Introduction

Lawnmower by fence

Take Care of It

In order to acquire peace-of-mind about your lawn mower investment, you will need to perform routine maintenance. It doesn’t take a lot of time or money to properly service your mower; it just takes a little diligence and common-sense. Follow these tips (for walk-behind and riding gas-powered mowers) to keep your mower running.

Step 1

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Be Familiar With the Fluids

Know where your fluid caps are located. On many mowers, the oil cap has an oil can design (like the one on the left), and the gas cap has a gas pump image (like the one on the right).

Step 2

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Change the Oil

Oil in a mower engine is just as vital as oil in a car engine. Check the oil level before each mow, and change it each season or as often as your owner's manual recommends. If the oil appears dark, it's time to change it. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for changing the oil. Depending on your mower, you may have an oil pan plug or you may be directed to use a hand pump to drain the oil pan.

Step 3

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Ignite a Spark

Having a hard time starting the mower, but it's got plenty of gas and oil? Most likely the problem is the spark plug. Take off the plug’s connector and remove the plug using a spark-plug socket. Check it for buildup. If it’s caked with gunk it won’t be able to spark. Clean the plug with an old toothbrush and reinsert it. If it still doesn’t fires up, time to buy a new plug.

Step 4

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Let the Air Flow Freely

Check the air filter after every couple of uses. A clogged filter will make your mower run less efficiently and it will cough and sputter while it's running (a good clue that it needs to be changed). Change the filter as recommended by the manufacturer and at least once a season. Your mower may have a two-part filter system (pre-filter and filter), so be sure to replace both parts.

Step 5

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Keep It Rolling

About once a season, check for flat edges on the tires, debris in the axle, and wobbling or difficulty in rotating. Also check the height adjustments to make sure it moves easy and holds the different positions.

Step 6

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Starter Cord

Check for frays and loose connections. Also inspect the handles to mark sure they are not lose. Tighten as recommended by the manufacturer.

Step 7

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Clean The Outer Shell

Dust, grass and debris can collect and build up all over the motor‘s housing. Use an air compressor with a blow gun to clean it off. If you don’t have a compressor, use a shop vacuum to remove the dirt. But be careful not to use too much pressure or you might damage the housing or blow the debris deeper into the housing.

Step 8

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Swab the Deck

Clean off the top of the mower’s deck after each use. The longer you leave dried grass on the mower, the more difficult it’ll be to remove. Use a spray-on cleanser to wipe it off or just spray it off with water and let dry.

Step 9

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Winterize

Over the winter, follow the manufacturer's directions on draining fluids or adding fuel stabilizers.