5 Essential Spring Lawn Mower Maintenance Tips. Maintenance of lawn mower

Essential Spring Lawn Mower Maintenance Tips

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Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny’s expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS’s The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio, TodaysHomeowner.com, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

It’s lawn mowing season, and your mower works hard to keep your grass ship-shape. It’s easy to take this everyday workhorse for granted until something goes wrong, and then a common chore turns into a massive headache.

The most popular mowers are gasoline-powered, and their small internal combustion engines need the same regular care as the larger one that powers your car.

Keep your lawnmower healthy and running smoothly with these springtime maintenance steps!

Check the Spark Plug

A good spark plug is necessary for your lawnmower to run properly. A dirty spark plug, or one that is coming loose, will cause your mower to run choppy, be difficult to start, waste fuel, and “chew” your grass rather than cut it smoothly. A burned-out spark plug means that your mower won’t start at all.

Each spring, pull off your mower’s spark plug wire and remove the spark plug with a spark plug wrench or deep socket wrench. If you see dirt or signs of corrosion, spray the plug with brake cleaner, let it sit for a few minutes, and gently brush it clean with a wire brush. After you’ve removed the dirt, buff the plug with a soft cloth. Put the clean, dry plug back in place and hand-tighten it, and put the wire back in place.

If your mower won’t start at all or continues to run poorly after you clean the spark plug, the plug may be bad. Replace the plug, checking your owner’s manual first to be sure you buy the right plug for your mower. Because spark plugs are relatively inexpensive, some people choose to simply replace their plugs yearly to save time and effort.

Note: if you find a white, oily substance on your spark plug, your mower may have a fuel leak.

Change the Oil

Mowers need oil changes just like cars, and spring is the perfect time to take this step. To keep your mower’s engine protected, change the oil at least once a year or after every 50 hours of use.

Check your owner’s manual to make sure you get the right type of oil for your mower. Disconnect your mower’s spark plug so it can’t accidentally start. Drain your mower’s oil into an approved container, replace the oil filter if your mower has one, and refill with new oil.

Never over-fill; this can damage your mower.

Last, reconnect the spark plug wire.

Replace the Air Filter

Your mower’s air filter can become dirty and clogged, and this will put extra strain on the engine and keep it from running efficiently. Change your lawn mower’s air filter each spring to help it “breathe” easily.

First, disconnect the spark plug wire. Remove the filter cover, clean the foam pre-filter, and replace the paper air filter. Replace the filter cover. Finally, reconnect the spark plug wire.

Now take care of the “business end” of your mower with the final two steps on our spring maintenance checklist:

Sharpen the Blade

Of course, your mower can’t cut your lawn well without a sharp blade. Remove the spark plug wire for safety, and then use a wrench to remove the blade. Many hardware stores will sharpen lawn mower blades for a fee, or you can sharpen the blade yourself.

Clean the Deck

Your mower’s underside, or “deck,” can become clogged with grass and debris that can interfere with its ability to function and lead to corrosion.

A dirty mower deck can even become a vector to spread plant diseases around your property. Clean your mower’s deck each spring and midseason to head these problems off at the pass.

First, disconnect the spark plug wire for safety. Empty the gas tank, and turn your mower onto its side. Spray the underside thoroughly with a garden hose.

Use a brush and soapy water to remove any other dirt and debris. Once the area is dry, coat the underside of your mower with a thin layer of vegetable oil to prevent debris from sticking to it.

Follow these steps and keep your mower running like a champ!

Further Information

essential, spring, lawn, mower, maintenance

Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny’s expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS’s The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio, TodaysHomeowner.com, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

Top Riding Lawn Mower Maintenance Tips

essential, spring, lawn, mower, maintenance

essential, spring, lawn, mower, maintenance

Regular riding lawn mower maintenance is key to keeping your investment in tip top shape. You have spent thousands of dollars on your riding lawn mower, and it is important to do routine maintenance to ensure you get the best return on your investment.

Matt’s Small Engine Repair provides 5 top riding lawn mower maintenance tips to help ensure you are taking the proper care of your equipment.

Perfect Example of Why It’s Important to Properly Maintain Your Riding Lawn Mower

Recently I received in my shop a beautiful riding lawn mower which was not starting. It would turn over, but wouldn’t fire. I went through a series of diagnostics to find out that the piston wasn’t moving. It was at the top of the cylinder, and when I used a tool to find out if it would move, it slid all the way down with ease.

Not a good sign at all. Something like this means that there was internal damage to the engine, most likely the crank arm broke.

After discussing cost to fix this, the customer decided to forgo the fix for his 3000 riding mower, and donated it to me for parts.

I took it in, and it sat for the winter, but I finally had an opportunity to open up the engine to find out what was wrong. Low and behold, there she was. Broken connecting rod, shredded crankshaft journal, and a shredded mess of aluminum everywhere within the engine.

Why did this happen? Low oil level.

essential, spring, lawn, mower, maintenance

Check Your Oil Frequently

Oil is the lifeblood of your engine. It lubricates all of the components inside your engine. These parts heat up. They cause friction. They wear and tear.

Without proper lubrication, they will fail, and you will be looking at hundreds of dollars repair or a complete replacement of the engine.

So check your oil level to make sure that you have enough oil and look to see how dirty the oil is. Here is a general rule of thumb:

Oil Filter? – Oil Change Every 100 Hours Of Use

No Oil Filter? – Oil Change Every 25 Hours Of Use

Most riding lawn mowers have engines that have oil filters on them, but some don’t. So look to see.

It is also important to note that each engine manufacturer has their own recommendations on oil change frequency, type of oil, and weight of oil depending on the ambient air temp that they are going to be used in. So read the engine manufacturer’s manual or the manual that came with the machine.

Don’t want to worry about it? Then have a professional small engine shop like Matt’s take care of it for you. While they are doing the oil change, they may catch other things like rodent nests, warn belts, etc. that will save you in the future.

Keep Your Engine Clean!

It is important to do riding lawn mower maintenance to ensure that your machine last a long time, but this one is often overlooked and can cause a lot of headache for you in the future.

Most riding lawn mowers are powered by air cooled engines. The top of the engine and the housing is designed to force air through the cooling veins of the cylinder heads, and other parts of the engine that need to stay cool.

essential, spring, lawn, mower, maintenance

Most often when I get an engine in the shop that has a blown head gasket, there will also be a nice little rodent nest, dirt, grime, or caked on debris with it (as in the picture above).

Anything that is stuck to the sides or inside the engine housing acts like a wool blanket. Imagine running a marathon in a wool jumpsuit on a 95 degree day. I bet you would break down too!

So inspect your engine for dirt and get it out of there. Brush it off. Use a toothbrush. Do an engine degreasing. Use compressed air.

If you are not comfortable removing housings, and stuff like that, call a professional. Matt’s offers complete engine cleaning service. Just give Matt’s a call!

Use Great Gas!

Yikes! What the heck is that?!

That’s the inside of a carburetor bowl that has built up sludge from using the wrong type of gas.

I admit, this is an extreme example, and using bad gas won’t always get this result, but it’s important to understand what using the wrong gas will do.

The stuff we put in our cars. 87 octane. From “Tim’s Pump and Go” isn’t necessarily the best gas to use.

You see, today’s gas most likely contains ethanol. It’s mixed in with our unleaded gas to help keep costs down, and is totally fine to put in our vehicles. But today’s autos are all fuel injected systems. Our lawn mowers, and other small engines are carbureted. They deliver fuel to the engine differently than fuel injected systems.

essential, spring, lawn, mower, maintenance

What happens with ethanol is that it attracts moisture. If it gets enough moisture, it turns it into this gummy mess that clogs up tiny holes within your carburetor that stop it from doing it’s job. Gas will also varnish after time, so it’s important to use nice fresh gas.

For riding mowers, who have big tanks (sometimes two tanks), that means you have a lot of gas in there. If you have the wrong type of gas, then you may end up with problems, which usually lead to expensive repairs.

So you need to find gas that contains now ethanol. There are many different terms for it. In Minnesota, we use the terms; Non-oxygenated, non-ethanol, recreational gas, etc.

Here’s a great resource for you: PureGas.Org

You can also call around or Google for non-oxygenated gas near me. But call the gas station to confirm it.

Clean The Rest Of It!

There are a lot of things that can go wrong with your riding lawn mower. Doing the proper routine riding lawn mower maintenance will help from break downs. One of the worst feelings is half mowing your 10 acres and have a belt snap, or worse. So keeping certain areas clean can help ensure a successful mow. Below we will quickly talk about the areas that you should keep an eye on for cleanliness.

Mower Deck – The top and bottom of the mower deck (aka, blade deck) should be cleaned of debris every time you mow. If your mower deck has the garden hose attachment, use it! Grass clippings get caught against the walls and build up, inhibiting the best cut your blades can do! On the top where the belt is, it is important to keep that area clean as well. Belts will wear faster when debris is around, and the blade spindles will heat up and the bearings inside will wear faster if they are covered with dirt and debris (remember the wool blanket for engines? This applies here too)

Transaxle – Most riding mowers have a transaxle that has a fan on it to keep it cool. The problem is gravity here. grass clippings and other debris build up on the top and sides of transaxles, which makes them heat up and fail. Some of these transaxles are plastic now and too much heat will warp or crack them, and the oil inside will seep out.

Battery and Electrical Components – Batteries are a common issue with riding lawn mowers. They freeze in the winter and lose power because of this. The best thing to do is to remove your battery and place it in a safe, dry space with ventilation in your house. Basements would be fine. As for electrical components, wires, wiring harnesses, etc., it is a good idea to keep them dry. If they get wet for some reason, blow them off with compressed air or at least wipe them dry. Water and wires cause corrosion and can damper voltage and amperage to important parts like your starter and ignition switch.


Proper storage for your riding lawn mower is also bery important! Leaving your mower outside is NOT a good idea and I guarantee after a couple years you will have no start issues, or worse.

For us small engine mechanics, electrical diagnostic is sometimes more difficult to diagnose and we may find that you have more than one electrical issue now because of corrosion, or failure of safety switches.

Personally, my advice is to store your mower in your garage. If you dont have the space, make room or you may end up with a bill next year.

Sheds are ok, but also understand that sheds dont offer a barrier of protection from heat and humidity fluctuations like your garage does.

If you store your mower outside, DO NOT cover it with a tarp. That is just going to create a humidity bubble for the corrosion monsters to wreak havoc on your wires and battery.

In fact, dont put a tarp over your mower anywhere you store it. You want it to stay dry so corrosion is limited.

Other storage considerations is treating your gas with a fuel stabilizer, and disconnecting your battery (and bringing it inside).

If you have a fuel shut off valve, treat your gas with a fuel stabilizer, start your engine, shut off the fuel shut off valve, and let your engine run until all the fuel in your carburetor is used by your engine. Your carburetor always has gas in the bowl unless you stop fuel flow.

Lastly, if you come to your mower in the spring and see that the tires are now flat, fill them up without moving your mower! Moving your mower can potentially unseat the tire from the rim and then you will definitely be calling me!

Maintenance Tips for Electric Lawn Mower

Electric lawn mowers offer great convenience when mowing the lawn. The mower parts and equipment are easy to repair as compared to mechanical mowers. They also have improved performance allowing you to quickly mow a large lawn.

In this blog, you will learn about some tips to keep your electric lawnmower in a good condition.

Clean the Generator

You must clean your electric generator after every use. Turn off the mower and disconnect the spark plug. Next, turn the mower to the side, and use a brush to clean wet grass from under the mower.

Cleaning the mower will prevent rusting of metal parts. This will ensure the maximum life span of your mower.

Clean or Replace Spark Plugs

Spark plugs get dirty over time. This will prevent the engine from starting properly. So, you should clean the spark plug of your electric mower once a season. Replace the plugs if the mower doesn’t start even after cleaning the plugs. Consider replacing the plugs after every 25 hours of use.

Use a Lubricant

Using a lubricant is also important to keep the mower parts in good condition. You should use the lubricant on the wheels and blade of the mower.

But avoid applying too much lubricant as it will damage the metal parts. You must gently squirt the lubricant and apply them to the wheels and other moving parts of the mower.

Inspect Loose Parts

Mowing grass will cause bolts, fasteners, and screws to become loose. This is caused by the vibration of the mower. Loose mower parts are dangerous as they can cause an injury. over, it can also result in damage to the mower.

Consider inspecting the mower before every use. You should tighten any loose parts using the right tools.

Clean Motor Vents

Dust and debris can get inside the components of the mower. You should consider using an air blower to blow dust and grass cuttings out of the motor vents. Also, consider using the air blower on the battery terminals to clear dust and debris from the terminals.

Vents of the motor should be kept clean at all times. A vent that is clogged with dust and debris will prevent the motor from cooling down when mowing the lawn. Keeping the vents clean will prevent damage to the motor thereby extending the life of the mower.

Battery Maintenance

Electric mowers that run on batteries require special care. You must check the battery terminals to ensure that they are not corroded. Also, it is important to ensure the right battery water levels. You must top-up in case the water level is low.

Store Properly

Electric mowers must be stored properly. You must not store the mower in an open place. Moisture can damage the motor of the mower which can be costly to repair.

Consider storing the mower in a warm location. Storing the mower outside in frigid temperatures can damage the electrical components of the mower.

Storing the mower in a proper location will prevent damage due to snow and rain. It will ensure protection from weather elements resulting in maximum life span.

You must store the mower properly to ensure that it lasts for a long time. You should consider storing the mower under a cover. This will prevent dust and moisture from damaging the external and internal parts of the mower.

Want maintenance or repair service for your electric lawn mower? You should contact DR Power Store today. We can service all types of DR Power lawn equipment. Our experts have been providing reliable Alabama outdoor power equipment repair services for more than a decade.

How to Repair Your Lawn Mower

Take good care of your trusty machine, and it will take good care of you.

By Timothy Dahl Published: May 18, 2021

If you use your lawn mower once a week for an hour or two, you’ll only need a lawn mower repair just once per season. But if you live in an area with extremely hot temperatures, a lot of dust, and tall, thick grass, then you should perform a thorough lawn mower repair on your mower at least once a month while you’re using it. Lawn mowers respond best to constant preventative maintenance—take care of your lawn mower and it will take care of you. Here’s what you should know about lawn mower maintenance and how to repair common problems.

Use the Right Fuel

The best thing you can do to repair your gas-powered lawn mower is to always use fresh fuel with an octane rating no lower than 87 and an alcohol content no higher than 10 percent (E10). The alcohol in today’s fuels will oxidize inside the tank and attract moisture, which leads to all sorts of small engine issues.

It also eats away at any plastic components and hoses. To avoid any engine problems, you can use an engineered 4-cycle fuel like TruFuel, which has a high octane rating and contains no alcohol.

Check the Air Filter

A sluggish or slow-starting mower could be choking, so check the air filter. According to engine manufacturer Briggs Stratton, paper or foam filters should be replaced every 25 hours of operation, while paper filters that have a foam filter pre-cleaner last for 100 hours of operation. Never use compressed air to blow out a paper air cleaner, because you run the risk of perforating the paper. It only takes a speck of dust that gets past the filter to ruin an engine.

Check the Plugs

A lawn mower that idles or runs rough could be an indication of worn spark plugs. Install a new, properly gapped plug after 100 hours of operation or once a season—whichever comes first.

Lawn Mower Maintenance

A lawn care expert offers advice on how to get your mower in tip-top shape for spring and maintenance to keep it running through the season.

essential, spring, lawn, mower, maintenance

Related To:

In addition to helping ensure your mower will start every time, a good tune-up – most of which you can do yourself – helps the engine run more smoothly and gives it a longer life due to less wear and tear. It also helps with fuel efficiency and even reduces the serious amount of air pollution mowers emit.

Because of very recent, strict EPA requirements, improvements have made today’s gas engines quieter with less air pollution – a huge advancement in environmental circles.

5 Year-Round Lawn Care Tips 15 Photos

But to be efficient and longer-lasting, they still require regular, at least annual, maintenance, especially in the spring after sitting up over the winter. If yours fails to crank on the first few pulls, good luck finding a nearby small-engine repair shop that will give you fast service this time of year. My local engine repair shop usually puts commercial and regular customers in the front of the line for spring tuning or repairs – it may take a week or more before you get your equipment back in working order.

And the time to find this out isn’t when the grass is too tall to find a soccer ball. Here are a few tips for getting your machine running before you really need it.

Fill With Fresh Gas and Oil

First, understand that today’s blended gasoline can go bad and get watery and gummy within just a few weeks, and even more likely over the winter. The big culprit is modern-day ethanol additives, which, when left in a gas can or mower engine, will start to turn partly into water and then separate out. Unless you empty the tank in the fall and run the mower dry, you can expect it to clog your mower’s carburetor, and even cause rubber gas lines and gaskets to degrade and fail. This is one of the most common frustrations to lawn mower repairmen, who tell me it isn’t easy to fix yourself so they get stuck with dozens a week every spring.

Avoid this first by emptying the gas tank in the fall and running the mower dry. Try to use fresh (less than a month or so old) regular ethanol-free gas, or use any of the commercial additives which prevent the ethanol from causing problems.

Changing Lawn Mower Engine Oil

Because engine oil typically starts to break down after a couple of dozen hours of running time, change it before the long season starts.

  • To drain the oil without causing a gas leak, remove the gas cap and put a small sheet of flexible plastic over the opening, then screw the cap back on.
  • Turn the mower over on its side – with the gas tank and air filter up, to keep it from leaking and fouling – and drain the old oil. (This goes much faster when the oil is slightly warm.)
  • Dispose of used oil responsibly, perhaps by taking it to the mower repair shop where they can recycle it for you.
  • Add fresh engine oil as recommended for your mower’s engine.

Check the Spark Plug

A fouled spark plug simply won’t work well. Pull the spark plug wire loose and unscrew the plug, checking for crud or rust on the firing end. Rather than try to scrape it clean, which can mess up the precise gap on the end, just take it to an engine shop and get a new one just like the old one – they are cheap, and it can make a big difference. Screw the plug back in, hand tighten and reattach the wire.

If the muffler/spark retardant is rusted out, simply unscrew and replace it.

Inspect Air Filter

Last but not least, check your mower’s air filter. These small engines use a lot more air through the engine than fuel – often 10 times as much – and can quickly get fouled with grit and debris, which causes serious strain and damage. One of the easiest yet most important things to check is the air filter. Replace a pleated paper type filter with a new one; clean a foam filter that’s in good shape by squeezing soapy water through it. Let it dry, then squeeze a little motor oil through to help trap more stuff for a cleaner engine.

Lawn Mower Maintenance Summary

If these things don’t get the mower cranked easily with just a few pulls on the starter rope, have it checked out professionally. But make sure you check it all out earlier or risk last-minute frustration.

Is Your Mower Blade Sharp?

While you have the mower on its side and the spark plug disconnected, hose or scrape out those clumps of grass clippings, which can keep the blade from working well and keep the mower from cooling itself. It can also help spread clippings more evenly while you are mowing.

And if you want to make your neighbors wonder why your lawn looks so much better than theirs after cutting, have your mower blade sharpened. A dull mower blade makes a ragged cut, which leaves a distinct brown sheen to the lawn; a sharp blade makes a clean, crisp cut and according to researchers can actually increase your mower’s fuel consumption by more than 20 percent. Use a piece of wood to hold the blade steady while you unscrew it, and mark the blade somehow to remind you which way to put it back on.

How to Sharpen Lawn Mower Blades: 3 Easy (and Safe!) Ways

A well-maintained lawn mower will keep your lawn looking fresh, and it starts with a sharpened blade. We show you how to do this easily and safely.

To save time, keep a spare blade on hand, so one is being sharpened while the other is being used. For that matter, consider replacing the regular blade with a “mulching” blade kit, which leaves a much finer layer of clippings that break down quickly and recycle nutrients to your lawn.

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