Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Can you help with Lawn Mower Maintenance?

I am a lawncare newbie (I've lived in an apartment the majority of my life). Now that spring is here, I need to get my lawn mower ready. How do I change the oil?? Sharpen the blades? What to use for an oil catch pan? I feel stupid for asking these questions, but I was never taught this growing up. Any help/suggestions are appreciated.Can you help with Lawn Mower Maintenance?
Quick and dirty for lawn mower tune ups:

1. Pull the spark plug. If it's fouled, replace it. Better yet, replace it anyway, as they only cost a few bucks.

2. Unscrew the air filter cover (or unsnap it, if it snaps into place) and check to see how dirty it is. If it has a foam element over it, clean the element with water, dry it, then squeeze some motor oil onto it and wring it out (it should seem mostly oil free, but still tacky). If the air filter itself is dirty, replace it. IMPORTANT: If the air filter looks even slightly dirty, replace it. The particles caught by the main filter are too small to see by the naked eye, so if you see particles, it is over-dirty.

3. Drain and replace oil:

- The drain plug will be square, so you can't miss it. It is normally located on the lower side of the engine (riders) or the underside (push). Simply unscrew with a sizable pan under it. Riders have 2-4 quarts of oil, Pushes have just over 1 quart normally.

- Once the oil is drained, replace the plug and fill it with the recommended oil (riders normally take 10W30, pushes normally take SAE30). Every brand has different specs, so look in your manual! Do not listen to people who say %26quot;every mower takes ...%26quot;

- Do not over fill the oil! The oil dipstick will tell you if it should be crewed in or not while checking oil level. On screw-in types, if you do not screw it in while checking the level, you will drastically overfill the crankcase and cause the engine to seize up in short order. (made a LOT of money from that one)

4: Sharpening the blades: Don't do this yourself! If not properly balanced after sharpening, you will destroy your spindle bearing (riders) or destroy your engine crankshaft (pushes). Not to mention sharpening a blade is not as easy as it looks. The angle must be right and mulching blades require steady hands to avoid damaging the blade beyond repair.

5: General lube/cleaning:

- Spray your mower down with degreaser and let it sit for a few minutes. Spray off with a jet water nozzle.

- Drip oil anywhere a hinge or cable opening resides.

- Grease anywhere a grease nipple resides (you need a grease gun for this). Many riders have them, almost no pushes have them. If you do grease, grease until grease comes out of an opening. Greasing a few shots does not cut it.

6: Check belts for damage. Replace if any damage is seen, especially dry rot! Belts take a lot of torture, but a damaged belt will fail in short order and sometimes a bit of damage to the mower or you upon failure.

7: Check tire pressure. Fill tires to nominal PSI stated on the side of the tire. e.g.: Different tire pressures in the rear end of a rider can (and will) kill your tranny. Sometimes the little things make a big difference.

8: Prior to storage, always put fuel stabilizer in the your mower and run it for a few minutes. Many people will say %26quot;run it out of gas to prevent fuel clogs%26quot;, they are ignorant! No fuel = no lubrication of the rubber gaskets in the carb, which = dry, cracked gaskets in the spring and a complete carb rebuild in your future. PS: Carb rebuild kits cost very little, but let your mechanic do the job if you are not knowledgable in the area, as a properly tuned mower will add years, if not decades to its lifespan.

Doing your own mechanic's projects are fun and instantly rewarding when done properly. Why let your mechanic get all of the gratification? Do it yourself and save a few bucks at the same time, when appropriate.

Have fun!Can you help with Lawn Mower Maintenance?
email me and ill walk you thru it !

hurry im tired it is allmost time for sleep!Can you help with Lawn Mower Maintenance?
A s for lawnmower care your not stupid nor should you feel stupid.

1. To change the oil there is a plug under the mower that will drain the oil. It is the only thin under there to unscrew.

2. For the oil catch pan Wal-mart sells these in the automotive section and when full you can take it to any auto parts store and dump the oil.

3. To sharpen the blades all you need is a file or a grinder (bench style or a bit for the Drill) and this can be done by you. But be careful doing this yourself as you can throw the balance of the blade off and will make noise in the deck. I ususally have mine done by a professional at a lawnmower shop (just the blades but if you are still unsure most power equipment places do services on lawn equipment).

Good luck.Can you help with Lawn Mower Maintenance?
take off the handle or fold it down if possible place it ontop of the trash can with a paper bag half full of news papers inside ,unscrew and remove the sparkplug and check it for oil burning or powder these each mean something differant but just set it in a small margarine container with a bit of gas over the ellectrode to soak clean ,, later sand it or file lightly or scrape with a knife and replace check the gap with a small gap tool from the autozone 1 dollar,, for two dollars depot has platinum plugs and they fire really well ,, it now under the body theres a plug if its newer a small extention from a cheap ratchet set 5dollars at the big lots will fit inside if not buy a cheap set of wrenchs box and open end it will be either a 9/16 or 5/8 s now open the plug over the bag and retain plug and then open the top dip stick for oil if it sticks open it with the side of a flat screw driver and retain as it drains now spray some liquid wrench or 3 in one oil on the inside and out of the wheels turn untill you see the oil on both sides now the tires spin freely, and place the oil plug in and thumb tighten then turn tight with ratchet or wrench measure ten oz's of oil and replace the top dip stick after funneling it in ,and then replace and hook up the spark plug ,,did we forget the blade no take off the bolt maybe 1/2 inch or 9/16 or 5/8 inche make sure the wire is off the spark plug any time you work on any part of the mower,, buy a mill file in a nice size about 5 bucks at biglots or a toolstore and follow the edge across with the file it will cut the edge sharp a few passes on the edge follow the angle and use it to clean up the blade and wire brush ,,from the dollar store,,, now ,, return the blade to the bottom and let ssee the air filter open the cover is it paper then shake it out and hold up to intense light can you see good thru it no buy a new paper one at the home depot ,,why they are cheaper than lowes ,,now is it sponge ,take it to the sink and wash it with palmolive or any dishsoap i hope you shook the excess dirt outside,, now after you squish out the soap and rinse then dry with an olde rag by squishing it inside the rag ,now put a few drops of ingine oil only about a cap full on this sponge now squish it in your oil rag from the hand wiping from the oil change replace with the cover it either clips in or uses a flat or philips turn it tight check the oil level did 10 oz work not enough add about two at a time till its full , now take it onto the sidewalk and start ,,have fun ,, also at the libray isa repair manual and the makers sell them but the library books are free, thats why i fix my own mowers ,good luckCan you help with Lawn Mower Maintenance?
Edward W. gave you a great answer, but I need to make a couple of comments to his answer. The only engine company that requires 10W-30 is Kohler, and that is in the Command and Courage series engines. Almost everything else is SAE 30. Oil capacities variety. Most push mower engines only require about 20oz. of oil, and the riders usually require about a quart and a half. DO NOT OVERFILL!!!! Check your dipstick by screwing it in ALL the way then pulling it out.

On blade sharpening, if the very ends of the blades are rounded, they will need sharpened so the end is as square as possible. Most dealer only charge around $3-$5 to sharpen a blade.

Good luck!
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