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Tune Your Lawnmower For Better Performance

It's not your '67 Mustang, but it needs TLC, too

The engine purrs as fuel mixes with plug-provided sparks, firing a machine that can be the worst nightmare of ... your front lawn? You're not cruising the strip like a teenager, your cutting strips in the grass around your home. Keep the mower maintained and it'll run like a high-performance machine. Here are a few simple tips:

  • Replace the air filter - Breathing fresh air will help the engine run smoother, giving you better fuel efficiency. Use only a suitable replacement filter of the same shape and size.
  • Maintain the mower's spark - ... plugs, that is. Check them for wear, damage, overheating, etc. and replace when necessary; typically once a year, at the beginning of the season.
  • Keep the blade sharp - A sharp blade makes short-order of long grass and keeps your efficiency level high, keeping you from having to go over areas more than once. You can do it yourself with a blade sharpener that fits into your drill (Ace no. 75410) or you can bring it to your local Ace store (many Ace stores offer blade sharpening, call yours to find out).
  • Change the oil - Dirty oil is full of impurities that gum up engine parts. Follow manufacturer's instructions for the mower unit to empty old oil (into a container, not into the street!) and replace with new. Determine first whether your mower is a two-stage (gas and oil premixed together) or a four-stage (separate spots for gas and oil, usually an SAE 30).
  • Keep it clean - Aside from having pride in your "maven of the mow," keeping the mower clean helps prevent dirt and grime from sullying the mower's operation. It also gives you an opportunity to check some of the other maintenance items, like the blade's sharpness and the status of the sparkplugs.

Proper mower maintenance means more mileage and better performance out of your machine. If you have additional questions about home improvement and outdoor living, ask the helpful folks at your neighborhood Ace Hardware store, or feel free to email me at asklou@acehardware.com.

Take care,

-Lou

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