Proper Use and Care of Your Lawn Mower
Mow and maintain like a pro
Lawn mowers are arguably the most important tool that anyone can have for the outside of their home. And as such, it's important that your lawn mower gets the proper and regular maintenance it deserves, before it becomes a pile of junk metal.
However, there are quite a few key things to know about your lawn mower to make sure it stays in tip-top shape! And just for your ease of consumption, we've compiled this into an easy-to-read list for the next time you need to cut some grass!
Lawn Mower Maintenance 101
Sometimes, the ins and outs of everything lawn mowers isn't as clear cut as it could be, which is why we're here! First, let's break down some basic, yet important, "Do's and Don'ts" when it comes to your favorite piece of outdoor equipment!
Clean Your Lawn Mower
As unnecessary as it seems, consider how you would feel after a long day of work. You'd likely want to take a nice shower to clean off, feel fresh, and slip into something more comfy. Or in this case, your lawn mower becomes free of grass clumps that can rust and corrode its internal components and result in poor cutting and performance. This can be done after each use, or once a month - but make sure it gets done!
Replace Your Lawn Mower's Air Filter
The engine of any tool, such as a lawn mower, relies heavily on the air filter to make sure no contaminants ruin its performance. So, every few months or as needed, find your lawn mower's air filter and check it for any clogs. Depending on your mower, you may have a paper or foam air filter, so you may be able to just clean it, or it may require different treatments. You can find your lawn mower's air filter in our wide range of lawn mower parts!
Don't Assume Your Lawn Mower's Fuel Type
The type of gas a lawn mower uses can completely change how well it performs, so it's extremely important to read your user's manual so you know the correct fuel type that it takes. Lawn mowers will take any fuel with a minimum octane level of 87, which is also commonly used in most cars and other motor vehicles. 87 means the amount of filler, or non-gasoline related materials, that are used within the gas. 91 is normally the highest octane level of gasoline and contains less filler materials than gas with an octane level of 87.
Don't Forget to Clear Rocks Before Mowing
Rocks, just like roses, are beautiful on their own. But just like how roses have thorns, lawn mowers have rocks - except much worse. Rocks can completely decommission your lawn mower, and we wish we were kidding when we said that. Oh, and your lawn mower can hit them towards you (not kidding!). So before you plan on mowing next, remove any rocks or other objects in your lawn!
Change Your Lawn Mower's Oil Regularly
Just like an air filter, oil has its own part to play in your lawn mower engine's well-being. While it doesn't need to be changed after each use or every month, it certainly helps to not only inspect it if your lawn mower has a dip-stick, but generally follow the rule of thumb and change it after every 48 hours of use (if your mowing session takes an hour, 48 sessions), or every year. An easy way of looking at it is to change it every time it becomes warm enough to mow!
How to Maintain A Gas Lawn Mower
What happens if you hit a rock with your lawn mower blade, and now it's warped? What do you do if your lawn mower won't start, and you find out its spark plug is toast? Well, not only do we have the OEM parts you'd need, we also have a couple of simple guides for these commonly replaced parts!
How to Replace a Lawn Mower Blade
The essential lawn mower part; the blade. Now, while sharpening it every so often can be the simple solution for your mower, it may be dulled or severely damaged, and will still need to be removed. And here's how you can do that:
- Disconnect your lawn mower from any sources of power, whether that's a battery from an electric mower, or the spark plug from a gas powered mower.
- Turn the mower on its side - with gas mowers, you need to turn it onto the side where the air filter will be upwards, to avoid oil from saturating it.
- Equip proper safety gloves, secure the blade stuck with either a piece of wood or a clamp.
- Using the appropriate wrench, disconnect and remove the blade from the mower.
- Now you can either sharpen the blade that was removed, or you can replace it with a brand new blade - the choice is yours!
- Place your lawn mower blade on the mower, ensuring it's placed properly so the wings of the blade will be oriented towards the mower deck and any writing will be facing the ground.
- Fasten the blade's securing hardware, and make sure any warped or broken washers or nuts are replaced.
- Clean any excess debris or grass clippings from the deck, and flip the mower back. Happy mowing!
How to Change a Lawn Mower Spark Plug
For gas powered lawn mowers, the spark plug is what gives the motor the spark it needs to start. Without one, your mower will be 'dead in the water'. In the interest of keeping your lawn mower in its best shape, replace its spark plug every season, if possible. You can find your lawn mower's spark plug in our wide-range of lawn mower parts, and this is how you can change it:
- Disconnect the spark plug boot and clean around it to ensure debris stays out of the combustion chamber.
- Using a spark plug socket, unscrew and remove the spark plug.
- With your new spark plug, use a spark plug gauge to measure the gap between the two electrodes (one will be straight, the other curved) and adjust them as needed by your lawn mower's owner's manual.
- Install the new plug and tighten it to secure it within your mower. Do not over torque the spark plug however, and only apply approximately 15 lbs.
What Type of Oil Does My Lawn Mower Need?
Motor oil comes in a whole slew of different types, between synthetic and regular, but these are the recommended types of oils depending on what environment you'll be mowing in most often:
- SAE 30: Made for warmer temperatures, and is the most common type for small engines.
- SAE 5W-30: Only used in much colder temperatures.
- SAE 10W-30: Can be used in varying temperature levels and is ideal for cold-weather starting, but it can cause an increase in oil use.
- Synthetic SAE 5W-30: Works well at almost any temperature and has improved motor starting with minimal oil consumption.
How to Maintain an Electric Lawn Mower
For those who've followed the newer and greener route of tools and outdoor power equipment, an electric lawn mower is one of the most popular pieces of equipment you can own. Going electric means no need for oil, air filters, spark plugs, gas, or pull cords. But that doesn't mean it's exempt from its own share of maintenance, which encompasses these highlights:
Keep It Clean
No matter what, the vents for an electric lawn mower need to be cleaned and clear before operation. This rule can be applied generally across the entire mower - but keep those vents clear!
Keep Batteries Warm & Ready
Because of the nature of batteries used within electric lawn mowers, they need to be kept in a warm and dry setting at all times. In addition, make sure to inspect your batteries before each use, to check for corrosion or any signs of damage - and this goes for any corded mowers as well!
Change The Blade
Similar to a gas powered lawn mower, blades come and go. When the blade on an electric lawn mower is dulled or damaged, it will need to be replaced as soon as possible, to make sure that your lawn mower functions properly and to ensure its best grass cutting performance. Replacing it is simple and you can follow the same steps as you would with a gas powered mower, from removal to installation of a new and sharpened blade.
How to Store an Electric Lawn Mower
Most electric lawn mowers collapse into a smaller overall body, so make sure to utilize those storage capabilities as often as possible! But make sure before storing that any grass clippings or moisture is cleaned off to avoid it rusting your mower's blade or deck.
Now that you know everything there is to know about your grass cutting machine, get out there and get mowing! And for your other home DIY projects, keep it here with our catalogue of home improvement guides to help you in every facet, from appliances and tools to outdoor power equipment and more!