Getting Your Lawn Mower Ready for Spring

HELLO, SPRING! We don’t know about you, but here at Runnings, we’re excited that it’s almost time to break out the blankets and picnic baskets and enjoy some springtime fun outside. Now that winter is over, we can finally fire up the grill and invite the neighbors over for some hot burgers and cold beverages and some backyard fun in the sun!

But, every perfect barbecue needs a perfect lawn, which means it’s time to get the lawn mower running. Follow our list of maintenance tips to get your lawn mower ready for action!

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1. Start with Safety

Before you perform any maintenance, it’s important that you first disconnect the spark wire, especially when you’re tending to the mower blades. We don’t want any trips to the emergency room!

2. Run a General Inspection

Inspect your lawn mower from head to toe and take a general inventory of parts that need to be replaced or cleaned. Check all surfaces, re-tighten screws and nuts, and inspect your tires and wheels.

Don’t be afraid to consult with the owner’s manual to create a proper game plan for maintenance and ensure safe usage of your mower. Double-check to make sure you have all the tools you’ll need to get started.
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3. Change the Fuel

If you’ve already performed the proper procedures for storing your lawn mower during the winter, you shouldn’t have any fuel leftover in the tank. But, such is life – we’ve all made mistakes!

Dump out any fuel that has been sitting longer than 30 days; it can cause trouble for your carburetor. While you’re at it, be sure to check the fuel filter as well.

Next, consult with your owner’s manual for fuel filter recommendations while also checking the correct type and quantity of replacement fuel to use. Taking care to ensure that you have the right fuel will help you increase the longevity of your mower.

4. Replace the Oil

You’ll know if your oil needs to be replaced, as oil changes color over time. And unlike a fine wine, oil does NOT get better with age. Consult with your owner’s manual for the right type of oil and quantity – running your lawn mower on low oil will burn out your engine, but filling it up with too much will damage its seals!

When you’re ready to replace the oil, remove the plug and drain the oil into a separate container. When you’re finished, replace the plug.

5. Clean or Replace the Air Filters

Over time, air filters will get clogged up with dust, pollen, and dirt. It’s important to keep your air filters clean – these handy tools prevent debris from entering your carburetor, thus allowing your lawn mower to run smooth and purr like a kitten.

If you have a foam air filter, give it a good cleaning with soap and warm water. When you’re finished, bring the air filter inside to let it air dry away from dirt and debris. If you have a paper air filter, go ahead and replace it with a new one- and of course, your local Runnings can help you with that!

6. Sharpen the Mower Blades

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – always double-check to make sure your spark wire is disconnected before doing any maintenance on your blades! (Seriously folks, it has happened before- and you can’t point the finger at someone else if you lose it to your mower blades!)

Now that your spark wire is taken care of, it’s time to sharpen your blades. Dull blades can rip and shred your grass, creating a brown, dingy look in your lawn. On top of that, dull blades will force your engine and belts to work twice as hard, which means you’ll have fun taking twice as long to mow your lawn.

Check to see if there are any nicks or dents on the blades’ cutting edges. If so, they’ll need to be replaced. Runnings carries a variety of OEM and replacement blades.

If not, go ahead and start sharpening. If this is your first time sharpening mower blades, you can always head into your closest Runnings to get a feel of how it’s done.

7. Run a Good, Thorough Cleaning

While your blades are still removed, now is a good time to give your lawn mower a good cleaning. Tip your mower over and turn your garden hose – with your Melnor®  AquaFloTitanium™ Series Heavy-Duty Metal Fireman’s Nozzle – to its strongest setting to spray off all grass and debris that have stuck to the underside of your mower deck.

Once you’ve given the underside a good spray down, grab a wet cloth and run through every nook and cranny of your lawn mower. Check the crevices and wipe around the engine and wheels. If you have a moment, take the time to wax your mower’s deck – this will prevent grass from sticking to the mower and save you time in the long-run.

8. Lubricate All Moving Parts

We’re almost done – now it’s time to lubricate! Poor lubrication creates friction and excess heat in your mower, which will damage its parts. Dip a rag in lubricant oil – you can order some from our website here – and wipe down the wheel bearings and additional moving parts. Be sure to remove any excess oil from your mower – you don’t want to attract extra dirt.

9. Check the Spark Plugs

Once you’ve completed all other maintenance, give your spark plugs a good, thorough run through. Check to see if there is any damage or corrosion from rust – if there is, you’ll need to replace them with new ones. (Don’t worry- new spark plugs are inexpensive and easy to install. Generally speaking, spark plugs should be replaced at least once a season – we’ve got plenty handy here at Runnings.) Be sure to keep your owner’s manual handy for proper installation instructions.

Now, if you don’t need to replace your spark plugs, be sure to still give them a good cleaning with a dry cloth. A clean set of spark plugs will ensure your lawn mower runs nice and smooth.

And that’s it, folks! We hope this guide was helpful and gets you ready for months of hassle-free grass-cutting! Don’t forget to post pics of your favorite backyard looks to the Runnings Facebook page!