Rather than just use your mower in the summer and store it in the winter, perform regular lawn mower tune-ups to ensure it’s running well when you need it. Following these simple steps for push mower maintenance can help extend the life of your mower.
Depending on your model, the instructions below may vary slightly. If there are any safety features missing or broken, take the mower to an Authorized Service Center. For more detailed instructional videos, please see our how-to and video libraries, which focus on the maintenance items discussed in this video. Also, have a pad and paper handy so you can note any replacement push mower parts you need to buy.
STEP 1: POSITION THE LAWN MOWER FOR ITS TUNE-UP
To begin, place the mower on a flat, level surface.
STEP 2: DISCONNECT THE SPARK PLUG WIRE
Disconnect the spark plug wire to avoid unintentional starting.
STEP 3: INSPECT THE SPARK PLUG FOR WEAR AND TEAR
The spark plug should be replaced every 100 hours or prior to storing. It is important to replace your spark plug. Damaged or worn plugs can decrease fuel efficiency, power output and increase carbon build-up. Pay special attention to the numbers on the old plug. Make sure you use those numbers to cross reference to a replacement plug. Using a spark plug with the wrong specifications can damage your engine. All replacement spark plugs should be properly gapped and indexed to ensure optimal engine performance.
STEP 4: TREAT YOUR LAWN MOWER’S FUEL FOR MAXIMUM PERFORMANCE
Difficulty with starting the engine is the most common problem people experience with their mowers. These problems can be caused by bad fuel. With today’s emissions standards, small, air cooled engines cannot tolerate un-treated fuel that has been sitting in a gas can for over 30 days or fuel with more than 10% ethanol. To prevent these problems, add a fuel stabilizer to your gas can every time you refill it. Fuel stabilizers help to keep fuel combustibility levels up to specifications. Untreated fuel can become difficult to burn in small engines in as little as 30 days.
STEP 5: CHANGE YOUR LAWN MOWER’S OIL
Your engine’s oil should be changed every 40 hours or prior to storing in the fall. It is important to change your engine oil because heat and friction begin to break down the oils’ ability to lubricate moving parts. Additionally, the oil suspends and removes worn particles from the engine, that if left unchecked could cause premature engine wear. To drain the oil, use one of three methods:
Use the drain plug, which is a feature on some mowers.
Use the Arnold Siphon Pump on mowes without a drain plug.
Tilt the mower and drain the oil through the dipstick tube. When tilting your mower, ALWAYS tilt the mower so the air filter is facing up.
Always dispose of used motor oil responsibly.
STEP 6: REFILL THE OIL DURING YOUR LAWN MOWER TUNE-UP
Refer to your Operator’s Manual or Engine Owner’s Manual for the type and amount of oil needed to refill. Do not overfill, as it can be as harmful as under-filling.
STEP 7: CLEAN OR REPLACE THE AIR FILTER
The air filter should be replaced after every 100 hours of use. As dirt accumulates in air filters, it begins to choke out the enging, robbing power and causing abnormal fuel use. If the air filter is dirty or a lot of grass has built up between the pleats – replace it. Dispose of the dirty air filter and add a new air filter to your push mower parts list. If your mower is equipped with a pre-filter, clean it with liquid detergent and water. Thoroughly dry it before reinstalling. Never operate your mower without a proper fitting air filter. Dirt or grass could get into your engine and it.
STEP 8: CHANGE WORN OR CHIPPED MOWER BLADES
Mowing with dull or worn blades is harmful to your lawn. They tear, not cut, the blades of grass, making them susceptible to disease and appearing brown. If the blade is chipped, bent or damaged – replace it. Running a mower with a bent blade can cause excess vibration and unsafe mowing conditions. Lawn mower replacement blades and the balancer/sharpener kit are available from most retailers who sell lawn mowers.
STEP 9: INSPECT THE DRIVE BELT FOR WEAR
If your mower is self-propelled, check the self-propel drive belt for wear or damage. If it’s worn or damaged, replace it. Refer to your owner’s manual for the correct part number. Remember to only use genuine factory lawn mower belts; they are designed specifically for your mower’s pulley system and torque needs.. Non-original belts look similar but may not set in the pulley properly or they may stretch, causing premature wear and replacement. At this time, it’s also good opportunity to clean any debris build-up from the underside of the deck. A putty knife works well for this.
STEP 10: TAKE A LOOK AT THE TRAIL SHIELD AT THE REAR OF THE MOWER
Check the trail shield at the back of the mower for wear or damage. If this or any other safety feature is not functioning properly, immediately take your mower to an authorized service center. A service locator can be found on your mowers brand’s website.
STEP 11: LOOK FOR HOLES OR TEARS IN THE GRASS BAG
Check your lawn mower’s grass catcher for wear or damage. If there are holes or tear, operating the product could be very dangerous.
STEP 12: CLEAR THE DISCHARGE CHUTE OF DEBRIS
Check your discharge chute and mulching plug and clear away grass or debris.
STEP 13: EXAMINE THE DRIVE WHEELS
Check your drive wheels – the front ones on this model mower – for excessive wear or damage. You should have your drive system inspected, cleaned and adjusted by a service professional each year for proper long-term performance.
STEP 14: INSPECT THE CABLES, THE HANDLE BARS AND THE OPERATOR PRESENCE BAR
Inspect all cables, drive, operator presence bar, speed control, throttle etc. Look for fraying at the ends or kinks and possible cracks where the handle bars fold down for storage. Any needed service should be performed by an authorized Service Center.
STEP 15: REPLACE ANY NECESSARY PUSH MOWER PARTS
Once all of parts have been replaced, check to make sure all fasteners are tight.
STEP 16: CLEAN UP SPILLED OIL AND FUEL
Wipe up any fuel or oil spilled during the repair and reconnect the spark plug wire.
STEP 17: FILL THE MOWER WITH FUEL
Last, fill the fuel tank with FRESH fuel and start the mower. Try to purchase fuel with the lowest amount of alcohol possible because alcohol attracts water and water corrupts an engines fuel system. Don’t forget to add fuel stabilizer! It prevents hard starts and keep fuel fresher for longer and burn properly. (Sometimes after having the mower tilted on its side the engine will smoke on startup. This should stop after a short period of run time.) Now, you are good to go!