Before long, the flowers will be blooming, the birds will be chirping, and...the grass will be growing like crazy. Like any other machine, your lawn mower is going to need maintenance from time to time to keep running properly and to make your lawn care work a little more pleasant.
Here is some advice on how to clean your lawn mower and get it ready for action:
- Disconnect the spark plug wire and empty the gas tank. Really, you should remember to empty the gas tank before you put the mower away for the winter, so that gas in the tank doesn't have a chance to turn to varnish in the following months. Old gas can leave deposits in the carburetor and make the mower a lot harder to start and keep running properly. This is, of course, easy enough to do by just leaving the throttle wide open while the mower is running and letting it run until it runs out of gas.
- Tip the mower on its side. You should always tip it on the opposite side of where the spark plug is located. Also make sure it's tipped over so that the oil filler plug is up, rather than down—otherwise it can leak oil from the filler.
- Grass clippings, be gone! Getting rid of all the caked-on dead grass clippings that are stuck to the underside of the mower deck from the previous year is a pretty important part of cleaning your lawn mower. These can end up being thick and stubborn; you may need to blast the layer of grass clippings with a garden hose to soften and loosen them up. You may even need to attack the caked-on stuff with a putty knife or gasket scraper to dislodge it.
- Spray the underside of the deck with silicone lubricant or cooking spray to prevent further build-up of grass clippings.
- Blast the engine area with a compressed air hose.
- Scrub the rest of the machine and the upper part of the deck with soap and water.
- Reconnect the fuel tank and spark plug, start the mower, and let it run for awhile. If you have some trouble starting it and have to use carburetor cleaner and starting fluid, that's not a problem—let it run until the gunk and garbage are cleared out of the carburetor and fuel tank.
Remember, the better care you take of your mower, the longer life you'll get out of it and the easier it will make your yard work.