How To Perform A Spring Tune-Up On Your Lawn Mower


You might not realize it, but a lawn mower requires routine tune-ups just like a car does.  By taking care of your lawn mower you can make it run better and make it last a lot longer. Your mower should get a  tune-up each spring. Although, if you don’t mow your  lawn a lot and store it indoors during the winter months,  it’s safe to skip a season.

There are just three primary steps to preparing your lawn mower for a season that is hassle free!  You need to change the oil, change or at least clean the air filter and spark plug. You don’t even need a lot of time or tools to keep your mower running it’s best. Before you do any work to the mower, it’s always a good idea to remove the spark plug wire. While it’s extremely unlikely that the lawn mower will just start all by itself, it’s better to be safe.

  • It’s crucial that you choose the right oil and air filters for your specific model. It’s also very important that you gap the spark plug at the correct specification. Spark plugs are suppose to be already gapped when they come from the factory, but you should check to make sure that it’s correctly gapped   for your specific  lawn mower. If you don’t have a spark plug gapping tool you can purchase one for just a few dollars.

  • You can find all the specifications for your lawn mower in your owners manual. If you don’t have a manual, you can check for the information online, or talk to a salesperson. Before you remove the spark plug, take the time to clean any debris from around it. You can use an old rag, or a small brush. Just make sure that there’s not any dirt or dead grass that will fall inside the motor when you remove the plug.
  • You’ll need a socket wrench and a deep well socket to remove the old spark plug. If the plug is rusted and it’s hard to turn, spray some lubricant on it and let it sit awhile. Use the gapping tool to check the new spark plug just to be sure that it’s gapped at the correct position. When you insert the new plug, just screw it in until it’s sung. I doesn’t need to be really tight, if you tighten it too much it will break.

There are two types of air filters, paper or foam. If you’re not sure which type your mower uses, remove it before you go purchase a new one. To replace a paper filter, you just need to remove the filter cover. Remove the old air filter and clean the filter tank with a old rag. When you insert the new filter make sure that you set it so that the pleats are facing outward.

  • A foam air filter is actually inside an air filter unit, all you need to do is to unscrew the cover by hand. The entire unit is removable and you should go ahead and clean it thoroughly while you have it off. Usually a small amount of kerosene will easily remove any sludge that has collected on the unit. Soak the new filter in clean oil and squeeze out any excess oil. Place the filter in the unit and screw the cover back on.
  • The very first thing you should do before you change the oil is to clean any debris or dirt off of the oil tank. You can use an old toothbrush, or a rag, you just want to make sure that no foreign objects can fall into the tank. There is a small oil plug located at the bottom of the tank. Place a container under the tank and loosen the plug. You can remove the dip stick to allow air to force all of the old oil out of the tank.
  • If the oil is really thick and dirty, clean the dip stick and the drain plug before replacing them.  When you replace the drain plug, just tighten it until it fits snuggly. Although a lot of  lawn mowers don’t have an oil filter, some models do. If your mower has an oil filter you’ll want to make sure that you change it when you change the oil.
  • There are two different types of oil filters, a canister filter and a filter similar to the oil filter on your car. A canister type filter will be located inside a housing with one bolt at the center to hold it in place. Remove the bolt and let the housing drop just enough to remove the old filter. Insert the new filter into  the housing and replace the bolt. If it has a screw on oil filter,  simply twist the old one  off and screw the new one in place.
  • If you had the lawn mower sitting on blocks, remove them before filling the mower with oil so that it will be sitting level. Add the clean oil and start the mower to let it run for a little while. Check around the oil filter and the oil tank to make sure that there’s not any oil leaks. If you do see oil leaking from around the areas, tighten them a little at a time until it stops leaking.

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About the Author: Jason Prickett loves to write about home maintenance and stuff you can do yourself instead of hiring any professional. His step by step guides will assist you in completing your home maintenance tasks.

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