A quality lawn mower is a big investment, and ensuring a long life for the machine, with the least troubles, and for reliable high quality lawn mowing, always comes down to the small investment of time that we put into the mower in terms of regular servicing over the time we have it.
Servicing a gas lawn mower is fairly simple and straightforward, and not costly if we do it ourselves, and will ensure a long hassle free life for the mower, with very little if any mechanical repairs ever needed for quality engines.
Each gas engine will be different in terms of specific service requirements, oil types and oil quantities used. Engine warranties will require different specific maintenance routines also, in order to stay in warranty. Be sure to review and follow all documentation that is applicable to your mower engine and its warranty requirements, which will override the following general guidelines.
New Lawn Mower Engines
New lawn mower engines will require an oil change after the first hours of operation. This is usually after about 10 hours of initial use, though these hours may vary for your particular engine. This first early oil change is to remove any contaminants from the internal engine which were a result of the manufacturing process of the engine.
This is the first and most important lawn mower maintenance we can ever do to ensure a long engine life.
Regular Lawn Mower Maintenance
These aspects of mower maintenance should be monitored regularly every few months.
Check Oil Level
- check the oil level to ensure it is adequately topped up
Lawn Mower Blades
- check they are sharp and undamaged
- dependent on the blade type: either replace mower blades, or sharpen them
Cleaning The Mower
- the mower should be washed after each use, before being stored, hose the underside of the mower and also by lifting up the rear discharge chute to wash
- the topside of the mower base can also be hosed down
- be careful not to hose the engine as water may seep into the air filter or fuel system
- excess water can be removed after washing with a chamois or old towel etc to help prevent rust developing over the years
Seasonal Lawn Mower Maintenance
How often these maintenance routines are done will depend entirely on how often the lawn mower is used. You may wish to do them once a year or once every two years for an average small domestic lawn area. Check your mower documentation for specific instructions for your machine.
Change Engine Oil
Regular oil changes will do more than anything else to prolong the life of any engine, and this is about the most important aspect of all lawn mower maintenance that we can do to ensure long engine life and reliability.
Use the correct grade of engine oil for your engine and for your climate, engine documentation will provide instructions on the best oil type to use.
Air Filter Clean Or Replacement
Remove and clean the air filter regularly. Whenever the air filter is beginning to not look clean any longer or is showing signs of any type of deterioration, it should be immediately replaced. Or otherwise replaced anyway at a regular interval to ensure that there is absolutely no chance of contaminants entering the carburettor.
Mower Blade Sharpen Or Replacement
Sharp lawn mower blades give a clean finish to lawns from lawn mowing and also ensure that any grass clippings are effectively thrown into the catcher.
Single or double bar lawn mower blades are usually sharpened.
The alternative mower blade system where smaller individual blades are attached to a disc on some lawn mower types, will require changing the two to four blades all at the same time when they appear to look damaged or worn out in any way. All nuts, bolts and washers that are used to attach the blades to the disc are also most importantly changed every single time the mower blades are changed.
Spark Plug Replacement
For modern high quality engines, the spark plug will not need to be changed regularly, as the quality of modern engines has improved incredibly over recent years. Be sure to check your engine documentation for specific advice or instructions in regard to spark plug replacement on your lawn mower, as your engine manufacturer may advize specific time periods to change these plugs.
Lubricate Throttle Cables
This may or may not be necessary for your particular lawn mower, so please check your mower documentation for advice and instructions.
Some types of throttle cables may require lubrication of some sort, usually with a spray type of lubricant. Other cables will not require lubrication. Be aware of this aspect of lawn mower maintenance and be sure to check mower documentation for instructions if this maintenance is necessary for your mower type.
Clean The Mower Thoroughly
The mower deck should be thoroughly cleaned. Often a bucket of hot water with detergent added will do the job while using a small soft hand broom to wash with. The mower handles and wheels can also be washed the same way.
Check the underside of the lawn mower for any built up gunk, where grass clippings and dirt have built up and hardened over time. These buildups should be scraped away and removed with a suitable instrument. A clean underside of the lawn mower will ensure high quality lawn mowing, as well as greatly helping to effectively catch grass clippings in the mower catcher.
Wiping down the top of the deck to remove excess water will help to reduce any possible rust issues developing over the years on any parts that can rust.
The mower catcher should also be washed clean, inside and out, and any built up gunk removed.
Self Drive Mechanism
If the mower has a self drive mechanism, this is usually externally washed clean with a hose, and is not lubricated. Be Sure to check your mower documentation for specific instructions regarding this aspect of mower maintenance.
It is unusual for most small home lawn mowers to require grease. Though your specific lawn mower may well do so. Once again, check mower documentation for your specific lawn mower.
Clean and Degrease Engine
The engine can usually be wiped clean with a damp cloth that is rinsed in warm water with detergent added. We should be careful that no water goes near the fuel or air filters.
A spray can of engine degreaser will help remove any oil around the engine and any oily buildup around the carburettor.
Summary - Follow Manufacturers Instructions
These are the general lawn mower maintenance routines which will be done by most of us for many lawn mower types, and these routines listed here should be used as a general guideline only.
There are many different types of lawn mower configurations and engine types, each may require something be done differently than what is mentioned in this general overview.
If your mower and engine documentation lists anything different to what is listed in this overview - IGNORE THE GENERAL GUIDELINES HERE, and FOLLOW MANUFACTURERS INSTRUCTIONS SPECIFICALLY.
Regular lawn mower maintenance is really very easy and something most of us can do. And maintaining our lawn mowers regularly is the very best thing we can do to avoid most engine breakdowns and ensure a long reliable life for our lawn mowers, and to ensure they always leave the lawn with the best finish possible, and remain easy to use due to reduced unnecessary wear.