To keep your lawnmower running at peak performance, you'll need to tune it up several times a year. Learn how to safely drain the oil, change the filter, and replace the spark plug to keep your lawnmower running for many years ahead.

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Lawnmower Maintenance

Just like you need to tune up your automobile to keep it running at peak performance, you need to tune-up your push mower as well. In order to do a good job, you need to keep your mowers tuned up. There are several ways you can tune up a mower. You can purchase a pre-packaged tune-up kit like this one that has everything you need in it. Or, you can purchase the parts individually.

The first thing that you need to do when tuning up a lawn mower, or any mechanical engine, is to unhook the power supply. With a push mower, that means unhooking the spark plug.

The next thing I would suggest is to remove the blade. The blade can be removed and taken to a professional lawn mower shop to be sharpened, or you can purchase a replacement blade from your lawnmower repair shop.

Most blades require you to remove the nut underneath, but some blades will have a key or pin that need to be removed as well. Once the blade has been removed, you can access the oil filter drain. The drain can be reached with a ratchet and an extension. Take the ratchet and loosen the nut underneath the oil drain pan. And be sure to have some sort of drip pan handy to drain the motor oil into. Check to see if your community has a recycling center available to recycle your used lawnmower oil.

Once the oil plug has been reinstalled underneath the mower, you can put the blade back on being sure to wear a pair of gloves, so you don’t cut yourself on the blade. Then you can put the lawnmower back down on it’s wheels and fill the mower up with an approved lawnmower oil. Typically, you’ll fill the lawnmower up with oil at the area where you’ll find the dipstick on the mower.

On some push mowers, they use a simple paper air filter. All you need to do is to unscrew the air filter cover on the side of the push mower. Remove the old air filter and replace it with a new one. On this air filter, it’s a foam oil bath filter system. With this type of air filter, you’ll need to unscrew the air filter cover, and remove the filter. Take the old filter out, throw it away, and replace it with your new filter. With an oil bath filter system, you’ll need to saturate the oil filter with clean oil. This will help keep dirt, grime and debris from entering your lawn mower.

The final step in tuning up the lawn mower is to remove and replace the old spark plug. This can be done using a simple wrench. You’ll need to loosen the spark plug and take it out. Next, you’ll need to install a brand, new spark plug. I recommend you do this tune-up procedure at the beginning of the year, and then again in the middle of the summer. Once, this is done, you’re ready to mow.

This feature story prepared with Chris Petty, Kansas State University Research and Extension Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent, Southwind District. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at

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