A rough-running, poor-cutting lawnmower makes the job of keeping the yard neat and tidy a lot more time consuming. While it does need a professional service every few years, you can keep the lawnmower in shape yourself with just a couple of hours’ work.
Give it a once-over in spring to keep rust away, blades sharp and the engine running smoothly.
1. Empty old petrol
If you won’t be using the mower for a few weeks, empty the petrol by tipping the machine or using an old turkey baster, and let it run dry. Work in a ventilated area away from sparks and flame. Clean spills immediately, store petrol in approved sealed containers and dispose of old fuel appropriately.
2. Change the oil regularly
Most new mowers run on a petrol- oil mix (25:1 or 20:1) and don’t need oil changes. Mowers with oil reservoirs should have an oil change every three months. Run the mower for a few minutes then disconnect the spark plug and drain the oil. Check the level between changes and top up.
3. Change the spark plug
A new spark plug can improve how the engine starts and runs, and it’s a good idea to replace it every spring. New plugs are factory-set with a small gap between the electrodes at the tip. If there’s no gap, the plug is damaged. TIP Most socket wrench sets include spark-plug wrenches.
4. Sharpen blades and refill
For best results, sharpen blades a couple of times a year using a mill bastard file or grinder. Add petrol and oil (separately or pre-mixed) before mowing.
TIP Always disconnect the spark-plug wire from the spark plug before reaching under the mower.