Your lawnmower is an investment that will keep your lawn turning heads--as long as you take care of the engine. Proper lawnmower care is crucial to for smooth performance. The changing seasons require certain precautions to properly store the lawn mower while it is not in use. Here are six steps you should take to protect your lawn mower throughout the year:
1. Check the Battery
Recharge the battery throughout the off-season starting the engine from time to time or simply attach the battery to a charger.
2. Check the Fuel
All engines can be damaged by old or deteriorated fuel. In as little as just one month, gasoline can deteriorate damage your lawnmower's small engine by clogging the carburetor, thus preventing the engine from starting properly. The keep your lawnmower's engine clean, add a fuel stabilizer each time you fill the tank.
3. Check the Oil
Just like automotive engines, small engines must undergo regular oil changes. Oil lubricates the engine during use, which prevents premature damage. Before starting the lawn mower in the spring, give it an oil change. This is especially important if you did not change the oil before storing it for the winter.
4. Lubricate Moving Parts
The engine is not the only part of your lawn mower that requires proper lubrication. It is a good idea to keep all moving parts, including the wheels and cables, adequately lubricated with oil or grease. If you still have the owner's manual, check it for details on properly lubricating moving parts.
5. Replace Spark Plugs and Filters
Replacing spark plugs and air filters before the first spring use is an inexpensive way to properly maintain and protect your lawn mower. Do this every year to extend the life of your mower. Replace paper filters, and thoroughly wash and air dry foam filters. Don't forget to change the fuel filter as well.
6. Check the Blades
Every spring, you should have your lawnmower's blades sharpened. Dull blades could damage your lawn and will cause the lawn mower to be less fuel-efficient. A damaged lawn and inefficient mower will also make you work much harder than you need to. It is a good idea to sharpen the lawn mower blades at lease once a month during the peak season.
7. Clean the Deck
A dirty deck can cause your mower to work harder than it should and to burn more fuel. It can also damage your lawn. Cleaning the deck is relatively simple and should be done after each use. Simply turn the mower onto its side, carefully positioning it so that motor oil does not leak into the fuel system. Then scrape or hose off lawn clippings from the deck of the mower. If possible, spray silicone lubricant onto the deck to reduce build up during use. Make sure the mower is completely off before cleaning the deck to avoid injury.
Behind every pristine lawn is careful lawnmower maintenance. In addition to better mower performance, lawnmower maintenance saves money, as a well-lubricated, clean machine is more energy efficient and requires less fuel. As long as you follow these simple tips when preparing your lawn mower for the spring and summer, you should enjoy a good working mower for many years to come.
~Ben Anton, 2009
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