Not many lawn care appliances take so much wear and tear like a lawn mower, but many people often neglect this popular tool until there’s a fault or it refuses to start. If only one could know this!

A lack of care and preventative maintenance practically shortens the life of your lawn mower. However, you don’t need to be a pro mechanic to keep your lawn mower in tip top condition all summer long. Here are 10 lawn mower maintenance tips that will help ensure that your appliance keeps running for years to come.

Brush the mower

Keep your lawn mower clean. Each time you use the mower, brush it off quickly with a rag or whisk broom or gloved hand. After it’s completely stopped running, reach below the deck and brush off caked grass on the blade and under the deck.

Detach the spark plug

Always detach the spark plug prior to starting work on the lawn mower. A spark plug is an essential safety component since you’ll touch the mower blade. Once you disconnect the spark plug, the mower cannot start accidentally. Simply find the spark plug cable and detach the rubber boot with your hands.

Drain the engine oil

Check the manufacturer’s manual to know how to drain your lawn mower’s engine oil. If there’s no manual, search on the internet using your appliance’s make and model. Even if you do not think it is necessary, change the oil at the start of each season. Throughout the cutting season, dust, dirt and other filth will accumulate in the oil, potentially ruining the engine.

Don’t flush the used oil down the drain or into the garbage. Many vehicle body shops will do it for you, but you may need to part with some fee.

Change the air filter

Air filters regularly get blocked with debris and oil, so it’s important to replace your filter before every mowing season to protect the engine and make sure it runs optimally.

To change the air filter, remove its cover with a screwdriver. Your lawn mower should have either a foam or paper air filter. You only need to replace the old filter with a new one. If your mower has a paper filter, ensure that the pleated side is facing out. Reattach the cover of the air filter with a screw driver and clean it dry.

Replace spark plug

Loosen the spark plug with a wrench before removing it manually.

You’ll see that the spark plug has an overhanging arm at the end and an electrode. Make sure that the replacement spark plug comes with a gap so the arm and electrode don’t come into contact, otherwise there’ll be no spark and your lawn mower won’t start.

Use your hands to insert and tighten your new spark plug. Use the wrench to tighten it further. Do this carefully so you don’t destroy the porcelain tip of the spark plug.

Sharpen the blade

Sharpen the mower’s blade with a bench grinder, metal file or sharpening stone, or have a professional do the job at their repair shop. Regardless of which method you use, follow the blade’s beveled edge by running the file over the mower’s blade in a similar direction each time.

Replace or sharpen the blade every year before the first cutting. The blade needs to be sharp when cutting grass, or else it tears it instead of cutting, which can result in a disease lawn.

Before you remove the blade, disconnect the spark plug cable first to stop the mower accidentally starting. Tilt up the mower and unfasten the bolt that secures the blade.

Replace gas and oil

Before adding oil, be sure to insert the drain plug. Use a funnel to pour and use your dipstick to check levels.

Always use some fresh gasoline as it becomes less volatile over time and may make it difficult to start your mower.

Reattach the spark plug cable

The last step in your lawn mower maintenance routine is to reconnect the wire of the spark plug. Only do this once you’re sure that the other tasks are done and you want to start landscaping.

Get professional maintenance

It’s an effective way to make sure your lawn mower is in good working order before the mowing season. Take your lawn mower to a repair shop. There, old gas will be drained from the appliance, the spark plug and air filter will be replaced, and other basic diagnostic tests will be done.

Prices will vary based on the shop but, for a fast turnaround, take your appliance before spring grasses begin to grow or at the end of the mowing season.