The Star-Herald

Follow a few tips to prepare lawn mowers for the season

CARIBOU, Maine — With warmer weather on the horizon, the grass will soon grow higher and people will start preparing to mow their lawns. Before cutting the grass for the first time this season, here are a few tips homeowners can follow to ensure their lawn mower runs smoothly throughout the year.

According to a guide from Today’s Homeowner, checking the lawn mower’s spark plug is among the first steps that should be taken in ensuring a lawn mower is running properly. Dirty spark plugs can result in less than smooth operation or difficulties starting the engine, and could even waste fuel. 

Cleaning the mower’s underside will help keep the machine running smoothly. Before doing this, it is important to disconnect the spark plug and ensure that the gas tank is empty. The underside of the mower can be sprayed with a garden hose, or a brush can be used with water and soap to fully clean the area underneath the mower.

Before reattaching the spark plug, check if the blades are sharp. If they seem dull, they can be sharpened with the right equipment, or purchase some replacement blades at a local hardware store. 

A little lawn mower maintenance in early spring can go a long way to ensure that the machine will run smoothly and last longer.
(Chris Bouchard | Aroostook Republican & News)

To check the spark plug, first pull off the spark plug wire and remove the plug itself with a wrench. If any dirt or corrosion is visible, the plug can be cleaned with brake cleaner or WD-40 and a wire bush. Once the plug is clean and dry, reattach it to the lawnmower and put the wire back in place.

Checking the oil is also an important part of lawn mower maintenance. If the oil appears to be low or dirty, it’s likely a sign that it needs to be changed. Failing to change the mower’s oil can result in issues down the road with the engine. Make sure the spark plug is disconnected beforehand so the engine won’t start, and then drain the oil into an approved container.

Not all lawn mowers take the same type of oil, so check the owner’s manual before adding new oil.

The air filter may also need replacement, and failing to do so can also take a toll on the engine. Choose either disposable paper air filters, which can be thrown away and replaced, or foam air filters, which can be washed and reused. Make sure the spark plug is disconnected while replacing the filter.

Next, make sure the fuel in the tank is fresh. Old gasoline can break down and lead to performance issues such as an engine that sputters after starting, or that won’t start at all. If there is still old fuel leftover in the tank, remove it with a siphon pump, and store it in a safe container to dispose of later.

Taking care of a few simple maintenance procedures will allow your lawn mower to last longer and perform better throughout the season.

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