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7 Lawn Mower Care Tips
Written by Matthew C. Keegan // 2011/10/04 // Landscaping // No comments
As fall winds down, you’ll be making your last few passes across your lawn until next spring. Fallen leaves may now be a factor, which means you can either rake these up and cut the lawn later or attempt to do both at once, using your mower to grind up everything. Much care needs to be taken to ensure that your mower runs well and that you personally avoid breathing in leaf dust debris.
To keep your mower running well until its ready for storage, the following tips can help you get your work done without having to deal with costly repair issues:
1. Keep it fresh – Fresh gasoline will keep your mower running, but higher octane gas may be required. Check your owner’s manual to see if plus or premium gas is acceptable; always choose a minimum 87 octane when buying fuel. Old fuel in your gas can may affect performance. Replace it if starting your mower becomes a problem.
2. Replace the spark plug – Chances are that your mower’s spark plug may not have been replaced since the beginning of the cutting season. If this is so, and you’ve been running the mower regularly all summer long, swap out the spark plug for a new one. Keeping your mower maintained helps to reduce air pollution, a problem inherent with most gasoline powered lawn equipment notes the EPA. 
3. Check the filter – Many of today’s lawn mowers are outfitted with reusable air filters. However, such filters do get clogged and need to be maintained. Remove the air filter, shake off excess dirt and clean it in hot water and with a light solution of detergent such as Dawn. Once it has been air dried, place it back in the mower. Also, clean out its housing to ensure that no residual dirt or debris remains.
4. Replace the oil – Like the spark plug, filter and gasoline, your lawnmower’s oil needs to be periodically drained and replaced as per your manufacturer’s guidelines. Oil will break down and make it more difficult for your engine to start. Fresh oil lubricates and cools your engine, helping to extend its life. Neglect oil changes and you’ll be shopping for a new lawnmower before you know it.
5. Sharpen the blade – For an even and controlled cut, sharpening the lawnmower’s blade is important. If you have a grinder wheel or a file, you can sharpen your mower yourself. If not, take it to a shop that can do this job for you. Best bet: have the work done during the winter months when business is slow.
6. Consider mulching – When cutting your lawn for the final time before winter, consider mulching. With mulching, you leave a coating of chewed up grass and leaves on your lawn. Mulching helps to feed the lawn and reduces the amount of lawn debris that goes to landfills according to the Ohio State University’s Buckeye Turf program. 
7. Seasonal storage – Once you have finished cutting the...