During the winter months when there’s little need for mowing the lawn, it’s the perfect time to get your mower in shape for the rigours of lawn cutting that lie ahead in the spring. Find out what you need to do to keep your mower on the move with tips from Paynes Turf on how to service a lawn mower this winter.

How to service a lawn mower

Keep your mower in tiptop condition with a service this winter

Remove the fuel from petrol mowers

Fuel deteriorates over time, so it’s a good idea to drain out the fuel from your mower before storing for the winter. If, after draining off the fuel, a small amount of petrol is left in the fuel tank, leave the mower running until it burns off the remainder.

Change the oil

Give your petrol mower a fresh tank of oil so that it continues to run well. Simply remove the oil drain plug (normally located under the engine), or alternatively tip out the oil from the top of the oil tank. Remember to replace with clean, high quality oil immediately – oil tanks, unlike fuel tanks, should never be left empty.

Clean the mower

Keep your mower clean and ready for action when spring arrives with a thorough clean before storing. The first job is to remove the grass cuttings from the mower. If you have a petrol mower, be careful when turning the mower when you need to get to the underside – always lift the mower up from the front so the spark plugs point upwards. Never tip the mower on its side – this will allow fuel from the carburetor and/or oil from the sump to flow into the air filter or the silencer, which will result in difficult starting, excessive smoking, and contamination of the air filter element. Use a paint scraper or a flat plastic scraper to remove the dried on grass deposits, then clean with water and a stiff brush – just be sure not to get any water in the fuel or oil tanks. It’s also a good idea to give the grass box a good clean using water and a stiff brush, before drying and storing.

Check the mower over

Make sure all nuts, bolts and screws are tightened up, and replace any if they are damaged. If you have a petrol mower, give the spark plugs a light clean to ensure they are dust and dirt-free, and check the air filter is not blocked or dirty. Fabric air filters can be rinsed and dried, but paper filters will need replacing. Finally, give the wheels a check over to make sure they are in good working order and are not loose.

Sharpen the mower blades

It’s always worth getting the mower blades sharpened professionally to get the best results and a really sharp, clean edge.