Winterize/tune up your lawnmower and save


On the first warm Saturday of the spring, the local neighborhood mower shop is overrun with homeowners whose neglected lawnmowers won't start. Giving some love to yours now will help you avoid this frustration and get your money's worth from your machine -- Every extra year you can get from a mower is money in your pocket.

With your manual handy for reference, start by draining the gas tank. Gasoline goes stale when it sits for months, making it hard to burn. If you have any gas left over in your gas can, pour it into your car and start with fresh gas in the spring.

This is also a good time to change the oil, so drain off the old, gunky stuff. Before you refill with fresh oil, however, take this opportunity to clean out the cutting chamber.

Put on heavy gloves, then turn the mower over. The blade of most mowers is secured by a single bolt. Take a reference photo with your camera phone, then remove this bolt (but don't hold onto the sharp edge of the blade!) the mounting bracket, and the blade. A local hardware or mower shop can put a fresh edge on the blade for you in a few minutes, and your mower will cut easier and cleaner as a result.

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