Friday, December 26, 2014

How to Maintain a Lawn Mower

Regular routine maintenance is an important part of caring for your lawnmower
you will improve your lawn mower's performance and extend its life. However, there's no need for you to go to a mechanic every time your lawnmower rumbles strangely. Learn how to fix it yourself! All you should need are some basic tools and some elbow grease.

1-Prior to starting, do a close visual inspection, cleaning out any debris, then:
Tighten or replace any loose nuts / bolts.
Sand, prime and paint rusted structural parts.
Replace or coat any bare or frayed wiring connections.

2-Remove the spark plug lead from the spark plug and move it away from cylinder head. Always do this before attempting any repairs to a lawnmower that require turning the engine.

3-Position your mower. Tip it with care. There is no one rule fits all for tipping two or four stroke engines.
It is best not to tip, but if you do you should remove the air filter so that it does not become saturated with oil or gas and be prepared for oil and or gasoline spillage! Most mowers now have a fuel line between the carburetor and fuel tank, and it is a good idea to clamp this in some way. Small needle nose vise grips with rubber hose slid over each jaw work great but should clamp only tightly enough to stop fuel flow.
If your lawnmower is a "four stroke" mower (separate gasoline and oil), never tip it on its side with the spark plug to the ground. Most four strokes have a crankcase vent that routes to the air filter box and will pour or seep oil into the air filter or carburetor throat if they are tipped with the spark plug pointing skyward.
If your lawnmower is "2 stroke" (oil and gasoline mixed) turn off the fuel tap. You can tip a two stroke mower almost any way that is suitable to you, as long as the fuel doesn't spill from the tank.
However, be aware that practically all four stroke mower engines have a float type carburetor that can leak fuel if tipped in a particular position relative to how the carburetor is positioned. They can either pour fuel into the air filter or into the combustion chamber, if the intake valve is open.

4-Change or sharpen the blade, if needed. To change a blade, or blade disc, it is often easier to remove the spark plug and feed a length of clean cotton string into the cylinder head to 'lock' the piston while trying to undo the blade bolt(s).

5-Check the motor's "air filter" while doing this sort of maintenance. A dirty or clogged air filter will affect engine performance and increase fuel consumption of your mower. Symptoms of a clogged air filter include difficulty starting and quickly stopping after several sputters, or a weak idle. You may also see oily or smoky exhaust.

6-Change the oil if needed. If your mower is a "four stroke" model, change the oil at least once a year. When it is tipped over with the spark plug in the air, it is a good time to remove the "oil fill" plug and drain oil into a suitable oil proof container for disposal or recycling. Many modern mowers have a drain plug so the mower doesn't need to be tipped.

7-Be aware of stale fuel. Stale fuel is a common cause of mowers not starting after the winter storage. Run your mower for five minutes every two or three weeks and you will save yourself problems come spring. Using gasoline without ethanol will decrease this problem, as will using a fuel stabilizer.
Assure you discharge the gas tank by letting the mower run until the fuel is gone. Keep the tank empty until the following cutting season, or, the aged gas that has stayed in the tank all that time will cause moisture and become thick, producing sediments in the gas lines and carburetor, causing the engine to die. Also, make sure you dispose of the aged oil on the tank and change for clean


  • Spark - Clean or replace the spark plug/clean rotor contacts
  • If it rattles, it may have a loose blade.
  • If it coughs and sputters, there is a problem with one of the three things the engine needs to run
  • If the lawn mower is really hard to pull to start it then you need to clean all of the grass out of the bottom of the lawn mower
  • Always remove the spark plug lead and secure it away from the plug before attempting any repair on a mower.
  • Air - A new air filter is often the fix.
  • Fuel - Possible fuel line or carburetor disruption
  • Here is a tip to loosen or tighten any bolt, especially a blade bolt. Using a wrench, preferably one that is not offset, place the box end wrench squarely on the bolt and strike the far end of the wrench with a 16 to 24 oz hammer with repeated moderate blows. This has the effect of an air powered impact wrench. If you are dexterous enough and trust your hammer aim, try to tension or preload the wrench in the direction you want it to move before striking it as this will eliminate 'bounce' and make this method more effective.

  • Tightening or loosening a blade bolt can be dangerous. you may hurt yourself. If you do not tighten the blade securely enough, the engine is likely to shear its flywheel key as soon as it tries to run. It will immediately shut down and will not run again until the key has been replaced.
  • Never touch any internal-combustion engine while it is warm, After operating, some components may reach temperatures up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Watch out for old blades when changing them. They can have razor sharp edges.
  • Always remove spark plug lead before attempting any repairs on your mower.
  • If you should ever feel a sharp resistance when you pull the starter rope and especially if it snatches the handle out of your hand, stop. Remove the spark plug and inspect it. If it is wet then the engine has become flooded due to the way you tipped the mower. With any possible control in the off position, and the spark plug lead secured so that it cannot possibly jump a spark to metal, and after moving the mower to a safe location, slowly pull the starter a few times to 'blow' out the excess fuel. Dry the plug, install it and try again to start the mower. If the plug was not fouled, try re-tightening the blade; as always with the spark plug lead removed and secured away from the plug. If you still feel a sharp rebound or handle snatch (and this can hurt you) then you almost certainly have a sheared flywheel key.
Do’s and Don’ts

Do keep your mower sharp and well maintained.

Do switch off the power or disconnect the spark plugs before carrying out any adjustments to mowers.

Do mow frequently.

Do reduce the height gradually over a few cuts and leave a gap.

Don’t shave the grass at irregular intervals.

Don’t remove more than 20% of the green leaf at any one cut.

Don’t mow when grass is very wet.

Don’t fill the mower with fuel on the lawn itself.

Steps for Making Better Garden Soil

The first and most important thing a healthy garden needs is strong, nutritious soil to grow in. To grow your superfoods, you'll need to properly maintain your soil so that it will provide you with excellent, tasty, organic produce for years to come.

The first rule of good soil maintenance is to never leave it bare. The only time you should be able to see dirt exposed to the elements is when you've planted seeds in it. Your soil should always be growing something or covered to protect it from the elements. Winter time cover crops such as clover, alfalfa, or whatever is common in your area can be grown in the late fall, overwintered, and then turned under to act as a top-layer mulch.

Compost and manure are basically the same thing. Compost is plant and organic material that's been allowed to rot and break down, producing nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus. Manure is much the same, having been processed through the bowels of a plant-eating animal such as a cow or chicken.

When sourcing manure, if you do not have animals to make it yourself, be sure to know what the animals (horses, cows, etc.) have been fed so you know what's going into their leavings. Dairy cattle should be avoided as they are often fed a high-sodium diet. Much of that salt ends up in the manure.

Chickens, geese, ducks, etc. make excellent manure that is rich in nutrients. Beware of commercial farming and agricultural outfits, however, as they often use hormones and other artificial pharmaceuticals to enhance their livestock, which can be passed on through their manure. Stick with local, natural sources and organic farms.

In the spring, three weeks to a month or so before planting, you should cover your garden with a thin layer of compost and (if available) manure. Two or three inches are enough and freezing won't hurt it. This will create a barrier layer between the soil and the air and will eventually turn into more soil. Push it aside and make little divots into which you plant your seeds or seedlings when the time comes.

As you grow your plants, throw any weeds or leavings you trim into a compost heap. Clippings from your garden plants can be left right in the rows to act as a mulch or on-the-spot compost. Much of what you'd normally compost from your kitchen can also be thrown directly onto the garden safely. Coffee should be composted, but tea can be put right into the garden - especially near plants susceptible to snails or slugs, acting as a deterrent.

At the end of the season, you should plant a cover crop (this can often be done in the rows between plants just before harvest). Allow this to overwinter, then pull it up or turn it over in the spring. Alternatively, a thick layer of mulch (3+ inches thick) can be put on top of the garden to protect the soil during the winter.

Both methods can be combined by putting a thinner layer of mulch or manure (an inch or so) over the top of broadcast cover crop seeds.

If you maintain your garden's healthy, natural soil, it will continue to give you nutritious, organic food for as long as you care to plant.

Mini Gardens Ideas