Spring Lawnmower Maintenance – Start it on the 1st pull!

What LAWN MOWER maintenance should you be doing in the Spring?
It is a lovely day in the Spring, and you retrieve your lawnmower from storage for the season’s first cut. You yank, yank and yank the cord several times and swear, but it does not start. To make matters worse, the service shop asks you to wait for weeks before it can be repaired.

Do not allow this frustrating situation to happen to you. Do not also assume that if the lawnmower is running well in late fall, that it will easily start in the Spring. Several things can go wrong with your lawnmower to make it sluggish is the Spring. All your mower needs is some TLC before you start it up in the Spring.

Like a hibernating bear waking up from a long Winter’s nap…your lawnmower needs fresh fuel, fluids, and room to breath!

Spring Lawnmower Maintenance

Clean it off.

You may not have cleaned your lawn mower in the Fall. If you did…great job. If you didn’t – then it is a good practice to clean it before you start it up for your 1st mow

  • Clean the top deck.
  • Remove any excess grass clipping.
  • Unclog it from any belts. Make sure they are tight and not dry rotting.
  • Clean dust and leaves from around the engine. It has to breathe and can’t do so if there it is really dirty. You should do this a few times per year.

Replace the gas with new, higher octane gas

Chances are you didn’t Winterize your lawnmower and did not add fuel stabilizer. If this is the case then you need to remove the remaining gas in the tank.

Don’t dump it on the grass…it will kill your grass

  • Use a vacuum pump to remove the fuel. You will need it next to remove the old oil.
  • This pump makes keeping fresh oil and fuel in your lawnmower, car, and other toys so much easier. It will pay for itself within 1 oil change and will extend the life of your engines much longer…since you will be doing more changes.
  • Add 89 or 91 octane (don’t go crazy with 94). You just want your mower to RUN, not overheat.

Check the oil and the spark plug. 

  • Replace if necessary
  • The oil is an essential component of a well-running mower. It should be examined before use, but it is generally changed annually. Place a drain container under the mower’s oil plug and then loosen the dipstick. Drain the oil and remove the oil filter. Pour out excess oil. Change the oil plug and then clean the area. The oil filter should also be replaced. Drain in fresh oil and replace the dipstick.
  • Run the mower’s engine for about a minute, then turn it off to allow enough cool-down time. Clean off any oil that may have spilled. The old oil should be disposed of appropriately. Some auto-service centers can dispose of the oil at a fee. Consult local regulations for other disposing options.
  • Evaluate the oil level when the engine has cooled. Over-filling can trigger performance issues so the oil level should be appropriate.
  • You can additionally inspect the spark plug. Look for stubborn deposits, burnt electrodes, or cracked porcelain. If you spot such issues, it is wise to replace the plug.

Change the Blade

  • Inspecting and removing old blades is a crucial step in lawn maintenance. To expose the blade, you will need to tilt the mower deck and take care not to spill oil over the engine.
  • Use a socket wrench of the right size to unbolt the mounting while your other hand prevents the blade from turning. You should be keen on not losing the mounting hardware or the washers as they can be reused.
  • Observe the blade’s position as you retrieve to make installing a new one easy. You can inspect the old blade to gauge its usability. If there are chunks and chips out of the metal, you should get a new set of blades. If they are in decent condition, you can salvage them by having them sharpened.
  • Replacement blade kits are typically worth a few dollars at hardware stores and home improvement centers. They come pre-sharpened, so they will be very effective come spring.
  • A new blade will ensure that you get a clean cut every time and your grass is healthy. A damaged lawnmower blade can rip your grass which can cause lawn damage including a diseased lawn.

Check the belt to ensure it is not deteriorating

  • The belts should also be examined to see if they are in the correct shape. Spot any cracked, worn, or torn spots. If the belts have extensive damage, they should be replaced before the machine is stored.

Check the underside of the mower

  • When you use your mower constantly, you may recognize a dip in performance when it comes to your machine. A thick grass clippings layer may have accumulated on the mower’s bottom, so check the underside to verify this.
  • To start cleaning, disconnect the mower’s wire from the spark plug to avoid engaging the engine and to also avoid injuries. Remove the blade and set it aside while wearing heavy work gloves. Place the machine on a tarp and then tilt sideways such that the air filter faces up.
  • Scrub the mower’s underside using a wire brush to remove debris and dried grass. Drag your hose to the machine and use a spray nozzle to direct water to the underside.
  • The water will remove any remaining grass and dirt. If there is still debris on the mower, scrape them at all sides. You can use a wood block for this as it will not damage the mower. Turn on the hose to do a final rinse and let the device dry out completely.

Check the Air Filter

  • An air filter is your mower’s first line of defense against the debris and grass that gets thrown up during mowing. It denies these elements access to the engine via the carburetor. Having a functioning filter, therefore, protects the integrity of your engine. Replacing or cleaning the component extends the shelf-life of your mower.
  • It typically lies close to the engine and is encased in a plastic or metal shroud. Before retrieving it, ensure that the mower’s moving parts are still and that the spark plug wire has been disconnected.
  • The foam pre-cleaner can be cleaned with compressed air, cleaner, or water. Retrieve the air filter to inspect it.
  • Hold a paper filter up to a strong light source to see it if it blocks a substantial amount of light. Check for yellow or brown staining in the foam filter. A dry cloth can be used to clean the air filter housing.

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Adjust the wheel height

  • If you mowed your lawn in the fall – you may have set the height of the mower deck low.
  • You want the medium mower height setting for the Spring as the grass grows very quickly with April showers.
  • As you get into Summer you can raise your mower height since the grass won’t grow as quickly and you do not want to buzz cut your lawn. The roots need to be pretty deep and healthy to keep your lawn green all summer long. If you have a really short lawn then it will stunt the growth of your lawn.
  • Raise the deck to the top setting and remember to water your grass in the hot July, August & September heat – depending on the area of the country you live in.

Related Questions

How to edge a lawn like a pro? (Make your neighbors jealous!)

Use a manual edger if you are just starting out to cut the grass back to the sidewalk or flower bed that you are using as your guide. You will likely have to remove the overgrown excess grass so have a bucket or wheelbarrow handy.  More advanced users should use an edger specifically made for edging. This will get you better results than just using a weed wacker.

How to turn the bolt to remove a lawnmower blade? (walk and riding)

Use a breaker bar, attach it to your wrench and turn it counterclockwise (to the left). The bolt should loosen up without too much force with the breaker bar.  Make sure to secure the blade and wear gloves so you don’t cut your hand. I show you all the steps to quickly and safely remove your lawn mower blade bolt, change the blade and have a great looking lawn.

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D. Hahn

DIY guru, dad, husband, blogger. When I'm not creating life hacks I'm teaching my kids how to fix stuff after their dad breaks it.

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