Lawn Mower Maintenance
While the little lawn plants are dormant, it’s a good idea to get any lawn mower maintenance done, services and new blades fitted, so that you’re ready for the spring growing season.
Here are some tips on doing some of the lawn mower maintenance yourself:
Before you begin: If your lawnmower is still under warranty, as part of your lawn mower maintenance you will need to take it to a registered dealer to get it serviced, like you would a car.
For out-of-warranty mowers, you can do the following:
Change the spark plug: Make sure the spark plug cap is off and use a spark plug spanner to remove the plug. Don’t use any other spanner as this could damage the housing. Do all the steps below, especially changing the blade, before putting in a new spark plug to avoid the possibility of the mower starting.
Put in a new air filter: Change the air filter once a year. This is simply a matter of cleaning the housing for the filter and replacing the paper filter by clipping it into place.
Change the oil: The easiest way to do this without having to turn the lawn mower upside down is to use a large syringe with some plastic tubing attached. Unscrew the cap and syringe out the oil. Decant the oil into a sealable container and dispose of the oil at a waste collection site. (See The Rose Foundation (www.rosefoundation.org.za) for your local details.) Add fresh oil, making sure it’s the right oil as per the manual of your lawn mower. Screw the cap on. Check that the oil level is correct by using the dipstick.
Change the blade: Depending on the size of your lawn, the blade may need to be replaced every season. Use blocks of wood to tilt the lawn mower on its side. Clean under the carriage well with a steel brush. Wearing heavy duty gloves, take off the blade using a socket wrench or spanner to remove the nut. Place the new blade onto the machine using the recessed part as a guide and add the collar and washer before screwing on the nut very tightly.
Treat all moving parts with a lubricant: The wheels, springs, nuts, bolts and handle adjusters all need a spray of a lubricant like Q20.
Tighten all nuts and bolts.
Keep it clean: Any mower should be cleaned after every use to stop dirt and grass build-up; not doing so will cause the mower to rust and will also make the yearly maintenance that much harder. Even a spray with a hose pipe underneath will get most of the dirt off.
Electric and battery mowers
Despite electric lawn mowers not needing oil changes, a well-maintained electric mower will last much longer and do the job more efficiently.
Use these tips to keep them in optimal shape:
Clean after every use: Get into the habit of deep cleaning the mower every time. Don a tough set of gloves and use a moist cloth to remove any dirt and grass build up under the carriage, on the blades and in the vents.
Do a yearly parts check, and lubricate if necessary: Check nuts and bolts, batteries, connectors and electrical cords. This step is necessary to prevent wear and tear and to extend the life of your mower. Get out the manual and do it yourself or send it in for a tune up at a specialist dealer.
Replace the blade if necessary: See the petrol mower tips above for replacing the blade.
Store your lawn mowers in a dry, protected place like a garage or shed
STIHL cordless mowers
Choosing an appropriate mower for your lawn-size and type of grass helps achieve a manicured grassy surface. The smooth-running STIHL cordless mowers offer low noise, zero emissions, fuel-free mowing, all with no cables and total mobility. Try one of the lightweight and manoeuvrable self-propelled models for the ultimate in easy mowing. They conserve battery power and extend running time by automatically reducing power when mowing through light grass and increasing it in taller or thicker grass. Designed for larger areas, the RMA 510 V offers robust cutting power, while the RMA 460 V is ideal for smaller gardens. Both can be adapted to mulching mode so that nutrients are returned to the soil. STIHL has totally transformed how you cut the grass.