Tune up for a cool break

The turf grows slowly in winter meaning you do not need to trim grass as much (or maybe even not at all depending on your lawn). Take advantage of turf down time by giving the mower a tune up.

Clean and change parts

Remove clippings by hosing down the mower and leaving to dry thoroughly in the sun to avoid rust. Check the blade housing for parts that need tightening or replacing.

Change the sparkplug plus air, fuel and oil filters. You could do this in spring but if you do it now the mower is ready when you need it.

TIP Disconnect the sparkplug lead before reaching under the mower.

Storing the mower

Open the drain valve on the carburettor bowl and empty the fuel into a container. Spray the mower with WD40, $4 from hardware stores, cover with plastic and store in a dry place.

Sharpen the blades

Remove the blade and align a mill file with the angle of the blade, pushing it down and across, maintaining the angle all the way.

If you’re an experienced DIYer clamp the blade in a vice and use an angle grinder aligned to the blade angle, applying pressure to sharpen.

TIP Mark the blade on the cutting side to reinstall it the right way.

Mower fuel

Choose petrol that doesn’t contain ethanol. Recent reports show that E10 petrol damages older mowers. The ethanol is more volatile than petrol, evaporating rapidly, ruining fuel tanks and lines, making the mower run badly or with a gummed-up engine or carburettor.

spark plug, handyman magazine,
Disconnect the sparkplug lead before changing the air, fuel and oil filters

spark club, handyman magazine,
Clamp the mower blade in a vice and use an angle grinder to sharpen it

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