Get Your Walk-Behind Mower Ready for Spring

Your lawn mower certainly does not have the same 450hp big block that is in your neighbors muscle car, but believe it or not, the same tune-up principles for a classic or muscle car will apply to your lawn equipment.

We hope you love the products we recommend! When you buy through links on, we may earn a small affiliate commission which helps us to keep the lights on.

Your lawn mower certainly does not have the same 450hp big block that is in your neighbors muscle car, but believe it or not, the same tune-up principles for a classic or muscle car will apply to your lawn equipment. If it has a combustion engine, it’ll need a little bit of work to prep it to perform at its best this spring. Here’s a guide that will walk through what’ll need replacing, what might need attention, and some general mower maintenance know-how.

Walk-Behind Mowers

Walk-behind push mowers are still among the simplest engines currently made. This makes them relatively easy to work on for every skill level person. If haven’t ever done any kind of maintenance work before, give this a try with these super-easy tasks.

Mower Safety

Safety comes first, so wear work gloves to protect yourself from cuts when working near the blade. Eye protection is recommended while mowing if you are using a side-discharge push mower. Small engines are also significantly loud for their size, so remember to wear ear protection any time the mower is running.

Air Filter

Your walk behind lawn mower’s air filter keeps out dust, grit, and grass debris which protects all of the precision internal-engine components. The filter is located down near where the spinning blades makes debris and leaves all kind of filthy air that will clog up your filter and decreases performance. Check the filter all through the season and replace it as needed, but usually at least once a season. If you have a foam style filter, you can wash it with soapy water and then reoil it with a few drops before reinstalling. If it is a paper type, you can blast it with some compressed air to try to remove some of the dust, but it is likely easier to just replace this type with a new one.

Engine Oil

This is just like your car, you’ll need to change the lawn mower engine oil in your walk behind mower on a regular period of time. This certainly depends on the number of hours and how hard you use it. Most homeowners can get by with changing the oil once a season. Push mowers are the most affordable kind and are easy to maintain; they usually don’t have an oil filter and typically only need one quart of oil. It’ll definitely be faster and even easier than changing oil in your car: just tip the mower on its side to drain the oil out the filler spout, then set it upright and refill it with fresh oil.

Recycle: Remember that you should drop off the old oil to the same store for recycling, don’t toss it in the garbage or pour it down any drains. It is best to keep some cat litter in your shed or garage just in case of any spills.

Spark Plug

Lawn mower spark plugs will wear out, too. Just like with oil, it is the best idea to change them at the beginning of each grass cutting season. All it takes is a single wrench. This goes against popular belief, but you don’t actually have to buy lawn- and garden-equipment spark plugs at a power-equipment store. You can get your Honda’s BPR6 spark plug or your MTD’s RC12 at your local auto part stores and even easier… buy it online.

Cutting Blade

Before you start the mower, check the condition of the lawn mower cutting blade. Remove any excess lawn clipping build-up and inspect for cracks or large chips in the blade’s surface. If you find any, it’s time to buy a replacement blade.  Removing the blade is easier than it looks, just use a wrench to remove the center bolt. If your blade is in good shape, it may only need to be sharpened. A sharpening kit is about the same price as a new blade but will save you money in the long run, if you have a grinder or grinding wheel you can easily do this as well. If you’re not comfortable doing it, take it to a pro.

Ethanol-free Gas

Most small engines prefer ethanol-free gasoline, so fuel up your walk behind mower with that if it’s available in your area. Never use E15 or higher ethanol petrol in small equipment unless it is rated for it.

Find your lawn mower tune up kit