Maintaining a self-propelled lawn mower

self-propelled lawn mowerWhen one has a lawn in their house, they are very likely to keep a lawn mower for mowing it, for obvious reasons. However, it is very important to maintain the lawn mower, so as to keep it effective for a long period of time, just like James J. Boles advises in his Best Reel Lawn Mower article.

Every manufacturer provides instructions along with the lawn mower kit. Yet, there are a few tips that come in handy while maintaining the mower.

  • Blade Sharpening: Depending on the type of lawn, mowing habits and the type of blade, one can either sharpen the blades or buy new blades. Sharpening of the blades can be by hand using a metal file or a bench-top girder. Prior to sharpening, ensure the spark plug and power cord are disconnected and the battery removed.

It’s recommended to use thick blades as even dull blades can cut oneself. The bolt can be removed by using a wrench and placing it in the brace. Once sharpened, it can be tested against a piece of paper. The sharper the blade, the better it shall be for your grass.

  • Gas Mower Tune Up: These need more maintenance than a corded electric mower or battery. Oil needs to be changed, air filter should be cleaned, gas tank drained, the spark plug and fuel filter replaced and carburettor should be cleaned. However, it is suggested that the mower be checked out at a reliable service centre.
  • Avoid mowing, if there are unusual vibrations or abnormal noises. Instantly, turn off the mower, disconnect the power source and check if the blade has broken or bent. A damaged blade may cause these unusual vibrations and noises. Contact a mechanic as soon as possible.
  • In case the mower doesn’t start, check if the safety key has been inserted (for mowers having such a key). For self-charging electric start mowers, check for the battery. If it’s a gas mower, check if the spark plug is discoloured or damaged. Even though they are expensive, always buy a new one. For mowers that start but run roughly, check if there is gas in the carburettor, it may require cleaning and also check the blade. If the blade is damaged there will be vibrations. Last, but not the least, check if the air filter has got clogged. It will need instant cleaning.
  • If the mower is not moving: Obviously, if the person mowing the lawn is not moving, there is nothing one can do, other than probably just get him a lemonade to get him/her worked up. However, if the mower does not move, one can troubleshoot it.

Taking an example, say if the Black & Decker SPCM1936 is having glitches while running, one may turn off the self-propelled drive and pull backwards on the mower. This will lock the drive wheels and follow it up by pushing the mower forward, this will unlock the wheels.

Most manufacturers provide a manual for troubleshooting and can be used. If the mower is a couple years old, check for the drive belt for any sort of wear and tear. It may need replacement.

These tips should always be kept in mind if one is to use their lawn mower for a very long period of time.