Mountain Man May Mower Maintenance

Reader Contribution by Allan Douglas
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Here in East Tennessee late April or early May is when we drag the dormant mowing equipment out of the shed and get it ready to serve for another summer. Many GRIT readers will be old hands at this annual task, but for the newbie property owners, this little video tour will show you how easy it is to prepare your walk-behind mower for another season of use.

Let’s recap briefly.

– Check your manual to see what you will need and where critical parts are.

– Start the mower and warm it up so the oil flows better.

– Disconnect the spark plug wire.

– Be careful to tip the mower the right way so gasoline does not run out.

– Drain the used oil completely.

Also, if the oil drain plug is under the deck, you will need to set the mower back on its wheels over a drain pan to remove the used oil. If the plug is in the side of the crank case, you will probably need a plastic tube to pipe the oil over the deck to a drain pan.

Now, let’s move on with the blade removal and servicing.

For those with short memories:

– Removing the blade requires immobilizing the blade. Some brands offer an accessory that clamps to the mower skirt and holds the end of the blade immobile. But we can make do with a steel rod of some sort and a recess or protrusion to brace it against.

– Make sure you are turning the blade bolt the right way. Some mowers will use a left-hand (or reverse) thread bolt to keep the bolts from spinning out through inertia (depending on blade rotation).

To sharpen the blade:

– Work carefully and deliberately.

– Take your time. It’s quicker to do it right than to do it over.

– Maintain your balance.

Reinstalling the blade:

– Left-over parts is a bad thing.

– Make sure it’s clear.

– Check the plug; clean is good.

Refilling with oil:

– Use the right stuff.

– Be sneaky about the oil level.

– Check and clean the air filter.

– Arresting sparks is a good thing.

Finishing up:

– End with a start.

– Make sure everything that should move, moves.

– Keep it green, dispose of the black.

There you go: you’re ready for another season of lawn mowing. Hope you enjoyed it.

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