Reasons You Should Have Your Lawn Mower Serviced
Maintenance of lawnmowers, especially push mowers, is very simple. The average home DIY type person can easily handle their own lawnmower service. With a few simple tools and a little effort, you can handle the maintenance on your lawnmower. The first place to look would be the owner’s manual. If you don’t have one, you should contact your mower manufacturer. This will list all the service intervals for various items on your mower.
There are many reasons to maintain your lawnmower.
Longevity: You wouldn’t drive your car without changing the oil, would you? So why would you neglect your lawn mower? When you keep up with your mower’s maintenance, you lower your total cost of ownership. Your mower will last you many years if it is cared for properly.
Quality – When your mower is fully serviced, it will perform at its best. This means that the motor runs perfectly and the blades are sharp and balanced. The end result is a mower that will start reliably, cut cleanly and is always ready when you are.
Common Tasks While Servicing a Lawn Mower
Basic maintenance goes a long way and is simple. Most jobs can be completed at the end of the cutting season before winter storage, or can be completed just before the season begins. These common elements include the following.
Sharpen and/or replace blades
Cleaning below deck
Typical air filter on a lawn mower.
As cheap as they are, air filters only need to be done once a year. Most lawn mowers have easy access to the air filter housing. Unlock a couple of tabs or loosen a couple of screws. Air filters for lawn mowers are usually of the soft foam or paper type. If you allow your lawnmower’s air filter to become clogged, it will lose power and not burn fuel completely. Check your owner’s manual for the correct filter.
oil drip tray
At least once a year, you should change the engine oil in your lawnmower. This will usually require you to tip your mower on its side and drain through the fill port, as most don’t have drain plugs. Many lawnmowers will run on SAE 30, but there should be a chart that compares your climate temperature to recommended oil use. Simply unscrew the filler cap, tip the mower on its side and drain all the oil into an approved container. When your container is full, you can take it to a local garage or recycling center for disposal.
Oil chart for recommended oil weight for climate. Check the owner’s manual for your specific engine.
The type of oil you use will change a bit, depending on your local climate. Most manufacturers have a chart in the owner’s manual that shows temperature ranges.
All small push mowers have only one spark plug. The spark plug’s job is to ignite the gasoline to supply power to turn the blade. Over time, this spark plug can get dirty or dirty. When this happens, your lawnmower won’t start or runs poorly and doesn’t work right. To change a spark plug, you will need a spark plug boot. Spark plug sockets have a special rubber insert inside to protect the ceramic of the spark plug and also grip and hold it in place.
Once you’ve removed the spark plug, you’ll see what model number it is by looking at the side of the ceramic. You should be able to see a number, usually in blue letters. This will tell you which spark plug to replace. Install the new plug and tighten it.
When the lawn mower blade is sharp, it will obviously make a cleaner cut. But this also helps the grass grow better by cutting it and not ripping it. When you look at a blade of grass at the tip, you should see a nice, clean cut. If it is ragged and broken, it means you need to sharpen the blade.
Having a sharp blade also requires less work on the engine. This in the long run will result in a longer life for the motor as it is not loaded all the time.
Sharpening blades at home is something a DIYer can do. At a minimum, it requires a file and would make it much easier to keep it safe while you work.
Another option is also a grinder, which is much faster, but not everyone has a grinder at home.
New sharpening styles are using a blade sharpener. These work much like a knife sharpener found in your kitchen, but with a larger scale for lawnmower blades.
Sharpening is pretty easy. But first we must remove the blade.
Removing the blade from a lawnmower
Raise the mower safely so you can access the bottom where the blade is. If you tilt it to the side, drain as much gasoline as possible and also put the engine muffler up. This will prevent oil from running into the muffler and causing the smoke show at startup.
Remove the spark plug wire as a precaution against accidental starting.
With the blade holder, secure the blade so that it does not rotate. This tool is a life saver compared to using a block of wood.
Using a breaker bar and the correct size socket, loosen the center retaining bolt.
Remove the sheet.
This is also a good time to remove any grass buildup under the deck.
Sharp and Balanced
Now that you’ve removed the blade, it’s time to sharpen it. Now, considering you haven’t hit rocks or other solid objects, you shouldn’t have any big chips on the blade. If it does, just buy a new set of blades and install it.
Hold the blade securely in a vise, or you could hold it by hand. It is important to wear gloves! This will keep your fingers intact. Using a knife sharpener, go from the center to the tip until a nice sharp edge forms. Repeat on the other side.
Now we need to make sure your blade is balanced. Using a blade balancer, place the blade on it and make sure it is level. If one side seems to sink more than the other, remove more material.
The purpose of balancing is to reduce vibration. It is the same concept as balancing the tires on your car.
When you’re done, reinstall the blade on your mower. Installation is the reverse of removal.
Final Thoughts on Lawn Mower Service
Doing your own lawnmower service is something anyone can do. This is a job that you have to complete once a year and it comes at a fairly low cost. Once you purchase all the tools you need, maintaining your mower will cost you next to nothing.
Completing your own lawnmower service is rewarding as you know the job will be done right. It will also save you money over and over again.
Enjoy your lawn mower service and Happy Cutting!