If you own a house with a lawn, then after the dog, your lawnmower is your best friend. But, like any other machine it wears out over time. According to the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, a lawnmower is replaced every six years.
However, if you pamper it and perform regular maintenance it can last a whole lot longer. Remembering to do simple things on a regular basis can mean the difference in having a working lawnmower or spending as much as $50 to $75 an hour to repair it. When it comes time to replace your present lawnmower, you should expect to pay as much as $300 to $600 for a new one.
One major thing you can do to save your lawnmower from harm is to remove tree stumps, and move bricks or other obstacles that could get in the way as you mow the lawn. This will protect your lawnmower from sudden demise. Such obstacles as a stump, brick or other hard object can actually break the mower’s blade.
Another thing you can do is come up with a seasonal maintenance program that becomes a routine as winter turns to spring, spring becomes summer, and summer fades away into fall.
Here are suggestions for what a seasonal maintenance program could look like.
When Mowing Season Begins
Six things you can do to assure good, reliable performance of your lawnmower as the cutting season begins is to follow these recommendations.
· If you have a four-stroke gas mower, check the dipstick to determine if the oil level is at or near the full mark. If not, add more, but don’t overfill it.
· If you own a mower with a two-stroke engine, prepare a mixture of fresh gasoline and two-cycle oil in accordance to the ratio recommended by the owners’ manual and put it into the machine.
· Hose and scrape off old clippings from beneath the mowing deck. The scraping can be done with a plastic putty knife and should be performed immediately after the mower is used. This assures that clippings do not dry and thus remain on the deck, which makes them harder to remove. Clippings that are caked on to the undercarriage can adversely affect mulching and bagging because it affects airflow. Clippings can also corrode metal decks.
· Inspect the mower’s pull starter cord. If it is damaged, replace it.
· Check an electric mower’s power cord and replace if damaged.
· Sharpen the mower’s blade if you didn’t do it when preparing the machine for winter storage. The blade should be sharpened at least once each mowing season so that it cuts the grass evenly and doesn’t tear it.
During the Mowing Season
There are four things you can do during the period when you are mowing in your yearly lawnmower maintenance program.
· Hose and scrape old clippings from beneath the deck.
· Remove grass and debris from a gas engine’s cooling fins, engine cover, and air-intake screen. This should be done after each use of the mower to avoid overheating of the engine.
· If your mower has a manual engine-speed control, make certain it is properly adjusted.
· Often check belts and chain drives for wear and tightness.
Storing the Mower Before Winter
Here are six tips to perform as you prepare your mower for winter storage.
· Add stabilizer to a gas mower’s fuel tank and let the engine run until the fuel runs out.
· Remove the gas engine’s spark plug and pour an ounce of oil into the cylinder. Slowly pull the starter cord to assure that the oil is distributed through the moving parts and then reinstall the plug.
· Replace the spark plug about every four years and sharpen the blade.
· If your gas engine carburetor’s air filter is made of paper, replace it. If the air filter is foam, then wash it with soap and water, rinse and squeeze it dry, then apply engine oil, squeeze dry again, and then reinstall.
· Remove old engine oil and pour in new oil on four-stroke engine mowers and properly dispose of the old oil.
· Store the lawnmower in a dry, ventilated place. If it sits on a concrete floor, put plastic under the mower to prevent moisture from corroding the deck.