It’s been a few months since you’ve pulled the lawn mower out of storage and put it to work. And it will be a few more months before you put it away. Many of us worry only about maintaining our lawn equipment in the spring and fall, but you should also be maintaining it during the summer to avoid any issues. If you haven’t tightened a bolt since April, this weekend is the right time to give your mower a good look-over. Here are the five most important summer maintenance steps to take care of over the weekend:
- Under the Deck – Wearing a pair of gloves, remove the blade from your lawn mower. Clean the blade off, check it for rust. While the blade is removed, use a putty knife to scrape the underside of the deck, removing as much grass build-up as possible. If the blade needs sharpening, you can sharpen it yourself or take it to get sharpened. If you have a large yard, there’s a good chance you’ll need to get it sharpened, but a small suburban or urban yard shouldn’t need sharpening.
- Oil and Fuel System – You should change your oil in your mower every 40-50 hours of operation, so again, a mower that is used for a small yard shouldn’t need attention, but a mower that cuts a large yard might need it. If you haven’t used fuel stabilizer since you put your mower away for the winter, now’s the time to add it to the tank with a fuel top-up.
- Air Filter – Particularly if your lawn is full of high weeds, you might have quite a bit of debris that has been sucked into the air filter or into the cooling fins. Cleaning these out, and replacing an air filter that is really dirty, will allow the cooling system to continue to be efficient as the temperature rises.
- Nuts and Bolts – The vibration of a lawn mower during use, plus having to roll over rough terrain on a regular basis, can cause nuts, bolts, and other fasteners to work themselves loose over time. Loose nuts and bolts can cause safety issues and performance issues, and possibly leading to long-term problems. Simply going over the mower and giving all of the fasteners a tightening is a big step during the middle of mowing season.
- Safety Systems – You never want to let your safety systems on your mower slide – it can be the difference between a successful day in the and a trip to the hospital. Make sure that the safety shields and flaps are securely fastened and not damaged, to prevent debris from kicking up and hitting the user or someone else in the lawn.
So get your mower out and make sure to give it some are this weekend – or next, if your lawn needs some immediate care. The best weekends for doing it will be the dog days of summer that are approaching it, when you don’t want to be out in the yard sweating.