Lawn mower maintenance – Key tips for maximizing performance

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Investing in a high-quality lawn mower is the first step to maintaining an attractive, lush landscape. However, without proper care and routine maintenance, even the best mowers deteriorate in performance and longevity over time. General maintenance increases your mower’s cutting efficiency, extends its lifespan, and promotes smooth operation.

Sharpen blades frequently

The most critical mower maintenance task for optimal cutting is sharpening the blades regularly. As blades become dull over successive mowing sessions, they start to shred and tear grass rather than slicing it cleanly. Jagged cuts damage the grass tips and provide entry points for lawn diseases. Uneven cutting from dull mower blades also lends an unattractive finish to your landscape. Set a monthly reminder to sharpen your mower blades using a metal file or electric grinder. Start each mowing season with properly honed blades. Repeat sharpening at least once a month during peak growing periods to bolster cutting efficiency. If blades bend or crack, replace them immediately for balanced mower operation. Proper blade care enhances grass health and improves the finished visual appeal.

Change oil & filters  

Don’t overlook routine oil and filter changes, just as you would service a vehicle’s engine. Old engine oil loses viscosity and lubrication over time, especially under demanding mowing conditions. This accelerates internal component wear and tear. Also, dirty air filters reduce engine breathing by affecting power output and performance. Based on operating hours listed in your owner’s manual, drain old engine oil and swap in fresh oil meeting the manufacturer’s specifications. Accompany this with installing a new, clean oil filter for optimal filtration. Periodically checking and replacing dirty air filters is also essential.

Adjust cutting height 

Mowing grass at the wrong heights hampers lawn health and appearance. Gradually adjust cutting height settings between seasonal needs for peak performance from your turfgrass. Typically, cool-season grasses thrive best at 2-4 inches during the growing months. Warm-season varieties like Bermuda grass benefit from 0.5-2 inch summer cuts. Consult your mower manual to tailor height settings based on manufacturer recommendations. Precision height adjustments prevent scalping, minimize disease susceptibility, and bolster the visual appeal after mowing.

Clean mower deck

Over time, clippings, leaves, grass, sap, and other debris accumulate under the cutting deck shell. Too much lingering residue impairs discharge and cutting efficiency while promoting corrosion. About monthly, use a putty knife to carefully scrape away the buildup of gunk from the mower deck underside. Spray the deck with a garden hose to remove all lingering debris. Proper John Deere lawn mower deck cleaning takes just 10-15 minutes for noticeably better performance.

Maintain tire pressures 

Consistently operating a mower with low tire pressures hampers traction, causes uneven lawn cuts, and creates safety issues. Check sidewall pressure recommendations for pneumatic tires on riding mowers and inflate them as needed before mowing. Proper inflation increases traction and control for smoother operation across uneven terrain. Low pressures reduce the stability on slopes and compromise steering responsiveness.

Thus, fundamental mower maintenance bolster equipment longevity while maximizing cutting performance for healthier grass growth. Dedicating a few minutes to routine lawn mower care eliminates frustrating issues down the road while yielding noticeably better landscape results after mowing.