PRODUCTION

Getting Your Lawn Mower Ready for Spring


January 10, 2024

A man in a red shirt and blue shorts mowing his lawn in the spring.

After the long winter months, spring’s arrival inspires many homeowners to turn their attention to working on their lawns. Just like any other mechanical tool, your lawn mower requires adequate preparation to function at its best and serve you for many springs to come.

7 steps to prep your lawn mower for spring

Clean from top to bottom

One of the most important tasks in preparing your mower for spring is giving it a good clean.

  • Clean off the mower deck: This houses the blade and the drive system, and can become clogged with grass clippings and other debris. This not only affects the performance of the mower but can also lead to rusting over time.
  • Clean out the undercarriage: A clogged undercarriage can affect the discharge of grass clippings and the overall cutting quality. It can get clogged with grass clippings, especially if you mow when the grass is wet.

You can use a hose and a putty knife to scrape off any dried-on grass clippings.

Just make sure to disconnect the spark plug to ensure the mower can’t start accidentally.

Zep, Fast 505 Cleaner & Degreaser, 32 oz

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Inspect the blades

Inspect the blade for bends, dents, or dullness.

  • A bent or dented blade can cause your mower to vibrate excessively or cut unevenly, turning your well-manicured lawn into a rough and patchy surface.
  • Dull blades tear the grass instead of making a clean cut and put unnecessary strain on the mower’s engine. This can shorten the lifespan of your lawn mower and result in costly repairs or replacements.

Sharpening your mower’s blade can often restore its cutting prowess, but this isn’t a limitless solution.

If a blade has been sharpened twice already or shows significant signs of wear, it’s time to replace it.

ARNOLD 490-850-0006/BSK1 Blade Balancer and Sharpener Kit, For Mower and Tractor Blades

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Arnold 3-in-1 Lawn Mower Blade, Universal, 21 in.

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ARNOLD 490-100-0100 Lawn Mower Blade, 3/8, 7/16, 5/8 in Center Hole

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Examine the spark plug

Over time, the spark plug can become dirty or corroded. This can lead to difficulties in starting your lawn mower, an uneven running engine, or even increased fuel consumption.

Look for any signs of wear or damage such as:

  • Cracks
  • Burns
  • Heavy deposits

If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to replace the spark plug.

Even if the lawn mower spark plug appears to be in good condition, consider replacing it each spring for optimal performance.

Change the oil and check the filter

It’s recommended to change the oil and check the oil filter at least once per mowing season.

Here are the steps to take to change the oil:

  1. First, make sure the lawn mower’s engine is warm. This helps the oil drain more easily.
  2. Locate the drain plug. It’s usually found beneath the mower deck.
  3. Place a suitable container underneath the drain plug.
  4. Use a socket wrench to carefully remove the plug.
  5. Allow the old oil to flow out into the container.
  6. Once the oil has fully drained, replace the drain plug securely.
  7. Refill your lawn mower with fresh oil. Be sure to use the type of oil recommended by your mower’s manufacturer.
  8. Fill the oil tank to the level indicated on the dipstick. Take care not to overfill since this can cause the engine to smoke or even damage the seals.

Next, check the oil filter. If it’s dirty or clogged, it won’t effectively remove impurities from the oil and will lead to engine wear.

To check the filter:

  • Remove it from the mower and hold it up to a light source. If you can’t see light passing through it, it’s time to replace it.

Always replace the oil filter with one that matches your mower’s manufacturer’s specifications.

Clear out the fuel system

If you’ve left fuel sitting in the tank over the winter months, it’s time to drain it to prep it for spring.

Old fuel can degrade, leading to a build-up of gummy deposits that will clog your mower’s carburetor and hinder its performance.

Take these steps to clean out your lawn mower’s fuel system:

  • Remove any old fuel from the tank safely using a hand pump or siphon.

GPI Fuel Pump, 12 Volt, 8 GPM

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  • Fill up the tank with fresh fuel. Fresh fuel will ensure your mower starts easily and runs efficiently.

Premix of 50:1 Small Engine Fuel, 1 gal.

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VP Racing, Pre-Mixed 50:1 Small Engine Fuel Oil, 32 oz

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VP Racing Small Engine Fuel, Premix 40:1, 2-4 Cycle, 1-Gallon

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  • Check the fuel cap. Use a soft brush to clean around the cap and the vent hole if you notice any debris or dirt. If the cap looks worn out or damaged, consider replacing it.
  • Change the fuel filter as recommended by your mower’s manufacturer. A dirty or clogged fuel filter will restrict fuel flow.

ARNOLD GL-024 Low Permeation Fuel Line, Black, For Walk Behind Mowers and Lawn Tractors

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Gas Can, Gas & Oil Mix, 1-Gallon

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Apply lubrication to all moving parts

Lubrication reduces friction between moving parts, preventing wear and tear, and extending the lifespan of your lawn mower.

Start by identifying the moving parts of your mower that need lubrication. This typically includes:

  • Wheels
  • Bearings
  • Levers
  • Cables

Arnold Lawn Mower Wheel, Steel, Universal Replacement, 10 in.

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Use a high-quality lubricant suitable for outdoor power equipment. Apply it sparingly, making sure to cover all the necessary areas but avoiding excess that could attract dirt and debris.

In addition to lubrication, inspect your mower for bare metal surfaces that could be prone to rusting. This might include the mower deck, blades, and other exposed metal parts.

To apply an anti-rust treatment:

  • Clean the surfaces thoroughly to remove any existing rust or debris. You can use a wire brush for this task.
  • Apply an anti-rust treatment following the manufacturer’s instructions once the surfaces are clean and dry. This usually involves spraying or brushing the treatment onto the metal surfaces.
  • Let it dry completely before using the mower again.

Clean or replace the air filter

Over time, the air filter becomes clogged with debris, which can restrict the flow of air into the engine. This can lead to decreased performance and increased fuel consumption.

It’s important to regularly check and clean or replace your air filter to prevent this from happening.

To check the air filter:

  • Locate it on your mower. It’s generally housed in a small box-like compartment.
  • Remove the air filter and inspect it carefully.

If it’s lightly soiled, you might be able to clean it by gently tapping it on a hard surface to dislodge loose debris. In some cases, you may also be able to wash it with warm water and a mild detergent. Allow it to dry thoroughly before reinstalling it.

If the air filter is very dirty or damaged, it’s best to replace it.

Arnold Briggs & Stratton Mower Air Filter

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Arnold Lawn-Boy "F" Series Air Filter

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And even if it’s not particularly dirty, it’s a good practice to replace the air filter at the beginning of each spring mowing season. When replacing the air filter, make sure to use one that matches your mower’s specifications.

Don’t forget to take safety precautions!

When maintaining your lawn mower, safety should always be your top priority. Remember, you’re working with a machine that has sharp blades and various moving parts.

Here are a few tips to safely prep your lawn mower for spring:

  • Disconnect the spark plug: The spark plug is responsible for igniting the fuel in your mower’s engine. If it’s connected, there’s a risk that the engine could accidentally start, leading to potential injury.
  • Wear protective gear: Gloves and safety glasses can protect your hands and eyes from dirt, oil, or any small parts that might dislodge during the process.
  • Always refer to your lawn mower’s owner’s manual for specific safety instructions related to your particular model. The manual can provide valuable insights into safely maintaining your mower.

By following these safety precautions, you can ensure that your lawnmower maintenance is not only effective but also safe.

By following these prep steps, your lawn mower will be ready for the spring mowing season.

Remember, a little effort invested in regular maintenance can spare you costly repairs down the line. So, roll up those sleeves, put on your protective gear, and give your trusty lawn mower the care it deserves.

Happy mowing!

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