Campbell Tractor's Top 5 Tips for Lawn Mower Maintenance

a couple is sitting on the john deere lawn tractor with attachment

posted on Thursday, October 27, 2022 in Dealer News

When operating any of the push or riding lawn mowers sold by John Deere, your best bet for having a beautiful lawn and extending the longevity of your lawn mower is to remember to do basic maintenance on your equipment. Here we’ll cover the basic checklist to follow, what maintenance your lawn mower needs, and how often to perform your lawn mower maintenance.

Lawn Mower Maintenance Checklist

  • Change engine oil (occurrence: Full oil change at the start of the season. Check oil before each use.)
  • Replace the spark plug (occurrence: Start of the season)
  • Replace or clean the air filter (occurrence: Start of the season, check during season, especially if your mower gets a lot of use)
  • Sharpen and balance mower blades (occurrence: Start of the season, check blades before each use to see if any rocks, grass or debris need to be removed or have caused damage)
  • Clean the mower deck (occurrence: Check before each mow for debris, clean if needed)
  • Add fuel stabilizer to the fuel system, or remove all fuel (occurrence: When storing for winter, or any time your mower will sit for 30 days or more)
  • Fog the engine (occurrence: Before storing for winter)


Always remove the spark plug on your mower any time that you plan to inspect, clean, sharpen or balance mower blades.

5 Steps for Proactive Lawn Mower Maintenance

1) Maintaining Lawn Mower Engine Fluids

  • Engine oil - Whether you are working on a sports car or a push lawn mower, having the right amount of clean oil is vital to operation. It’s important to do a complete change out of oil as you start each season, but then keep an eye on the oil before each mowing session. Some engines burn oil faster than others, and you never want one to seize up.
  • Fuel – If your engine sits idle for more than 30 days, gasoline can go stale. It’s important to not use stale gas in your lawn mower. If you are storing your lawn mower for winter or will be on vacation or unavailable to mow for longer than 30 days, add a fluid stabilizer and treatment to keep gas fresh and protect your mower’s engine.
  • Storage – When storing your mower, you can also fog your engine. Fogging oil is a thin, coating oil in a spray can. With your engine running, spray the oil into the intake or carburetor. Some of the oil will burn off (smoke), but most of it will coat the cylinder walls and valves to put a layer of protection on them as they sit dormant. This keeps dust and debris from collecting and damaging your engine over time.

2) Cleaning or Changing your Air Filter

Some small engines will not have an air filter, but if yours does, another step in the maintenance of your engine is to make sure it is running with a clean air filter. It’s also important to make sure that your carburetor is clean, but that may be a task left to a professional.

  • Foam/Sponge Filters – Wash dirt and debris off with simple dish soap that is meant to cut through grease. Once the filter looks clean, you can give it a squeeze and then let it dry on a paper towel or drop cloth before putting it back into your mower.
  • Paper Filters – If there is just some dust and loose debris you can give it a shake or tap lightly against your hand to clear some of the dust away. If it is significantly dirty, it is best to replace it with a clean air filter.

3) Maintaining your Lawnmower Blades

Like most of the items on this list, the best time to check, sharpen and balance your blades is before you mow for the first time of the spring/summer season. However, you always want to give your blades a quick check before you mow to make sure that there are no chips in the blades, no debris stuck that could alter the course of the blade or fly out of the machine when it is turned on, and that your blades are securely attached.

  • Sharpen Your Blades – With the engine off and the spark plug removed, you can sharpen the blade by hand with a file or grindstone, keeping the blade at a 45-degree angle, or by using a bench grinder with the addition of the proper eyewear for safety. Remember that your blades should be sharp to the touch, but not to cut you. If you grind the blade too thin it will be susceptible to braking or chipping anytime that it encounters rocks, sticks, or other hard debris.
  • Balance Your Blades – To balance your blades, rotate blades to the side and measure the height of each side. If the difference of the two sides is close to ? -inch, an adjustment is not needed. If there is more than ? -inch difference, you will need to make an adjustment. Rotate the blades so that their direction is now front to back. Then, complete the same measuring process to measure and determine if there is an adjustment needed.


Any time you are working on your lawn mower when you have it running, always wear safety goggles or eye protection.

4) Clean your Mower Deck

Whether elevating your riding mower to work underneath, or turning your mower onto its side, you can wash grass, dirt, and debris off of your mower deck. The height of the grass you are mowing and your terrain will dictate whether you need to thoroughly wash your mower deck before or after each mow. A garden hose will do the trick, just make sure not to pressure spray water into your engine. You can also scrub the deck with a soft brush and soapy water if debris is hardened and difficult to remove. Always allow time for your mower to dry before storing.

When turning your mower on its side, always make sure that the carburetor and air filter are facing up. The primary concern is to make sure that fuel and oil don’t leak. Because all mowers are not built the same, when looking to turn your mower on its side, it is best to refer to your owner’s manual.

5) Check Your Tires

Whether you own a riding mower and need to check tire pressure or a push mower with hard tires, you always want to make sure that there are no issues with tire pressure or broken pieces to make sure that your tires will provide a consistent mowing plane.

While there will be mower repairs beyond standard maintenance that require the attention of an authorized service technician, using these simple proactive steps when you use and store your mower will go a long way to help  avoid major repair bills while extending the life of your mower.

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