The seasonal ritual of mowing and trimming the yard is an enjoyable experience for many. A freshly mowed lawn is a thing of beauty and source of pride for many homeowners. For others, it is simply a chore that has to be taken care of on a regular basis. In either case, the task is made easier with a reliable and well-working lawn mower. Today's mowers often come with a hefty price tag, but following a few helpful hints can protect that investment and keep your mower operating at top efficiency.
The Importance of Regular Maintenance
As with all mechanical devices, your mower requires regular upkeep and preventative maintenance. While they are built for rugged service, mowers are subjected to a lot of dirt, dust, and other debris. Designed to make maintenance an easy chore, these five steps can help you extend the life of your mower and ensure it does the job:
- Start the season right. Before you use your mower for the first time each year, take time to check and tighten all bolts, nuts and screws. Replace the spark plug and air filter and change the oil. Sharpen or replace the mower blade, and fill the tank with fresh, filtered gasoline. It's important to use quality lawn mower parts for each of these steps, especially with your filters and blades. They only cost a little bit more, and the additional quality makes that cost worthwhile.
- Clean after every use. Grass and dirt will accumulate quickly on the surfaces and undercarriage of a mower, especially when any oil or gas leaks or spills. This accumulation can cause a mower to overheat, and will rust out the deck over time. A simple wipe down with a gloved hand or old towel will eliminate the majority of the trash that will cause problems. Two or three times a season, do a more thorough cleaning, especially under the deck and around the shaft.
- Keep the air filter clean. Most air filters will last a season, but they all need to be cleaned regularly, as often as every mowing depending on your lawn.
- Regularly sharpen the mower blade. The blade you use plays an important role in how well your mower performs. A dull blade will chop your grass, and can give the entire yard a brownish hue because of this. Additionally, damaged, instead of cleanly cut, grass blades are more susceptible to disease.
- Prepare your mower for off-season. All of the points about cleaning are especially important at the end of the mowing season. Some vendors recommend you empty out all the gas and oil before storage. Others advise you to leave these fluids in to prevent rust. If you do leave your gas in, it is important to add a stabilizer and drain the gas out before using the mower the next season.
It's worth finding a reputable dealer that provides service and repairs for major mower brands. These professionals stock quality parts, and often offer an affordable tune-up service that can save you the hassle of doing the annual maintenance yourself. These few steps can help make mowing one of your easier household chores and protect your mower investment.Share