Lawnmowers Need TLC, Too: Summer Lawnmower Maintenance

DSC02882If you’re like me, you like things to work when you want to use them. That’s why one of the responsibilities of owning mechanical toys or tools is to take care of them. It’s called maintenance. Whether it’s a diesel truck, chainsaw or compressor, everything requires its own kind of TLC if you want it to be there for you when you need it. This article explains how to take care of your lawnmower.

When I was young I didn’t know anything about taking care of our mower. I just parked it in the garage for the winter and worked on it till it started in the spring. It never entered my mind that there were reasons it was so hard to start every year. In fact, most things in life are not that complicated if we just approach them with a little common sense.

Here are the some key ideas I never gave a moment’s thought to when I was growing up. First, engines run best when they are clean. Second, gasoline deteriorates unless you treat it. Having learned a few lessons since then, here are suggestions for your own lawnmower maintenance regimen.

1. Keep it clean. Change oil at the end of the season. Whether it’s your push mower or riding mower, you need to change the oil before storing it for the winter. Storing your mower with used oil in the crankcase can allow acids to deteriorate seals and other components inside the engine throughout the winter. It’s best practice to change it following your final mowing of the year.

2. Keep your air filter clean. The filter is important for keeping grass clippings and other junk out of the engine. But it still has to allow air to flow through it to mix with the gasoline. Gasoline is a fuel that, when mixed with oxygen and ignited, is very explosive. If the air is stifled by a neglected air filter it will have a detrimental effect on engine operation.

3. Use AMSOIL Quickshot® to treat your gasoline. Gasoline degrades over time. That’s why you need to treat it each time you fill your gasoline container. Degraded fuel can become a serious issue in small engines and powersports equipment, forming varnish, gum and insoluble debris that clogs carburetors and fuel filters. This is a primary reason lawnmowers can be so difficult to start in the spring.

AMSOIL Quickshot does more than deal with fuel degradation. It also confronts the more serious problem of ethanol in today’s gasoline. According to our research, ethanol in the fuel has a tendency to absorb moisture and separate from the gasoline. This water/ethanol mix separates from the gas and sinks to the bottom of the gas tank. It can degrade to form gum and other insoluble debris that can plug fuel-flow passages and interfere with engine performance. Quickshot also keeps water dispersed while addressing other issues as well. This page on our website has details that may be worth understanding.

4. Change the spark plug from time to time. (Some people say change it every year. I usually do it every other year, but I recommend consulting your owner’s manual.)

5. Check your oil level every time you mow. Moving parts need lubrication.

6. Use AMSOIL Fogging Oil at the end of the year before storing your mower for the winter. I have been doing this ever since we introduced the product and it really makes a difference in the spring.

7. Sharpen your blade every year or as needed. A lot of folks take such poor care of their lawnmowers that they don’t have them around long enough to need a blade sharpening. They just buy a new one. I prefer to take care of my equipment. We have enough junk in our landfills.

8. I prefer not to leave gasoline in the mower over the winter. I use the fuel so it doesn’t turn to gum inside the lines while it sits and evaporates. However, if you store your mower with gasoline in the tank, be sure to stabilize the gas with AMSOIL Gasoline Stabilizer to help ensure it starts easily in the spring.


  1. Phil: Your suggestions are good ones. We have tech people who agree with you on the suggestion about leaving gas tank full for the winter. Stabilizer is important there. Mike is right that QuickShot is also a stabilizer. Gas is inherently unstable and needs some attention if it is not being used.

  2. I vote for leaving the gas tank full over winter. First, heat is the real killer of gasoline not winter. Second, some engines have cork gaskets in the carb and can crack when left to dry out. I always use fuel stabilizer year round and never have starting issues. Also, on the spark plugs on my Honda and Briggs OHV engines, the first thing I do is chuck the factory plug and replace it with an NGK platinum.

  3. I also heard that QuickShot is also a fuel stabilizer. i use it in my generator, pressure washer as well as all the lawn care equipment. Amsoil has been my best friend for 40 years now, thanks for making such great products, that hold up to the rigors of the unmodern internal combustion engine.
    PS all the equipment also uses Amsoil engine oil too!!!

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