Regular care is key for lawn mowers
BY BRAVETTA HASSELL World Scene Writer
Monday, April 09, 2012
4/09/12 at 5:59 AM
Forgoing the cleaning of your lawn mower may not be detrimental after the first several cuts of the season, but continued neglect of your equipment can spell out to a dull and ragged cut, more work, a shortened lifespan on your machine, repair and replacement costs and most precious of all: your time.
For Carthan Williams, owner of Maple Lee, a landscaping and design business specializing in tree service and pest control, there are three regular maintenance practices he recommends: keep it clean, keep it sharp, change your oil.
"Keep it clean underneath and you shouldn't have too much of a problem," Williams said. In a business where his equipment is taken from one yard to another, cleaning under the deck and off the blades is especially important.
Weeds cut down in one yard may have their seeds transported to your yard, and even if your yard was weed-free, "it may not be anymore," Williams said.
Here are a few more tips on lawn mower maintenance. And before performing any sort of cleaning or maintenance on your mower, always disconnect and remove the spark plug.
Before the season starts, or before your first use, there are a few things to attend to on your mower. Replace your mower's engine oil, air filter and spark plug. These steps should be done at least once a season. Check your owner's manual to ensure you are using what is appropriate for your lawn mower.
After each use (and after the engine has stopped and cooled):
Regular cleaning will prevent buildup of dirt and grass and allow for sufficient mulching. Tip over your mower to show its underside. Hose down the undercarriage of your mower where grass and other debris may have accumulated during your yard work. Allow the mower's underside time to dry.
A dull blade leads to a dull-looking yard. It looks uneven, grass is ragged and more susceptible to disease and you end up spending more time trying to fix aesthetic issues that could be solved with a sharpened blade.
"You'll probably want to sharpen it every fourth or fifth cut," Williams said. Whether you choose to do this yourself or use a professional, it will need to be done more often if you find yourself mowing over areas that have rough terrain.
Check engine oil regularly. Just like with oil for your car, the more you use the engine, the darker the oil gets.
Every 25 hours:
Clean your mower's air and fuel filters.
Every 50 hours:
Change engine oil, according your mower's owner manual.
On a regular basis:
A simple check of other hardware that helps your mower do its job and do it well will go far in saving you time and achieving a crisp landscape. Check your blade, belts and spark plug for excessive wear and damage. Replace them if some is apparent. Check your tires if they are inflatable to make sure they have sufficient air.
End of season
Disconnect and remove the mower spark plug. Clean your mower's undercarriage as usual. Then drain the fuel from the mower. Reconnect the spark plug. Run the engine for any remaining fuel to burn off.
Now, if at the end of all of this, hiring a professional makes more sense and seems less complicated, then by all means, hire a professional.
Bravetta Hassell 918-581-8316
For Carthan Williams, owner of Maple Lee, a landscaping and design business in north Tulsa, there are three regular maintenance practices he recommends: Keep it clean, keep it sharp, change your oil. Tulsa World file