Like any machine lawn mowers have parts and equipment that require regular maintenance to improve and maximise strength and performance.
Ideally, lawn mower maintenance should be performed throughout summer and spring and in preparation for the winter off season.
myhomeTURF recommends that to maintain a productive lawn mower, a full service by a professional once a year is advised or in accordance with your mower’s service booklet.
A lawn mower service involves changing parts such as the oil, spark plug, air filter and blades, whereas maintenance is where you check parts such as the oil level, clean the air filter check the blades and other minor checks.
Please note that depending on the make and model of your lawn mower, the following steps and information within this article may not be consistent with your lawn mower. Here are some key lawn mower maintenance tips:
Cleaning and storing
One of the most important bits of advice we can give you is to make sure that after use, always clean your lawn mower.
This can be done using the wash hole on the lawn mower’s chassis, which helps prevent rust and ensures that you extend the life of your mower.
Also, always store your lawn mower under cover and keep debris off the wheels and corners.
Engine’s spark plug
If ever you tip your lawn mower onto its side always disconnect the spark plug.
You may need to tip your mower to remove or replace blades which can be done during a lawn mower service.
By disconnecting the spark plug when your mower is on its side you avoid internal oil spillage in 4-stroke mowers and ensure the spark plug faces upwards to avoid being soaked in fuel.
Also, ensure your lawn mower is drained or low on fuel and oil to avoid spills when tipping it on it’s side.
For maximum mower performance it is best to change your blades once a year.
For 4-stroke lawn mowers, change the oil at least once year.
Changing your oil is another essential part of lawn mower maintenance.
Before refilling your mower with new oil first drain the old oil, replace the oil filter and then add the new oil.
4-stroke mowers also need their oil levels checked before use and topped-up if necessary, as insufficient oil can lead to engine seizure.
Problem Solving Tips
Mower using excessive fuel
If your lawn mower is using more fuel than normal first check common service items, such as the:
- Air filter to ensure it is not blocked and replace if needed.
- Spark plug, as a poor-quality spark leads to incomplete combustion.
- Debris caught under the cutting deck which may place drag on the motor.
- Mower blades, if they are dull a fresh set means you won’t need to run the engine at a high RPM to achieve the same cut.
- Float level in the carburettor to make sure it is not sticking open and is correctly adjusted – do this by following your lawn mower’s service manual.
- High-speed governor setting and then check that the choke plate is fully open when the engine is running.
- Pilot screw and adjust it as per your service manual to ensure your air/fuel ratios are within specification.
If you have further concerns, please seek advice from a lawn mower professional.
Hard to start engine
If it is hard to start your petrol mower it may be one or more of the following:
- Spark plug not firing means there is no way to ignite the fuel to fire up the lawn mower’s engine. Clean your mower’s spark plug to remove any built-up carbon and check the gap is set correctly. If it has not recently been replaced, replace it with the recommended spark plug for your mower.
- The fuel filter could be blocked and may need replacing. While your lawn mower may have a full tank of fuel, it could have been left too long or is not the correct type to use with your mower engine and therefore will not start.
- The choke plate does not close completely when you engage the choke. If the choke plate does not close completely, then adjust it so it does. If the choke plate is already completely closed, then check that you are getting spark to your spark plug. If your mower’s spark is working, then check the compression as per your lawn mower manual.
- The sheared flywheel key – if the compression is not within specification (as per your mower manual), then you will need to inspect the valve settings, cylinder bore and piston rings.
If your owner manual is not assisting you, please seek advice from a lawn mower professional.
Problems with your Electric Mower
If the engine on the electric lawn mower is cutting out intermittently, it is probably because grass or garden debris is stopping the blades from turning.
Clean the blades and the problem should go away. One important thing to check is the cable which may have become damaged
Reasons your electric lawn mower cuts out:
- Cable is damaged.
- Battery needs charging or replacing.
- Cables are disconnected, frayed, broken or cut.
- Vents are clogged – covers have accumulated grass, dirt, grime and other debris.
- Starter switch is not responding – when a start switch is just starting to break, there will likely be intermittent power and if the mower starts and shuts off soon after, it’s likely a start switch issue.
- Motor is failing – this is one of the final checks if there is a problem. Check the air vents located near the motor are not clogged with long grass. If this doesn’t work your motor may need to be replaced.
Remember with either a petrol or electric mower always use genuine lawn mower spare parts to safeguard your warranty and to ensure safety standards and performance levels are optimised.
Please note our article is intended as a general guide and myhomeTURF recommends you seek professional assistance from a qualified repairer if you suspect your lawn mower is in need of repairs.