It’s officially springtime, and that means it’s time to dust of the tools and get back to work in the garden. After a long winter in the garage, your lawn mower could probably use a little attention before you fire it up again. A quick tuneup will ensure that your mower performs efficiently and consistently all season long.
Let’s start with a new air filter.
You can pick one of these up at your local hardware store for about $5. Just remove the air filter cover from your lawn mower’s motor with a screwdriver, take out the old filter and pop in the new one. Be sure to check your mower’s owner’s manual to make sure you get the right type of filter before you buy. Alternately, you can just bring the old filter into the hardware store and finding a matching one.
Next, we’ll change the oil.
Oil is the lifeblood of an engine. Ideally, you should change your mower’s oil once per season, or every 25 hours of operation. You can either drain the oil through a drain plug located underneath the mower, or through the fill tube on the side of the mower. Have a container handy to capture the oil as it drains. Once you’ve emptied out the old oil and replaced the drain plug, pour fresh oil into the fill tube.
Don’t forget the spark plug.
If you’re tired of struggling to start your mower, a new spark plug can make life a whole lot easier. Loosen the old one with a plug wrench before spinning it out with your fingers. Check the new plug to make sure there’s a slight gap between the arm and electrode, and then screw it gently into the motor. Take care not to damage the porcelain part of the plug as you tighten it.
Finally, sharpen the blades.
You can either do this yourself, or hire a shop to do it for about $10-20. If you go the DIY route, you can use a metal file for light sharpening, or a bench grinder for more serious work. If you’re not confident in your ability to properly sharpen the blades yourself, it’s best to call in the professionals. Your lawn will thank you.