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Lawn Mower Repair and Maintenance: Tips To Extend the Lifespan of Your Lawn Mower

If you own a lawn mower, you know how much time they save you on yard work — but you may not know how much maintaining them can also save you in the long run. While newer lawn mowers last longer, if you want to get the most from your investment, it’s necessary to maintain your mower and avoid any problems. With that in mind, here are some lawn mower repair and maintenance tips that you should know.

Sharpen the Blade

A dull blade will tear your grass, resulting in brown difficult-to-repair patches. Sharper blades result in a clean cut that promotes healthy growth. You should sharpen your blades at least once a season or more often if you notice the quality of your mow declining. The best way to sharpen is with a file or grinder for lawn mower blades.

Change the Oil

One of the most important things you can do to extend your lawn mower's lifespan is to change the oil often. Most manufacturers recommend changing the oil every 50 hours or once a season, whichever comes first. If you use your mower a lot, you may need to change the oil more often.

Check for Blown Fuses

Another way to keep your lawn mower running is to check the fuse box often. Look for any blown fuses and replace them as soon as possible. Checking fuses will help prevent damage to your lawn mower and keep it running. If the engine is hard to start up or cuts out when it does start, the problem could be the spark plug.

Replace Spark Plugs on an Engine

Replacing spark plugs is another important thing you can do to keep your lawn mower engine running well. It's a simple process that only takes a few minutes, but it can make a big difference in how your engine runs. Remove the old plug from the engine. Use a wrench to turn it counterclockwise, and pull it out with your fingers. Clean any corrosion off the threads before screwing in the new plug by applying some WD-40 or other oil. Then, screw it until tight by turning clockwise with a wrench.

Clean the Deck

Over time, your lawn mower's deck will become caked with grass, dirt, and debris. This buildup can lead to rusting and decreased performance. Remove any grass or debris buildup. Then, use a garden hose or pressure washer to remove any remaining dirt. Finally, apply a thin layer of oil to the deck to protect it from future corrosion.

Change the Air Filter

A clean air filter keeps the engine clean and improves gas mileage. Replace air filters every 25 hours or at least once a year, whichever comes first. The lawn mower service manual will include instructions on changing your air filter. Use only genuine parts from the manufacturer when replacing your air filter.

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How and When to Sharpen Lawn Mower Blades

Lawn mower blades are made of strong steel alloys and high carbon steel for effective performance and maintenance. Not all blades are created equal, and the best blades effortlessly cut through grass and vegetation, and flex, rather than break or chip, when encountering hard objects. Lawn mower blades should be sharpened after 20-25 hours of mowing, or about twice a year under normal use. Get some simple lawn mower blade sharpening tips to help you get the most out of your mower for years to come.

Why Sharpen Mower Blades?

Sharp mower blades create a clean cut, leave plants healthier and reduce mowing time and stress on your lawn mower. Dull blades leave a ragged, uneven cut, and often turn grass brown. If your blades need sharpening, your lawn will need more time to recover after mowing and be more susceptible to disease and fungi. Dull or heavily nicked blades can tear grass stems instead of cutting them clean. Time to sharpen things up.

How to Sharpen Blades

Follow all recommended safety protocols for your lawn mower during sharpening work. Clear a suitable work space and wear work gloves and protective eyewear. Disconnect the spark plug wire, electrical or battery power source so you can be sure your mower will not unexpectedly start or experience a power surge. For gas mowers, drain the gas tank to avoid spillage. Turn the mower on its side and remove the blade by loosening the nut holding the blade to the drive shaft.

Before starting to sharpen the blade, clean the blade of dirt and caked-on grass debris with penetrating oil or a similar cleaning product. Examine the blade carefully. If your blade is cracked or heavily damaged, it's time to replace it rather than sharpen it.

Use a vise to hold the blade in place before applying an appropriate grinder or manual sharpening tool, such as an abrasive file or drill attachment. Sharpen the blade from the top side of the blade using a 45-degree angle with long, smooth strokes in one direction, roughly to the sharpness of a butter knife. Do not over-sharpen the blade as this will lead to a blade needing more frequent sharpening, and eventually, shorter blade life. Try this simple sharpness check: Drag a blade of grass or a sheet of paper over the blade to see if it creates a smooth cut.

The final steps are to reinstall the blade, check the blade balance and restore power. Now, it's time to mow the lawn.