Lawn Mower Maintenance: The Complete Guide for Grass Cutters

Tuesday, January 17, 2023
Discover the best practices for maintaining your lawn mower and achieving a lush, healthy lawn.

From the joys (?!) of mowing to the importance of regular maintenance, our guide covers it all. Learn how to keep your lawn mower running at its best and make mowing a breeze.

Don't let a poorly maintained lawn mower ruin your gardening experience. Follow our expert tips and tricks to make lawn mowing a pleasure.

Master the art of lawn mower maintenance and take the first step to achieving the perfect lawn!

guide to lawn mower maintenance

Maintaining a lawn mower is crucial to ensure it runs smoothly and efficiently.

Here are three really important things to monitor to help keep your lawn mower in top condition:

  1. Oil: Use a high-quality, four-cycle engine oil with an API service rating of SF, SG, SH, SJ or higher. SAE 30 oil is recommended for temperatures above 32 degrees Fahrenheit and SAE 5W-30 for temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Check the oil level before each use and add oil as needed.
  2. Blade: The blade should be sharpened at least once a year, or more often if you notice it's not cutting the grass as effectively. Use a file or a blade sharpener to sharpen the blade
  3. Spark Plug: Check the spark plug every 100 hours of use or at least once a year. If the electrode is worn or the insulator is cracked, it's time to replace the spark plug. Use a spark plug with the correct heat range for your mower's engine.
General Maintenance tips:
  • Keep the air filter clean to ensure the engine is getting enough air.
  • Check the fuel filter and replace if necessary.
  • Check the fuel lines for cracks or leaks.
  • Check the carburetor for clogs and clean as needed.
  • Check the belts for cracks or fraying and replace if needed.
  • Keep the deck clean and free of debris.
  • If you have a ride on, check the tires for proper inflation.
By following these tips and tricks, you can ensure that your lawn mower runs smoothly and efficiently all season long. Remember to always refer to your mower's owner's manual for specific maintenance instructions.

What are the best oils to use in a gas lawnmower?

The best oils to use with a petrol lawnmower are high-quality, four-cycle engine oils with an API service rating of SF, SG, SH, SJ or higher.

The most common types of oil used for lawnmowers are SAE 30 and SAE 5W-30.

  • SAE 30: This oil is recommended for temperatures above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. It is a thicker oil that provides better lubrication at higher temperatures. It is suitable for use in most lawnmowers.
  • SAE 5W-30: This oil is recommended for temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. It is a thinner oil that flows more easily at lower temperatures. It also provides better cold weather starting and protection than SAE 30 oil.
It is important to check the owner's manual of your lawnmower to know the recommended oil type to use. Always be sure to use a high-quality, four-cycle engine oil with an API service rating of SF, SG, SH, SJ or higher.

It is important to note that you should never use a two-cycle oil (two stroke) in a four-cycle engine (four stroke), and vice versa. Two-cycle oil is designed to be mixed with gasoline, while four-cycle oil is not. Using the wrong type of oil can cause serious damage to your lawnmower's engine.

How to sharpen a lawnmower blade safely

First, make sure the lawnmower is turned off and the spark plug wire is disconnected to prevent accidental starting.

Then, use a block of wood to prop up one side of the mower deck so that the blade is exposed.

Use a file or grinder to sharpen the blade, making sure to keep your fingers and other body parts away from the cutting edge.

Balance the blade by using a blade balancer or by holding it vertically and checking for any wobbling.

Once finished, reattach the blade and reconnect the spark plug wire.

When should I change the spark plug in a petrol lawnmower?

Spark plugs in a petrol lawnmower should be changed every season or every 100 hours of use, whichever comes first.

To change the spark plug:

  • Locate the spark plug, which is usually located near the top of the engine on the side opposite the air filter.
  • Use a spark plug socket or an adjustable wrench to remove the spark plug.
  • Take note of the gap on the old spark plug and make sure to get a new spark plug with the same gap or adjust the gap on the new spark plug.
  • Screw in the new spark plug by hand to avoid cross-threading.
  • Tighten the spark plug with the spark plug socket or adjustable wrench, but be careful not to overtighten.
  • Replace the spark plug cap back to its standard position, ensuring it is properly connected.
  • Finally, check the gap again to ensure it is correct.
Boom! Your engine will be ripping up and down the yard in no time. 

How to properly store a lawnmower in the 'off-season'

A lawn mower should be stored in a dry, protected area such as a garage or shed. Before storing, it's important to follow these steps:

  • Drain the fuel: Run the engine until it runs out of fuel, or use a fuel stabilizer to keep the fuel fresh.
  • Clean the mower: Remove any clippings or debris from the mower deck and blades.
  • Change the oil: If the oil is dirty or has been used for an extended period of time, it should be changed before storage.
  • Check the air filter: Clean or replace the air filter as necessary.
  • Sharpen or replace the blade: A dull blade can damage the mower and make it less effective, so it's important to have a sharp blade.
  • Using a cover can help protect your lawn mower from dust, dirt and other environmental elements, especially if you're storing it outside. This will help keep it in good condition and ready for use when you need it next.
  • It is important to ensure that the mower is completely dry before covering it, as moisture can cause rust and other damage. Also, the cover should be made of a durable, weather-resistant material to protect it from the elements.
run down lawn mower

How to get the best out of your lawn mower on lawns day

To mow a backyard grass lawn efficiently, follow these steps:

  1. Mow when the grass is dry: It is easier to cut dry grass and it also helps to reduce the chance of clumping. Avoid mowing when the grass is wet or has just been watered.
  2. Mow at the right height: Different grass types have different ideal mowing heights, so check the recommended height for your specific grass type. Generally, it is recommended to mow the lawn when it reaches 3-4 inches high, and never remove more than 1/3 of the blade length in a single mowing.
  3. Use the right mower: Use a lawn mower that is appropriate for your lawn size and grass type. If you have a small lawn, a manual reel mower may be sufficient. If you have a large lawn, a gas-powered mower would be more efficient.
  4. Mow in the right pattern: Start by mowing the perimeter of your lawn, then mow in a back-and-forth pattern, making sure to overlap your passes slightly. This will ensure that you cover the entire lawn and avoid missed spots.
  5. Keep the blades sharp: A sharp blade will make mowing easier and give a cleaner cut to the grass. Also, it will reduce the stress on the engine, and it will make the mower more energy efficient.
  6. Dispose of the clippings: Grass clippings can be left on the lawn as long as they are not too thick. However, if the clippings are too thick, it is best to remove them to prevent the lawn from being smothered.
  7. Check the weather forecast: Avoid mowing when the weather is too hot, as this can stress the grass and make it more susceptible to disease. Try to mow when the temperature is cooler, such as in the early morning or evening.

How to best use a lawn mower for making mulch

To make mulch using a lawn mower, you will need a mower with a mulching capability, which is typically a mower with a special mulching blade and a mulching deck.

Start by mowing your lawn as you normally would, but make sure to set the mower's deck to its highest setting. This will allow the grass clippings to be cut into small pieces.

Once the grass is cut, lower the deck to its mulching setting and mow the lawn again. The mulching blade will chop the grass clippings into smaller pieces, which will break down faster and become mulch more quickly.

Repeat the process until you have mowed the entire lawn. The small pieces of grass clippings will fall back onto the lawn, where they will decompose and become natural mulch.

Leave the mulch on the lawn to decompose naturally. The mulch will help to retain moisture and provide nutrients to the soil, which will help the lawn to grow healthier and stronger.

If you want to use the mulch for other purposes, such as for a flower bed, you can collect it with a rake and deposit it where you wish. 

It is important to note that mowing too short or too frequently can damage your lawn, making it more prone to diseases and pests, it is also important to check the weather forecast and avoid mowing when the weather is too hot, as this can stress the grass and make it more susceptible to disease. Try to mow when the temperature is cooler, such as in the early morning or evening.

What about battery powered lawn mowers, how do I keep them ticking over nicely?

Battery-powered or cordless lawn mowers are becoming increasingly popular due to their convenience and ease of use.

However, to ensure that your cordless lawn mower performs well and lasts for a long time, it is important to follow these maintenance tips:
  • A sharp blade will make mowing easier and give a cleaner cut to the grass. It will also reduce the stress on the motor and make the mower more energy efficient.
  • Remove any clippings or debris from the mower deck and blades after each use.
  • Charge the battery correctly: Always use the charger that came with the lawn mower and follow the manufacturer's instructions for charging. Overcharging or undercharging the battery can shorten its lifespan.
  • Store the battery correctly: When the mower is not in use, store the battery in a cool, dry place. Avoid storing the battery in extreme temperatures, as this can cause damage.
  • Keep an eye on the battery's performance: Over time, the battery may lose its ability to hold a charge. If this happens, it may be time to replace the battery.
  • Check and clean the air filter: Clean or replace the air filter as necessary. A dirty air filter can reduce the mower's performance.
  • Keep the wheels and deck in good condition: Check the wheels for wear and damage, and lubricate them if necessary. The deck should also be cleaned and lubricated to reduce friction and improve the cutting performance.
  • Always read the owner's manual and follow the manufacturer's instructions for maintaining your cordless lawn mower.
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