Lawnmowers are valuable tools to have on hand, but they require some maintenance. Fortunately, this is not too difficult and there are some easy safety checks you can perform yourself. This blog post will walk through the basics of lawn mower maintenance so you know what to do when it comes time for your next tune-up or repair.
Table of Contents
Lawn Mower Maintenance Checklist & Caring
Are You Properly Caring for Your Lawn Mower?
How much thought do you put into your lawnmower? Like most people, you get it out of the garage, fill it with gas, cut the grass, and put it back. I hate to break it to you, but lawnmowers are delicate pieces of equipment—they need more care than that. So here are some critical Mower Maintenance Musts:
Rinse the Blade
Some lawn mowers have a hose attachment right on them so you can hook a hose up and rinse off the blades. The blades need to be rinsed every time you use the lawnmower—or every other time if you don’t have enough time (or are just too lazy). If you cut the grass while it is a little bit damp, you should be especially vigilant about rinsing the blades because the wet grass will build up and cover the blades. Damp grass will also promote rust.
Important: After rinsing the blade, flip the mower over and let it sun dry or dry the blades by hand. The edges will rust if you put the mower back in the garage or shed with a wet underside.
Lawnmowers have engines just like cars—albeit lawn mower engines are much smaller. They still need care, though. First, monitor the state of your lawn mower’s air filter and change it out when necessary. Also, pay attention to the oil—you must keep the oil full and change it out periodically—refer to your owner’s manual to find out when. Speaking of owner’s manuals, don’t just throw them away. As annoying as reading instructions can be, make sure to follow the care instructions for your lawnmower. Also, keep the blade sharp and change the spark plug out periodically.
Turn To the Professionals
This piece of advice might challenge your pride, so proceed with caution. Sometimes we have to admit we don’t know everything there is to know about our tools and machines. It’s OK to take a lawnmower to a professional small engine shop if you have a problem with the machine. It’s even OK to take it in just for a tune-up. On the other hand, admitting you don’t know everything will keep you from having to tell your wife that you need to purchase a new lawnmower. Which would you rather have to face?
How to Ruin Your Lawn Mower in the Winter
Who cares about the lawnmower in the winter, right? You don’t have to mow the lawn. The lawnmower rules the summertime, but while there is snow on the ground, it’s the snowblower that reigns supreme. Here are some foolproof lawn care and maintenance tips to let your lawn mower go:
Way to Ruin Your Mower
The easiest and fastest way to ruin your lawnmower in the winter is by leaving it out in the open. Let the snowfall and the ice freeze. Let the cold wind blow through the handle and over the body of the mower. Let the moisture rust the metal body and the blades. Let the ice creep into the engine through the ventilation holes and wreak havoc you won’t have to deal with until springtime.
No Pre-Winter Care
More ways to ruin your lawn mower include not performing any pre-winter maintenance. Don’t drain the gasoline from your lawnmower. Don’t add a fuel stabilizer either. If you let gasoline sit for more than three months (in any container, not just an engine), the ethanol will break down, allowing water into the gas. When there is too much water, the gas won’t be able to combust. If you want your lawnmower to have problems in the springtime, don’t drain the gas or add a fuel stabilizer of any kind.
Every lawn mower needs periodic tune-ups dealing with spark plugs, fuel, oil, filters, and grease. However, if you want to ruin your lawnmower, don’t perform the tune-up right before storing the machine for winter.
5 Things a Lawn Mower Should Not Run Over
They made lawnmowers to cut lawns. Big surprise there, right? Then why do people insist their mowers can run over anything like a robot of destruction from some action-superhero-transformers movie? Of course, the “lawn” includes both grass and weeds, but here are some things that you should pick up before you mow the lawn: Here goes some other Lawn Care and maintenance tips. If you own a self-propelled lawn mower or riding mower, you have a chance of doing it.
Mowing wet grass is not wise for a few reasons. First of all, wet grass does not cut; it tears. Wet grass also sticks to itself more, so when the mower runs over it, the grass will lay flat instead of standing up to be cut. Once the lawn dries and the grass stands up again, there will be sections of uncut grass. Secondly, cutting wet grass dulls the lawnmower blades. Since damp grass sticks to itself and sticks to the blades, you will get a thick buildup of grass on your blades.
Pine Cones, Twigs, Branches
I am usually guilty of this one. Sometimes I get too lazy to reach down and move little twigs or pine cones, so I mow right over them. Unfortunately, that can cause damage to the lawnmower blades. I find it usually helps to do a once-over of the lawn before I start to mow; I just gather up all the pine cones and twigs and whatever else I find and get it out of the way of the mower. If mowers could talk, I’m sure mine would thank me.
My kids leave their toys all over the lawn. I always make them clean up the toys before mowing, but they almost always miss a few. When I do a once-over of the lawn looking for pine cones, twigs, and branches, I also pick up toys and get them out of the way. My kids can talk, but they don’t thank me…
Rocks are awful news for lawnmowers. They can chip blades, or the blades can launch them at your shins or even your head (or your wife’s favorite kitchen window). So be sure to clear any rocks—even the small ones—before you start the lawnmower.
Pretty sure this one goes without saying. Make sure your pets and children are kept at a safe distance from your lawnmower and always be alert while mowing the lawn.
Using the Lawn Mower
Hopefully, you aren’t already feeling overwhelmed at the amount of effort and care you should be putting into your lawn mower maintenance because there’s one more thing worth mentioning. When you are using the machine, you have to be careful what you run over. Keep the lawn mower blade’s diet strict—only grass and the weeds that grow in the grass. Dead leaves are OK to run over, especially if you have a bag on the mower (Tip: mowing is an excellent alternative to raking!).
Now that you know what to do to keep your lawn care routine on track, make sure you always remember the following tips. Keep a sharp blade and clean air filter installed for best performance; check oil levels regularly (every time before mowing); change spark plug every year or as needed, replace belts yearly; and finally, if possible use fuel stabilizer in winter months. If we missed any other helpful maintenance tasks please comment below and share with us!