With spring in full swing, our minds wander to warmer days ahead: cookouts, playing catch with the kids and, of course, yard work. When you begin preparing for the season ahead, it’s important to make sure your lawn mower is tuned up and ready when you need it the most. Before you pull that cord for the first time, you should follow some basic lawn care tips to ensure it starts up right away and runs smoothly through every mow.
Whether you have a push or riding mower, check the mower deck, belts, blades and all bolts and fasteners for damage. Also check the wheels and tires to make sure they’re properly secured or, in the case of ride-on mowers, inflated. Your local NAPA dealer will have everything you may need to put your mower back in optimal shape. Order anything you need ahead of time to avoid watching the grass grow, so to speak.
Even if you changed the oil in your mower frequently last year, starting off a new season with a fresh oil change is a great place to start your tune up. Consult your mower’s manual to determine how to drain the old oil, and replace it with oil of a similar viscosity.
As fuel stagnates, it can separate, collect moisture and become contaminated. Any old fuel should be properly discarded and replaced. You’ll want to remove any gas that’s left over in the fuel tank from the previous season using a siphon pump or by disconnecting the fuel line at the filter, if your mower has one.
Similar to oil, it’s a good idea to replace your mower’s spark plug at the beginning of every season. You may not remember if you changed it last year or the year before, do you? New plugs will help you to avoid a lot of unnecessary headaches during the year.
All mowers have an air filter, but yours may also have oil and fuel filters. Replacing the filters at the beginning of the season ensures that your mower’s engine will fire up and run properly the first time you start it as well as protect it from dust and debris that could shorten engine life.
While you have the blades off, remove any old grass or debris that may be stuck to the bottom of the mower deck. Clean the rest of the mower as you would your vehicle using soap, water and some elbow grease.
Now that you’ve changed your mower’s oil, replaced any filters and spark plugs, sharpened your blade and cleaned off any debris or dust, go over the external moving parts of the mower and oil the surfaces that move, such as wheel bearings and pulleys, to ensure they operate smoothly throughout the entire season.
Starting the season off with your mower in top shape will help to get you through the season worry-free. If you find damaged parts, replace them before they become a real or potentially dangerous problem, and give your mower’s engine the attention it deserves. If you follow these lawn care tips, the grass will always be greener on your side.
Check out all the lawn & garden products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more lawn care tips, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
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Erich Reichert has been an editor and on-air personality in the radio control car hobby for 12 years. A certified car nut since birth, he has written for internationally published titles such as RC Car Action, RC Driver and Xtreme RC Cars, as well as Stuff Magazine, Road and Track and Super Street. He's covered everything from product reviews and tech articles to high-profile lifestyle pieces and celebrity interviews. Erich found his passion for writing after a successful career as an art director, working with brands such as Pepsico, NASCAR, MTV, Nintendo, WWE, Cannondale Bicycles and HBO. He's also a father, an avid hockey fan and an FIA race license holder who enjoys hiking, playing drums and movies.