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Talking about gas mowers, it is not a secret that they are the most powerful mowers you can use to maintain your lawn. There are some very powerful cordless mowers currently on the market, but overall they can’t compete with the power of their gas counterparts.
Due to the power, versatile features, wide range of cutting methods, self-propulsion with variable speeds, unsurprisingly gas mowers are suitable for medium and large lawns. In addition, gas mowers are more than competent enough to cope with challenging conditions, longer grass, uneven surfaces as well slopes. Of course, the greater the power, the better the results…
These powerful beasts are tough and durable, their deck is mostly made of steel, however they take a lot of beating and therefore need to be, and deserve to be, serviced on a regular basis at least once per annum. This could become part of your annual spring maintenance program ensuring you are ready for the beginning of the growing season. A well-maintained gas mower can last you for many years to come, if not a lifetime.
Without regular care and maintenance minor issues can arise, without any attention and resolution they will only become worse resulting in poor performance and even damage to your gas mower.
9 Tips To Maintaining Your Gas Mower
Gas mower maintenance and servicing doesn’t have to be done by the experts, unless specifically requested by the manufacturer to keep your warranty valid, it can be done at home with a little know-how and following tried and tested tips and tricks.
Understand Your Specific Gas Mower
It is a good idea to read and understand the instruction manual for your specific gas mower. I know that this is something that most of us don’t enjoy doing, as when the new mower arrives all you want to do it take it out to the yard and start using it. But in order to get the best out of your mower you need to understand the features and the maintenance needs. You will also need to understand the warranty coverage as neglecting maintenance is likely to impact your warranty.
Ensure That Correct Fuel Is Used at All Times
Again, refer to the manufacturer’s recommendation for your specific gas mower and ensure that you use the correct type of fuel for efficient operation and to ensure that the mower starts first time, every time. Using incorrect type of fuel for your mower could cause permanent damage to the machine. In general, most lawn mowers nowadays are 4 stroke so you should therefore be looking for unleaded gasoline with a minimum octane rating of 87.
Also ensure that you do not exceed a 10% ethanol mix in the fuel. Gas mower engines are not designed to accommodate fuel mixed with ethanol, and therefore I would recommend using fuel with no ethanol. Ethanol in the fuel can cause rusting and clogging of your engine. This can be minimized in three ways; first ensuring that you drain your fuel at the end of the mowing season, second only buy enough fuel for 30 days mowing, and thirdly ensure you add a stabilizer to your fuel.
Check Levels of Fuel
Always ensure that your gas mower has enough fuel for the job at hand. Same as with cars it is not recommended to run your gas mower on the last remaining fuel left in the engine.
If the gas mower needs to be topped up, always use fresh gasoline. The storage and the age of the fuel should also be considered to prevent it from becoming stale and ensure it provides best possible performance and lasts for many years to come.
Correct Storage of Fuel
Ensure that the fuel is stored in the original tight sealed container. Keep it on level surface and in dry conditions. If fuel is stored correctly it can stay fresh and last up to 12 months but will start to deteriorate in as little as 30 days. Always, use a fuel additive to prolong the shelf life and performance of the fuel.
Over the winter months ensure that your gas mower is drained of all gasoline. Storing your mower with fuel will inevitably attract moisture that can form rust or residue that is likely to block the carburetor.
Remember, a fuel additive or stabilizer will extend the shelf life of the gasoline, make starting of the mower easier and achieve higher performance levels.
The Tank Needs to Be Drained Regularly
Not only fresh fuel needs to be added to the engine, every so often the tank needs to be emptied completely. Some manufacturers recommend as often as every 2 months, again best to refer to the manufacturer’s manual of your specific gas mower. This again will depend on whether or not you have used a fuel stabilizer.
Ensure That Correct Oil Is Used and Levels Are Correct
Same as with the gasoline, ensure that you use the oil that has been recommended by the gas mower’s manufacturer for optimum performance. Ensure that you check the oil level before each mow, it is a simple process of using a dipstick, same as you would with your car.
When checking the levels, it is a good idea to check the color of the oil too, to ensure the quality is good. If the color is dark or the oil has any debris, it means that the oil has gone bad and needs replacing with fresh oil completely.
To drain the oil from your gas mower you will need to open the drain plug and let the oil drain out into a suitable container. Do not let the oil drain out onto your lawn as this would damage and contaminate your lawn and soil. Never pour oil into the sewerage system and dispose of responsibly.
When draining your gas mower, to get every bit of the oil out it is a good to tilt it to achieve this.
With some gas mowers if the drain plug is not present you will have to use the filling hole to drain it using a suitable syphon. In summary, draining the oil is simple and only takes about 5 minutes.
Check, Clean and Replace Air Filters
Ensuring that your mower has a properly functioning air filter will keep the engine safe from dust and dirt. If debris get inside the mechanics of your mower it may cause damage leading to poor performance.
Clogged air filters will smother the engine reducing amount of air-intake provided to the engine. The mower will have less power too, so if the power suddenly becomes inconsistent ensure that you check and replace your air filter, if needed.
Air filters are normally very cheap to purchase, so I would recommend a replacement filter over cleaning.
Check and Replace Spark Plugs
If you have owned a gas mower before you are well aware that the spark plugs need to be checked and replaced regularly; many manufacturers state that they should be replaced after every 25 hours of use to ensure consistent and reliable starting.
Why should you replace spark plugs? It is to ensure your gas mower is provided with a consistent spark and more reliable starting of the engine. Damaged or dirty spark plugs are likely to increase the fuel consumption and the mower may not start, even when you pull the recoil cord repeatedly. Always have spare spark plugs on the shelf ready when needed.
Check the Mower’s Blade
Regardless of what type of mower you have, the blade will have to be checked periodically to ensure the cut quality is sharp and clean.
If the blade is blunt or damaged, the blades of grass will be poorly cut resulting in an unhealthy and stressed lawn that is likely to turn brown at the tips, or dry pulled streaks left uncut.
In order to achieve a healthy, green and thick lawn that you can be proud of, your lawn equipment needs to be checked and maintained on a regular basis, this includes the oil filter, air filter, spark plugs but also the blade has to be in good condition.
All gas mowers are equipped with good quality steel blades that can be sharpened with basic DIY skills, or you can purchase, very cheaply, a replacement blade. I think it would be a good idea to check the availability of replacement blades for your new gas mower prior to purchase, as with some models they are harder to get hold of than others.
After reading this article you will be able to see that all gas mowers will need to be maintained and serviced at least once per year.
Yes, it is true that it may not be necessary to change all the serviceable items each year, but it is important to check everything on a regular basis. If some parts are showing significant signs of wear and tear, they will have to be replaced, some items can be cleaned too.
Special attention should be paid to areas such as oil filter, air filter, draining and changing the oil, spark plugs and the blade. Also check the deck of the mower for any damage, grass catcher bag for any tears and the handles as they might have become a little loose.
As mentioned above, gas mower maintenance and servicing can be done at home by a person with a little know-how, however, check the manual for your specific gas mower as some manufacturers require you to have the gas mower serviced at one of their own authorized service centers. If not, the mower warranty could be invalidated.
Hopefully, this article has not put you off purchasing a gas mower as the benefits of superior power, versatile features, larger deck sizes, self-propulsion with variable speeds, cutting features including mulching and side/rear discharge far outweigh some modest annual maintenance.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comment’s box below. Alternatively, you can head over to my easy-to-use lawn mower selection tool, that will shortlist your perfectly matched gas mower based on your requirements.