. Though this may not be the cleanest job in the world, changing the oil is vital and if you don’t do this your engine will become a ticking time bomb.
The first thing you want to do is to start the mower and let it run for a few minutes. This warms the oil up which will help it drain better.
Now you need to stop the engine so that you can remove the mower’s drain plug. The engine should be expelling the old oil and if necessary; tilt the mower back or to the side for expelling every drop.
It may take a few minutes or so, but afterward you should replace the drain plug, then you should begin filling the mower with fresh, new oil. Last, but not lease; check your oil levels with a dipstick. Some mowers have oil fill holes that allows you visibility for checking oil levels.
Another great way to keep your mower running at full efficiency is to install new spark plugs. With so much commotion going on around you, most people often forget about the spark plugs.
With the engine turned off you should pull off the wire of the spark plug and remove the used plug. Tools needed can be a (deep socket 13/16 inch or 3/4 inch). If you have one, try using a standard spark plug wrench.
Next you can hand turn the new spark plug until the threads catch within the grooves. Now you can use the ratchet/wrench to further plug in down, but don’t turn to hard. Turning or cranking down too hard causes most spark plugs to break.
*Tips and Ideas*
- If the spark plug’s rusted tight, you can spray it with some penetrating lubricant. (WD-40) or (JB80) or (Liquid Wrench)
- Before trying to loosen the rusted plug, let it soak in the penetrating liquid for about 10 minutes
- Make sure that there is a gap between the overhanging arm and electrode.
- Necessary tools for completion are 4-in-1 screw driver or ratchet/socket set
Every Spring you should do this. Tune-ups will extend your engines life, gives you better fuel efficiency, reduces repair costs, and is better for the environment as it reduces emissions as much as 50%.
Most people do tune-ups about twice per year so it’s a good idea to buy an extra spark plug, extra air filter, and more engine oil. And keep your mower clean and blades sharp as well. Like the old saying goes:
An Ounce of Prevention Is Better Than A Pound of Cure