Does Your Riding Mower Need a Tune-up?

By Lyle Weischwill | Nov. 08, 2016 2:03 pm PST

Get your lawn mower or riding mower tuned up or repaired.

How to make sure your gas-powered ride-on mower is truly cutting it.

A ride-on mower is similar to a car in that it needs regular service and care if it’s going to last. So whether you own a push mower or a ride-on tractor, if basic maintenance and repair are neglected, parts will start to wear out. However, with regular maintenance, a mower can last up to seven to 10 years, according to J.D. Power.

Here are a few tips that can help extend the life of your mower:

  1. Drain old fuel. One of the most common mistakes owners make is leaving fuel in the fuel tank over the winter. When this happens, the fuel can destabilize and gum up the carburetor, which causes the engine to stop working. Once that happens, the only way to fix your mower is to rebuild the carburetor.

  2. Replace air filters. For every gallon of gas burned, your mower pushes roughly 10,000 gallons of air through the engine. If the air filter starts to clog, it will throw the air-fuel mix out of balance, which could cause the engine to burn more fuel and work less efficiently. Make sure to change the air filter every spring.

  3. Don’t forget to change the oil. Most manufacturers advise changing the oil after the first five hours of using a new mower to get rid of all the bits of metal and debris that are left over from the manufacturing process and could clog the engine. After that, the oil should be changed once a year, regardless of use, so that the engine parts don’t get clogged with carbon sludge.

  4. Keep an eye on blades, belts and spark plugs. These parts will last longer than filters and oil, but you want to monitor them and change them when they start to wear out.

  5. Know when it’s time to move on. Taking good care of a lawn mower can certainly extend its lifespan. But after a certain point, think about whether it’s better to repair your lawn mower or replace it. The best way to measure this is to compare the cost and complexity of the repair to the expense and lifespan of a new product.

Remember: The grass is always greener when you take good care of your mower.

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