Late winter and early spring are great times to take stock of your mower’s maintenance needs. Doing so before the spring growing season will ensure your mower performs better. It will also last longer and be more reliable over the course of its life.
You should always consult the owner’s manual of your lawnmower to determine the machine-specific tasks that are needed. However, we have also developed this checklist of basic annual spring mower maintenance for power mowers.
Spring Mower Maintenance Tips
- Change the Oil: Start the season with fresh oil and filters. Since oil is the lifeblood of your engine, changing it routinely is much less expensive than paying for an engine overhaul.
- Sharpen/Replace the Blades: Your mower will cut faster and deliver a better quality cut with sharp blades. Few parts enhance cut quality and productivity as dramatically as sharp, balanced blades. Get an extra set of blades to replace those that have lost their edge. This way, you’ll always have sharp, balanced blades ready to go, and no downtime required for sharpening. This is one of the most crucial spring mower maintenance steps.
- Thorough Cleaning: Starting with a clean mower will make it easier to perform other spring maintenance items. Use a strong spray of water. A putty knife can also help remove any grass caked on the underside of the mower deck. Once it’s clean, you can wax the deck to keep grass and dirt from sticking to it.
- Tires: Check the pressure on all mower tires and fill them to the recommended pressure indicated on the tire sidewall. Mowing with too low of tire pressure is, first and foremost, a safety issue—it also compromises mower efficiency, performance and handling.
- Inspect Engine Belts: Inspect all belts and replace any that appear visibly worn. Also, check all belt tensioners to ensure proper function.
- Fresh Fuel: If you left fuel in the tank over the winter, it should be drained and replaced with fresh fuel. Because gasoline degrades in quality over time, old fuel can cause inconsistent starting and running performance. Never use fuel that contains more than 10-percent ethanol, as higher percentage blends may lead to engine damage and/or performance issues.
- Replace Spark Plugs: Replace your mower’s spark plug(s) at the start of the season to ensure easy starting and consistent running performance.
- Check Deck and Pump Idler Pivots: Checking all mechanical features of your mower is always a great idea to ensure efficiency, and that extends to checking your deck and pump idler pivots. Checking these parts routinely is essential to making sure your mower’s hydraulics are in tip-top shape.
- Grease Caster Fork Bearings and Front Caster Pivots: Checking in on the lubrication quality of your caster fork bearings and front caster pivots helps your mower maneuver more smoothly. All you need to do is remove the plug, grease zerk and dust cap, grease the cavity until full, then replace the cap and plug until next year.
Completing spring mower maintenance will ensure you are ready for cutting season. You’ll be thankful you did!