Petrol lawnmower care


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For many lawn lovers, their petrol lawnmower is their pride and joy. While we all know that electric is the future, for the moment there are few models on the market to match the power and convenience of the internal combustion lawnmower! That being said, petrol mowers require a little more TLC than your run of the mill Flymo, and as they can be sizeable investments, taking good care of them should be a priority.

At Greensleeves we advise all of our customers to mow throughout the winter, providing it’s warm and dry enough to do so. However, you will need to mow less often, which makes winter the perfect time to carry out a bit of lawnmower maintenance. So, here are some things you might want to do.

Change the oil

While the engines inside most push along petrol mowers are simpler than you’d find in a car, they still need to be looked after in the same way and this includes the occasional oil change.

Oil darkens as it gets contaminated with dirt while doing its job, which reduces its ability to lubricate and protect vital components from damage. Mowers vary by make and model and exactly how to change the oil in yours will be outlined in its user manual, so it is important to follow manufacturer instructions to prevent causing harm to the engine.

Clean it up

We all know that we should clean our lawnmower after each and every use, but many of us are guilty of choosing to ignore this bit of information. If this sounds like you, then use this period of fewer garden chores to give your machine a thorough scrub up.

Many modern petrol mowers feature a ‘wash out port’ which allows you to clean the underside without needing to turn it on its side. You simply attach the hosepipe and run the machine for a couple of minutes on a flat surface for the machine to clean itself.

Cleaning the top side is often most effectively performed with a leaf blower or air compressor, to simply blow off leaf clippings and other detritus, then clean the wheels with water. Finally, remove the mulch bag and spray it down with a hose and give it a gentle scrub with a nylon brush to keep it pristine.

Cleaning your lawn mower not only prolongs its lifespan but if your lawn has suffered from a fungal disease, then cleaning it can prevent reinfection from spores hiding in grass clippings on your mower.

Sharpen/replace the blades

One of the most important things you can do to look after your lawn is to ensure that your lawnmower’s blades are sharp enough to do their job. Dull blades not only put undue stress on the engine, making it work harder than necessary, they also damage your grass: dull blades rip and pull at the sward, leaving the tips jagged and damaged, increasing the chances of them falling victim to fungal disease infection.

Again, exactly how to sharpen your lawnmower blades will be set out in the user’s manual. Typically for a rotary mower, the instructions will tell you to unbolt the blades from the machine and secure them in a vice before sharpening them with a special tool you attach to a drill. These can be picked up inexpensively in most tool shops. 

However, if your blades are several years old, bent, or chipped, then it may be better to replace them entirely.

Cylinder blades are more complicated to maintain, and so may better be tackled by a professional lawnmower service.

Replace the air filter

Air filters are vital components that prevent grime, dust, and other particles from getting inside the engine and causing damage. They are designed to be periodically replaced, and you can pick up replacements for most models inexpensively online. However, it is really important to make sure you buy exactly the right one, so again, you will be able to find a component code in the manual, which will make ordering one online straightforward.

Spark plug care

Is it a battle to get your lawnmower started each time you need to use it? Many consumers assume there must be something seriously wrong with their mower if it takes numerous pulls on the cord to get it to spring into life. Most often it’s simply due to the fact that the spark plug needs cleaning or replacing.

Sparkplugs are designed to be replaced occasionally (some people recommend doing so for every 25 hours of engine run time) so are usually easily accessible, with a simple rubber cover over them.

Looking for more lawn care tips?

We have lots of information located on our lawn care advice and tips page, giving you all the details you need to have a lawn that makes others green with envy. Check it out here.

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