Time: 30-60 minutes
Your lawn mower is the heavyweight champion in the fight against an ugly lawn. Show the champ some love with a routine maintenance to keep it running smoothly and your neighbors jealous. Win-win.
What's in it for you?
- Fewer mower engine troubles
- Efficient fuel use
- Easier mower control
Tune Up Your Lawn Mower for a Spiffy Lawn
Disconnect the spark plug. Find your spark plug — it’s a small cylinder that has a white top and a metal bottom. If you have a riding mower, look under the engine hood. Push mower? Look under the top cover. Unscrew the spark plug and use a dampened rag to break apart any residue.
Remove old engine oil. Tilt your lawn mower on its side and look on the bottom the engine. You’ll see an oil drain plug with a small handle (it should be pointing upwards). Place a pan under the mower, remove the plug, and slide a tube into the plug hole. To drain the old oil, turn the mower towards its upright position and let the oil flow through the tube into the pan. Take the oil to a body shop instead of dumping it down the drain.
Add new engine oil. Remove the engine’s dipstick and pour oil into the engine. Generally, lawn mowers use SAE 30 oil, which you can find at your friendly local car shop. Don’t forget to put the dipstick back when you’re done.
Change the air filter. A clogged air filter in your lawn mower causes engine trouble that no one wants to deal with. Grab a screwdriver and remove the air filter cover on the engine — it’ll have a label on the inside that tells you what kind you need. Buy a replacement filter and press it into place. Easy peasy!
Replace the spark plug. Screw the clean spark plug from step one back into place and then close your motor cover. Careful — if there’s any water left on the plug it could shock you when you put it back in. Safety first, people.
Pro Tip: Confused about which oil to buy for your lawn mower engine? SAE 30 is best for warm weather while SAE 5W-30 is perfect for cold temperatures. Still confused? You can get Vanguard 15W-50, which works in all temperatures, but isn’t as fuel efficient — trade-offs.