How To Tune Up Your Lawnmower

Ah, spring! The days get warmer, the tulips start to emerge, and the birds are singing. It’s time to mow the lawn again. If your gas mower sputters or won’t start it probably needs a tune-up. But don’t worry, tuning up your lawnmower is easy and by doing so you can improve your fuel efficiency by 30%.

Start by going to the local hardware store and buying the correct parts. You’ll need an air filter, a spark plug, and the oil designed for your particular mower. You can look these up in the owner’s manual or you may consult the product manuals usually kept at the hardware store. For tools, you’ll need a screwdriver, ratchet, and a deep socket (normally a 13/16 or ¾ inch). You might need some penetrating oil, such as Liquid Wrench®.

  1. Swap out the old air filter. Usually, this involves a single screw that holds the housing on the engine.
  2. Replace the spark plug using your ratchet. Don’t worry about setting the spark plug gap since they are preset at the factory.
  3. Change the oil. Start by running the engine for 3-5 minutes so that the oil is warm and will drain more easily. Depending upon where the drain plug is located on the engine, you may need to tilt the lawnmower for better drainage. Remove the drain plug and drain the oil. Let it sit until you don’t see any oil draining from the mower. Replace the drain plug then add fresh oil to the oil reservoir until you can see oil at the bottom of the threads of the filler plug.
  4. If your mower still sputters, clean the fuel system by adding a fuel system cleaner to your gas tank and running it for a short time. To avoid this problem, drain all the fuel from the mower in the fall by running the engine until it is completely out of gas. Gas deteriorates and will clog your mower over time.