Caring For Your Lawn Issue 3: Lawn Mower Care

Hello again,

Your single most used tool in lawn care is the lawn mower itself. With a little maintenance, it will last longer. There's more to it than just lasting longer, though: by keeping the blades sharp, you'll be taking care of your grass, too.

Safety is always first, so whenever you work with your mower, disconnect the spark plug wire, so the mower is disabled and can't start. Have your manual handy for specifics on your mower and where things are. This is your checklist for what needs doing:

  1. Cleaning: The last thing you want is to drop dirt or grass clumps in the gas or oil tank. Take the time to clean those areas around the tank openings and the spark plug housing, use a toothbrush to help. Give the underside deck a good scrubbing, too.
  2. Emptying the gas tank: If you disconnected the spark plug wire, you'll need to reconnect it for this step. Since you'll need to warm the oil in the mower before changing it, the best way to empty the gas tank is to run the engine until it runs out of gas. Now you're set to refill with new gas.
  3. Oil Change: This is best done while the engine is still warm, so the oil flows easily. Have an oil pan or suitable container ready, and either tilt the mower from the front end, or raise it up on blocks. Unscrew the oil plug underneath, keeping the container ready. Let the old oil drain out. Replace the plug and don't over tighten. Fill the oil from the top, while the machine is on the level, with the right oil for your machine. Reconnect the spark plug wire, and start the engine to check for oil leaks.
  4. Replace filters: Be sure to check the air filter, fuel filter, and oil filter (if you have one) and replace or clean as directed in your manual.
  5. Spark plug replacement: Unlike the oil change, this is better done with the engine cold. Make sure to replace with the right spark plug listed in your manual. When spark plugs are worn, the mower is hard to start. Changing the spark plug will reward you with easier starting.
  6. Sharpen the blade: Dull blades tear grass and hurt it, sharp blades cut grass cleanly. Safety is very important here! Make sure the spark plug wire is disconnected, wear gloves, and use a blade block. Remove the blades as shown in your manual, and have them sharpened. If they are bent or damaged, replacement might be needed.
  7. While you're in there: Check things as you go. If belts are loose or worn, tighten or replace. Your lawn mower vibrates every time you use it, and things can get loose. Tighten up those wheels if they are wiggling, check all the nuts and bolts you see. Replace and repair as you go.

This gives you the information you need to start looking after your lawn mower. Just keep that manual handy, work safely by disconnecting the spark plug wire, and keep those blades sharp!

Buying a Lawn Mower is your most important lawn care tool choice, and the one you'll be using the most.  If you're just starting out with a new lawn, or if it's time to replace your old mower, there are a number of decisions to make. When it comes to buying something you'll use so much make sure to make the informed choice.

These are the main things to consider when choosing a lawn mower. A trusted brand name, and a good warranty, is just as important. The Toro mowers we carry offer you both a name you can trust, and an excellent warranty.

Now that the mower is fully tuned or newly purchased, be sure to follow these tips for mowing the right way.

In the next email we'll look at summer care and troubleshooting common lawn problems - perhaps you've seen some of these in your own lawn!

Until the next time!

The Editors,
World of Lawn Care