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What basic maintenance should be performed on a lawnmower regularly to ensure it stays in good repair?

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5 Answers 5

up vote 9 down vote accepted

For a walk behind mower:

Every use:

  • check fuel
  • check oil, add as needed
  • light cleaning (quick wipe down with a rag or broom)

Roughly twice a season or as needed:

  • blade sharpening
  • detailed cleaning (get all the stuck on gunk from under the deck)

First mow of the year. Do in order to save trips to parts store:

  • inspect pull cord start
  • sharpen blade
  • belts as needed
  • change oil
  • change sparkplug, be sure to check the gap
  • change air filter
  • shot of carb cleaner into carburettor
  • lubricate control cables
  • lubricate and inspect wheels+bearings

Last mow of the year:

  • drain or add stabilizer to fuel
  • detailed cleaning
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2  
Two other things to add (that my owner's manual says to do): 1. Lube the control cables. 2. Pull off the wheels and lube the bearings. –  msemack Jun 30 '11 at 19:04
    
And don't forget to check the gap on the plug when you change it! –  msemack Jun 30 '11 at 19:06
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change oil, change spark plug, clean deck underneath, sharpen blades.

if it came with someone to push it, tip them well.

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I would recommend you consult the manuals that came with your lawnmower. Most lawnmowers I have owned have a general manual for the overall manual, and one specifically for the engine. There will be for normal usage maintenance, along with recommendations for short-term and long-term storage.

At a minimum, I change the oil and sharpen the blade at least once per mowing season. I change the air filter and spark plug yearly. I clean any oil or gas residue and grass from the mower after each use.

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Definitely go with the manual. Mine just requires a yearly cutter bar adjustment (which far too many people neglect to do). No engine to worry about on it. :-) –  Brian Knoblauch Jun 28 '11 at 12:00
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Use a fuel stabilizer when you buy gas, so it won't varnish in the carburetor.

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Disagree, slightly. You should use a fuel stabilizer when there will be a long time (months) between purchasing the fuel and using all of it. If the machine itself won't be used for some time it is best to drain the fuel and store or use the fuel elsewhere. –  Freiheit Jun 28 '11 at 17:59
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@Freiheit: You're correct that the motor is happier if you drain the fuel, oil the cylinders, etc. before storage. Many people don't do that. They may plan to do it, but not get around to it. Fuel stabilizer protects against that possibility. So use it in the gas, just in case. –  Jay Bazuzi Jun 29 '11 at 2:42
    
Just put some in your gas can before you fill it at the gas station. It stabilizes the gas in the can, and will also benefit the engine. But yeah, when you store the mower for the winter, it is best to empty the fuel system completely. –  msemack Jun 30 '11 at 19:00
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Regular maintenance of a lawnmower includes fuel checks, cleaning (dirt and dust) and oil check. If you had your lawnmower in a self storage unit for awhile, check for rust on the blades, wheels and motor. Any major rust in these areas means your lawnmower is as good as junk. However, light rust can be removed with a rust remover and always make sure all parts are oiled well. If you’re planning to put your lawnmower in a self storage for awhile, make sure all parts are oiled thoroughly and all fuel drained. As for occasional maintenance, you can sharpen or replace all blades for maximum efficiently when mowing, change air filter if necessary, check belt for any wearing or stretching and change all oil if needed. Also, the storage for your lawnmower should be dry and well ventilated.

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I don't think the lawnmower is junk, because the blades are rusty. (I'm nitpicking here, but I read this from your answer) –  Patrick B. Apr 23 '13 at 10:54
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