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Maintain a Push Lawn Mower

Walk-Behind Mower

Find step-by-step instructions on how to change the oil, replace mower blades, air filters and spark plugs in your walk-behind lawn mower.

Fall Push Mower Maintenance

Push Mower Maintenance

After a season of mowing, perform these steps before storing your lawn mower for winter.

  • Remove the grass catcher, and brush out any grass clippings.
  • Run the mower for about a minute. The oil will be easier to change while it's warm.
  • Turn off the mower.
  • Cover the work area with a drop cloth.
  • Disconnect the spark plug wire from the spark plug. Now the mower is safe to work on.
  • Brush off the rest of the mower with a cleaning brush. The engine will still be hot, so be careful.

Prevent the gas from spilling when you tip the mower to change the oil and blades.

  • Unscrew the gas cap.
  • Place a piece of heavy-duty plastic over the gas inlet.
  • Replace the gas cap.
Perform any maintenance in a well-ventilated area. Open the garage door for maximum air circulation.

Change the Oil in Your Mower

Change the Oil in Your Push Mower

The oil keeps the engine lubricated and working properly. So change it after every mowing season.

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Step 1

Remove the oil cap and dipstick.

Step 2

Set the used-oil container next to the mower.

Step 3

Tip the mower on its side to pour the oil from the mower into the container. Always tip the mower spark plug side up or dipstick side down to keep oil off the air filter, carburetor and gas tank. If oil gets in these components, the engine may not work properly.

Step 4

Once the oil has completely drained from the engine, replace the oil cap.

Step 5

Don't add fresh oil until you're finished with the blades.

Never pour oil down the drain. Instead, contact your local recycling center for oil disposal instructions.
Consider using an oil vacuum as another option when changing the oil. These systems are easy to use and leave little mess.

Change the Blade on Your Push Mower

Step 1

Tip the mower back on its side to change the blade.

Step 2

Wedge a small piece of 2-by-4 between the blade and mower deck to help prevent the blade from spinning. Or you can use a special blade removal tool.

Step 3

Remove the blade with a socket wrench.

Step 4

Take the blade to a repair shop to have it sharpened. If you want to do this step yourself, you can purchase a blade sharpener and balancer at Lowe’s. If the blades are a few years old and have deep gouges, replace them. Stop by Lowe's with the make, model and serial number for your mower.

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Step 5

Scrape any grass clippings from the bottom of the mower deck with a putty knife. Most manufacturers don't recommend using a hose because the water will rust the mower.

Never use a wet-dry vacuum near gasoline.

Step 6

If your mower has belts, belt covers and pulleys, brush them off too. If the belts appear cracked or worn, replace them.

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Step 7

Reattach the blade.

Step 8

Turn the mower back on its wheels and refill with fresh oil.  Use only the oil type recommended by the manufacturer.

Shop Engine Oil

Don't overfill the crankcase. Too much oil causes problems when the engine is running. Add the oil slowly in small increments and check with the dipstick several times. This will ensure you've added the correct amount without overfilling.

Treat Your Lawn Mower's Gas

Gas can decompose over winter and damage your mower's engine. Preserve the fuel in the tank with a fuel stabilizer.

Mix the stabilizer in a gas can, then fill the can with fresh gas. Fill the gas tank with the treated gas, as a full gas tank is less of a fire hazard than an empty one.

Replace the gas cap. You can also purchase a fuel stabilizer gas cap, which automatically releases fuel additives into the gas throughout the mowing season. It has a cartridge that should be replaced every six months.

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Lubricate any small moving parts with a spray lubricant. Don't use engine oil on the mower's exterior.

Air Filters and Spark Plugs

Wash Your Mower's Air Filter

If your mower has a foam filter, clean it with soap and water.

Saturate it lightly with engine oil. The oil helps filter out dust particles and debris. If there's any sign of damage, replace the filter.

If you have a paper filter, replace it.

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Reconnect the spark plug wire and let the engine run for about a minute. This helps work in the fresh oil and fuel stabilizer.

Be sure to disconnect the spark plug wire before storing.

Store the mower in an area where it won't be exposed to heat or gas appliances and cover with a tarp.

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