on Friday, May 14, 2021
In the Midwest, mowing season is upon us which means it’s time to ready your mower. Whether it’s the first time you’ve needed to prepare a lawn mower for spring, or you just need a refresher, these tips will help you learn about the fundamentals on how to service a lawn mower and can help prevent bigger problems from arising down the line. For the most part, we’ll be referring to riding mowers, but do note the basic principles have a lot of crossover. Either way, you’ll want to check out your operator manual, it’s full of model-specific instructions and is a valuable asset for regular maintenance information as well as trouble shooting. We’ll also share our video playlist for an easy, step-by-step DIY guide for all four major areas of focus.
1. Oil and Oil Filter Replacement
Your engine needs oil to run, and old filters that have outlived their lifespan can cause big problems for your equipment, even resulting in your mower stalling out. Changing your oil and oil filter is usually an annual chore, but should be done more often if you’re mowing in dusty conditions. When buying replacements, be sure you have the right type of oil and filter for your specific machine. It’s worth noting that this rule applies for any type of maintenance parts and fluids.
2. Mind Your Air and Fuel Filters
Keeping debris out and protecting your engine is the key function of an air filter. A fuel filter does the same job, just for your fuel tank which goes on to protect your engine as well. You’ll either need to replace or clean off your filter(s) depending on which one you’re changing out, as well as your model. Dirty filters affect how well your equipment runs, can reduce the power output and can even result in engine failure with expensive parts replacement, so it’s best to not skip this step.
3. Swap out Your Spark Plugs
Your spark plugs play a crucial role in starting your engine and usually need to be changed out once a year. If you have an old or damaged one in place, you may not be able to start your mower or you’ll notice your engine running unevenly among other running-related issues. Some equipment has more than one spark plug, you’ll want to check on both. Even if you replaced your spark plugs within the last year, you’ll still want to do a once over to look for things like dark residue, leaks and cracks as a sign that they require replacement.
4. Tend to Your Deck and Tires
Your deck will require some basic maintenance to make sure everything is in working order. This includes cleaning off any build up from last mowing season with a pressure washer and brush, inspecting and sharpening your blades as well as leveling your mowing deck. Dull blades will tear up your lawn, and occasionally will need to be replaced if they’ve been badly bent or nicked by hard debris. There are several methods to consider for sharpening your blades, some of the more common include using a clamp and file or a bench grinder if you have an at home workshop. Though it’ll give you a good start to the year, this is not limited to just an annual activity, and should be checked throughout the mowing season. Furthermore, an unlevel deck can create an uneven cut. Adjusting yours is fairly straight forward and your user manual will have instructions on how to level your deck to your mower’s specifications. As part of levelling your mowing deck, you’ll also need to check in on your tire pressure, just as you would with your car. Need more detailed instructions on how to change your oil and filters, how to tell if a lawn mower spark plug is bad, or how to level your deck? Take a look at this DIY lawn mower maintenance playlist for step-by-step directions.
From push mowers to zero turns, all mowers typically require at least some maintenance on an annual or hours-in-use basis. How many hours of use will vary by machine and by part. Have questions about lawn mower maintenance, or need help figuring out which DIY kit is right for your equipment? You can reach out to the GreenMark dealership that’s closest to you to get help from one of our specialists. Or, if you’d prefer to skip the DIY work, you can schedule a service here.