Mowers usually have a life span of about 10 to 15 years. This depends on how well they are maintained, and should be serviced once a year, preferably a month before summer. A service should costs about $50-60 and come with a three month warranty. However, for the price of a spark plug and a little bit of oil, you could do it yourself.
Checking The Air Filter
- Remove cap and inspect.
- If it is a paper filter it can be gently tapped on the ground to remove blockages. However a paper filter is a cheap, disposable item and is simple to replace. The end with the hole goes in first.
- If it is a sponge filter, wash it in a solvent like kerosene and squeeze out the excess, then re-oil by applying a liberal cover of oil.
- Replace cap
Checking The Fuel
- Check the oil regularly and change it once a year.
- Make sure you are using the right fuel eg. unleaded, 2 stroke or super.
- If you have a 4 Stroke mower it is best to change the oil every 25 working hours and only use mower oil.
Checking The Spark Plugs
- With a spanner unscrew the old spark plugs.
- If the spark plug is clogged, clean it with a bit of WD40, a wire brush or an old toothbrush.
- The gap can be rasped with a bit of sandpaper to remove any blockage. It is worth replacing the plug twice every summer for 2 stroke mowers and every 12-18 months for 4 strokes.
- After cleaning the spark plugs you can see when you look at plug there is a gap between the two elements, this is where the spark jumps. It is very important that you get that gap just right because that 's what makes your mower easy to start or not.
- Refer to your user's manual for the correct distance of that gap. To set the gap correctly you will need a set of feeler gauges.
- To set the gap, choose the appropriate feeler gauge and slide it under the electrode, if the gap is too wide tap down the electrode, the feeler gauge should be just able to slide through. Return the tuned spark plug to its place and screw it firmly.
Checking The Blades
- If your mower is not cutting properly you may have worn or damaged blades (check before every use).
- Turn your mower on its side and inspect the blade (NB. 4 stroke mowers have a right and wrong way of tipping and this varies from each manufacturer). If a 4 stroke is tipped the wrong way it can cause oil to spill into the engine causing hydraulic lockup - seizing the motor.
- You can change the blades yourself, provided you have the right tools. You will need a special spanner, which is made by the mower manufacturer, designed to get into all those tight, difficult spots. It can be a bit of an effort getting those old blades off, especially if they are the original blades and have rusted up, but is an easier task to screw on the new blades making sure they are good and tight.
- Move the plate and the blades around to ensure they move clear of the mower cover. Set the mower down and check to see that there is some clearance between the blades and the ground.
- When mowing, ensure you use the correct safety gear - steel toed boot, earmuffs and protective glasses.