Unbelievably, spring is on its way, and while much of the Continental United States is still covered with snow. Your lawnmower will be needed sooner than you think and so it’s time to think of seasonal servicing, before the lawn mowing season begins.
Unfortunately, sitting unused in your shed or garage all winter probably haven’t done your lawnmower any favors. Water, ice and freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on parts and fluids and allow rust to develop. Therefore, it’s important that you service your lawn mower before using it in the spring.
- Change the Spark Plugs: Over the course of a lawn mowing season, byproducts of combustion will foul the spark plugs in a gas-powered mower. Furthermore, the process of combustion will also wear down the electrode. When this happens, the spark needed to make the engine run may be weak or might fail to occur at all. This can keep your mower from starting or cause it to die spontaneously in the middle of your task. To avoid this hassle, you should replace your mower’s spark plugs each spring.
- Change Your Gasoline: Chances are good that you didn’t use up all of the fuel in your mower before you stored it for the off-season. If so, don’t be surprised if your mower refuses to start or if it starts and then fails. When left to sit, gasoline becomes useless very quickly. If there is still some in the tank, it’s recommended that you drain it and refill it with a fresh batch before you start mowing again.
- Test the Battery: If you have a battery-powered lawn mower, you get to avoid a lot of the issues that come with gas-powered ones as there are fewer things that can go wrong. However, they still require some diligence where springtime maintenance is concerned. The cold winter air and a lack of use are not kind to batteries. The mower may operate just fine when you’re finished with it for the year, but come spring, the battery might be dead. If the mower refuses to start or runs sluggishly, you should check your battery. If testing indicates low power, it’s time for a new one.
- Sharpen the Blade: No matter what your mower’s power source is, they all require a sharp blade in order to be effective. As you mow your lawn, the blade’s cutting edge becomes more dull. Eventually, it will become so dull that instead of neatly clipping the grass, it tears the ends off. As a result, the blades of grass turn brown at the tips, making your lawn look sickly and increasing the risk of disease. You can prevent this by having your mower’s blade sharpened every spring.
- Check the Air Filter: After your mower has been idle throughout the fall and winter, it’s a good idea to check the air filter before you start it up again. If the filter is clogged, the mower may start, but will likely run poorly and die shortly after. Even when the filter isn’t clogged badly enough to prevent your mower from starting, it may still be clogged enough to hinder the engine’s power output and decrease its fuel efficiency. Refer to your mower’s owner’s manual for the location of the filter and the instructions for cleaning and replacement.
- Proper Lubrication: The moving parts on a mower are vulnerable to rust, which can be caused by exposure to the elements during both use and storage. Furthermore, dust and dirt may settle into them, which can cause unnecessary wear and tear if it’s not taken care of. After cleaning off any debris and old grease, it’s recommended that you apply fresh grease or oil to all of the moving parts. Be sure to get the wheels and the rotation point of the blade.
- Use Only OEM Parts: While there are a variety of brands of parts (i.e., Honda, Cub Cadet, etc.) available for mowers of all types, it’s strongly recommended that you use only OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts. In some cases, they may cost slightly more than the off brands, but they’re well worth the investment. There are many reasons why OEM parts are superior. They’re often of higher quality, which means that you will enjoy better overall performance from your mower. In many cases, they’re also the only replacement parts that you can use if you don’t want to void the warranty on your mower. Furthermore, they’re guaranteed to fit. Many people who work on their own lawn equipment know all too well the frustration that can come from buying off brand parts that are supposed to fit, only to discover that they aren’t. Ralph Helm Inc. makes it easy to get the parts that you need to keep things running smoothly. To find parts for your specific make and model of mower, try their convenient online parts look-up tool.