Lawnmower Tips For Your Yard
If you haven’t already run your lawnmower at least once this season you soon will. Yep, it’s that time of year again – Spring has sprung and lawns are sprouting! No matter which tool it is, when it is clean, properly lubricated and adjusted, you can count on safer more efficient operation. Here are a few lawnmower “general maintenance” tips that you will simply love.
Things begin to go haywire when a gas powered machine is stored for a long period of time. The fuel deteriorates, a glaze builds up on the inside of the engine and rust sets it. So, one of the first things you will want to do this spring is drain the fuel tank and fill it with fresh gas. High test is best – use at least 87 octane – it will burn cleaner. By the way, we suggest that you have a plastic gas container. They don’t rust or dent. And don’t buy a big container. A small one will have to be filled more often, but you won’t have to worry about a lot of left over fuel that will deteriorate in storage after the end of the season. You may be interested to know that 30 day old gas may affect engine performance.
There is a special additive that you can mix with your gas that will dissolve the glaze that builds up on the internal parts of the engine. Its use can have you on your way to a quick start in no time. This additive is available at automobile parts houses and garden equipment stores everywhere.
Even more important than the fuel is the engine oil. You can sometimes get away with old fuel, but never, never, never, go more than one season without an oil change. Drain out the old – put in the new. Using old oil will wear out an engine faster than anything else. Tiny particles of metal and grit build-up in the oil change it from a lubricant to a sticky, gritty sanding fluid. If you don’t want to pay for a premature overhaul (there is a joke in that somewhere) lubricate your gas engine every season or after every 25 hours of use. Check the owner’s manual to find out what kind of oil is needed. Normally, SAE 30 is used.
The solution to rust build-up begins with cleaning and oiling your mower before storing it for the winter. Wet mud on the handle, housing and other components will turn to rust in no time. After the engine cools use a bristle brush to remove excesses. Spray the housing, shroud, handles and cables down with WD-40. Use caution here. When cleaning the inside of the housing make absolutely sure that the spark plug wire has been removed from the spark plug – and that it is positioned so that it cannot come into contact with the plug during the cleaning process. The engine can be started if the blade is manually rotated. Something you would do when cleaning the housing. This would be kind of like cranking up an airplane engine by turning the propeller.
You can easily clean the spark plug with a tiny file made for that purpose. However, for the dollar or so that must be spent it makes a lot more sense to replace it. Best performance results when fresh fuel is ignited by a new spark plug in a well lubricated engine. If you don’t have an owner’s manual contact the manufacturer. You can have one mailed or you can download one from the internet.
Could you imagine trying to breathe through a dirty diaper? Well, that is kind of what it is like for a small gas engine when its filter gets dirty. The filter exists to protect the internal parts of the engine from garden dirt and dust and can easily become a mud clogged mess. Service it every 25 hours or every season – whichever comes first. Make it part of your oil change program. Dislodge dust build-up by tapping the filter. Some filters can be cleaned with a solvent others must be replaced. Again, refer to your owner’s manual.
With the plug and plug wire disconnected the blade should be inspected and sharpened if necessary. It is important to remove the blade. Never attempt to sharpen it in place. If you have a bench grinder the task can be accomplished in a few minutes where filing by hand can take 15- to 30-minutes. Hand filing is much easier when the blade is mounted in a vise. It is important to remember that a left-hand nut is used to hold the blade in place. Turn it clockwise to loosen it and counterclockwise to tighten it.
Finally, power propelled mowers have belts that wear. These should be checked and replaced if frayed.
With your lawnmower in tip top condition it will last longer (a money saver), operate more efficiently (a money saver) and best of all – in good condition — it will do a bigger share of the work than you will. You can’t beat that! And, good luck!
For more home improvement tips and information search our website or call our listener hot line 24/7 at 1-800-737-2474.