Some of Us Get Lucky and the Old Mower Strarts Right Up. Others Have No Luck and Wonder Why They Have to Buy a New One Every Few Years. Here’s How to Beat the System
Nothing brings a bigger smile to a man than a mower starting up on that first pull after a long winter. Yeah, we bought a good mower and we’re on top of the world. Until you hit that first, warm spring day and no amount of pulling, priming and fussing will get the thing to work.
Time to buy a new mower, right? Wrong. There’s some simple things you should do before you give up on that old friend.
For one, get rid of that old gas. A good thing to do in the fall is add something like Stabil and run the mower a bit before storing it for the winter. It prevents a gummy buildup in your carburetor. If you forgot to do that, get that old gas out and add some stabil to the gas tank with some fresh gas.
Another quick step is to check the air-filter. Mowers are surrounded by dust, dirt and grass and the air-filters suffer for it. Clean it, replace it and make sure it’s clean.
Check the spark plug. They’re cheap and easy to remove and if they’re gummed up get a new one. They don’t cost much. If it looks clean it’s probably fine and don’t sweat the gap. The new ones out of the box are fine.
All of this should cost you from $4 to $8 bucks. It’s worth it considering the price of a new mower. Give it a shot and see if you get it going. If you do. Think about some other things.
Change the oil. Man, do we beat these things up We’ll change the oil on our cars, but we’ll run our mowers forever on the same oil they showed up with from the store. It doesn’t cost much and you can probably keep the same filter unless you want to go all out. Cost will be about $10 bucks if you do the filter.
Also, sharpen the blades. Especially if you live in an area where you cut through a lot of dirt or sand. Grass grows better and looks better when cut with a sharp blade. You can do it yourself or take them off and get them sharpened at most hardware stores.
Finally, lube those hubs. Most mowers have something called a “Zerk” fitting over the bearings where the blades turn. If those dry up the bearings get shot and it doesn’t matter how well everything else works. Buy a grease gun and tub of grease and lube those guys. It’s probably another $10 bucks, but you can use these things for other stuff too like cars if you’re so inclined.
So there you have it. A quick tour of how to maybe save some money and some sanity and feel like you’re a real mechanic.