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How to Master Lawn Mower Maintenance

If that old lawn mower has been neglected a little too long, this guide will have it purring like a kitten in no time.


  • Step 1: Consult owner's manual Consult the owner's manual for specific maintenance suggestions, warnings, or tips.
  • Step 2: Purchase replacement plugs Have replacement belts, spark plugs, blades, and filters for your mower on hand.
  • Step 3: Replace the spark plug Replace the spark plug at least once a year. Spark plugs often need replacing due to stale fuel.
  • TIP: Leave the spark plug cable detached to prevent an accidental startup while you work.
  • Step 4: Clean under the cutting deck Wear work gloves and clean under the cutting deck with a stiff cleaning brush and a putty knife to remove debris.
  • Step 5: Sharpen or replace the blade Sharpen the blade on a bench grinder or with an electric hand tool and a sharpening attachment every year.
  • TIP: Grind or file the blade as evenly as possible to prevent an imbalance and stress on the drive shaft and follow the manufacturer's bevel.
  • Step 6: Replace filters and belts Replace the air and fuel filters to improve engine efficiency and check belts for cracks or wear.
  • Step 7: Change the oil and lubricate Change the mower's oil and apply spray lubricant to moving parts before reconnecting the spark plug cable and starting the engine.
  • FACT: The U.S. Lawn Mower Race Association holds nationwide competitions in which modified lawn mowers typically reach speeds of 85 miles per hour.

You Will Need

  • Owner's manual
  • Replacement parts
  • Wrench
  • Gloves
  • Cleaning brush
  • Putty knife
  • Bench grinder
  • Electric hand tool
  • Grinding or sharpening attachment
  • Fresh oil
  • Spray lubricant

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