It’s been a long winter for most of us. But warm weather is quickly approaching. And with warmer temperatures and longer days, comes the inevitable duty of mowing the lawn. Chances are your lawn mower has been sitting in one place for several months, but that doesn’t necessary mean that it’s ready to roll out and use. Before cranking up your push or riding lawn mower, take a moment to inspect it with our lawn mower maintenance checklist.
Can you remember the specifics of what happened the last time you used your lawn mower? Being that it was several months ago, chances are you can’t. That’s one reason why it’s important to inspect a lawn mower before using it. There may be something lodged inside that will come loose as you mow. Moreover, there’s no telling what may have found its way beneath, or inside of, the mower while it sat idle.
With that in mind, follow this simple lawn mower maintenance checklist to prevent any dangers or malfunctions.
Inspect for critters – An unused lawn mower can make a warm home for a small animal or rodent. Before using, inspect beneath the mower and in the air filter compartment for signs of nesting. Even if an animal has left the lawn mower unoccupied, it’s important to discard their nesting materials to prevent fire.
Clear any debris – If the lawn mower was put away for the winter without being cleaned, now is the time to clean it. All leaves, pine needles, dry grass, and other debris needs to be cleared away completely before use. When the bottom of the mower is left clogged, it decreases air circulation and can pose a fire hazard.
Inspect the blade – A damaged lawn mower blade can lead to a dangerous situation. Check the blade for any cracks, bends, or breaks. A cracked blade is especially dangerous as it can break off and cause injury when the lawn mower is in use. If you see any sign of damage, replace the blade for safety sake. A dull blade should be sharpened to ensure a clean cut.
Change the oil – Part of regular lawn mower maintenance is to change the oil once a season. Before initial use is the perfect time to do so. An annual oil change will help keep the motor healthy and running its best. Be sure to discard of the old oil in a responsible manner.
Clean or replace the air filter – There are two types of air filters for lawn mowers, foam and paper. Foam filters should be cleaned thoroughly, while paper filters can be replaced. Cleaning or replacing the air filter is a simple way to get the lawn mower ready for spring, and keep it running great all year long.
Check the oil – This is a lawn mower maintenance task that should be done before every use, not just in the spring. If you’re low on oil, or out altogether, do not use the mower! A quick trip to the store for more oil will save a lot of money down the road.
If there will be someone new using the lawn mower this year, such as an older child, be sure they understand the basic operating instructions to your particular mower. It’s a good idea for them to read the manual and be supervised during their first use to prevent injury. More about lawn care? Chek out the next article A Lawn is Your Welcome Mat: Tips for Improving the Lawn and Reducing Maintenance