Lawn Mower Spring Check Up

Before the grass gets too tall, do a quick spring check up on your mower to ensure it is ready to go when you are.

Step 1: Check the spark plug. Pull the rubber spark plug wire up and off the plug. Remove the plug by turning it counter clock wise. If the plug is encrusted with carbon build up or you are having trouble starting the mower, replace the plug with a new one. Otherwise, wipe the plug off with a soft cloth and replace it. For safety purposes, do not reattach the rubber spark plug wire until you are finished working on the mower.

Step 2: Check the air filter. Most mowers have a metal cover over the air filter. Remove the screws holding the cover in place and take out the filter. If the filter is made of foam, rinse it with warm soapy water or gasoline. Allow it to dry completely before replacing it. If the filter is pleated, use a vacuum or air compressor to clean it, or simply knock it hard against the ground to loosen the excess dirt within the pleats. In either case, if the filter seems worn or unusually dirty, replacing it with a new one is always a wise investment.

Step 3: Check the oil – now and every time you mow the lawn. At least once a year, preferably in the spring, change your oil completely. Place your mower securely up on cider blocks, so you can access the underside without tipping the mower over. Locate the oil drain plug beneath the blade area. Place a drain pan under the mower and use a standard 3/8” ratchet, without a socket on it, to loosen the plug. Once the oil has drained completely, replace the drain plug and refill the oil reservoir with 20 oz of SAE 30W oil.

Step 4: Sharpen the blade. Tip the mower back ward and use a box end or open end wrench to remove the blade. Use a flat bastard file to sharpen along the cutting bevels, making smooth even strokes on both sides of the blade to maintain its balance. Better yet, take the blade to your local hardware store or tool shop to have it professionally sharpened. If the blade is nicked, bent or worn, replacing it is your best option.

Step 5: Check the gas. If you forgot to drain the gas tank before storing the mower for the winter, it would be best to drain it now. Water tends to condensate in the tank over the winter, causing your engine to foul. Use a hand pump or disconnect the fuel line and transfer the old gas into a disposable plastic container. Reattach the fuel line if necessary and fill your tank with fresh clean gas. Remember, if gas has been stored in a can over the winter, chances are it too may have water in it. Bad gas can clog the fuel line, so be certain the gas you add to the tank is fresh and clean.

Now reattach the spark plug wire, take your old oil and gas to the household hazardous waste facility and relax as you watch your grass grow, knowing you are ready when it is, or even when it’s not.

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