7 Tips to Keep Your Mower in Working Order

You know how to care for your lawn, but how about your mower? Mowers need some TLC after sitting in a cold shed or garage all winter long. Before grass-growing season gets into full swing, show your mower some love by giving it a tune-up and blade sharpening. Performing some regular maintenance on your lawn mower is a pretty simple affair, and will make lawn care easier all season long.

Doing the proper maintenance on each system involved in the engine of your lawn mower is half the battle. Most small gas engines have six basic systems that work together: fuel, exhaust, ignition, combustion, cooling, and lubrication. Lawn mowers also have blades that need to be maintained and sharpened, which can be done by a professional, or at home with the right tools. To cover your bases, you'll want to check all fuel lines and filters, cleaning and replacing them when necessary. Spark plugs and wiring can get dirty and loose over a season, so make sure those are in working order before your grass has its first growth spurt in the Spring. And then feed your mower right—invest in the fuel additives that will help it run most efficiently.

The payoff for your attentiveness to lawn mower maintenance will definitely worth the effort. Treat your mower well, and it will reward you with greater efficiency, better handling, and a fresher-looking lawn. Not sure where to start? Here, we've compiled an essential guide for keeping your mower—and your grass—growing strong all season.

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  1. Choose the Right Mower for Your Needs

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    The type of mower you buy should be tailored to your needs. Take note of the size of your lawn, the terrain, and the quality of your grass. Make sure the mower is comfortable to handle, whether you use it sitting down or standing up. And before you buy, be certain to consider the store's return and guarantee policies in case things don't work out.

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  2. Tune It Up

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    Treat your mower to a pit stop tune-up. Tighten all nuts and bolts and check belts, filters, safety shields, and guards. Replace any damaged or missing parts, including spark plugs. Be sure to check tire tread and pressure as well.

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  3. Sharpen the Blades

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    Sharpening your mower's blade not only gives your grass a precise cut, but it saves on fuel costs because a dull blade eats up more gas. Take your blade to a professional, or sharpen it at home with a hand file. Always check the blade for dullness and corrosion before starting up the engine for the first time in spring.

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  4. Invest in a Fuel Stabilizer

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    Fuel stabilizers are helpful in preventing fuel separation, which can lead to corrosion. You should run the engine for five minutes after adding the stabilizer, but check your owner's manual and the stabilizer packaging for instructions specific to your situation. 

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  5. Safety First

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    Carefully inspect the safety features of your mower. Take note of whether or not your mower automatically shuts down when you release the push bar or leave the seat. In the case of riding mowers, be attentive to the location of your foot controls, keep both hands on the wheel, and always remember to use the parking brake!

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  6. Check the Deck

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    Check for grass clippings under the deck before and after mowing. Any debris can clog your mower's airflow and reduce effectiveness. Dirty decks also cause rust and corrosion during winter storage, so be sure to clean your mower by turning it on its side and spraying the undercarriage with a hose.

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  7. Mow Safely, and Mow Often

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    Now that you have the perfect mower, make it count. Mowing your lawn regularly (every four to five days during growing season) can prolong your mower's life by not subjecting it to the potential hazards of mowing an ill-kempt lawn. Not only will regular mowing help your lawn mower, but it will keep your grass healthier too.

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