With warm weather in sight, many of you are probably tuning up your mowers and getting them ready to go. Hopefully you stored yours away properly for the winter, which will make getting it ready that much easier. Before you get to work on your machine, there are a few things you’ll want to gather up. Here’s a quick run down of the items you’ll need to stock up your lawn mower tune up kit.
As you tend to your lawn throughout the summer, your mower kicks up dust and dirt into the air, which in turn is sucked in by the engine. While the style may vary slightly, all mowers are equipped with an air filter that catches this debris and keeps it from damaging your engine. Whether it’s a paper or foam type filter, it’s always best to install a fresh one at the beginning of the season.
Lawn mowers generally operate on a simple one-cylinder engine, and while they’ve improved greatly over the years, they still don’t burn as efficiently as your vehicle’s engine. This means they tend to foul up spark plugs pretty quickly, especially if the carburetor isn’t tuned properly. A new spark plug is another great item to put in your kit. While you’re at it, you’ll need a gapping tool to set the correct spark plug gap, too.
It’s always a good idea to start off the season with a fresh oil change. Your mower’s oil is the sole thing that keeps it operating smoothly and protects its moving parts. Older and smaller mowers don’t use them, but if your tractor has one, you’ll also want to replace the oil filter when you change the oil. The filter is responsible for capturing debris from your old oil, so an old clogged up filter won’t be able to keep your new oil clean and can even inhibit its flow through the engine.
If you stored your mower away properly for the winter, then the fuel tank should have been emptied, but if it hasn’t, start with fresh gas. Unless you used fuel stabilizer, gasoline can go bad over the winter and cause your engine to run inconsistently, so replacing it is your best bet before you start the season.
If your mower is older, the carburetor could most likely use a good cleaning. The level of cleaning depends entirely on how much you feel like taking things apart. Even if you don’t want to remove it, simply spraying the carb with cleaner will help loosen up any old fuel and debris that might be gumming it up.
Getting your mower ready for the coming season requires a lot of small things. From changing out filters and plugs to replacing fluids and fuel, it’s essential to have the right stuff in your kit before you get mowing.
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 information on what you’ll need for your lawn mower tune up kits, 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.