It’s the same every year! The end of winter is signaled by longer days, budding trees and the return of the dawn chorus. It is also the time of year that our thoughts start turning to the need to begin tending to our lawn again. Grass that has laid dormant over winter is now beginning to grow and those dreaded weeds are reappearing with gusto! So, how do we best prepare our lawn mower for the upcoming lawn mowing season?
Prepare Your Lawn
It might seem strange that in order to prepare your lawn mower you should first concentrate on your lawn. This is because over winter, particularly if it has been a cold one, rocks and stones could have migrated through your soil to the surface of your lawn.
Walk around your garden and remove any objects that are likely to interfere with your mower. It only takes a small rock to chip the cutting blade of your lawn mower.
Prepare Your Lawn Mower
First thing after winter is to remove the mower from the store, clean it ready for work. After cleaning, you must confirm that all the moving parts are in good condition and operational, the moving parts should be lubricated by applying grease or other lubricants as directed by your manual.
Check the Cutting Blade
Make sure you clean the underside of the lawn mower to ensure there is nothing obstructing the turning blade. For gas powered mowers consult the owners manual to ensure you turn your mower over the correct way; failure to do this could result in a flooded engine or worse.
Inspection Checks for Electric Mowers
There are a couple of simple checks that you can perform before starting up your electric mower for the first time this season.
Unravel the electric cable by feeding the cable through your closed hand. You are looking and feeling for damaged sections of the lead. If the lead appears kinked or the inner wires are exposed then you must replace the entire lead. Never operate an electrical device when the power cord is damaged.
Check the underside of the mower to ensure there are no foreign objects present that could damage the blade – you would be surprised at what can collect underneath a lawn mower over the winter period!
Inspection Tasks for Gas Powered Mowers
If you are unsure whether you are able to complete the following tasks then we recommend paying for a qualified mechanic to perform the annual servicing on your lawn mower.
However, for the mechanically minded the following tasks are relatively straight forward and when completed will help a rough running mower to perform much better;
- Remove any old fuel that has been left in the tank (for gas powered mowers only) and replace with new. Old fuel does not burn efficiently and may clog up the filter in your mower.
- Check the oil by removing the dipstick, cleaning it and then reinserting. Remove once again and check to make sure the oil is not a black smudgy mess. If it is then it is time to replace the oil. Consult your owners manual for guidance on how this is to be accomplished and the grade of oil that should be used.
- Check the spark plug for oil or burnt carbon deposits. If either exist then it is best to replace the plug as well. Again, consult your owners manual for the correct type of plug that you will need to buy.
- Remove the air filter and check to make sure that it is not clogged with oil and dirt. Clean it with an appropriate cleaner, dry and replace. Never operate a lawn mower without a filter as you will damage the engine.
The next thing to consider is the blade. Physically look at the blade and make sure the cutting edge is smooth and free of damage. Stones and rocks will chip the blade making it less effective at cutting your grass. If the blade is dull looking then you may need to sharpen it; it is best to remove the blade and take to your local mower mechanic who will sharpen it for you.
If the blade is badly damaged then remove it and replace with a new one.
By undertaking these simple tasks just prior to spring you will help to ensure that your lawn mower is running the most efficiently it can. A lawn mower that is operating efficiently is a lawn mower that will cut your grass in the quickest manner without breaking down and causing you a headache.