Spring Checklist: Preparing Your Lawn Mower for the Growing Season
Now that the warmer weather is finally back, it's time for yard work. Before you mow your lawn for the first time this season, it's important to make sure your lawn mower is up to the task. The start of every Spring is the perfect time to check your mower and perform any routine maintenance that may be needed. So how do you know what to check on your lawn mower to make sure it's ready for the cutting season? We've compiled this handy Spring checklist of easy ways to ensure your lawn mower is ready for use.
The first thing you should always do when preparing your mower for Spring is to turn it gently over on its side and check the mowing blades. If they seem dull, use a handheld or attached sharpener to carefully sharpen the blades. Sharpening should be done every couple of months during the cutting season, possibly more often if you have a large yard or mow more than once a week. If your mower's blades are heavily knicked or dented, it's time to replace them. To replace your mower's blades, check the instructions included in your owner's manual.
Check Positioning of Important Components
While you have your mower turned on its side, check to make sure the air filter is positioned up and the oil dipstick is down. This will ensure that no oil gets into the air filter area which could cause permanent damage. Check for any bent to damaged connectors or covers and replace if necessary.
Check Fuel Level
Turn your mower back over and check to see if there is still fuel in the tank. You should never operate your mower with gas that's more than 30 days old, so empty the tank if needed. Check your gas can and dispose of old gas before purchasing more. Consider adding a fuel treatment solution for maximum performance.
The start of a mowing season is the perfect time to change the oil on your lawn mower. Your owner's manual should have detailed instructions for doing so, but if you feel uncomfortable doing it yourself, take it to a professional.
If your mower has a paper air filter, replace it with a new one. Paper air filters are extremely easy to change and should be replaced at least once a season. Foam filters can be cleaned or replaced, depending on their condition. If your foam air filter has noticeable yellow or brown stains that don't fade after washing, it's time to replace.
Thoroughly Clean Mower
Wearing protective gloves, remove all grass clippings, dirt and debris from the bottom of your lawn mower. Use your garden hose on a gentle setting to rinse off the bottom carriage. Using a damp cloth or sponge, gently scrub the area around the blades to remove any built-up dirt that wasn't rinsed off with water and then rinse again with the hose. Be sure to allow your mower to dry completely before using.
See the video below by Toro on How to CLean a Lawn Mower Deck Properly:[embed]https://youtu.be/4t1yQN36rpM[/embed]
Locate your mower's spark plugs and check all leads and connections for corrosion or damage. Clean the area if necessary. Although it is fairly easy to replace the spark plugs yourself, improper installation can cause damage to your mower so unless you have some experience changing them, it's best to leave that to a professional.
Give the recoil system a few slow pulls to make sure it's working correctly. If you have any resistance, check to make sure everything is properly aligned. A frayed rope on your recoil will have to be replaced.
Charge Electric Starter
If you have an electric starter on your lawn mower, make sure it's fully charged before using. It's a good idea to charge it a full 24 hours before using the first time in a season.
Before starting your mower, do a careful check of all screws, bolts, and fasteners on your lawn mower, including the handle. Tighten any screws that seem loose or replace if they seem damaged or corroded. Never operate a lawn mower with missing screws or bolts.
Review Your Owner's Manual
Once you've completed all of the above tasks, review your lawn mower's owner's manual before starting. There may be components to your particular make and model of lawn mower that wasn't covered in this list. Your mower should have a checklist of its own you can review to be sure it is safe to use. If you have any doubt that your mower is in top shape, take it to a repair shop before use.
Taking care of your mower and going through this easy checklist before every mowing season will ensure it's working properly and efficiently, so you can have a perfectly manicured lawn all season long.