How to Maintain a Lawn Mower – This Old House

Views:110915|Rating:4.76|View Time:3:33Minutes|Likes:415|Dislikes:21
This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook and host Kevin O’Connor share tips for keeping your mower running smoothly all summer long. (See below for a shopping list and tools.)

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Full episode:

How to Mow a Lawn:

How to Use a String Trimmer:

How to Compost:

Shopping List for Maintaining a Lawn Mower:
– engine oil
– air filter
– spark plug
– spray lubricant

Tools for Maintaining a Lawn Mower:
– funnel, for adding oil
– screwdriver
– adjustable wrench
– ratchet wrench with spark-plug socket

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27 Responses

  1. cardo says:

    I am not convinced that draining a tank dry is the way to go anymore for off season storage, long-term it does seem to damage seals/fuel hoses and if you have a newer snow blower/generator with a China built engine that has a metal fuel tank they can rust internally if left dry. I religiously use a quality fuel stabilizer like Star-Tron or Marine Stabil as soon as I buy my gas add it to the container when I get home. For off season storage I keep my tank full run the engine for a minute or two then shut off the fuel supply shut off switch (if your equipment has one) let the engine run out of gas and then store it. I am confident this method will prevent my fuel hoses/seals from drying out. Time will tell, so far so good.

  2. Edwin Ramos says:

    That accent is horrible. Thumbs down.

  3. The DEdoS says:

    Always helpful Boys 🙂

  4. Vyacheslav Ivanov says:

    I have not done any service to my mower and it still running great. I do check the oil via dipstick and try to use out the gas before winter comes. Other than that, all is well. If gas is stored, It still works for me during spring.

  5. Joeys landscaping Garofalo says:

    That is a waste of money you do not need to replace the spark plugs every year to replace it every 5 to 10 years

  6. SPC Dark Metal 303 says:

    You want to let the oil settle for 5 to 10 min. before you check also that air filter can be cleaned just fine and you could clean that spark plug

  7. Neon Limitless says:

    Ha! I haven't needed to change the spark plug on my mower in 11 years.

  8. Jacques Blaque says:

    Correct replacement plug (NOT necessary in this case) involves much more than correct sizes of threaded part. Heat range must also be correct. Engine mfg. can provide info for particular engine. Else, just read the plug info on the insulator and get another, or cross-reference it. Parts-store counterman should be able to find just what you need. NGK is really on the upswing for quality small-engine plugs, OEM on Husqy/Dolmar saws for one thing. Oil should really be changed while hot. IMO

  9. Jarrett says:

    Haahd to staaht

  10. oldtwins na says:

    Spark plug seldom needs changing.

  11. stitch16261 says:

    would it hurt if you changed the oil in the fall? vs spring?

  12. K P says:

    15 years using it and have done nothing to it. Have not changed plug, filter, oil, have not sharpen blade or lubricated any moving parts, always used very old gas, but still runs perfect, same as on day I got it. Starts after every winter on first pull.

  13. Panamedia LLC says:

    the rubber in a spark plug socket has nothing to do about the porcelain… it's to grab the stem and help remove from larger car engines that can be DEEP inside a cylinder hear/valve cover.

  14. Mike Lafferty says:

    sometimes their hod to get stotted!

  15. Mike Lafferty says:

    I've never seen a lawnmower without an oil drain plug on the bottom. If you tip it over like that you can easily fill the cylinder with old oil – a real mess

  16. MJ Sanchez says:

    I use a turkey baster to remove the oil in my lawn mower.

  17. TheTarrMan says:

    Theirs four things I feel compelled to mention on this video.
    1) The rubber on the plug socket isn't for the porcelain. It's for when you install plugs on cars so it won't drop out of the socket. (Doesn't work very well but that's another rant.)
    2) You don't need to replace the plug every year. (The one in the video looks fine and yours should look like that too.) Just take it out and check the gap and adjust if necessary. (Your Engine manufacturer will have the specs. . . . . GOOGLE THEM YOURSELF!) A plug should last many years but it never hurts to keep a spare around. Store it some place where it wont get knocked around because the porcelain is very fragile.
    3) This is also a perfect time to sharpen your blade. While your under it this is also a great time to remove any dried lawn clippings that are stuck to the under sides of the deck. In fact this should be done once a month and especially before you put it away for the winter. The dried lawn clippings can hold moisture causing your deck to rust out. . . . . Maybe consider using this time to also take off the top plate/shroud thing so you can remove any lawn clippings that are stuck under that too. The engine shroud helps direct the air flow coming from the fan built into the flywheel for engine cooling so it's very important to keep that clear.
    4) Many lawnmowers have a sponge type oil filter where you don't need to replace it every year. Just take it out so you can wash and dry it (Dawn works great) then re- oil it before use. I normally use some of the left over new oil from changing the engine oil. Just make sure to ring it out after applying.

    Remember before you buy. . . . . . Even a "cheap" $120 Briggs&Stratton lawn mower should last you a good decade or more if you take care of it and don't abuse it so don't listen to the salesman trying to sell you something more expensive if you have no intention of taking care of and respecting your purchase.

    Hope I've helped someone and happy mowing.
    Peace and love

  18. Juan Anaya says:

    Same suggestion goes for changing the air filter. I would take the old filter with me. That way I will make no mistake when it comes to buying the new filter.

  19. Liam MG says:

    Don’t take the carburetor to a “professional”. Remove it. Clean it with carburetor cleaner. Replace gaskets if needed. Done. ✅

  20. Sukhjot Singh says:

    Do we use SAE-30W oil for every lawnmower

  21. Sergey Bebenin says:

    That spark plugs looked just fine.

  22. Moon Pie says:

    Hell no… if you are the average home owner with a small to medium sized lot you don't need to change the oil yearly. Most people never put 30 hours on their mower a year. Check the oil level is a must though.
    If you change oil (30 hours) yearly, might as well change your car's oil every 3000 too.

    Same with the plug. Mine is 6 years old and works fine (see hours run above for reference).
    Check and clean air filter as needed.
    AND, grossly over looked – Clean under your mowing deck, and sharpen/balance the blade as needed.

  23. Billy Ray Valentine says:

    Really good video!

  24. Tuan Phan says:

    Ethanol not good for small engine

  25. Robert Swift says:

    yep and not 1 mention after doing and checking all that work about sharpening the blade or replacing the drive belt,,,epic fail

  26. Han Solo says:

    lol tilting the lawnmower to empty oil.. theres a drain plug under where the blade is.. come on old house

  27. Bobby C. says:

    GAP the plug also…..

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