If you use your lawn mower once a week for an hour or two, you’ll only need a lawn mower repair just once per season. But if you live in an area with extremely hot temperatures, a lot of dust, and tall, thick grass, then you should perform a thorough lawn mower repair on your mower at least once a month while you’re using it.
Lawn mowers respond best to constant preventative maintenance, so take care of your lawn mower and it will take care of you.
1. Use the Right Fuel
The best thing you can do to repair your gas-powered lawn mower is to always use fresh fuel with an octane rating no lower than 87 and an alcohol content no higher than 10 percent (E10). The alcohol in today’s fuels will oxidize inside the tank and attract moisture, which leads to all sorts of small engine issues.
It also eats away at any plastic components and hoses. To avoid any engine problems, you can use an engineered 4-cycle fuel like TruFuel, which has a high octane rating and contains no alcohol.
2. Check the Air Filter
A sluggish or slow-starting mower could be choking, so check the air filter. According to engine manufacturer Briggs & Stratton, paper or foam filters should be replaced every 25 hours of operation, while paper filters that have a foam filter pre-cleaner last for 100 hours of operation. Never use compressed air to blow out a paper air cleaner, because you run the risk of perforating the paper. It only takes a speck of dust that gets past the filter to ruin an engine.
3. Check the Plugs
A lawn mower that idles or runs rough could be an indication of worn spark plugs. Install a new, properly gapped plug after 100 hours of operation or once a season, whichever comes first.
4. Clean the Deck
A lawn mower deck with debris buildup will prevent the mower from properly mulching or bagging. If the deck has a hose attachment, use that and run the water and turn on the lawn mower to help remove excess clippings. If you’ve got severe build up, you should scrape the deck. To do so, first disconnect the spark plug and siphon out the fuel tank or remove it, then tip the mower back and give the deck a thorough scraping with a putty knife and a wire brush.
5. Sharpen the Blade
A dull mower blade will not only cut poorly, but also can damage the lawn. Keeping your blade sharp ensures your grass grows healthy. To sharpen, remove the blade and sharpen it with a mill bastard file.
Take off an equal amount of metal from both sides. You can check by balancing the blade on a bolt clamped in a bench vise or by using a store-bought blade balancer. Use a torque wrench when you reinstall the blade and tighten the blade-retaining bolt according to the specs in the owner’s manual.
6. Clean the Flywheel
If your mower sees more than 4 hours of use a week or runs in dusty and dirty conditions, uncover the flywheel at midseason and brush off the fins with an old paintbrush.
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