Well, it’s that time of year again — it’s time to mow the grass. While it’s probably not your favorite thing to do, if you don’t do it regularly, you’re going to have a jungle for a yard and your significant other will probably have you sleeping on the couch. But before you break out the lawnmower after its long winter hiatus, it’s important to perform these five maintenance procedures to ensure your lawnmower lasts through the entire mowing season without a hitch.
Change the Fuel
Gas goes bad over time and if you’ve left any gas in your lawnmower over the winter, it’s probably a good idea to change it out with new fuel. Find the drain cock at the bottom of the fuel tank and use a small plastic bottle to catch the remaining fuel. Fill the tank with new fuel and let it idle for 15 minutes before putting it into high gear and cutting grass.
Change the Oil
Changing the oil in a lawn mower is fairly easy and it’s something that you only need to do once a year. Most push lawnmowers have a small outlet valve on the side of the mower for draining. Larger mowers often have the oil change plug located underneath of the mowing deck. Small and compact gas mowers may need to have the oil pumped out using a small hand pump. Be sure to catch all oil in an approved container and take it to an oil recycling place for disposal.
Change the Spark Plug
Most mowers only have one spark plug and it’s really easy to get at and replace. In many cases, just remove the old spark plug with a spark plug socket and wrench, and then take a look at the end of the plug. If it’s dirty, caked with oil or covered with carbon, it’s best to clean it off with a small wire brush and a bit of gas. Let the plug dry and reinsert it for future use. If the mowers plug is no good, simply check the gap on the old plug tip with a spark plug gap tool and set the new spark plug to the same gap spacing.
Change the Air Filter
In most cases, there is only one filter, but some lawnmowers have both an internal and external air filter. While it’s a good idea to clean these out every couple of times you mow the grass, it’s important to change the old filter with a new filter each mowing season. You’ll not only increase the life expectancy of your lawnmower, but you’ll also get better gas mileage as well.
Check the Pull Cord
When a pull cord is frayed, it’s only a matter of time before it breaks. Be sure to slowly pull the starter pull cord all the way out until it stops and checks for signs of trouble. Change any frayed pull cords right away before the cord breaks loose and gets lodged into the moving parts of the engine.