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Tend to mower

With spring’s arrival and the snow melted from the yard, your thoughts have probably turned to your lawn.

So now is a good time to get your lawn mower ready before things start to turn green and grow.

It’s important to tend to all equipment involving an engine – lawn mowers, trimmers or chainsaws – so they will run smoothly throughout the season.

First tip, if fuel has been sitting in your lawn mower all winter, don’t use it. Drain it and put in fresh fuel. Get rid of any fuel that has been sitting for more than 30 days in a gas tank.

Inspect the mower by checking out the deck, belts, blades and all bolts and fasteners. Also, check the tires and wheels. Check to see if the blade needs to be sharpened. A sharp blade can help the health of your lawn. Consider sharpening your blades two to three times a season.

When is the last time you changed the oil? Don’t neglect regular oil changes for gasoline-powered lawn and garden equipment. Old, dirty oil can cause excessive wear and sometimes early breakdowns of small engines. If you have manuals for your mower and other equipment, oil-change intervals should be listed. Otherwise, change the oil when it starts appearing dark and dirty on the dipstick used to check the level. Oil recommendations vary, but 10W-30 is usually a safe choice if you don’t have a manual. If the device has an oil filter, it should be replaced when the oil is changed.

Consider replacing the spark plug with a new one.

Clean your lawn mower and lubricate it. Oil any wheel bearings and other moving parts.

If this seems like too much of a job, you can always take your lawn mower to a reputable service center and turn it over to the professionals.

Sources: McClatchy News Service, Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, various websites