Lawn Mower Repair
Mower repairs can take up a good portion of your summer lawn care timeóa time that is supposed to be a strange, but healthy mix of sweat, relaxation and enjoyment. However, working on a mower that perpetually breaks down can take up months of your timeówhich in most cases is the entire mowing season.
Most often when a mower needs work, youíll see the problem manifest itself in other areas. For example, if the spark plug needs replacing, you might assume that the engine isnít getting gas or that something is wrong with the carburetor. When it comes down to the nitty-gritty, mowers donít need repaired as much as they need maintainedóand there lies the difference of a mower that sits idly or one that runs well for the entire season.
First and foremost, every time you are done mowing, the engine, blades and all should be thoroughly cleaned. Professionals might wait until the end of their day, but really should follow the same rules. The mower shouldnít necessarily be cleaned with water (although Iíve seen people do it carefully and it seems to work), but scraping the underneath of the deck and using an air compressor to clean out the air-filter, carburetor and around the engine block and pulleys is an excellent way to maintain look and function.
Next, if you are attempting to diagnose a problem with your lawnmower engine, using deductive reasoning might do the trick. If you find out later that a problem is severe (for example, you ran over a tree stump and cracked the head) then it might be time to think about the worth of your investment should you opt to fix the mower. Newer mowers arenít necessarily better, but might prove to save you a little more time and money in the long run.
If you are having troubles starting your engine (especially if you have to pull start it), you could find that the engine isnít getting fuel (or that the fuel is no good or not properly mixed) and/or perhaps something is not working properly with the ignition (for example, the pull rope isnít gripping or their isnít enough power to turn over the engine, etc).
New, clean fuel is important. Be sure not to use old fuel, especially if you arenít sure whether it has been mixed and/or stored properly. Dispense of the old gas and donít store fuel from season to season. If the gas and oil is clean, the engine will be clean.
If you believe that the problem isnít fuel related, make sure that you are getting the spark necessary to turn over the engine. Remove the outer rubber casing on the plug, and with a spark plug wrench, remove it carefully. Check to see if it is oily and grimy. If thatís the case, replace it (making sure that the gap distance on the end of the plug is correctómost are factory set, but check for backup). If the spark plug looks good, reattach the rubber outer casing and wire and set the end of the spark plug against the mowerís body. Pull or push start the mower and see if a nice, clear blue spark shoots out towards the metal frame. Donít touch it, but if you see the spark, then that means the plug is firing and it should be OK to use. If not, replace it and check performance. The wire connecting the plug to the starter could be worn or cut and need replaced as well.
While all of this will help you get started, you can do the work yourself. It will simply take some investigative work and patience on your part. As stated, maintenance is most often the key to keeping your mower out of the repair shop and on your lawn from season to season.