1. First things first, read the manufacture’s manual
Many people who think that their lawn mower is in need of a service are quick to jump onto Google and find out how to do it. All lawn mowers will come with a manufacturer’s manual that will help guide you through the maintenance process. All mowers require different levels of care, so don’t assume one service will fit all mowers, you may end up doing more damage than good. Read the manufacturer’s manual before attempting anything.
2. Remove the Spark Plugs
Spark plugs play a crucial role in all vehicle mechanics, they are responsible for igniting the fuel in the engine, they are what makes the lawn mower blades spin. Before undergoing any maintenance yourself, disconnect the spark plugs. You will likely be working on the lawn mower blades, so by disconnecting the spark plugs, you remove the risk of the mower accidentally starting. Once they have been disconnected, you can begin your work safely.
Be sure to clean the spark plugs before reconnecting.
3. Drain the petrol
Something that is commonly forgotten is the importance of draining your petrol. At the end of each gardening season, be sure to empty your petrol can. Petrol life has a lifespan of around 30 days, any longer and you risk it going stale and this can damage the engine over time. Leaving petrol in your mower over winter is not advised and starting your mower after a long cold winter will likely damage the engine.
4. Remove any trapped debris
It is not uncommon for shrubbery and other garden debris to get clogged in the blades and decking. It is worth removing any debris lodged inside before you start replacing the air filters, bolts and blades. Debris that is not removed can clog your mower and you may find it won’t start, especially if the debris has been lodged there for a while. Debris can also cause your mower to overheat, as it may be blocking airflow. Be sure to read the manufacture’s manual before tipping your mower on its side, as this may damage the mower (due to fuel or oil leaking into the engine).
The best time to remove debris is right after mowing, as the grass will still be moist and therefore easier to remove. Leaving grass and other debris to harden will only make it more difficult to dislodge.
5. Tighten bolts, wheels and anything loose
Servicing your mower is a good time to check for any loose or ageing parts that may damage or compromise your mowers performance over time. Ensure that all nuts and bolts are tight before a new gardening season begins, it’s just safe practice. Plus, if any parts are loose and come off during mowing, it can seriously damage your mower and you may even put your health and safety at risk.
Wheels in particular suffer the most, as they bear the brunt of the work. Ensure that all wheels are fixed and tightened accordingly. If your mower is older and is prone to wobbling, this isn’t a big problem. As long as everything is tightened and fixed in place, you shouldn’t experience any major performance problems.
6. Cleaning the air filters (and replace them if necessary)
Lawn mower filters play a very important job by filtering out any debris and dust. If any of this was to come into contact with the engine, it could present problems affecting performance. We advise that you change the filter once every three or four months to ensure you mower is running smoothly. If you do need to replace your air filters, make sure you’re replacing them with the correct models. Although air filters can look similar, some manufactures will require the exact model type to be replaced.
When removing your air filters, be sure to clean out the housing.
7. Sharpening and replacing the blades
Lawn mower blades will always need replacing at some point. There are currently no blades that won’t succumb to wear and tear over time, so replacing them remains very important. Using rusty or blunt blades will cut grass unevenly, leaving your lawn looking rough and incomplete. You may find that your blades simply need sharpening and replacements are not required. However, if you do find that your blades need replacing, refer to your manufacturer’s guide to ensure you buy the correct model.
8. Check to see if the starter chord is functional
This part of the mower commonly sees the most use. Repeated tugging of the starter cord will eventually weaken it, causing them to fray and lose structural integrity. In most cases, a replacement will be required, as you don’t want to risk a snap.
Fortunately, this is not a difficult or time-consuming task, as you will only need to remove the housing, then the old cord inside the pulley system with a new cord. Try not to turn the pulley while you are installing the new cord. Once it has been applied, wrap it around the pulley a couple times (without spinning the pulley). You can then give it a test to see how it performs.
9. Change the oil
This is where the manufacturer’s guide is a necessity. You will need to refer to it to see where the plugs are. Use a bucket to catch any draining oil before you remove the plug (and correctly dispose of the oil, checking with the local council will ensure safe disposal). Do not pour it down the drain, this is pollution and something you really want to avoid.
Once the old oil has been responsibly removed, you will want to replace it with quality oil. Use a funnel to accurately pour the new oil in. Check the oil level is correct using a dipstick.
10. Use new fuel before restarting your lawn mower
Putting fresh petrol into your lawn mower after a service is essential. Do not use old fuel, as it could comprise performance levels and even damage the engine.