How To Tune Up Your Lawnmower In 10 Steps

When you think about it, our lawnmowers are pretty heavy-duty tools that do some major work throughout the year. Like a car, they need a regular tune-up, or else they’ll end up breaking down a lot sooner. On top of that, a ton of plant material and moisture from the ground will collect underneath the mower deck, and that can get pretty funky if you don’t clean it out regularly.

Good lawnmowers are a cornerstone of lawn care, but they can cost a pretty penny. To get the most value out of your purchase, you need to take good care of it. While it’s not the most glamorous of gardening tasks, you’ll be thankful you did it when Old Faithful continues to run smoothly for years to come! Here are the 10 steps to tune up your lawnmower to prepare for summer.  




1. Remove the Spark Plug

Depending on the model of your lawnmower, the spark plug will be in a different spot, but they’re usually pretty easy to find. Look for a rubber cable that’s fitted over a white tube. That tube is the spark plug, and it’s connected to the engine motor by a metal piece that looks like a nut. Pull the plastic cap off of the spark plug, and then unscrew the spark plug with a spark plug socket. 


2. Remove the Air Filter

You’ll always want to remove your lawnmower air filter yearly because it helps things run much more smoothly. On the side of your motor engine, there should be a slot that’s closed with a couple of screws. Unscrew it, pull the filter out, and wipe out any gunk that may have collected inside the reservoir. 


3. Buy A New Spark Plug and Air Filter

Now that you’ve got them out of the mower, you know exactly what kind you need! Bring them with you to the store so you don’t end up grabbing the wrong kind.


4. Drain And Recycle the Oil

Most lawnmowers have a drain plug that you can use to pour out all the old oil, but you can also just unscrew the oil cap and carefully tip the mower on its side to pour out all the oil into a tray or bucket. Transfer the old oil into a container and drop it off at an auto parts shop. They’re usually down to recycle it at no charge to you. 




5. Remove and Sharpen the Blade

By this point, you should have removed the spark plug already, but if you haven’t, definitely take it out! You never want to remove the blade without first removing the spark plug. To remove the blade, take a block of wood and place it beside the edge, keeping one foot on it to hold it in place. This will prevent the blade from spinning as you unscrew the bolts that hold it in place. Loosen the nut with a socket wrench in the correct size. 

Once the blade is out, clean it off to prepare it for sharpening. You don’t have to make it super sharp—a general rule of thumb is that your mower blade should be as sharp as a butter knife. There are several different options for tools to sharpen your blade, such as a rotary Dremel, a bench grinder, an angle grinder, a flat-file, or even 150 grit sandpaper.  


6. Wash Underneath the Mower Deck

Once that blade is out, you can get in there with a cloth and wipe out all the old gunk and debris with a cloth. It’s much safer to do it this way than with the blade in, and it’s easier to reach all the nooks and crannies. Once it’s clean, use this hack for keeping it cleaner, longer: spray it with nonstick cooking spray! The grass will slide off like eggs in a pan.


7. Screw the Blade Back in Place

You really want to make sure that blade is on tight, so grab that piece of wood that you used to hold the blade in place when you unscrewed it, stick it back in there and stand on it to prevent the blade from spinning. Use a large wrench, and screw it on as tight as you can—really put your weight into it!




8. Install the New Spark Plug and Air Filter

Okay, now that all that other stuff is done, you can go ahead and replace the spark plug and filter. Screw the spark plug in by hand, and then use a spark plug socket to tighten it up just a smidge more. Cap it with the rubber cable. Then, take the air filter, stick it back in its slot, and screw the cover back in place.


9. Pour in New Oil

Don’t get your oil reservoir mixed up with the gas tank, because oil in the gas tank is a big no-no! Pour the oil in slowly, and then wait a minute before checking the dipstick to see how full it is. The oil takes a while to drip down the sides, so this helps to give you a more accurate measurement.




10. Do One Final Inspection

If there are any loose bolts anywhere on your lawnmower, give them a quick tighten so they won’t fly off. If the throttle cable is feeling loose, check your product manual or google the mower model to see the recommended way to adjust it. Finally, check to see if there are any cracked or broken pieces on your mower that need repair or replacement.  

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If your lawnmower is in ship shape, but your lawn isn’t, don’t hesitate to call us in store! We can recommend the best lawn care products for your property. Remember, we have delivery and curbside pickup options available, so getting everything you need to prep for summer 2020 will be easier than ever!