SIDNEY — The grass is getting greener as showers blanket Shelby County. And the green grass means it’s time to get your lawn mower ready for the upcoming mowing season.
“Thirteen kids every day across America get hurt in a lawn mower accident,” said Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart.
Lawn mower maintenance, said Lenhart, is vital to a safe mowing season. He recommends, first of all, reading the owner’s manual for the lawn mower.
“The owner’s manual says a mower should last 10 to 15 years,” said Lenhart. “At the end of last season, you should have drained the gas out of it or let it run until the gas has run out.”
Products, such as Seaform, he said, are gas stabilizers and will assist with helping your lawn mower run better and last longer.
“If it doesn’t work right or won’t start, empty the gas out,” said Lenhart. “And you might need to replace the spark plug. But be careful because if there’s a spark from the spark plug when you remove it, there’s a chance it could become flammable.
“Once you get your mower running, never pour gas into a hot engine,” he continued.
The oil in a lawn mower should be changed once a year, whether it’s at the end of the mowing season or the beginning of a new one. And the oil should be recycled and not dumped onto the ground.
“Most people don’t pay any attention to the oil and other stuff as long as the mower starts,” said Lenhart.
The undercarriage of the lawn mower should also be cleaned out.
“A putty knife or water from your garden house will work,” said Lenhart. “Just remember that there’s a blade under there and you could get cut if you’re using a putty knife to clean it.”
Always remember to check the mower’s air filter, said Lenhart.
“If it’s clogged or dirty, clean it up,” said Lenhart. “The filter is inexpensive to replace.”
Spark plugs should also be replaced once a year, he said.
“But it can be dangerous to just pull out a spark plug because a spark can jump,” he said. “If there’s fuel around it, there can be problems and cause of lot of electricity.”
The mower’s blades should be sharpened once a year, he said.
“Some people use a file and others use a grinder to sharpen the blades,” said Lenhart. “You need to be careful with either method as you can get cut on the blades.”
Or, he said, if you don’t want to do the spring maintenance yourself, call a professional.
“Call your local lawn mower shop and have it professionally cleaned up,” said Lenhart. “They’ll diagnose it for you on what might be wrong with the mower.
“Traditionally, it doesn’t cost much to have it done. But I urge you to do it now before they get too busy,” said Lenhart.
The writer conducts a weekly interview to update readers with news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.