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Lawn & Garden

Get your yard tuned up for summer.
Check out our Lawn & Garden Equipment how-to guides.

Other Walk-behind lawn mower Information

Get Your Gas-powered Lawn Mower Ready

lawnmower maintenance

Your gas mower runs and cuts better if you get it ready before mowing season starts. Your owner's manual has detailed instructions for preparing your mower for the season and for how often to change the oil and do other maintenance as summer progresses.

Time — 1 to 2 hours
Difficulty — Easy
Expertise — Basic familiarity with lawn mower parts
Frequency — Once a year
Where — All US


  1. Remove the spark plug to ensure the engine can't start if the blade turns (newer models have switch that prevents the engine from starting when the blade turns).
  2. If you have a push mower, place the mower on sawhorses to give you access to the underside; tipping the mower to work on it can cause fuel and oil to leak. If you have a lawn tractor, park it on a level paved surface.
  3. If you left gas in the engine over the winter, even if you treated it with a fuel stabilizer/conditioner, drain the stale fuel and dispose of it properly. Stale fuel can prevent the engine from starting. Leave the tank empty for now.
  4. Clean the mower body from top to bottom, scraping/brushing off all debris. Pay special attention to the areas around the blades and the discharge chute. Debris stuck on the mower affects the mower's performance and can spread weeds and lawn diseases.
  5. Tighten any loose nuts and other fasteners.
  6. If you didn't change the oil in autumn, do so now. If you did change it, check the oil level and, if needed, fill with the oil specified in the owner's manual.
  7. Lubricate moving parts, as specified in the owner's manual.
  8. Replace the mower blade if it's dull or damaged. The manufacturer doesn't recommend sharpening the blade, but if you choose to sharpen it, make sure it's balanced to avoid damaging the mower.
  9. Remove the air filter and gently tap off loose dirt. If it doesn't come off, replace the filter.
  10. Replace the spark plug and set the gap of the new one as specified in the owner's manual. Mowers start more easily with a clean plug that's free of carbon and properly gapped.
  11. Clean debris off the tires. Check for cracks on solid tires. Check air pressure on pneumatic tires and, if needed, inflate to the pressure stamped on the tires.
  12. On belt-driven mowers, tighten the belts as needed and check for excessive wear or cracks. Replace damaged belts.
  13. If you have a lawn tractor, fully charge the battery for 1 hour at 6 to 10 amps. Then remove the black cable, followed by the red cable and clean the terminals with a wire brush until shiny. Reinstall the red cable, and then the black cable.
  14. Add fresh fuel, using the fuel or fuel mix recommended in the owner's manual.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always follow all directions and precautions found in the owner's manual.
  • Don't remove or tamper with safety devices on your mower.
  • Never work on a mower when the engine is running.
  • Always store gasoline and gas-powered engines away from sources of ignition.
  • Change oil at the intervals recommended in the owner's manual.
Copyright 2010, Sears Brands, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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Sun 7:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m. CST

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