Tune-up Your Lawn Mower for Spring
It’s always a good idea to give your lawn mower a spring tune-up so it performs its best all season. Tuning up your lawn mower involves three separate aspects – the oil, air filter and spark plug. When you tune up your lawn mower, you enhance its efficiency, minimize the need for repairs, and extend its life. Here’s what you need to do to tune up your lawn mower.
Change the oil
If you aren’t sure which type of oil you need for your lawn mower, check the owner’s manual to find out. It’s easier to drain the oil if you warm up the lawn mower for a few minutes first. If you do this, be careful to only warm the oil a little bit to avoid getting burned by it.
Turn the engine off and remove the drain plug for the oil reservoir. Empty the oil into a leak-proof container, such as the Schwaben Oil Drain Pan. Replace the drain plug, refill with the recommended amount of oil and check the oil level using the dipstick.
Change the air filter
This is a relatively easy task, even if you’ve never changed the air filter on a lawn mower before. You might find the type of air filter you need for your lawn mower here. Simply loosen the cover screw to the air filter housing. Remove the existing filter and discard it.
Insert the new air filter for the lawn mower, making sure that the pleated folds are facing outward if you have a paper filter. If the air filter is made of foam, make sure that its lip protrudes a bit over the edge of the unit. Screw the cover on tightly. After you give your lawn mower a spring tune-up and put a clean air filter in it, it should burn less gas.
Change the spark plug
You’ll need a few tools when you give your lawn mower a spring tune-up, such as a socket/ratchet set. Two good choices are the Stanley 123 Piece Socket and Ratchet Set or the Craftsman 200 pc. Mechanics Tool Set with Molded Carry Case. First, you’ll need to take off the spark plug wire so that you can remove the old spark plug. Find a deep socket that fits (3/4 or 13/16 inch) or use a spark plug wrench, such as the Arnold Universal Spark Plug Wrench to remove the plug.
To put in the new spark plug, hand turn it at first. Once the threads catch, ratchet the spark plug until it stops turning. Secure it by turning it approximately a quarter turn more after it starts to resist. Don’t go any more than that or you can break it.
Once you’re finished with these tasks, it’s also a good idea to clean the underside of the mower deck and cutting blade. Any debris that’s stuck on the blade and undercarriage can lead to overheating and a shorter lifespan for your mower. If you really want your mower to rock your lawn, now’s the time to sharpen your blade while you’re at it.