Get your lawn mower roaring in 7 easy steps
How to make sure your machine is ready for the season
A good lawn mower in tip top shape is key to lush, green grass all summer long. We asked small engine mechanic Mark Gratzfeld (Marine Service Technician '92) to show us how to properly and safely revive our machines after their long winter's nap.
Step 1. "One of the first things we should always do when working on our lawn mower is disconnect the spark plug so our unit can't start." Look for a rubber cap attached to a wire. Pull it free.
Step 2. Check the blade control at the top of the handle. Make sure the cable that runs between it and the engine moves freely.
Step 3. Is it time for an oil change? Make sure there's adequate oil in the machine and also that it's clean. If it's black, it's not. Switch it out.
Step 4. If fuel has been sitting in the machine all winter, change it, too. "It does go stale," says Gratzfeld. This can prevent your unit from running smoothly.
Step 5. Air filters need regular maintainance and replacement. They keep dirt and grass out of the engine, prolonging its life. Check with your dealer for the appropriate model.
Step 6. If the spark plug isn't working, neither will your mower. It provides a spark of electricity that gets the engine going. If the threaded metal end looks cruddy, get a new plug. Your manual should tell you which type.
Step 7. Flip the mower on its side (make sure there's no gas in it when you do). Clean out any dried clippings. Check your blade for nicks and dents. If it's badly beat up, the local hardware store likely has a replacement blade in stock.