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When your lawnmower has been tucked away all winter, it needs a little bit of care before the mowing seasons begins. With the proper TLC now, you’ll have a well-functioning machine all summer long, not to mention a beautifully cut lawn!

Safety First

It should go without saying that your mower is turned off when you work on it. Wear safety glasses and protective gloves to guard against debris and accidental cuts.

Owner’s Manual

You’ve still got yours, right? It will have all the details on how to keep your machine properly tuned. If you no longer have your manual, check your manufacturer’s web site. You might be able to download a copy there. You can also check a site like YouTube for lawnmower maintenance tutorials. Doing your own maintenance is a real money saver!

Cleaning

Remove any clippings and waste under the mower and on the blades with a stiff bristle brush or plastic scraper – no sharp objects that can scratch and lead to rusting. While you’re under there, check out the blades. If they’re dull, remove and sharpen them with a metal file or take them to a hardware store for sharpening.  Badly nicked blades should be replaced. Sharp blades are essential for the clean cuts that keep your lawn healthy.

Oil and gas

Drain and change both the oil and gas. With usage, oil becomes dirty and loses its effectiveness as a lubricant, which can damage engine parts. Gasoline starts breaking down at around 30 days. Old gas can leave engine residue that hurts performance and can even keep your mower from turning over. Start with fresh oil and gas in the spring and all you have to do is top them off throughout the summer.

Spark plugs

Look for rust and corrosion around your spark plugs. If you see any bad stuff like that, your plugs will either need to be cleaned or replaced. Either way, make sure they are refitted properly to ensure your mower works as it should. And, check the plugs periodically throughout the mowing season.

Additional maintenance

For more ways to optimize your machine, check your manual for maintenance instructions on belts, air filters, carburetors, and other engine parts. A little pre-season attention to these steps will make your lawn chores easier, keep your turf in great shape, and add years of life to your mower!