Category Archives for Lawn Mower Tips & Advice

Lawn Mower Tips & Tricks

One of the most important things to do is to keep your lawn mower in top top working condition. This will allow you to maintain a beautiful, healthy lawn, and of course this is also crucial to ensure your lawn mower will last as long as possible which is approximately 10-15 years.

You can either tune-up your lawn mower yourself or take your lawn mower into a service expert and have it maintained professionally. Either way you choose, lawn mower maintenance is something that should be done at least once a year and usually will only take a couple hours to complete. Using the guide below will teach you how to properly maintain your lawn mower and extend its life.

When to Perform Lawn Mower Maintenance?

Always be sure to clear the yard area of objects like litter, sticks, stones, and toys and never mow in the dark. Lawn mower maintenance can be carried out at any time of the year depending on your season, but two of the best times for it are at the very beginning of the season before it’s time for the first mow of the season, or at the end of the season when you’re putting your mower away until next year.

The end of the mowing season is an ideal time to perform annual lawn mower maintenance because it will be ready to go at the start of the next season and because there are certain things you need to do to take care of it while it goes unused for months at a time. By performing these maintenance procedures and winterizing your lawn mower in the fall, you’ll be able to get mowing right away when spring arrives and be less likely to cause damage to your mower’s engine.

The Yearly Lawn Mower Maintenance Checklist

Be sure to use this checklist to make sure you’re doing everything needed to keep your lawn mower running at top spec performance:

  • Complete oil changes yearly
  • Remove all fuel from the mower if discontinuing mower use for more than 30 days or add a fuel stabilizer to the fuel system
  • Check and Replace the spark plug
  • Check and Replace/Clean the air filter
  • Keep your mower blades sharp
  • Keep the bottom of the mower clean

Top Tips for Lawn Mower Maintenance

Many lawn mower owners choose to take their mowers to a professional for lawn mower service at the beginning or end of the mowing season, however plenty of people perform their own lawn mower maintenance. Showing love for a lawn mower can be a messy and extremely time-consuming process, but it is essential so that you are not often buying new lawn mowers.

  1. Read and Get familiar with the Owner’s Manual. Always read and consult the owners manual, the absolute last thing you want to do is cause damage to your lawn mower. By reading and understanding the manual you are making sure you understand how to care for it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Disconnect or Remove the Spark Plug. You will want to replace the spark plug annually to make sure your mower starts up easily, however taking it out at the beginning of maintenance is also a very good idea for safety – as it will prevent the mower from being started accidentally.
  3. Be Sure to Drain the Gas out at the end of the season. If you live in a place where you only need your lawn mower seasonally than you must be sure to drain the gas out at the end of the season. This can be completed two ways: either run the mower’s engine until the remaining gas is all used up or drain it out.
  4. Clean the Lawn Mower. So many people don’t ever clean their lawn mower. To aid in performance, be sure to clear out all the grass and any other debris that’s become caked on the undercarriage during the mowing season.
  5. Replace or Top Up Oil. Read the owner’s manual to learn how to change lawn mower oil correctly and the proper type of oil for your lawn mower.
  6. Clean or Replace the Air Filter. Many people are unaware their lawn mower even has an air filter. A clean air filter always helps your lawn mower work efficiently. Always be sure to consult the owner’s manual for specific directions on installing a replacement air filter.
  7. Sharpen and Balance the Blades. Even if your lawn is relatively clear from branches, rocks, and foreign objects, the blades will wear down over time. You can sharpen the blades yourself, but this is one step that is generally better left to the lawn mower service professionals unless you’ve mastered the technique.

When to Replace Lawn Mower Spark Plug?

What exactly does the Spark Plug do? The spark plug provides an ignition source for all small gas engines, such as the kind that powers a lawnmower, weed trimmer, snowblower etc. A spark plug is made fairly simple. It has a center electrode encased in a protective porcelain sheath, a firing electrode and a threaded shank for its installation into the engine block. Most often, when a lawn mower’s spark plug goes bad, mowing can be very challenging. Below are a few symptoms that you may experience when it is time to replace your spark plug on your lawn mower or gas engine.

Physical Appearance

By inspecting and removing the spark plug and its appearance can give you further clues about whether or not it is time to replace the spark plug. Its center electrode should have a flat top. If its top is rounded, then the spark plug must be replaced. Also, look for cracks or “chips” in the spark plug’s porcelain sheath. Any damage you see to the spark plug requires its replacement. If after inspection, if you see the spark plug is in good shape but is black with carbon build up or wet with gasoline, then a you must give the spark plug a good cleaning with a wire brush.

Poor Engine Performance

When the engine finally begins to start but tends to die out immediately there is something wrong with the spark plug. In some cases, the engine may run for a while then stop while mowing. Each time the engine dies, it must be restarted, which usually proves more difficult as the engine warms. Heat causes expansion, which can significantly increase the gap between the spark plug center and the firing electrodes. A bad spark plug may also cause misfires, which resembles the engine sputtering or popping.

Lawn Mower is Hard to Start

This is the most common problem associated with a bad spark plug in a lawnmower. There are different types of lawn mowers however a push mower may take several more pulls on the starter rope before its engine starts. The spark created by the spark plug may be too weak to ignite the fuel and air mixture that the carburetor already delivered into the cylinder. This most often leads to the engine flooding as more of the mixture enters the cylinder.

Excessive Fuel Consumption

You may notice your lawn mower engine seems to be consuming a ton of gas, the spark plug may be the cause. Often when there is a poor spark, gasoline does not burn completely or burns inefficiently. This results in that the mower’s fuel consumption increases and its fuel efficiency decreases significantly. In this scenario, the fuel may not be fully burned and poor firing also may lead to the presence of the odor of raw gasoline as the mower is turned on during use.

Top 5 Lawn Mower Troubleshooting Tips

How To Fix Your Mower Yourself, Fast and Free!

Regular lawn mower maintenance helps prevent performance problems and lengthens the life of your lawn equipment. Normal wear and tear from hours of mowing the lawn increases the chances of hitting a glitch from time to time.

The Rope is Hard to Pull:

Typically this problem is that the engine flywheel brake (the bar you hold down on the handle that stops the engine when released) is engaged. Bring the bar down all the way to the handle before pulling.

This can also be experienced if your mower blade is dragging in grass or clogged with grass clippings. Move your mower off your lawn to a hard, flat surface. With the mower turned off and the spark plug wire disengaged, clear the underside of the mower of excessive clippings, then resume a safe mowing position, and give it another yank.

Your Mower Simply Will Not Start:

Make sure your lawn mower is filled with fresh gas first. Old gas can tend to lead to problems starting. If you have last years gasoline in your mower, drain your fuel tank and fill with fresh gas. Other possible causes include:

  • Dirty, Loose or Disconnected Spark Plug in Your Lawn Mower: Check it out, clean off debris, re-connect and tighten.
  • Gas is Not Reaching the Engine: Tap the side of the carburetor to help the flow of gas. If this doesn’t work, you may possibly need a new fuel filter.
  • Dirty Air Filter: Clean or replace.

Lawn Mower seems to Lose Power:

Very often here is why your lawn mower may experience this symptom:

  • Build Up of Grass Clippings: Clean the underside of your lawn mower.
  • Cutting Grass which is Too Tall:  In this case you must raise the cutting height on your lawn mower
  • Dirty Spark Plug: Clean or replace.
  • Dirty Air Filter on Your Lawn Mower: Clean or replace.

The Lawn Mower is Smoking:

No your lawn mower is not addicted to cigarettes, your lawn mower’s engine may be smoking because the oil chamber is too full, or oil may have leaked into the exhaust muffler when you tilted your mower to the side. The smoke you see is simply burning off while the engine is hot. However, if you are seeing a distinct lighter colored smoke AND you are having trouble keeping your lawn mower running, you will want to take it into a small engine repair shop.

How do Lawn Mowers Work?


To start the engine of a lawn mower, one must simultaneously hold the brake bar, which can be found parallel to the handle, and pull the starter cord. The starter cord will start the fly wheel to spinning, which in turn starts the crankshaft moving. The crankshaft is connected to the single piston in the engine, and so by pulling the starter cord, many of the vital pieces of the engine are set into motion.

Another important part of the engine is the spark plug, which is designed to light the gas in the engine and cause combustion. The spark plug is powered by two magnets, which are attached to the fly wheel. As the fly wheel spins it carries the magnets past the ignition coil with every rotation. This causes a magnetic field, which is used to power the spark plug.


While that is going on outside of the cylinder, inside it the piston is completing its four stroke process, the first of which is the Intake Stroke. As the piston moves to the bottom of the cylinder and the intake valve releases, a mixture of gas and air is allowed to flow into the carburetor.

Then the piston rebounds back to the top of the cylinder. The intake valve has closed by this time, and so the mixture of gas and air is trapped and gets compressed into a tiny space. This is the second stroke of the process, the Compression Stroke.

It is at this point that the sparkplug fires, using the electricity generated by the magnets rotating past the ignition coil, and the spark combusts the compressed mixture of gas and air. The resulting explosion, although small, is sufficient to push the piston back to the bottom of the cylinder, completing the third stroke, the Power Stroke.

The final stroke of the four stroke process, the Exhaust Stroke, takes place when the piston, using the momentum of the spinning fly wheel, moves back to the top of the cylinder. At the same time the exhaust valve opens, allowing the exhaust left over after the combustion of the gas and air mixture to exit the system through the muffler, completing one cycle of the necessary four step process.

As the piston rotates back and forth, it is stabilized by the crankshaft. The blades of the mower, which actually cut the grass, are also connected to the crankshaft, so as it spins, keeping the piston steady, the blades spin as well, underneath the machine, and the grass gets cut.

The engine will continue going through these steps until the brake is applied and the process is interrupted and the engine stopped. When the operator releases the brake bar, it causes a grounding circuit it be closed, which in turn applies a brake pad to the fly wheel, stopping the chain reaction which is causing the engine to run.

The 4 cycle engine is a simple yet elegant process that relies on a few pieces working in tandem to not only keep itself running, but to also turn the blades of the lawn mower and cut the grass as desired.