You need to be consistent with lawn mower maintenance. You don’t want to pull your lawn mower out of the garage in spring and find it is unable to start. Regular servicing is important to keep your lawn mower in tip-top shape and prevent it from being sent to the scrapyard.
It is a bad idea not to maintain your lawn mower.
Regular servicing is essential for lawn mowers to last a long time. By not servicing your mower often, you can avoid expensive repairs and other problems. If you neglect regular servicing, there are possible problems.
Spark plugs can become less efficient over time and eventually fail to function after long periods of use. This can cause a decrease of performance, fuel efficiency and misfiring, among other problems. In addition, old or damaged spark plugs can cause extensive damage inside the combustion chamber and may leave the lawn mower’s engine damaged beyond repair.
Once the filter is used, it slowly becomes clogged up with oil and debris from the engine. This causes a reduction of airflow to the carburetor. Your mower will experience problems such as low performance, unusual noises and black smoke or reduced gas efficiency if the filter is blocked. In addition, if the filter is very clogged, then you’ll encounter problems when starting the mower, and the engine will stall.
A fuel filter’s primary purpose is to clean the fuel as it passes through the fuel system. Over time, the filter clogs and starves the mower’s engine of fuel. Regular fuel filter replacement is recommended to avoid irregular fuel flow. This can lead to problems starting, stalling, and misfiring, along with damage to other components in the fuel system.
The oil is the lawn mower’s protective measure to keep all of the engine’s moving parts moving smoothly at desired temperatures. Oil that has been used will begin to lose its viscosity and degrade. This causes a decrease in lubrication and heat absorption. Old oil can cause internal metal parts to wear and overexpand from heat. Old oil can cause engine failure and extensive damage.
Not everybody is going to have an oil filter on their lawn mower, but if yours does, you’ll need to include it within your lawn mower maintenance checklist. The oil filter filters out dirt and impurities from the engine oil while it is being used. Every other month, you should change the oil filter. If you don’t change the filter every other month, the oil will clog up and stop the oil from flowing around your engine. This will cause the oil not to work as it should, and can cause additional wear and excessive heat.
Some lawn mowers have a grease fitting/zerk fitting. These adaptors allow the addition of grease to various components such as deck pulleys and wheel yokes. Grease fittings eventually will wear down, causing them seize or even to fall apart.
Different lawn mowers use different types of belts to drive the mower and power its cutting deck. Lack of servicing and belt maintenance can lead to problems with the mower’s ability to drive. A worn belt can cause the mower not to spin at the desired speed. Belts that are worn can cause damage and wear to the tension springs, pulleys, and other components.
Some lawnmowers use a lithium-ion batteries to power their various systems. This could include starter motors and starter engines as well as lights. The contact between power leads and terminals can be reduced over the course of a mowing year. Neglecting to service your battery terminal can reduce the power that is available to the electrical system. This could lead to problems like difficulty starting the mower, malfunctioning clutches, and dimming the lights. During operation, a lawnmower charges its battery. A faulty terminal can cause the electric flow stop or prevent charging.
Low tire pressure isn’t going to cause any damaging effects to your lawn mower, but you will notice it when you cut your lawn. Uneven tire pressure could cause a cut that is uneven and could result in your lawn being scalped.
Level the Cutting Deck
Without leveling the deck, mower servicing is incomplete. Everybody wants a level lawn. The lawnmower’s constant banging can cause uneven decks over time. This will need to be fixed. The result of an unlevel deck is the same as having incorrect tire pressure; you’ll end up with an uneven cut and possibly scalp your grass.
Regularly sharpening your blades can be a hassle, but it’s worth it if you have a smile on your face when you cut with a new set. We all know that blades become dull and sometimes damaged while we’re out cutting the lawn. A dull set can cause grass damage and increase the mower’s stress. This can cause damage to the engine, pulleys or belts, as well as other parts. Mowing with dull blades can lead to costly repairs that can be avoided.
Rust can be found in almost every part of the mower, including the cutting board, frame, blades and even well-protected components like the engine covers or handlebars. The iron in the metal oxidizes, leaving behind brown rust. Rust can also attack any bare metal, chips, or dings. Failure to prevent rust from your servicing routine can lead to a host if problems such as holes in decks, seized levers, and rusted out fixings and mounts. This can also make your lawn mower less attractive. A complete lawn mower can be destroyed if rust grows out of control.
Spring Lawn Mower Maintenance – What I Do At the Start of the Season
The location of your lawn mower will determine how you service it. If your grass is in colder areas, it will be dormant during winter. You should winterize your lawnmower every week. If you live in a southern climate, your mower does NOT need to winterize. You can still trim your lawn throughout the year, just less often in winter. My lawn mower maintenance check is an annual checklist you should include in your winterizing, or yearly services depending on where and when you live. Here’s what you should be covering in your main service.
- Replace the Spark Plug
- Replace the filter
- Replace the fuel filter
- Change the oil in your engine
- Replace the oil filter
- Grease fittings
- Inspect All Belts And Pulleys
- Check & Clean Battery Terminal
- Check Tire Pressure
- Level the Cutting Deck
- Sharpen/Balance/Replace Blades
- Rust Prevention
Replace the Spark Plug
It takes just a few minutes for your lawn mower’s spark plug to be replaced. By pulling out the old one and popping in a new one with the help of a spark plug wrench, you’ll prevent any performance-related issues and avoid any misfiring caused by the old plug. If your plug isn’t that old, it’s a good idea to gap the sparkplug to compensate for a reduction in the electrode.
Replace the filter
You can also change your air filter quickly. You can easily remove the cover and replace it with a brand new one. Before you go to the shop make sure to check if you require a filter. If you have inspected your filter, you might find that it’s not that bad, so a quick clean could work. There are two ways to clean your engine’s air filter. With a clean air filter, you’ll end up with a mower that performs much better as it will achieve the air-to-fuel mix required.
Replace the fuel filter
It is also easy to change fuel filters. To replace fuel filters, you only need to remove the spring clips that connect the fuel lines. Next, slide the line out and attach your filter. While you have the lines removed, it’s a good idea to check the condition of the fuel lines. Replacing the fuel lines isn’t a regular part of servicing, but this would be a good opportunity to inspect them. Swapping out the filter will also improve the air-to-fuel mixture and the mower’s performance. Clean fuel filters can reduce damage to parts such as the fuel pump.
Change the Engine Oil & filter
It is easier than you think to change your engine oil or filter. You can drain the oil plug from smaller mowers. Larger mowers require that you allow the oil to drain to an open pan. The filter can be replaced and the drain plug reinstalled. You can then fill the mower with oil. You can then fill the mower with oil.
Greasing the fittings seems like a neglected item on the lawn mower maintenance checklist. I think this is because not everybody knows what they are, so they don’t know what to look for. If your mower has grease fittings, then I’d suggest popping down to the hardware store and picking up a grease gun and grease. Your pulleys will appreciate it. You’ll save yourself from annoying squeaking and avoidable pulley replacements.
Inspect All Belts and Pulleys
If you have a big lawn mower, it’s sometimes easier to remove the belts and pulleys to inspect them. You can inspect the belt and check that the pulleys work. If you have given your belt a dressing, it will last longer. Similarly, they likely won’t need additional attention if you have also been greasing your pulleys throughout the year.
Check & Clean Battery Terminal
It may develop oxidized corrosive, which can turn the battery green or brown depending on its configuration. This is a chemical reaction that occurs in the battery’s terminal. The terminal may also become rusty. A quick scrub with a wire brush and some dielectric grease will prevent this and restore your connection— no more wondering what is draining your mower’s batteries.
Check Tire Pressure
Riding mowers usually have different size tires, so you’ll need to know the correct tire pressure for each type of tire. This is especially true when zero-turns are used, where the rear tires weigh more than the front. It is important to know the correct pressure for your zero-turn tires. All you need is an inflator and gauge, and you’ll be able to pump up your tire in no time to the correct pressure.
Level the Cutting Deck
If you have a tape measure, socket wrench set, and a level surface, you’ll be able to level your deck. Leveling the cutting deck can take some time and be a little fiddly because you need to be pretty precise, within a ¼ inch of level. But, once you know how to level your mower deck, you’ll be thankful you added it into your servicing. You’ll soon forget about the inconsistencies you had to endure.
Now we move on to blade sharpening, everybody’s favorite job. This is a job that everyone must do at least once a week, especially during the cutting season. Your mower blades should be balanced and properly sharpened. You will be grateful to learn how you can sharpen your mower blades.
To prevent rust from forming on your lawnmower, you can use a little bit of WD-40 or other silicone lubricant. A quick spray on your mower’s exposed metal parts could save you from having to pull out tools to make fixes, such as a repair to a rusted lawn mower deck. For lawn mower maintenance, rust prevention is a must.
Additional Lawn Mower Maintenance Items and When to Do Them
Now that you have your lawn mower maintenance checklist, you have a pretty good idea of what you’ll need to include within your annual lawn mower maintenance and your spring lawn mower tune-up. There are still things that must be checked and maintained. These are some other maintenance items that you should be aware.
Adjust the valves on your mower every 200-300 hours. The valves regulate the amount of fuel and exhaust gas entering the engine. If the valves become blocked or faulty, it can reduce fuel efficiency and lead to loss of power and performance.
Hydraulic Oil & Filter
Hydrostatic lawnmowers, particularly zero-turn and new tractors equipped with hydrostatic drives may need to have their hydraulic fluids or filters changed from time. This service is typically done every 500 hours. Serviceability is not always possible for all hydrostatic drive models. So it’s worth checking ahead of time to see if your hydro lawn mower is serviceable or non-serviceable.
Water Cooling Systems
Many lawn mowers cool the engine using the flywheel and fan blades. Larger mowers now use water cooling systems. This means you must be very careful with the hoses and fluids. Flushing and changing fluids should be done approximately every 500 hours. This number can vary greatly so I recommend you consult your manual to determine if it is higher.