Choosing a new lawnmower can be an important decision, and once you’ve decided which model to buy, you’ll want it to last as long as possible. The key to ensuring your mower gives you many years of use is servicing it regularly to keep it in the best possible condition. Here are our top tips for lawnmower maintenance that will ensure your machine will be with you for many years to come.
Note that gas-powered mowers need more care than other types – but many of these tips are also relevant to other kinds of mower such as electric cordless lawn mowers or mains powered models.
Here’s a video showing many of the steps we’ll be talking about.
Annual Lawn Mower service
One of the best things you can do to keep your mower working well is to develop a regular maintenance schedule. Some things need to be done several times throughout the season while others only need to be done once a year.
Early spring before the mowing season begins is the best time to give your machine its annual service. Here are the jobs you need to do.
1. Sharpen the blades
Ensuring your blades are sharp is one of the most important things you can do to keep your mower running efficiently while also helping your grass grow strong.
If you mow the lawn with blunt blades, it will tear the grass rather than cutting it cleanly, damaging the plants and leaving them weakened and more vulnerable to disease.
For most regular-sized yards, sharpening the blades once or twice a year is enough – at the very least, you should make sure they are sharp and ready to use at the start of each spring.
If blades are bent, you can either try to hammer them back into shape or, if they are beyond repair, replace them with a new set.
Always remember to remove the sparkplug, unplug the mower from the outlet or remove the battery before working on the underneath section to avoid any accidents.
2. Replace the spark plug
Replacing spark plugs once a year in the spring is inexpensive and will help ensure your mower remains in optimum condition. This is another task that can be added to your annual springtime service checklist.
3. Check the oil
Before the mowing season starts, make sure your machine has oil in the engine. Use the dipstick to check the level and top it up as necessary.
4. Check the fuel
At the end of the last mowing season, you should have removed any leftover fuel from the engine. Gasoline doesn’t age well, and if it has been sitting in your mower all winter, it will have gone bad.
If you forgot to remove it last year, remove it now and top it up with fresh fuel.
5. Check the air filter
Check that the air filter is clean and free of debris. If it is not too clogged, you may be able to clean it – but if it is very dirty, it might be time to consider replacing it. This is not expensive, and systematically replacing the air filter once a year is never a bad idea.
6. Check the tires
If you have a riding lawn mower, you should check that the tires are fully inflated. This will help your machine run more efficiently when you use it. The same is also true of other types of mower with inflatable tires.
Throughout the mowing season
Once you have completed your mower’s spring service, you are ready for the mowing season that lies ahead. However, once you start cutting your grass, there are still some basic maintenance tasks that you need to remember. Here are the most important.
7. Basic cleaning
After each time you use your mower, you should ensure it is clean and free of debris before you put it back into your garage or shed.
There isn’t much to this – it’s just a simple case of checking that no clumps of grass or other debris have become stuck underneath in the mower, preventing the blades from turning correctly.
Unless you have a riding mower, all you need to do is turn the mower on its side and check underneath.
This is also a good opportunity to take a quick look at the blades to make sure they are not damaged.
Again, in the interests of safety, remove the spark plug or battery or ensure the mower is not plugged in, depending on which type you have.
8. Changing the oil
If you have a gas-powered mower, it is extremely important to keep an eye on the oil. If it gets too low and you continue to use your mower, you can seriously damage the engine.
The best way to remember to check the oil is to develop the habit of doing it every time you add fuel. If you make this part of the ritual, you will never forget.
9. Checking the blades
Depending on how much you use your mower, you might need to check the blades about halfway through the mowing season to see if they need sharpening. If your mower only sees light use, you can probably skip this step.
At the end of the season
When you reach the end of the season, you need to prepare your mower for storage. Here’s what to do.
10. Remove fuel
If you have a gas mower, you should remember to remove any fuel left in the tank before you put it into storage for the winter. Old fuel will go bad and may even corrode the innards of your mower. Take it out and then add new fuel at the start of the following year.
11. Remove the battery
If you have a battery-powered mower, you shouldn’t leave the battery in all winter. Remove it and remember to charge it up a few times over the winter to keep it in optimum condition – if you leave it without charge for six months, it will not perform as well the following year.
12. Final clean
The last thing to do before putting your mower into your shed or garage for the winter is to give it a thorough clean. Make sure you remove any grass that is stuck underneath and generally ensure it is cleaned up and ready to go into storage.
As always, take precautions to ensure the blades can’t start unexpectedly while you are working underneath any mower.
Take care of your mower and it will last a long time
If you take care of your mower properly, it is not unreasonable to expect it to last for at least ten years or more. However, if you don’t take the time to carry out proper maintenance, it won’t last nearly this long. If you follow our tips, you can look forward to using the same mower for many years to come.