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General Walk-Behind Mower Maintenance

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Depending on your model, the instructions below may vary slightly. If there are any safety features missing or broken, take the mower to an Authorized Service Center. For more detailed instructional videos, please see our how-to and video libraries, which focus on the maintenance items discussed in this video.




Step 1

To begin, place the mower on a flat level surface.

Step 2

Disconnect the spark plug wire to avoid unintentional starting.

Step 3

The spark plug should be replaced every 100 hours or prior to storing. It is important to replace your spark plug. Damaged or worn plugs can decrease fuel efficiency, power output and increase carbon build-up. Pay special attention to the numbers on the old plug, make sure you use those numbers to cross reference to a replacement plug - using a spark plug with the wrong specifications can damage your engine.

Step 4

Difficulty with starting the engine is the most common problem people experience with their mowers. These problems are caused by bad fuel. With today's emissions standards, small, air cooled engines cannot tolerate un-treated fuel that has been sitting in a gas can for over 30 days or fuel with more than 10% ethanol. To prevent these problems, add a fuel stabilizer to your gas can every time you refill it. Fuel stabilizers help to keep fuel combustibility levels up to specifications. Untreated fuel can become difficult to burn in small engines in as little as 30 days. Stabilizer can be purchased on this website or in stores where mower parts are sold.

Step 5

Your engine's oil should be changed every 50 hours or prior to storing in the fall. It is important to change your engine oil because heat and friction begin to break down the oils' ability to lubricate moving parts. Additionally, the oil suspends and removes worn particles from the engine, that if left unchecked could cause premature engine wear. To drain the oil, use whatever method works best for you: Some mowers have a drain plug for easy access. For mowers without a drain plug, using the Arnold Siphon Pump is an easy option or tilting the mower and draining the oil through the dipstick tube. When tilting your mower - ALWAYS tilt the mower so the air filter is facing up.

Step 6

Refer to your Operator's Manual and or Engine Owner's Manual for type and amount of oil needed to refill. Do not overfill, as it can be as harmful as under-filling.

Step 7

Check the air filter. The air filter should be to be replaced after every 100 hours of use. Check it periodically, if it's really dirty or if a lot of grass is between the pleats - replace it. Dispose of the dirty air filter and add a new air filter to your parts list. If your mower is equipped with a pre-filter you can clean it with liquid detergent and water. Thoroughly dry and follow the instructions in the Operators Manual or Engine Operators Manual for care of the pre-filter. Never operate your mower without a proper fitting filter - dirt or grass will damage your engine. As dirt accumulates in air cleaners, it begins to choke out the engine, robbing power, and causes abnormal fuel use.

Step 8

Mowing with dull or worn blades is harmful to your lawn. They tear, not cut, the blades of grass, making them susceptible to disease and appearing brown. If the blade is chipped, bent or damaged - replace it. Running a mower with a bent blade can cause excess vibration and unsafe mowing conditions. Replacement blades and the balancer/sharpener kit are available on this site or from most retailers who sell lawn mowers.

Step 9

If your mower is self-propelled, check the self-propel drive belt for wear or damage. If it's worn or damaged - replace it. Refer to your owner's manual for the correct part number. At this time it's also good opportunity to clean any debris build-up from the underside of the deck. A putty knife works well for this.

Step 10

Check the trail shield at the back of the mower for wear or damage. If this or any other safety feature is not functioning properly, immediately take your mower to an authorized service center. A service locator can be found on your mowers brand's website.

Step 11

Check your grass bag for wear or damage. If there are holes or tear, operating the product could be very dangerous.

Step 12

Check your discharge chute and mulching plug and clear away grass or debris.

Step 13

Check your drive wheels - the front ones on this model mower - for excessive wear or damage.

Step 14

Inspect all cables, drive, operator presence bar, speed control, throttle etc. Look for fraying at the ends or kinks and possible cracks where the handle bars fold down for storage. Any needed service should be performed by an authorized Service Center.

Step 15

Once all of parts have been replaced, check to make sure all fasteners are tight.

Step 16

Wipe up any fuel or oil spilled during the repair and reconnect the spark plug wire.

Step 17

Last, fill the fuel tank with FRESH fuel and start the mower. Try to purchase fuel with the lowest amount of alcohol possible because alcohol attracts water and water corrupts an engines fuel system. Don't forget to add fuel stabilizer! (Sometimes after having the mower tilted on its side the engine will smoke on startup. This should stop after a short period of run time.) Now, you are good to go!

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