Today’s lawn mowers are expensive machines and you don’t want to have to retire one before it is time. The other side of that coin is that it puts another lawn mower in a landfill somewhere along with thousands of others and adds to our growing trash problem.
It is far better and more economical to keep your lawn mower in great condition and with these simple tips, yours will last for years longer than it should.
- Change Your Oil When The Engine Manufacturer Says To
The first engine oil change is the most critical and most manufacturers say to do it after 5 hours of operation. If you mow for an hour, then after the fifth time you mow. After that it is normally done at 25 hours for push and self-propelled mowers and 50-100 hours for larger mowers with an oil filter such as a riding lawn mower.
Use the proper grade of oil when the engine is brand new and then if you want to switch to synthetic oil after the first oil change, you are fine to do so.
- Change Your Air, Fuel, Hydrostatic Transmission and Oil Filters
These filters do a very good job of keeping contaminants out of the air, fuel and oil. They must be changed periodically to ensure that those contaminants do not get inside your engine and cause damage.
Dirt can enter the intake through a clogged air filter or one that has holes in it or is improperly installed. Fuel filters can become clogged with debris that is in the gas tank such as rust on older machines and plastic or rubber particles from newer fuel tanks. Oil filters can become clogged with metal shavings and sludge that normally occurs in an engine.
Change them out on a schedule and be sure to check the air filter often and if it needs to be replaced, change it.
- Grease the Chassis
The chassis includes the steering arms, wheels, suspension components, deck lift arms and deck pulleys. If there is a grease fitting on the mower, it is meant to be greased. Some components such as wheels need to be removed to grease the axles. Clean up any grease that squeezed out of components to keep it from attracting dirt and grass clippings.
- Keep the Lawn Mower Clean
When dirt gets on the engine, it is like an insulating blanket. It keeps the heat in and makes the engine run hotter. The same thing for the hydrostatic transmission if your lawn mower has one. Use compressed air to clean out the engine cooling fins and blower shroud. Also be sure that the sides of the block are kept clean. Blow the grass off of the hydrostatic transmission as well.
After each mowing, blow the grass off of the deck with a leaf blower or other suitable method. Grass accumulating in this area will cause the deck to rust and the parts that move on the deck such as the idler pulleys to stick. Put some dry lubricant on those linkages that move to keep them working correctly. A dry spray silicone works good.
Scrape the bottom of the deck to keep the wet grass off of it as well. This is where the rust really gets started and before long can penetrate the deck.
- Tune-up The Lawn Mower Every Year
Many people skip this step. They think that if it is running alright, they will not need one. This is when those critical filters are normally changed as well as the spark plugs. The blades are sharpened and the overall machine is inspected. You want to look for cracked or worn out deck and drive belts, loose steering components, missing nuts and bolts, items that do not work, the battery charging system is working and if it has cooling hoses, check those for cracks and the condition of the coolant. Also check to see if the deck is level and that the pulleys are not binding or wearing out in the case of plastic drive pulleys.
With those easy to check things, you can keep your lawn mower running strong for longer and have much less downtime for years to come.