Spring calls for a surge of new growth – flowers blooms, trees blossom and your beautiful green lawn grows… and grows. And before you know it, it’s time to lug out that lawn mower you’d packed away for the winter.
Lawn mowers see frequent use during the spring and summer, and ensuring that it is working right will keep you ahead of the growth and keep your lawn neat and tidy.
Whether you own a push lawn mower, such as the Poulan Pro PR500N21SH, or a riding lawn mower, these machines do require a bit of maintenance to keep them working right. Most of these can be done at home itself and do not really call for heavy-duty inspection. However, it is advised that you carry out some basic annual maintenance before the mower is put to use.
Basic Checklist For Power Mower Maintenance
General Overall Inspection
Begin with an inspection of all the surfaces keeping an eye on the deck, tires, belts, blades and the bolts on the mower. Storage for longer durations without any usage does cause parts to deteriorate therefore keep an eye out for parts that need to be replaced or bolts that need to be tightened.
Cleaning Under The Mower
It is always recommended that a mower is cleaned after every use to get rid of any garden debris from clogging the mower. Keeping safety in mind, it is necessary that the mower is turned off before doing anything of the sort. Pull the plug for better measure so that it will not be able of restarting while you are cleaning it.
Grass and leaves caught on the blades will need to be cleaned first. Avoid using any sharp objects while cleaning the mower as it could result in scratching the mower leaving it prone to rust.
Checking For Old Fuel
Get rid of any fuel in the containers that is older than a couple of years. The older the fuel, the higher the chances of fuel and ethanol being separated which could lead to water or moisture being introduced inside the container.
Replacing The Oil
Oil top up’s and replacements are vital in ensuring that mowers perform at their best. If you are doing this for the first time, it is very important that you do release the oil cap if the mower was turned on and the motor is heated up.
To change the oil, simply keep a container under the drain plug and release the plug. Once the oil has been drained, dispose it correctly, tighten the plug and pour fresh oil into it. Oil changes are recommended about once a year.
Checking On The Spark Plugs
If you notice any corrosion or rust forming on the spark plugs, see that you replace them immediately. If ignored, it can result in the mower not being able to not function correctly. If the plugs do not require a change, however, do clean them thoroughly with a dry cloth.
When inserting new spark plugs, ensure that they are screwed into the socket fully for the mower to function right. Adding a couple of drops of engine oil into the hole and then cranking the engine a couple of times will help move the oil into the cylinder.
Air Filter Maintenance
Air filters are available in various types, shapes and sizes. If your mower comes with foam filters, these can be cleaned and replaced repeatedly. Paper filters, on the other hand, cannot be cleaned and will need to be replaced after a certain period of time. Clean air filters help the engine and equipment run efficiently without any interruptions. This also applies to your other yard tools, like leaf blowers,weed eaters and chainsaws.
Checking On Fuel Filters
Fuel filters in lawn movers are present in commercial machines and in order to have these maintained you would need to look-up the manufacturer’s recommendations. Fuel filters have an impact on the lawn mowers performance and using bad fuel filters that haven’t been changed will cause the mower to run poorly.
Well-sharpened blades at the beginning of spring will put less stress on the mower’s engine and also help keep your lawn nice and neat. If you are considering new blades, have the old ones sharpened. You never know when a spare set will come in handy.
That being said, all blades need to be sharpened at least two to three times a season. If you are looking to buy new blades, you must be aware of the different types of blades available on the market. Blades have different cutting edges and sizes; therefore check with the manufacturers recommendations before making a purchase.
If your mower has been stored unclean for a while, it is likely to have grass, oil and dirt stuck to it. With a little soap, water and elbow grease clean the surface with a soft cloth. This may not seem like much but a cleaner machine does run better.
Proper lubrication will not only improve the performance of the mower, but also ensure that your machine works better and lasts longer. Lubricate all moving parts and wheel bearings at the beginning of spring which is good enough to last all through the season.
Check The Belts
Noticeable cracks or dry-rot are indications that the belts need to be replaced with new ones. To check the condition of the belts tilt the lawn mower in an upright position for an inspection.
Adjusting The Height Of The Blades
Once you are done with your inspection and maintenance and the lawn mower is clean, it is time to adjust the height of the blades. Most landscape designers (and manufacturers) recommend a height of around an inch from the ground for blades. If the height of the blades is too low, they will weaken quickly as they tear through the grass. If, on the other hand, they are adjusted too high, they will simply do a poor job of mowing your lawn.
From a standpoint of doing it yourself, a general maintenance can be done at home within a few hours with very little effort and cost. And if this task is undertaken immediately after bringing the mower out from storage, it will help keep the mower running smoothly without any trouble.