Lawn mowers and tractors are just like every other machine you own: if you take care of them and provide regular maintenance, you can expect years of use from them. But, if you skip the maintenance and care, your lawn mowers and tractors are bound to break down repeatedly. They will also need to be replaced prematurely.
To avoid this hassle and the added costs of replacement, before you start mowing your grass this year, you should get your lawn equipment ready to work first.
The first item on your agenda should be to change the oil. This is an easy task that won’t take you long to do. You’ll need some new oil, a pair of vise grips, a funnel, a clean rag, and a container large enough to hold the old oil in.
Pull the dipstick up and out of its casing, but do not remove it. Doing this will allow air to enter into the crankcase. The air will allow the crankcase to drain out faster.
Next, locate the oil drain plug at the bottom of the engine on your lawn mower or tractor. Place the container underneath the plug. Use the vise grips to loosen the drain plug, then quickly remove it. Set it aside while you allow the dirty oil to drain from the crankcase. Once the case is empty, replace the plug and tighten it securely.
Now you’re ready to remove the dipstick, place the funnel in the top of the casing, and fill the crankcase with new motor oil. If you don’t know how much oil your lawn mower or tractor holds, start with a half to one full quart, depending on the engine size. Then, use the clean rag to check the dipstick. Keep adding oil until the dipstick shows the crankcase is full.
Don’t worry if you accidentally pour too much new oil into your lawn mower or tractor. Just place a clean container underneath the oil drain plug. Then, loosen the plug and let the excess drain into the container.
The final step in changing the oil is to replace the dipstick into its casing.
The second item you’ll need to do is lubricate your machine. If you keep the wheel bearings, joints, pulleys, and other moving parts oiled and greased, it will reduce the friction and stress on these parts. The parts will work better, won’t wear out as fast, and you’ll save time and money in the long run.
If you have a tractor, locate the grease fittings that are on the inside of the tires. Use a grease gun to fill the fittings. You should then grease/oil the moving parts on your tractor or lawn mower.
Next, a fresh, new spark plug will help your machine start easier and run smoother than trying to use an old one. To replace the plug, locate it on the engine and remove the connecting wire from its top. Use a spark plug socket and a wrench to unscrew it from the head. Place the new plug into the socket and tighten it a few times with your fingers. Then, tighten it up with the socket and wrench. Finally, place the connecting wire back on the top of the plug.
The next item on your agenda should be to either replace or clean out the air filter. The filter keeps dust and dirt out of the engine of your lawn mower or tractor. If the filter is made of foam, you can easily clean it with soap and water. Rinse it with clean water, gently squeeze it dry, then put it back on the air cleaner. Otherwise, if the filter is made of cardboard, it will need to be replaced.
The last task in getting your machine ready for the season is to sharpen the blades. How often you need to do this, of course, depends on how often you mow your grass.
However, if the blades on your lawn mower or tractor are nicked, bent, or otherwise damaged, they need to be replaced.
To sharpen or replace them, you’ll need to use a socket set to remove the bolts that hold the blades in place. Then, you’ll need to remove the belt from them. After you have removed the bolts and the blades, you can either sharpen them yourself or you can take them to your local hardware.
Once the blades are sharpened or replaced, reinstall them on your machine. Make sure you tighten the bolts down securely.