Drain and replace the fuel and filter. Modern gasoline does not have a long shelf life. So if you did not remember to add a fuel stabilizer it has probably gone bad over the winter season. Simply drain the old gas by pulling the hose off of the main gas line. Once it is finished draining just refill it with fresh gas. Be sure it does not have too much ethanol, as most mowers can only take up to a 10 percent ethanol blend (E10).
Check the oil level and color. Before starting the engine for the first time, pull the dipstick and check the oil level. Every dipstick has a gauge that shows the level of oil in the reservoir. Add any oil slowly to avoid overfilling and check the stick several times during the process. If the oil is very dark or black, consider changing it before starting the engine.
Pull the spark plug and inspect it for signs of dirt, oil deposits, or other debris. If the spark plug looks compromised it probably is. Clean the plug or head down to your local parts store and pick up a brand new one for just a couple of dollars. Once you are satisfied the plug is in good condition simply screw it back in and you are finished.
Inspect the air filter. Chances are your air filter is dirty and since it is the lungs of your engine it is critical that you keep it clean and free of any debris. Just pull the filter and give it a few taps. If dust is present it needs to be cleaned or even replaced. Simply take a shop vac or household vacuum and thoroughly clean all of the folds of the air filter. Give it a few taps to agitate the loose dirt. If the filter is ripped or in poor condition, consider purchasing a new one.
Inspect the blade. To keep your mower cutting efficiently and your grass healthy it is important to make sure the blade is not damaged, bent, or dull. To inspect the blade first start by removing the spark plug, for safety and then lift the mower up to inspect the blade. If you see excessive knicks or the blade does not have a sharp edge it is time to have it sharpened or replaced. Most mowers have a locknut holding the blade in place. Simply turn this counter-clockwise to remove the blade. Take it to a mower dealer or mechanic to have it honed back into shape. You can also purchase new blades online very reasonably.
Considering a replacement? If you have applied all of the maintenance tips above and your old mower still is not doing the job, it may be time to shop for a new one. If you are considering an upgrade to a ride-on or zero-turn mower you may need financing. You can apply here to get preapproved so you can shop with confidence at your favorite home improvement stores or local mower dealers and take home a new machine today.
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