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Lawnmower Maintenance

Lawnmower maintenance is essential to prolong the life of your mower, and can make a big difference to what your newly mown lawn looks like.

For most people the lawnmower is their most expensive piece of garden machinery, so it makes sense to look after it. An annual service by an approved service dealer will extend the life of your mower - don’t wait until something goes wrong.

Below is a list of the do’s and don’t’s when it comes to looking after your petrol lawnmower. It may be asking too much for many owners to be able to do points 8 to 12, in which case an annual service of the mower is even more important.

  1. Do - Check the oil regularly
  2. Do - Keep the fuel fresh
  3. Don’t - put the mower on its side
  4. Do - Keep the mower clean (particularly the underside)
  5. Do - Keep the collector bag clean
  6. Don’t  - store the mower over winter with fuel in it
  7. Do - Store the mower on a level surface
  8. Do - Check the air filter regularly
  9. Do - Check all nuts, bolts & screws for tightness
  10. Do - Check the wheels
  11. Do - Clean the drive mechanism on self propelled mowers
  12. Do - Sharpen and balance the blade(s) regularly

Check the Oil Regularly

A brand new mower will use very little oil so it is easy to get out of the habit of checking the level. The older the mower, the more often you will need to check it. Try to check the oil at least once a month, and definitely before the first mow of the season. On older models check the oil before each use. Refer to the owner's manual for the correct oil to use if it needs topping up, but if in doubt, use a good, 30w oil.

Keep the Fuel Fresh

Modern unleaded petrol starts to go stale after as little as a month. Many mowers brought in because they won’t start at the beginning of the season just need fresh petrol. Mowers should be stored over winter with no fuel in them, and filled with fresh petrol at the start of the season.

Alternatively, use Aspen Alkylate fuel instead of normal unleaded petrol. Not only does it last 5 years before starting to ‘go off’, but it produces about 1% of the harmful emissions produced by petrol.

Never Put the Mower on its Side

This is very important. A lot of the mowers we repair have been running badly (or not at all) because owners have put them on their side to clean the deck. If you need to get at the underside of the mower, to clean it or to check the blade(s), pick it up at the front laying the mower back on the handles.

Keep the Mower Clean

Clean the mower regularly, preferably after each outing. It is particularly important to clean the underside of the deck because any grass there will rot, creating acid that will damage the mower. Even if you don’t do this after each mowing, at least make sure you do this before storing the mower for winter.

Keep the Collector Bag Clean

Clean the grass bag or box. This is particularly important if it is a bag, rather than a solid plastic box, because otherwise the air flow becomes blocked resulting in poor grass collection.

Don’t Store the Mower for Long Periods with Fuel

At the end of the season, when it is time to store the mower for winter, drain the fuel from the tank. Not only will the fuel go stale, but modern unleaded petrol is very aggressive with many additives to help give cars the power they need. This can damage the mower - particularly the carburettor.

Drain the tank and then run the engine to burn off the fuel left in the carburettor.

This is not necessary if you are using Aspen Alkylate Fuel as it will last 5 years before going stale and is far less aggressive as it does not have all these additives.

Store the Mower on a Level Surface

When storing the mower, never lean it against a wall or try to hang it on a wall. This may cause the oil to seep from the sump into other parts of the engine and so result in damage to the mower.

Check the Air Filter Regularly

Check the air filter regularly. Sponge air filters can be washed in paraffin, or even soap and water as long as they are dried and re-oiled afterwards. Paper air filters cannot be washed and should be replaced if they are very dirty or contaminated with oil or fuel.

Check all nuts, bolts & screws for tightness

Frequently check the tightness of all nuts, bolts and screws on the engine, handles, chassis and blade. If any bolts or screws are missing don’t use the mower until they have been replaced.

Check the Wheels

If the wheels become loose or wobbly, tighten them. Check for wear, especially uneven wear, as this will affect the quality of the cut, and replace if necessary.

Clean the Drive Mechanism on Self Propelled Mowers

On self propelled lawnmowers regularly check that the drive mechanism is clean and in good working order. Remove the belt cover and clear any accumulated grass and debris, and check the condition of the drive belt. The drive cable should also be checked and adjusted if necessary.

Sharpen & Balance the Blade(s)

This is not possible for cylinder mowers, but with rotary mowers this can be done at home. The blade does not have to be really sharp - it is the speed that cuts the grass, not the sharpness. Make sure the blade is balanced.

Husqvarna Automower 450X

Automower 450X

 Purchase Price  £3,000
 Deposit  £1,500
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