Since they have many similar parts, basic maintenance for your lawn mower—whether it’s a push or riding mower—is not all that different from basic maintenance for your car. To help your grass cutter run smoothly all season, add these tasks to your mower maintenance routine.
Change Your Lawn Mower Oil
Just like your car, your lawn mower can’t run without motor oil. If you don’t change the oil often enough, it can affect your mower’s performance, shorten the engine’s lifespan, and potentially lead to expensive repairs.
If you have a push mower, change the oil once a year or every 50 hours, whichever comes first. For riding mowers, change the oil once a year or every 100 hours, whichever comes first.
Follow these steps to change the oil in your lawn mower:
- Disconnect the spark plug and make sure the mower is off.
- Remove the drain plug underneath the mower and let the old oil drain out into an oil-safe container. If your mower doesn’t have a drain plug, remove the old oil using an extraction kit.
- Recycle the old oil properly.
- Add fresh oil up to the dipstick fill line and close the oil compartment.
Your owner’s manual will have further instructions on changing the oil in your mower.
Treat Your Fuel
To keep the gas in your mower fresh, add a fuel stabilizer. This will help the fuel last longer and protect the engine from damage. Even if you used a stabilizer before storing your mower for the winter, always replace the gas at the beginning of the mowing season.
Clean the Filters
If they collect too much dirt and debris, air filters can clog your lawn mower’s engine. First, you’ll need to confirm whether your mower has a paper or foam air filter. Paper filters are disposable and need to be replaced with fresh ones. Foam filters can be cleaned with warm, soapy water and reused. Before putting a foam filter back in, let it air dry completely and gently coat it with two tablespoons of mower oil.
Your owner’s manual will have instructions on how to remove and replace/reinstall filters. You should replace or clean your filters every year, but if you use your mower a lot, check on the filters multiple times per season to make sure they don’t get clogged up.
Change the Spark Plug
Replacing the spark plug in your lawn mower shouldn’t take you more than a couple minutes. Start by disconnecting the spark plug wire and then remove the spark plug with a wrench or pliers. Screw the new plug in, reconnect the spark plug wire, and you’re done! Do this at the beginning of every mowing season. Refer to your owner’s manual to find the right spark plug replacement.
Sharpen or Replace the Blade
If your lawn mower’s blade is dull, it won’t give you an even cut. Sharpen the blade at least twice per season or after 25 hours of use. Remove the spark plug and the blade and sharpen it with a file or grindstone. If you have access to a bench grinder, you can use that too. If the blade is quite damaged, you may need a replacement blade.
Other Lawn Mower Maintenance Tips
To help prevent the need for any serious repairs, give your mower a light clean after every use. At least twice a year, clean your mower thoroughly as well. Do this by wiping away grass and debris underneath and on the sides of the mower. Use a hose to loosen stubborn dirt and dried grass. Using warm, soapy water, scrub the deck of the mower with a soft brush and rinse it with a hose. Always let the mower dry completely before using it again.
If you have any questions about lawn mower maintenance, look through your owner’s manual or stop by one of our .