Keeping a good lawn starts with a high performing lawn mower. Most homeowners associations and neighborhood associations require that lawns be kept at less than 3 inches tall, be free of weeds, and other unsightly lawn plants and décor. In many areas, people only use their lawn mowers for one third of the year. The rest of the year the lawn mower is kept in storage. Some people are unpleasantly surprised when they open their garden shed to find that their lawn mower is no longer working. Lawn mowers are expensive, and you may not be able to buy a brand new one right away. Instead of running into this issue on the first lawn mowing day of the year, follow the following tips to improve your lawn mower performance.
- Annual Maintenance: There are basic maintenance procedures that you must perform on your lawn mower annually. Much like other equipment with motors, a lawn mower needs an oil change, spark plugs, and a new air filter usually once per year (sometimes more if you live in an area where you mow your lawn all year around). Your lawn mower may also need lubrication. All these tasks are easy to perform at home.
- Sharpen the Blades: Dull lawn mower blades are the detriments of many yards. Blades that are not sharp can pull and rip the grass out rather than cutting it cleanly. Shredded up grass can yellow and make your yard look as though it is dying. Sharpening your blade at home is possible but there are tool and motor repair shops that will sharpen your lawn mower blade for just a small fee. Sharpening your blade at the beginning and half way through your lawn mowing season is the recommendation. Before sharpening the blade at home, you should remove the spark plug. Mark your blade with spray paint before taking it off for the first time so you can remember the correct way to install it. Many people put the blade back on upside down which causes the grass not to be cut at all.
- Don’t Wing It: Your owner’s manual has a lot of information on how to care for your lawn mower, including maintenance procedures. The lawn mower guide will also tell you what kind of oil you need to use, how often the oil should be changed, the type of motor that is inside the lawn mower and troubleshooting tips. If you no longer have the user manual for your lawn mower, you can call the manufacturer to get a replacement sent to you.
- Store Gas Properly: The type of gas you put in your lawn mower has a big impact on its performance. Gasoline is made partly from ethanol which is an organic compound that decomposes. Gas that is old and has started to break down will be gunky and wreak havoc on your lawn mower. This gunk is called fuel varnish and typical signs include your mower starting and stopping, not starting at all, or revving strangely. To extend the life of your fuel you can add fuel stabilizer and make sure that the gas cap is always on the can tightly. Gasoline should also not fill more than 95% of the gas container due to expansion. Make sure to keep your gas cans stored at least 50 feet away from sources of fire such as pilot lights or sparks from a furnace.
- Use the Right Oil: The lawn mower user manual will tell you what kind of oil to use and how often you should change it. Using the right type of oil for your lawn mower is essential to keeping your lawn mower running properly. Make sure to also pay attention to how much oil is in your machine. Too much oil can cause engine flooding and smoking. Not enough oil can cause the motor to lock up and not run anymore. Checking your oil every time you use your machine only takes about 30 seconds.
- Clean the Mower After Each Use: Leaving clumps of wet cut grass on your lawn mower blades and deck will lead to corrosion and can cause the blade to dull. You can use a screw driver to prod off the clumps of grass or hose the lawn mower down after use. Before washing the desk of your lawn mower, you should empty the gas tank and take out the spark plugs. Leave the lawnmower sitting in the sun until dry to prevent rust.
This the right care and maintenance a lawn mower can easily last up to ten years or more. When you purchase cheap lawn mowers that you can replace year after year, the long-term cost of your lawn mower will far exceed the amount you would spend taking care of your lawn mower.