• In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook and Kevin O'Connor share tips for keeping your mower running smoothly all summer long.

    1. At the end of the mowing season, start your mower and allow it to run out of gas.
    2. Come spring, change the oil before mowing the lawn for the first time.
    3. Start by disconnecting the spark-plug wire to prevent accidental starting. Then, remove the oil-fill cap and tilt the mower onto its side to pour the oil into a drain pan.
    4. Recycle the old oil and change the oil at least once a year.
    5. Use a funnel to add the correct type and amount of motor oil, as specified by the mower manufacturer.
    6. Use the dipstick to confirm the correct oil level. Add more oil, if necessary, but be careful not to overfill it.
    7. Unscrew the air-filter cover, then remove and replace the air filter with the exact type specified in the owner's manual. Reinstall the air-filter cover.
    8. Remove the old spark plug using a ratchet wrench and spark-plug socket.
    9. Take the old spark plug to the store to ensure you get the same-exact size and type.
    10. Hand-thread the new spark plug into the engine, making sure you don't cross the threads. Once it's hand tight, finishing tightening it with the ratchet wrench. Replace the spark plug once a year.
    11. Apply a light coating of spray lubricant to both wheel axles and to the control cables.
    12. Use a screwdriver and adjustable wrench to tighten all the screws, nuts and hex-head bolts on the mower.
    • Difficulty: Easy
      A fairly dirty job, but not at all difficult
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      Video Directory

      Selected Topic/Section

      Tools List

      • funnel
        Funnel, for adding oil
      • Phillips screwdriver
      • adjustable wrench
        Adjustable wrench
      • socket wrench
        Ratchet wrench with spark-plug socket

      Shopping List

      Engine oil

      Air filter

      Spark plug

      Spray lubricant