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    Mower Maintenance | Spring 2012 Out Here Magazine

    Preventive care will give your lawn mower a longer life

    working mower viewed at grass level
    Out Here

    Reprinted with permission from MTD

    Photography by iStock

    A few simple steps in the care and maintenance of your lawn mower means that you'll get a few extra good years of work from it.

    Inspect the spark plug for wear and tear.

    The spark plug should be replaced every 100 hours or prior to storing. Damaged or worn plugs can decrease fuel efficiency and increase carbon buildup. 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.

    Treat the fuel for maximum performance.

    Difficulty in starting the engine 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 more than 30 days or fuel with more than 10 percent ethanol. To prevent these problems, add a fuel stabilizer to your gas can every time you refill it.

    Change the oil.

    Your engine's oil should be changed every 50 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 oil's 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.

    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 engine, 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. If your mower is equipped with a pre-filter, clean it with liquid detergent and water and thoroughly dry it before reinstalling.

    Change worn or chipped mower blades.

    Not only will dull or chipped blades tear the grass, but running a mower with a bent blade can cause excess vibration and unsafe mowing conditions.

    Inspect the drive belt for wear.

    If it's worn or damaged, replace it. Refer to your owner's manual for the correct part number. This is also a good opportunity to clean any debris buildup from the underside of the deck. A putty knife works well for this.

    Give it the once-over.

    Check the trail shield at the back of the mower for wear or damage; look for holes or tears in the grass bag; clear the discharge chute of debris; check drive wheels; inspect all cables, speed control, throttle, handle bars, and the operator presence bar for fraying, kinks, or cracks.

    Reprinted courtesy of MTD.


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