It cannot be stressed enough that your lawn mower may be one of the most important pieces of equipment you have that affects the look and well-being of your turf. Sure, fertilizer, watering, and weed control is important, but how your grass is cut and the status of the machine you use to undertake that task is also equally important. Here are some tips to make sure your lawn mower is performing as well as it possibly can, and also that you know how to properly maintain the machine itself. First thing is first – make sure the lawn mower you have is not a cheaply put together machine. It does not have to be the most expensive mower out there, but you want to make sure you are not getting something that will have problems or might break often. Once you have chosen the right mower for your needs, get to know it well. Just like a car, you need to read and understand the owner’s manual so that if anything goes wrong, you can recognize the problem and know how to remedy it. At the beginning of every season (assuming you will not be mowing as much during the winter months), you will want to create a check list that includes checking the oil, spark plugs, and air filter. Again, the owner’s manual will be a great help in checking these areas so you know what to look for and what signs may be present letting you know there is something wrong. The oil should be a light color and should be free of any debris. If the oil is dark or contaminated, it should be drained and replaced. If the spark plug needs exchanged, this is an easy fix. New spark plugs are inexpensive and can be easily switched out without taking up a lot of your time. Lawn mower maintenance experts recommend replacing the spark plugs every 1 to 2 years. The air filter should be relatively clean. Just like the air filters in our cars and furnaces, a dirty air filter can lead to low performance. The filter should be replaced each year to ensure your machine is working at its best. There are some aspects of lawn mower maintenance that should be left to the professionals. Scheduling a tune up at the beginning of mowing season would be a good idea. They can check all the items listed above, but will also be able to make sure everything is in place and functioning properly by performing diagnostic tests. They will also be able to sharpen your mower blades to ensure a precise, clean cut. Dull mower blades are not good for the turf because they rip and tug at the blade instead of slicing it, causing unnecessary trauma to your lawn. It is not unheard of to sharpen your own mower blades, but it is recommended to leave this specific task to the professionals. It may seem like a no-brainer, but cleaning the undercarriage of your lawn mower is also an important part of your maintenance routine. It is imperative that you make sure you disconnect the spark plug before performing this task. You do not want the mower to suddenly and unexpectedly start up while you have your hands in there. Once you have disconnected the spark plugs, use a wire brush to clear any debris. Finally, at the end of mowing season, perform a quick check on everything listed above before putting your machine away. You should drain the gasoline, leaving the tank empty during the off season and use fresh gasoline in the spring.
February 6, 2018