Itís that time
of year. Drive through your neighborhood on heavy trash pickup day in
early spring and youíll likely see them: lawnmowers sitting
forlornly at the end of driveways, worn but otherwise seemingly
intact; cast aside because they no longer function as they should.
in the springtime, about now, people try to start their mower and it
wonít run, so theyíll want to throw it out," said James
Feehan of Treasure Valley Premier Services, which offers lawnmower
service and repair in Boise, Idaho. "Instead (of paying for a
tune-up) they spend $500 on a new mower. People donít call when a
problem exists. They just throw the mower away."
mower serviced before you need it can help avoid inopportune
breakdowns and extend its lifecycle. A professional lawnmower tune-up
should include having the blade sharpened, cleaning under the mower,
replacing spark plugs and air filters, changing the oil, replacing old
fuel if necessary and inspecting the carburetor, cables and
A spring tune-up
should cost between $50 and $150, depending on the mower and what
needs to be done. Feehan picks up and drops off the mowers he
services, charging about $90 on average for a full service. Jeff
Breton, of Precision Outdoor Power Equipment in Raleigh, N.C., charges
$47 for a tune-up, plus the cost of parts like spark plugs, oil and
filters. Both professionals recommend an annual inspection and
it makes the grass look prettier," Breton said. "A dull
blade just tears the grass, whereas a sharp blade will cut the grass
and give you an even cut. Plus, we can see anything that might
potentially go wrong (before) they might have to end up having to
that your mower needs maintenance can include difficulty in starting,
a smoking engine, and reduced horsepower.
The most common
issue both pros say they see is trouble with carburetors, especially
in mowers where fuel has sat in the gas tank for an extended period of
typically will start up, run for few seconds and then die,"
Feehan said. "Once the fuel starts to gel, it will clog up right
away. Thatís 90 percent of the repairs I get."
recommends using a fuel stabilizer throughout the season to minimize
extend the life of the gas and keeps it from gelling up when it
sits," Feehan said, adding that the No. 1 thing homeowners can do
to keep their mowers working well is to drain fuel from the mower
before storing it during the months when itís not being used.
studied turf grass management at University of Maryland and combined
his knowledge of lawn care with a lifetime of experience working on
small engines to form his company, said neglecting your mower will
ultimately lead to neglect of your lawn.
donít maintain your lawnmower, itís going to break down,"
Feehan said. "When it breaks down, you canít mow your lawn
regularly. Regularly cutting the lawn is very important for its
health. If you miss a week, it grows taller. When you come back to cut
it, youíre ripping a lot of the moisture out of the lawn. Youíre
causing a lot of problems by not doing it regularly. Even one time a
year alters it for about six weeks."