With snow still falling in some areas of Massachusetts, it seems hard to believe it some days – but spring is almost here! Oftentimes, once that first spring sunshine hits our faces, we rush out to buy patio furniture and plant flowers and start de-weeding. Of course we all want to beautify our outdoor space once the weather allows. But before you jump into it, take the next few weeks to prep your lawnmower that has been stored all winter (probably collecting dirt and moisture). Here are a few tips:
· Clean or change your mower's spark plugs. You can clean them by removing them and lightly going over the plug with 400 grit sandpaper to remove any dust or debris. Rub gently to avoid damaging the contacts. A new spark plug is a minor expense - usually a few dollars. For safety, keep the spark plugs disconnected while you do the following steps.
· Clean the undercarriage of the mower. Be sure there is no grass stuck underneath from last season and if rust has accumulated, you can use a steel brush or steel wool to remove it. Make sure the gasoline cover is on securely before you turn the mower over.
· Drain and change the engine oil. Engine oil should be changed twice per year.
· Drain and change gasoline. You should have drained your gas prior to winter storage, but if you didn’t do it now and replace with fresh gasoline. Gas can get separate, collect moisture and get gummy which is bad for your motor.
· Sharpen the blade. Make sure you’ve disconnected the spark plug and remove the blade. Sharpen the edge of the blade using a file or a grindstone, keeping it at a roughly 45-degree angle, following the angle of the existing edge.
If these tips seem to overwhelm you, consider taking your mower to a professional. Your lawnmower is an investment. The better care and maintenance you provide, the longer it will last and the better it will run.
This is also a good time to inspect your weed-wacker/trimmer and gardening tools. Make sure to remove rust with a steel brush and sharpen blades and digging tools. When you use clean, sharp tools, you’ll accomplish work at a faster pace and get a better result!
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Rodrigo Dos Anjos