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Lawn Mower Maintenance for Efficiency and Savings

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

You can spend into the thousands for riding lawn mowers and tractors. But, if like most people, you've spent between $250 and $600 for a standard gasoline-powered lawn mower, it's still a considerable investment. Come mid-summer, you might have trouble starting the old steed -- or perhaps constant vibrations are beginning to make your arms ache. If you believe that lawn care is essential, you should feel the same way about lawn mower maintenance.

You can save money on operating costs as well as on pricy repairs or complete lawn mower replacement by following a routine throughout lawn care season. Tightening screws and bolts that shake loose during ordinary operation saves wear and tear on both your mower and your body. Cleaning lawn mower decks throughout the summer can save gas as well as help prevent lawn disease.
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Air Filter, Plug, and Lawn Mower Blade Care

It doesn't matter that you've neglected your lawn mower well into the season. Start caring for it now! First, install fresh spark plugs. They're inexpensive enough to replace rather than clean or gap. If your mower has a paper air filter, give that a complete replacement, too. For foam air filters, buy new mower replacement foam and soak it oil before installing.

Dull blades harm lawns. Ripped out chunks of grass are highly vulnerable to a myriad of lawn diseases. Either remove the blade with a socket wrench, hone it with a file (following the existing cutting angle), or take it to a lawn-care shop for professional sharpening.

It's just good sense before doing any of this work to run the mower until it runs completely out of gas. Turn the mower filter-side up (to prevent clogging) and drain the oil. Be sure to remove the plug or plug wire to keep the mower from firing up while you're up to your elbows in machinery.

About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys,, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.

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