We Aussies are mighty proud of our perfectly manicured yards. Nothing beats the profound satisfaction of seeing your own freshly-cut lawn after a hard day’s lawn mowing — you sipping your cold drink, taking in the glorious scent of cut grass. In fact, buying your first lawn mower feels almost like a rite of passage. You’ve got your own lawn mower, and you’ve cut the first grass, now you’ve got to make sure it stays in superb condition.
Lawn mower maintenance may seem a daunting task, but I’m here to help lay down the essentials. Skipping on the fundamentals of maintenance will mean a short life for your mower. Here are a few tips to keep your lawn mower in great shape.
Reading is fundamental
I cannot stress this enough: You must read the manual, and all the pamphlets and brochures that came with your lawn mower. The manual should contain everything you need to know about your mower: the specifications, recommended usage, troubleshooting guides, and safety and maintenance tips that could be specific to your model. You’ve done half the job by just reading the owner’s manual.
Just like cars, lawn mowers need regular oil changes. Keep an eye on the oil level in your mower from time to time, and check if the oil has turned dark or if there’s anything that shouldn’t be inside like floating junk. Change the oil after 50 hours of use, or at least once a year, whichever comes first. Again, check the manual to make sure you use the type of oil recommended by the manufacturer for your specific model.
All hands on deck
With regular use, your lawn mower’s deck can become congested with grass bits and debris that can prevent proper mower performance and even damage it in the long run. All that gunk stuck in the undercarriage can even cause plant diseases to be spread all over your yard.
When not in use, spray the lawn mower’s belly with water to remove all the grass, dirt and debris stuck to it.
Breathing, not just for people
All that grass and debris flying around can clog the mower’s air filter. A clogged air filter will put more burden on the engine, hinder its proper function, and increase petrol consumption. Change the filter at least once a year.
Keeping it sharp
Dull blades don’t cut grass as well as a sharp one. Best case scenario is an ugly lawn, worst case scenario is a broken down hunk of machine. Regularly inspect the blade’s sharpness to ensure optimal cutting performance. Many repair shops and hardware stores offer blade sharpening services for a small fee. If the blade has reached its end of life, consult the manual for the type of blade for replacement.
Keep the sparks from flying
A well-functioning spark plug is essential in ensuring your lawn mower runs properly. Like the air filter, it is an important part of the lawn mower, but it also so easy and cheap to replace. A shoddy spark plug will lead to a lot of difficulties, including difficulty starting, increased fuel usage, and a choppier performance. Depending on usage, replace the spark plug along with the air filter at least once a year.
Following these simple steps will go a long way and keeping your mower running for years to come. You don’t have to go to a mechanic or repairman every time there’s something wrong with your mower. Reserve the professionals for big problems and save the small stuff for you.