How to maintain  your lawnmower

How to maintain your lawnmower

Michael, Professional and passionate welder, Sheffield

Guide written by:

Michael, Professional and passionate welder, Sheffield

74 guides

Your lawnmower will require proper maintenance and cleaning in order to function correctly. To keep your mower at its best, you must check the spark plug, drain the engine and sharpen the blades on a regular basis. Before storing for winter you will also have to clean the mower deck and air filter.

Important features

  • Sharpening the blade
  • Engine oil and drainage
  • Spark plugs
  • Air filters
  • Cleaning the mower deck
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The importance of maintaining your lawnmower


Cleaning your lawnmower thoroughly after each use is an important step that should never be overlooked. However, cleaning alone will not suffice; many of the mower's components will need to be routinely checked and cared for. Before you store your mower for winter, you should perform a comprehensive inspection for peace of mind that your mower will be in perfect working order when spring rolls back around. What's more, carrying out a few basic maintenance tasks will ensure a smooth start to the season. Let's take at look into how to care for your lawnmower to give it a longer service life.

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Routine lawnmower care


Keeping your mower in top shape can be broken down into two phases: 

  1. Regular care after each use. 
  2. Yearly maintenance before winter storage.

Once your mower is perfectly clean and dry, make sure that your shed or workshop is equipped with the following tools and products required for lawnmower maintenance:

  • pressure washer to give the mower deck and grass box a thorough clean;
  • wire brush to deal with the dirtiest spots;
  • A lawnmower jack to lift your machine, allowing you to work on it safely;
  • An oil dispenser and water-repellent lubricant;
  • A can of oil for 2- or 4-stroke lawnmowers with a funnel;
  • A socket set and a set of flat files;
  • A screwdriver set and a spark plug spanner;
  • bench grinder and rags;
  • A pair of gloves and protective goggles.

Maintaining a petrol lawnmower

When it comes to petrol lawnmowers, regular maintenance basically consists in sharpening the mower blade and checking the oil and fuel level.

Sharpening the blade in 5 steps

1. Disconnect the spark plug.

2. The cylinder may still be compressed which can cause the mower blade to rotate if pushed. Do not turn the blade manually at the risk of injuring yourself.

3. Check that the tank is empty (or almost empty) and make sure that the air filter is in the up position or you may flood the engine.

4. Remove the blade making sure not to rotate it. Hold it with one hand to prevent it from turning while loosening the fine-threaded screw with the other hand using a socket spanner. If you happen to own a vice, place the blade in it and sharpen it a flat file in a downwards motion. If you have a bench grinder, the process will be quicker and more efficient.

5. Before putting the blade back into position, make sure that it is the right way around. On most models, there are two small pins on the motor rotor which correspond to two holes on the blade. These connections allow the blade to be positioned and set into place safely.

Checking the oil and fuel level

A straightforward process, you will simply need to look at the oil and fuel level. This step is made even easier if your lawnmower is equipped with an oil and fuel gauge.

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Bench grinder

Caring for your lawnmower before storing for winter

Manual cylinder mower


These manual models are equipped with a simple cutting mechanism. You will need to perform a quick inspection of the blades before sharpening them with a flat file or a 115mm grinder. Then, simply lubricate the reel and wheels.

Electric and hover mowers


Start by removing and sharpening the blade of your electric lawn mower. The electric engine will not require any special attention, but it is important to check the condition of your electric cord and extension cord. Any extension cord that has been patched up several times after run-ins with your lawnmower must be thrown away immediately! Be sure to cut it into several pieces to ensure that no one else will ever use it again.

Using your oil can, add a few drops of oil into the clutch cover and place your mower in a dry area. You can also protect it using a lawnmower cover.

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Lawnmower cover

Maintaining a petrol lawnmower

Cleaning under the mower deck


The mower deck should be kept immaculately clean. Start by removing and sharpening the blade as described above. Check the condition of the belt cover located in the casing and test the tension of the belt.

The pulleys will also need to be greased. If you have a tow-behind mower, the transmission must also be cleaned and greased.

Cleaning above the mower deck


The wheels will need to be removed in order to access the axle for greasing. Check the condition and performance of the height adjustment mechanism.

Next, pour a few drops of lubricant into the throttle cables and clutch cover.

Maintaining the engine

Drain the fuel tankDismantle the spark plug, brush it and check the electrode gap with a feeler gauge.

Quick tip: If you do not have access to this tool, place your thumbnail between the electrodes; this should provide a good template for the required gap!

Dismantle the air filter. If it is made of paper, get rid of any dust with a compressor or simply replace it. If, like most air filters, it is made of foam, clean it and oil it with a paint brush. If it has holes or is otherwise damaged, it is worth fitting a new one rather than run the risk of losing power.

Check the oil level and follow the manufacturer's instruction to drain the oil if you have reached the maximum number of operational hours.

Environmentally friendly maintenance

Leftover products such as drained fuel and used oil should be disposed of at a suitable waste disposal site where they can be recycled.

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Feeler gauge
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Guide written by:

Michael, Professional and passionate welder, Sheffield, 74 guides

Michael, Professional and passionate welder, Sheffield

I was trained as a pipe worker and a pipe-welder and after having traveled for 35 years working around the UK, I became the head a metal shop and then a designer and in the end the head engineer. I have designed and built a workshop where I make metal sculptures: I managed to find a piece of paradise where I can to let my imagination run wild. Auctions and garage sales are no secret to me. I find unusual objects and old tools there that I collect or transform into works of art. I also like decoration, painting on canvas, and gardening. I am developing new technologies concerning tools. To share my passion and humbly advise you in your choice of materials is a real pleasure.

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