Do You Need a Torque Wrench for a Lawn Mower Blade?
Torque wrenches are often known as the go-to tools for adjusting lawnmower blades. After all, they let you control the amount of pressure you apply without damaging the nut or blades. However, what are you supposed to do if you don’t have a torque wrench for your mower?
You don’t need a torque wrench for a lawnmower because you can use a socket wrench, adjustable wrench, or combination wrench. Turn the blade’s retaining bolt until it’s too tight to turn. Lawnmower blades typically don’t need more than 30 to 90 pounds of pressure.
Throughout this article, you’ll find out how to tighten and adjust lawnmower blades without a torque wrench and whether or not you need tools. You’ll also discover the best tools for the job.
How to Tighten a Lawnmower Blade Without a Torque Wrench
Once you’re done testing your work, I recommend getting your hands on a torque wrench. It’s hard to find anything better for tightening mower blades. Whether you have to sharpen your lawnmower blades or put on new ones, you’ll need something that tightens the nut as much as needed.
If you’re looking for a video guide for tightening your lawnmower blades without a torque wrench, try this tutorial:
Note: You might also need to remove the blades to know which way they turn. If you remove them, make sure the nut isn’t stripped, rusted, or damaged. Replace the nut with a manufacturer-recommended part if necessary.
Can You Hand Tighten Mower Blades?
You can hand tighten a lawnmower with a combination wrench or an open wrench. These wrenches provide enough torque to secure the mower’s retaining bolt without causing damage. However, you’ll need to put quite a bit of force into it.
Mower blades are made of many materials, all of which require maintenance. Using the proper tools ensures their longevity. If you can’t tighten the lawnmower blades enough to secure the bolt by hand, you’ll need a torque wrench.
What Tool Is Best for Lawnmower Blades?
The best tool for lawnmower blades is a torque wrench. However, there are many types of wrenches that will get the job done. If you can’t tighten your lawnmower blades with a torque wrench, try an electric torque wrench. It applies pressure much quicker and with more power.
- Manual torque wrench: Garden Guides claims torque wrenches are the best option for most mower blades. You can adjust mower blades with a manual torque wrench, regardless of it it’s a riding mower or a push mower. They have small gauges that show you how much pressure is applied to the blade’s nut.
- Electric torque wrench: These wrenches let you squeeze a lever that puts however much pressure on the nut as you want. You need to take it slow with powered torque wrenches because they can go overboard and strip the screws if you’re not careful.
- Socket wrench: Sock wrenches fit over a lawnmower blade’s nut, much like a torque wrench. However, there’s no gauge or pressure meter that explains how much pressure you need to apply to the blades. You’ll have to base it on personal preference for when the blades are tight enough.
- Adjustable wrench: Adjustable wrenches have open ends that let you choose how closed it needs to be. They’re perfect for those who don’t know the size of the mower blade’s nut. Place the wrench over the nut, twist it until it’s secure, then tighten or loosen the nut.
- Combination wrench: Combination wrenches have closed faces on one side and open faces on the other. Choose the correct size for your lawnmower, then use the closed side to loosen or tighten it. The closed portion of the wrench offers more torque.
Mulching blades should be sharp to slice and dice the mulch below your mower or mulching kit. If you need to change or sharpen the blades, use one of the tools mentioned above for quick results.
The TEKTON Drive Torque Wrench comes in multiple sizes to fit almost any lawnmower blade retainer nut. It works up to 80 feet/pound, making it perfect for the job. You can flip the ratchet direction to loosen or tighten the bolt as necessary.
Torque wrenches are undoubtedly the best tool for changing lawnmower blades, but there are a few other options. If you don’t have one on hand, you can always use one of the many helpful tools found on this page. Furthermore, you can hire a repairperson to take a look.
How to Remove Change a Lawn Mower Spark Plug (Step By Step)
Sort of like the heartbeat of an engine, the spark plug is one of the key components that a lawn mower uses to ignite gasoline and create power. And like a heart, spark plugs work very hard and are constantly firing to keep the engine alive. Because of this, they do wear out over time. But luckily, figuring out how to replace a lawn mower spark plug isn’t anything like learning how to perform heart surgery. All you’ll need is a few simple tools and a bit of know-how to get this job done right.
Why You Might Need to Change Your Spark Plug
As mentioned above, this is a component that will eventually need replacing. Exactly how often a spark plug will need changing does vary, as does the reason for changing them, but there are a few common things (bad spark plug symptoms) to look for. The most typical reasons are: the spark plug has already been used for a season’s worth of time, oil or carbon has soiled it, or the mower has shown less power or fuel economy.
What You Will Need to Change Your Lawn Mower Spark Plug
When actually considering how to change your lawn mower’s spark plug, you’ll probably want to figure out what tools you’ll need first. Though you don’t need a ton of tools for this job, it helps to have the right ones. The things you should gather are:
- Socket wrench
- Spark plug socket
- Clean rag or paper towel
- New spark plug
- Insulated pliers (recommended)
How to Remove a Lawn Mower Spark Plug Replace
Now that you’ve got all of your tools together, let’s talk about how to change a lawn mower’s spark plug. Make sure to take your time while doing this so that the job gets done smoothly and safely.
Stage Lawn Mower
Before you get started, you’ll want to get your lawn mower positioned on a nice, flat, piece of ground. If you have a couple of pieces of scrap wood or small stones, it’s a good idea to block the wheels so that the mower won’t go rolling away.
Also, be sure that you’ve waited for the lawn mower’s engine to cool before you get going on this project. You’ll be working in very close proximity to the engine block and could easily burn yourself. I’d say to wait at least 30 minutes after using your mower before you get started.
Disconnect Ignition Cable
Now that your lawn mower is set in place you can locate the spark plug and disconnect the spark plug’s hood and wire that make up the ignition cable. This is something that you should do anytime you’re working on your lawn mower to prevent any chance of unexpected engine ignition.
To do this, I like to use a pair of insulated needle-nose pliers to grab the middle of the hood and gently wiggle it off of the spark plug. You won’t need to use much force to grab the spark plug hood because the pliers will grip the rubber pretty easily. If this isn’t your style, you can just grab the hood with your fingers and pull it off.
Remove Old Spark Plug
Figuring out how to remove a lawn mower’s spark plug is arguably the most difficult part of the whole replacement process. Although removal of the old plug can be a little bit annoying, the right tools make a huge difference.
What I do is grab my spark plug socket without putting it on the wrench, and seat in on the spark plug by hand first. This way I can check that it’s making good contact with the spark plug and won’t strip.
Then, grab the socket wrench itself and attach it to the socket that is set up on the spark plug. Apply a little bit of counterclockwise (lefty loosey) pressure to the spark plug at first to be sure that the socket still won’t slip.
Replacing the Blades. Honda Lawn Mower
Now, apply normal force slowly until the threads come loose. Once the spark plug is loose, it’s easier to unscrew the remaining threads by hand because there will be no resistance and you’ll have a ton of spinning you’ll need to do.
Inspect Old Plug
Before you wipe off or throw away your old spark plug (which can go in with your regular garbage by the way), check out its condition. Look for any cracks, burns, or debris on it.
This step isn’t exactly necessary but I would definitely recommend it. Taking a closer look could help you figure out why your spark plug failed.
It’s also really good to know what might’ve made your spark plug stop working in case it is anything other than the usual wear and tear. Oily, sooty, and cracked spark plugs can suggest other possible issues with your lawn mower, like oil in the cylinder for example.
Clean and Install New Spark Plug
Once you have your new spark plug unboxed, make sure it’s clean, and also wipe out the top of the cylinder where the spark plug will screw in.
Now start to thread the new spark plug by hand gently until you feel resistance. Once here, get your spark plug socket and socket wrench and tighten it down the rest of the way. You’ll want to secure the spark plug relatively tightly but don’t overdo it.
Reconnect the Cable
Before snapping the spark plug hood and cable back on, be sure that the small metal terminal at the top of the spark plug is threaded on completely. Hand-tight is fine, but it’s worth noting because sometimes these little pieces come loose.
All that’s left now is to reconnect the ignition cable as it was before. You should be able to feel the spark plug hood click into place as it slides over the spark plug’s terminal.
How to Remove a Lawn Mower Spark Plug Without a Socket (5 Tricks)
Although a specialized spark plug socket is the most common and recommended lawn mower spark plug removal tool, there are a few things you can do if you don’t have one handy. My advice would be to invest in a spark plug socket if possible. But if you’re in a pinch, and are wondering how to remove a lawn mower spark plug without a socket, here are some other methods you can try.
You may have tried this already, but give your spark plug a firm twist with your fingers if you don’t have the right deep socket to use. Oftentimes spark plugs aren’t installed very tightly or may have loosened over time due to vibrations. If you’re lucky, you just might be able to unscrew your spark plug by hand.
Two things the average DIYer or handyman has laying around are WD-40 (or some other type of penetrating oil) and duct tape. In most situations, one of the two could be of use. Here, grab your lubricant and see if it does the trick.
Spray a small amount at the base of your spark plug if it won’t budge and then wait 5 minutes or so. Then, with the help of your hand or a piece of rubber tubing, grip the spark plug and give it a twist. Using penetrating oil like this can make a really big difference in some situations.
A small length of rubber can help you get a grip and some leverage on your spark plug. Try and find an old piece of rubber tubing that is the same width or just a tad skinnier than your spark plug, slide it over the end, and then grab and twist.
Aluminum Foil Method
If you happen to have some deep sockets but not the correct size, you can give this method a shot. The idea is that you use a wider deep socket and shim it with aluminum foil on the inside of it to try and grip onto the spark plug. I’ve never tried this but have heard of it working before.
Just be careful not to strip your spark plug or shred a bunch of aluminum foil that could fall into your cylinder.
Other Wrench or Pliers (Last Resort)
Well, I would never suggest doing this unless you have a pretty dire need to remove your spark plug right this instant, but you can try gripping the spark plug’s base with a set of pliers or a wrench that you have nearby.
This approach does not work very well and often will cause more harm than good. But, if you’re especially gentle, you may just wiggle it free. However, I would suggest buying a spark plug socket instead of trying this.
How to Change a Spark Plug on a Riding Lawn Mower – Anything Different?
When it comes to how to change a spark plug on a riding lawn mower, the process is pretty much the same as with a push mower. The key difference is how you need to prepare for the removal of the spark plug.
If your riding mower has a keyed ignition, be sure to turn the ignition off, and remove the key. Then, disconnect the battery’s negative terminal and secure it away from the battery. This step is one that you need to do for all riding lawn mowers. It’s actually a good idea to disconnect the battery any time you do work on a riding mower. Then, follow the same steps listed above and reconnect the battery at the very end.
About Tom Greene
I’ve always had a keen interest in lawn care as long as I can remember. Friends used to call me the lawn mower guru (hence the site name), but I’m anything but. I just enjoy cutting my lawn and spending time outdoors. I also love the well-deserved doughnuts and coffee afterward!
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After a long winter’s rest, your mower may need a nudge before springing to life. Follow these simple steps for starting a lawn mower—and learn how to troubleshoot a mower that won’t run.
By Bob Vila and Tony Carrick | Updated Mar 24, 2023 12:54 PM
We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.
Unless you’re planning to hire a lawn care company to handle your yard maintenance, you’ll need to learn how to start a lawn mower if you want to maintain a well-kept lawn. In addition to learning the basics, it’s also crucial to understand what factors influence how easy (or how difficult) it is to start a mower, including gas and oil levels and the condition of the spark plug and mower deck. The methods below will walk you through starting a lawn mower and help you troubleshoot any problems you may encounter along the way.
Below is the gear you might need to get your lawn mower up and running. It’s more than likely, however, that you won’t need more than a few items. The equipment you use will depend on whether there’s anything wrong with the mower, and the troubleshooting tips you follow below.
Before You Begin
Before starting up the mower, take a moment to walk your yard and clear it of any sticks, toys, and other obstacles that could damage your mower blade. Make sure that you have gas, oil, and other materials listed above close at hand.
Starting a Lawn Mower
Whether you’re new to lawn mowers, know how to use a lawn mower but have forgotten how to start one after a long off season, or are dealing with a mower that is refusing to start, these steps will help you get that mower up and running.
STEP 1: Check if your mower has gas and oil.
Look for the large black cap on the top of the mower engine (it should have an imprint of a gas tank on it). Unscrew the cap and peer inside to see if you need to add gas.
The cap for the oil pan will be on the opposite side of the engine. Look for an imprint of an oil can on the cap. Unlike the gas cap, which screws off, you should be able to remove the oil cap by giving it a half turn counterclockwise. You’ll know you have the right one when you pull the cap out and there’s a dipstick attached to it. Wipe the dipstick clean with a rag, replace it, then pull it out again and check the oil level. The oil level should be between the two marks on the stick.
STEP 2: Add gas and oil if needed.
If you’re adding gas, use the same unleaded gas you put in your car, and not the 2-stroke gas/oil mix that other yard equipment uses. Most push mowers hold between 1/4 and 2 gallons of gas. Use a funnel to avoid spilling the gas as you add it to the tank.
If you need to add oil, check the lawn mower’s user manual to see what oil weight the manufacturer suggests. If the manual does not specify an oil type, use SAE 30, the best option for engines that operate in warmer temperatures.
STEP 4: Prime the engine.
Priming the engine is necessary only if the lawn mower has not been used for a prolonged period of time (over the winter, for instance). Once you’ve attended to the mower’s gas and oil, press the primer button three to five times in order to channel gas into the engine. If you’ve used the mower recently, you can probably skip this step.
STEP 5: Pull the starter cord.
Notice how there are two handles on the lawn mower, each running horizontally only inches apart from the other. Press and hold these handles together, keeping them together as you pull the starter cord. Do so quickly and with considerable force, and the mower engine should to turn over. Sometimes it can take several attempts before pulling the starting rope achieves the intended result: a purring motor.
Troubleshooting Lawn Mower Issues
If you’ve already checked that the mower has ample oil and gas and it still won’t get up and running, it’s time to start troubleshooting. Here are the steps you should take to determine why your lawn mower won’t start:
Check the carburetor.
If you have already confirmed that there’s oil and gas in the mower, but the engine still refuses to start, it’s possible that either the carburetor has flooded or the cylinder has become soaked with gas. (The smell of unburned gas is a telltale sign.) Leave your mower on level ground for at least 15 minutes, which should allow enough time for the gas to evaporate from within the mechanism.
Check for old gas.
If you are starting your lawn mower for the first time after a long off-season in the garage, gas that was left in the machine may have gone bad. If you suspect this is the case, observe the mower the next time you try to get it going: Does it appear to start up, then quickly stall out? The fix is simple: Siphon the old gas and replace it with fresh fuel.
Check for spark plug problems.
While the spark plug’s location can vary depending on the mower, most of the time you’ll find it at the front of the engine. Pull the rubber cap off the spark plug. If you spot debris on the end of the spark plug or inside the cap, wipe it clean with a rag.
Unscrew the spark plug using a spark plug socket and socket wrench. Clean the electrode on the end of the spark plug with a wire brush and brake cleaner. If there are a lot of deposits built up on the spark plug or if it’s cracked, you’ll need to replace it with a new one. Otherwise, screw the spark plug back in, tighten it with the socket wrench, and attempt to start the engine.
Clean the grass clippings out of the mower deck.
Lay the lawn mower on its side so you can access its underside. Use a pry bar to dislodge any built-up clumps of grass from the mowing deck. After getting rid of the large pieces, use a garden hose to spray the deck. Give it a good scrub with a stiff bristle brush to remove stubborn debris sticking to the deck. Rinse with the hose, then turn the mower back upright and attempt to start it.
If you’ve tried these methods and your lawn mower still won’t come to life, refer to our detailed guide on what to do when your lawn mower won’t start.
While starting a lawn mower isn’t a complicated task, you can run into problems if the mower is low on gas or oil, has a bad spark plug, or if clumps of grass are clogging the mower deck and blade. The troubleshooting methods will help you learn how to turn on a lawn mower and get it back in action. In the event your best efforts to start the mower fail, there may be a larger issue with the lawn mower engine. In that case, you’ll need to seek out a lawn mower repair shop for help.
For more lawn mower advice, check out our video on the most common mowing mistakes almost everyone makes.
Socket Wrench Socket Sets (1175 items found)
Hand tools are an important part of every toolkit. They help you build, repair, and restore items around your home or a construction site quickly and efficiently. At Ace, you’ll find a wide variety of socket sets and other tools to complete your projects with ease. Shop online now to find the right socket set for your needs, including affordable standard socket wrench sets to durable, long-lasting impact socket sets designed for high-load applications.
Understanding Your Socket Tool Set
When shopping for a socket set, you will see many terms you may not be familiar with. From impact sockets to points to drive size and more, knowing just what these things mean will help you buy the right socket set for your needs.
How to remove a stubborn mower blade nut
Socket Wrench Included
Many socket sets come with a socket wrench or wrenches to help you build out your tool set. Also known as a ratchet, a socket wrench is designed to make tightening and loosening fasteners more convenient. Looking for a specific ratchet? Find additional socket wrenches to complement your next project.
What are Impact Sockets?
An impact socket is designed to be used with impact tools powered by air or electricity. They are capable of withstanding the high torque of impact wrenches to tackle heavy-duty and professional jobs.
Number of Points
You are most likely to find 6-point or 12-point sockets:
- 6-point Sockets: Ideal for heavy-duty work, 6-point sockets fit more snuggly and can easily handle jobs that need more torque. Their snug fit helps prevent slippage.
- 12-point Sockets: Great for everyday repairs, 12-point sockets are also useful for fasteners in difficult-to-see positions as the additional points make it easier to fit over a variety of nuts and bolts.
At Ace, you can find ¼ inch, 3/8 inch, ½ inch and ¾ inch drives. The drive size corresponds with the size of the job that needs completing.
- ¼ inch drives are ideal for small fasteners.
- ½ and ¾ inch drives will handle your bigger and tougher duties.
- 3/8 inch drives should handle most jobs.
Be Prepared for Every Job with a Mechanics’ Socket Set
A socket set with multiple-size fittings allows you to complete minor home repairs with ease. Tighten nuts and bolts, replace gaskets and handles, and even work on furniture with these simple and easy-to-use tools.
But while a basic socket set can accommodate many home repairs, sometimes the job calls for specialized tools. A mechanics’ socket set can handle basic jobs as well as many automotive repairs. Keep a set in your garage and in your car to ensure you can get back on the road, no matter where you are.
You may also want to add useful specialty pieces to your socket and wrench sets. Torque wrenches, flare nut wrench sets, metric sets and spark plug socket sets can help you get any task handled quickly.
Metric vs SAE Socket Sets
When shopping for socket sets, you have a choice between SAE sockets and metric sockets. The difference between the two lies in how they measure size:
- SAE sockets are measured in inches and fractions of inches.
- Metric sockets are measured using millimeters.
The SAE and metric designations are important to note because they let you know which sockets to use for specific fasteners. As nuts, bolts and other fasteners are also identified using metric or SAE systems, some socket sets work better for certain jobs than others. Although you may be able to complete a job on SAE fasteners with metric socket sets and vice versa, you risk stripping the fastener by doing so. Look for dually compatible sets.
Shop DIY and Mechanics Socket Sets at Ace
Shop mechanics’ socket sets and socket accessories from quality brands like Crescent, Milwaukee and Craftsman because having the right tools for the job is crucial for proper home repair. Whether you’re a professional in the automotive or plumbing industry, an experienced DIYer or a novice with an interest in home maintenance, Ace Hardware has the right tools for you.