4/27/2020 5:00:00 AM
Before you eagerly start your lawn mower for the first mow of the season, treat it to a little TLC. Whether you have a walk-behind, ride-on or zero-turn mower, these spring maintenance tips are essential for keeping your machine working well. Your mower will thank you with improved performance and more years of service.
Five Tips to Prepare Your Mower for Spring
1. Clean the Lawn Mower Engine
Grass, leaves, and other debris accumulate between engine parts, which can cause issues that lead to power loss or engine damage. Regularly checking and cleaning your engine is critical to maintaining your lawn mower’s performance – and your beloved lawn.
To remove debris and clean the engine, disconnect the spark plug lead, as the mower could accidentally start if the lead is left connected to the spark plug. Using a bristle brush, lightly scrape dirt from the flywheel fins, cooling fins, and blower housing. For greasy areas on the mower engine, use a degreaser and remove the residue with a cloth. After the engine is cleaned, reconnect the spark plug.
Refer to the lawn mower operator’s manual for additional engine maintenance guidelines and information on how often to clean the engine.
2. Change the Lawn Mower Engine Oil and Filters
Air FiltersAs you mow, the air filter keeps dirt out of the engine. Prior to each mowing season, inspect your lawn mower’s air filter to protect your engine from dirt and debris, and keep it running smoothly. If the air filter is clean it doesn’t need to be replaced, but if it is soiled or damaged, dispose of it and install a new filter. For instructions on removing and installing air filters, follow the engine manufacturer’s instructions in your operator’s manual.
Being diligent with oil changes helps the engine run more efficiently and extends the life of your lawn mower. The best time to change the oil in your lawn mower is when you’re preparing for the mowing season. It should also be changed at various intervals specified by the manufacturer in the operator’s manual. As a rule, if the oil is black or contains debris it needs to be changed. Also be sure to periodically check the oil levels throughout the season.
3. Clean the Lawn Mower Deck
Regularly cleaning underneath your lawn mower prevents buildup of grass, leaves and other debris in the mower deck. Excess organic material impacts mower performance and reduces blade effectiveness. We recommend cleaning your lawn mower deck each spring and periodically throughout the mowing season. For safety reasons, make sure your mower is turned off and batteries are disconnected while cleaning the deck.
4. Grease the Lawn Mower's Lubrication Points
Greasing moving parts on your lawn mower helps prevent rust and maintain its cut quality. Each lawn mower is different, so refer to your operator’s manual for a list of your lawn mower’s lubrication points. Use a cloth to wipe away any excess grease after addressing each lubrication point.
5. Check the Lawn Mower Parts
Over time, various parts on your lawn mower will become worn and need to be replaced, such as spark plugs, belts, and batteries. Follow the recommended part replacement intervals in your operator’s manual and purchase your replacement parts from the original equipment manufacturer. Here’s a checklist of some of the lawn mower parts that should be checked each year:
Not only does cutting your lawn with dull or damaged blades take more time, but it can also tear your grass, leaving it vulnerable to fungal growth or diseases that spread easily. Before checking your mower's blades, you will need to remove the mower deck. Follow the instructions in your operator's manual to safely remove the deck so you can access the blades. Then, carefully remove the blades on your lawn mower as instructed in your manual. If your blade is chipped, cracked, or bent, it needs to be replaced. Sharp and balanced blades provide better cut quality, reducing the need to mow the same area twice.
Handling mower blades can be dangerous for inexperienced individuals, so we recommend taking your lawn mower to a professional. Call your nearest Ariens dealer to schedule a service appointment and have the blades replaced.
Spark PlugsSpark plugs help increase your lawn mower’s fuel efficiency and maintain its engine performance. With proper winter storage, spark plugs do not need to be replaced often. If the spark plug is dirty or the engine is not running properly it should be replaced. Consult your operator’s manual for guidelines on removing and replacing spark plugs.
Damaged or loose belts can cause damage to your lawn mower. Thoroughly inspect all belts on your mower and replace belts that are excessively worn, cracked, or twisted.
Inspect and charge batteries that have been sitting idle while your lawn mower was in storage. . Replace any batteries that are showing signs of wear or cannot hold a charge. If you’re unsure how to change the battery in your zero-turn, we break it down in this video.
Properly inflated tires ensure that your lawn mower cuts evenly. Check the pressure of each tire and inflate them equally. If any of the tires are extra worn or damaged, replace them.
Get Your Lawn Mower Ready for Spring
A great mowing season starts in the garage. This maintenance checklist will help you identify problems before they cause damage, extend the life of your lawn mower, and ensure a hassle-free mowing season.