One of the first signs of spring is the lively growth of grass in your yard. It’s the time of year when seemingly every weekend calls for a walk around the yard with your lawnmower. To get the job done, you’ll want to keep your mower up to speed. So grab your DIY hat and some tools. Here’s how to get your lawn mower ready for spring.
Step 1 – Clean
Before you can really see what needs to be done on the mower, you will probably have to clean it up. Use a soapy mixture to remove grease, oil, gas, and grass from the outside of the mower. Then flip it over and gently scrape off any residual residue from the bottom. You don’t want to scratch the mower, so lightly scrape the surface. Remove any old grass, leaves, and weeds from the blade as well. Also, make sure the grip is clean by removing any grease or sticky substance. Tires may also need a gentle scrub. If the bag of weed was stored without a good cleaning, you’ll also want to spray the inside of the bag, wiping or lightly rubbing if necessary.
Step 2 – Evaluate
Once the machine is clean, evaluate the condition of all parts. Begin the process by looking over the entire mower. Examine the cable for wear, identify rust spots and the rim of all levers for damage that they move efficiently. Turn the mower to the side and turn the blade by hand. Also check if the blade needs sharpening. Take each nut by hand and check if any of them need tightening. You don’t want the parts to fly off while mowing the lawn. Next, make sure the straps rotate freely and are not overly stretched, cracked, or shredded.
Step 3 – Replace and Repair
Your mower will work best with a few new parts as you enter the growing season for your lawn. Although you won’t need it every year, it’s important to put new parts on your mower as they wear out, both for safety and mower efficiency, and spring is the perfect time to do so. Replace the spark plug, air filter, blade, and power drive belt as necessary. If you don’t have enough spark once you start the mower, you may need to tighten the spark plug or replace the spark plug wire. Also take a look at the fuel filter if your model has one. Finally, make sure each of the tires is full and ready to roll. If the blade looks dull, sharpen it with a file to get the best cut. You can do this a few times each season, just remove the bolt that holds it in place, then reassemble and make sure the nut is tight. You can also take it to a professional or purchase a replacement if the blade has taken a beating.
NOTE: Never store your mower for the winter with gasoline in the tank. It can cause serious problems with your carburetor if dirty gas fills it up. If gas from last season is still in the tank, drain and replace it before attempting to fix the mower. Also drain the old oil and replace it with new, premixed oil if your model requires it (most don’t anymore). Use caution when adding oil. Find the fill line and make sure you don’t overfill it.
Step 4 – Adjust
It is annoying and inefficient to stop multiple times while mowing, so you need to make adjustments before entangling the mower. Keep in mind that when the grass is thick and long at the beginning of the season, you will need to place the blade a good distance from the ground or the motor will stall. Do this by lifting each of the four trims along with the tires. If any cable, wheel bearing, or other moving parts are rusted or stuck together, this is a good time to lubricate them.
Your lawnmower is a very hardworking machine. Treat it well with a little seasonal love and it will cut its way through your spring lawn with ease and efficiency.