Week after week you tend your lawn, cutting it just right, making it the envy of the neighborhood. But all too often you may skip required lawnmower maintenance. You aren’t alone, but putting off routine care can endanger personal safety. Let’s take a look at the most neglected lawnmower parts and the service schedule that can help get you back on track.
1. Get Acquainted With the Maintenance Manual
Just like your car’s owner’s manual, your mower’s maintenance manual offers valuable information about the care and servicing of your machine. Retrieve your copy and examine it, taking note of the due items. If you lost your copy, the manufacturer may have it posted online. Follow the manual carefully to preserve the mower’s lifespan accordingly.
Your pristine lawn will begin to look a bit ragged if you don’t regularly sharpen the blade. This is a job you can do yourself by first donning a pair of work gloves, then removing the spark plug from the mower. Find the bolt or nut holding the blade in place, then spray paint or mark the blade before removal to denote the correct side of the blade for reinstalling. If you have a spare blade on hand, simply install it, then sharpen the dull blade separately. Use a file to sharpen a dull blade and check for balancing before reinstalling.
3. Clean Out the Undercarriage
Before reinstalling the blade, clean out the undercarriage and chute, removing grass and other debris. Set the lawn hose nozzle to a narrow stream to remove debris. Use a paint scraper to eliminate hardened fragments. Check for rust while you are at it and nip it in the bud before it causes real damage.
4. Drain and Replace the Oil
Lawnmowers still use oil to lubricate the engine. Remember to replace it on schedule, and know the signs that it’s time for an oil change.
5. Clean or Replace the Air Filter
Some mowers come equipped with a reusable air filter. If yours does, remove and clean it, allowing it to dry before reinstalling. Make sure to either clean or replace the air filter on schedule to prevent dirt from entering the engine by means of the carburetor.
6. Change the Spark Plug
The spark plug creates the electrical spark for starting your mower. Replace as needed.
7. Adjust the Recoil Starter
Most mowers come equipped with a recoil starter rope. If it gets stuck, you won’t be able to start the mower. Simply remove the screws from the blower housing and take a look inside. One of two problems is at play here: a tangled cord or a broken spring. Replace the affected part.
8. Perform Your End-of-Season Routine
Just before winter settles in, you’ll have one more opportunity to cut your lawn. Raise the wheel settings to 1 inch, then perform your final cutting. When done, add fuel stabilizer to the gas tank and allow the stabilizer to distribute throughout the system. After a few minutes, turn off the mower, allow it to cool down and then siphon gas from the tank into a fuel can. Disconnect the spark plug, remove the blade, drain the oil, clean the undercarriage and swap out the air filter. Store the mower in a dry place, and keep the removed parts nearby.
Other lawnmower parts subject to wear and tear include wheels, bearings, drive and speed control switches, cutting height adjustment knob, handles, cord retainer, linkage, springs and covers. Although not necessarily included with routine maintenance, each part may eventually require replacement over the course of mower ownership.
Check out all the lawn and 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 neglected lawnmower parts, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Flickr.
Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.