Just like any other piece of equipment that’s been stored over winter, a lawn mower will require a little bit of maintenance before it’s ready to run in the spring. If you took the time to winterize your mower before storing it, you may have less to do than your neighbor. Regardless, you should follow the checklist below to make sure everything is in working order before your grass gets too long.
Give your mower a tune-up
Replacing your spark plug is the first step in preparing your lawn mower for spring. Lawn mower spark plugs are inexpensive, so don’t clean or reuse old ones. It’s recommended to replace your lawn mower’s spark plug once a season. Consult your owner’s manual to ensure you purchase the correct replacement plug for your mower.
Next, you’ll want to determine the viability of your air filter, which will be enclosed in a metal or plastic casing on the side of the engine. If your mower uses a foam filter and it’s not in too bad of shape, you may be able to clean it up by soaking it in warm soapy water and then squeezing it dry. However, if it’s a paper or cardboard filter, you’re better off just replacing it.
Change your lawn mower’s oil
It’s a good idea to make sure your mower has fresh oil at the beginning of each spring. Follow these steps:
Consult your owner’s manual to determine and purchase the appropriate grade and amount of oil for your lawn mower.
Locate your mower’s drain plug at the bottom of the engine and place an oil pan underneath.
Remove the dipstick and then the drain plug to let the dirty oil drain into the pan.
After the oil has drained completely, replace the drain plug.
Pour fresh oil into the oil reservoir using a funnel. Make sure to use the amount of oil recommended by your owner’s manual. Overfilling may damage seals and underfilling can cause overheating.
Grease your mower
Apply a light-duty lubricant to contact surfaces for wheel bearings, cables and height adjusters. You might also spray silicone under the deck of the mower to prevent rust and to keep clippings from sticking. Make sure you don’t grease any surfaces that the drive belt will come in contact with during operation. Additionally, wipe off any excess oil.
Sharpen lawn mower blades
You should have your mower blades sharpened by a professional at the beginning of every spring. However, if the blades are bent, nicked, overly worn or otherwise damaged, you should consider replacing them.
Check mower belts
Check belts for heavy wear and cracking to determine whether or not they need to be replaced.
Charge battery (electric start and battery units)
If you’re having trouble starting your mower after completing the above maintenance steps, you may need to charge or replace your battery.