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Lawn Mower Maintenance
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Lawn Mower Maintenance
There was a time when lawn work was looked on as strictly the guy’s job. In fact, it often took the strength of Hercules to pull the crank cord a minimum of 10-12 times just to start the darn machine!

Long gone are those days, though, as the lawn mower has evolved into a tool that any gender can operate with ease. You may think, however, that maintaining your mower is still a job best left for the man of the house. This, too, is simply not the case.

It’s very easy to take care of your mower; and, with some new innovations, yard work can actually be a fun chore. I’ll share with you some tips and tricks in keeping your yard picture-perfect and look at some of the great new mowers on the market to make life outside a lot easier.

1. Read the owner’s manual

"It tells you how the maker of your mower wants you to take care of it," says Chris Arvin, owner of highly rated Mow Better in Greenfield, Ind. "It’s in their best interest to keep you, the customer, happy with their product so when it finally wears out in 10 to 15 years, you’ll buy another."

2. Fresh Gas

Fresh Gas - Fresh gas (87 or higher octane rated) is critical to an engine's performance. To fill the mower's tank, use a clean funnel to draw gasoline from either a one- or two- gallon gas can. Plastic gas cans are a good choice because they won't rust. If you own a five-gallon gas tank, dispose of it properly; the problem with a five-gallon can is that it provides the user with more than a 30-day fuel supply. Gas that is older than 30 days may affect engine performance. Moisture buildup and octane loss can lead to gum deposits in the engine's fuel lines and carburetor, which can lead to poor engine performance.


3. Always have a clean air filter in place


The air filter has the important job of preventing dirt, dust and debris from entering the carburetor and engine. It should be cleaned or changed every 25 hours of engine operation or once per mowing season. Pleated, paper air filters must be replaced. Foam air filters can be cleaned with hot water and a small amount of detergent and then left to air dry before being saturated with new engine oil and reinstalled.

4. Change Oil

Even if you don’t think it needs it, do it! The oil should be changed at the beginning of every season. Over the course of the cutting season, dirt and other impurities will collect in the oil and those things will ruin an engine. Check with your mower’s owner’s manual for the proper procedure.

5. Drain the gasoline at the end of each mowing season

Lawn mower repair technicians say old gasoline is one of the main suspects when a mower won’t start. Arvin says you should run the remaining gas out of the mower or drain it at the end of each mowing season, and always use fresh gas in the spring.

6. Air Filter

If the mower's air filter is dirty, the engine may not run properly and may be damaged. Service the air filter after every 25 hours of operation or every season, whichever comes first. Remove the air filter cartridge and gently tap it on a flat surface. If the filter is very dirty, replace it with a new one.

7. Use a clean fuel filter

Ensure that a clean fuel filter is in place and replace it if necessary. We do not recommend cleaning the fuel filter since it is delicate and can be easily torn during the cleaning process.     

8. Replace or Clean Spark Plug

That little space at the end of the plug where the metal end bends at a 90 degree angle is called the gap. Many manufacturers are now packaging new plugs with the gap pre-set, so it’s as simple as using a spark plug wrench to remove the old plug and installing a new one. However, it’s still a good idea to double-check the gap with an inexpensive spark plug gap tool just in case. Many people like to change the plug every year so you’re starting every cutting season with a new spark plug. You can also clean the plug and reuse it if it’s still in good condition. Read How to Change a Lawn Mower Spark Plug to find out more.

9. Clean out the undercarriage

Grass can get caked in the undercarriage potentially clogging the mower’s discharge chute. Use a wire brush to scrape grass clippings and dirt from the undercarriage and spray the remaining debris away with a hose. As a safety precaution, always disconnect the spark plug before working around the undercarriage.

10. Blade Care

For best results, lawn mower blades must be kept sharp. Lawn mower blades can be sharpened with a file or on a grinder wheel. Never attempt to sharpen the blade while it is on the mower. Special care should be taken to keep the blade balanced. An unbalanced blade will leave an uneven cut on the lawn and can eventually cause damage to the lawn mower or the engine. To check a blade's balance, drive a nail into a beam or a wall leaving approximately one inch of the straight nail exposed. Place the center hold of the blade over the head of the nail. If the blade is balanced, it should remain in a horizontal position. If either end of the blade moves downward, sharpen the heavier end until the blade is balanced.

Business details
  • +1 (870) 449-8092
  • 10034 Spanish Isles Blvd. Suite C-5
The Xtreme Outdoor Power Equipment clutch line was designed, developed, and tested by Xtreme’s in-house engineering staff.