Servicing a lawn mower will extend it's life span considerably while maintaining ease of use and reliability over the life of the machine. It's an essential aspect of owning a lawn mower and really isn't something that's at all difficult for the homeowner to do themselves.
Spring is generally the best time of year for lawn mower servicing. The grass is beginning to grow again and it's a good reminder that it's time to take care of our machines to ensure another season of dependable use, and ensuring a long life for the mower.
Some mower maintenance will need to be done more frequently.
The lawn mower should be hosed down at the end of each service, ensuring all grass is removed from beneath the mower and it's wheels. This not only prevents any onset of rust on steel parts, but also removes a lot of grit which could otherwise lodge in bearings and other parts which would shorten the life of the machine. Ensure the lawn mower is as dry as possible before packing it away in the shed.
For properties which create a lot of dust, dirt or debris during lawn mowing, then the air filter should also be regularly checked and cleaned. This may be necessary after each lawn mowing depending on the property. Most air filters can be easily removed and simply tapped on a hard surface to clean.
The lawn mower should first be cleaned. A bucket of soapy water and a household brush (small broom) are usually very effective for most of the body. Degreaser should be sprayed onto the engine and any other areas where grease or oil have built up. Carburettors often build up a film of spent fuel which will also need some attention with degreaser. Any debris lodged in the engine cooling fins should be completely removed.
A regular oil change will dramatically improve engine longevity. Most lawn mower engines will not have a drain plug and are usually emptied of their spent oil by removing the filler plug and tilting the lawn mower on it's side.
Lawn Mower engines require a specific oil type which is different than for car engines. Be sure to check the User Manual for the specific oil type for your engine, as well as quantities to use for refilling.
The air filter is vitally important to stop dust and debris from entering the carburettor and engine of the lawn mower. A few dollars for a new air filter each year can literally extend the life of the engine by years and save hundreds of dollars on repair bills or having to replace lawn mowers or engines.
The air filer is easily replaced by swapping it over with the new one. Be sure the area holding the air filter is cleaned at the same time as replacement.
A nice new, clean plug will ensure quick starting, smooth running and prevent overheating or stalling of the engine. It's usually a very cheap part to purchase and swap over and well worth servicing the mower properly and fully.
Be sure to add a little engine oil around the thread of the plug so it can be easily removed at the next service. Spark plugs have been known to freeze into place if left for too long between changes, and a little oil prevents this.
Your particular lawn mower may have specific oil or grease points which require attention at each service. Check your owners manual for any instructions regarding this.
Some moving parts are good to lubricate when servicing to ensure the long and useful life of the lawn mower. These can include adding a thin film of grease where the handles separate to be folded down, and oiling the bolts which hold the foldable section in place. A little grease around the height adjuster and it's tension spring are also a good idea.
The throttle cable should be able to have some lubricant spray such as WD40 or RP7 applied to it so as it can move down the cable to keep it operating smoothly without seizing over time.
Your mower may have other small movable parts which should also be lubricated at the same time as servicing. Take a careful look over the machine and grease, oil or spray where required.
That's it. Your lawn mower is now ready for another season of reliable lawn mowing in your lawn care endeavours, and may literally save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in repair and replacement costs over the years.