4 Easy Steps To Tune Up A Lawn Mower

Last Updated on May 9, 2024 by Sharaj

It gets frustrating when you keep trying to start your mower and the machines just refuse to work. If this happens to you, then it is an indication that your mower needs tuning up.

Now, you can decide to ignore the issue and keep exerting your energy till the mower works or you could put the 3 easy tune-up steps to practice and watch your lawn trimmer work excellently again.

Maintenance is like food to any machine and if you want your lawn to remain in great shape, regular mower maintenance is a price you’ve got to pay. You can pay to have the mower tuned up, but wouldn’t it be more fun to do it yourself? Here’s a guide to help you out if you do decide to DIY it.

How To Tune Up a Lawn Mower?

When it comes to tuning up a mower, only three important tasks are involved. The first step is about changing the oil, the second step entails replacing the spark plug while the last step involves cleaning or changing the air filter.

Of course, tuning up your trimmer is not the same as your normal mower maintenance routine which involves many more tasks.

Before you begin these tune-ups, tasks make sure that you get the engine of the mower warmed up. You only need to pour a little petrol into the tank.

Power the mower and let it run till the fuel runs out. Once this is accomplished, detach the spark plug wire for the sake of safety.


1. Changing the Oil

Changing the Oil Lawn Mower

  1. Ensure that you buy the correct oil type. You can refer to the owner’s manual to know the right oil or ask from the seller where you purchased the machine.
  2. Using an old toothbrush or cloth, wipe off all dirt around the top of the oil tank. Then, unscrew the dipstick and remove it if your mower has one.
  3. At this point, it’s time to find the plug at the underside of your mower. When you unscrew this plug, you’ll be able to drain your trimmer of old oil. But first, support your mower with blocks such that the machine bends and lets you reach the plug. Place a container beneath the plug so that when you unscrew, the oil will pour into it. Now, go ahead and unscrew. The dirty oil can splash on your clothes while gushing out. Therefore, do ensure that you’re not wearing your best clothes while doing this job.
  4. Using a clockwise motion, screw the plug back in place. Ensure that you do not screw it too tight as you will need to unscrew it again in the future. However, you can examine the plug once in a while when you start using the machine to ensure it isn’t loosening.
  5. If your mower came with an oil filter, replace it. Also, remember to clear out dirt from the gasket.
  6. Take away the blocks from under the mower
  7. Now, pour the correct quantity of new oil into the tank then place the cap and dipstick back.
  8. Pour fuel into your lawnmower and connect the spark plug wire.
  9. Start the machine and observe for any oil leak.

2. Changing the Spark Plug

  1. Begin by disconnecting the spark plug wire.
  2. Wipeout all dirt that is around your old spark plug.
  3. Remove this old spark plug using a socket wrench.
  4. Before moving further, you need to consult your manual. You must find out whether the new spark plug that you have bought is gapped rightly for your mower. All you need do is check the specified measurement in your manual and measure the spark plug gap to see if it matches. You may have to alter the gap if it doesn’t match.
  5. Fix the new spark plug but make sure you don’t screw it too tightly.

3. Changing a Paper Air Filter

  1. Find out the type of air filter your mower has. Is it a foam filter or a paper filter? Foam filters can be washed but you’d need to replace a paper filter.
  2. Untighten the screw of the filter cover and extract the paper filter.
  3. Replace the old filter with a new paper air filter and make sure the pleat area is facing out.
  4. fix the cover back on.

4. Cleaning the Foam Air Filter

  1. Remove the cover.
  2. Bring out the air filter unit and get rid of the foam.
  3. Cleanse the filter unit using kerosene.
  4. Immerse the foam that you’ve just bought in fresh engine oil. Squeeze the foam and wipe off extra oil with a clean rag.
  5. Put this new foam into the air filter. Make sure that its lip is protruding over the unit’s edge.
  6. Fix the cover back
  7. Connect the spark plug wire again

No doubt, these tasks can be quite daunting sometimes. So, if you’d rather not go through this maintenance stress you can pay someone who can do it for you. Another option is to ditch your petrol machine and get a battery-powered mower.

However, if what you own is a string trimmer and would like to know how to tune it up, this next section is for you.

How to Tune Up Your String Trimmer and Use the Right Fuel

Sometimes called weed eater, weed whacker or line trimmer, a string trimmer can be used to make a lawn tidy and neat. With this tool, one can trim grass and edge weed conveniently.

However, like most machines, string trimmers need maintenance to get it functioning at its best. Are you getting ready for the year’s first cut? Use these tips to get your trimmer ready.

Tune-Up Tips for Gas String Trimmer

Tips for Gas String Trimmer

Change the Air Filter And Spark Plug: Ensure that the machine’s engine is off before attempting to remove your old air filter and spark plug. Replace these two parts with new ones and it’ll help your machine run more smoothly.

Replace the String If There Is A Need To: When you notice that your trimmer requires new line one thing you can do is wrap a new string onto the reel that is already there. However, you can also install a new spool altogether.

Whichever you choose, ensure that you take off the cap to remove the spool. You need to clean the surface of both the outer and inner spool plus the driveshaft using a clean cloth.

If you’re putting new spool on the old one, measure a new line that is about 50 feet long. Put the two ends of the line inside the holes on the inner spool. Then, wrap the line onto the reel tightly in a consistent pattern. Next, put the ends of the string inside the notches.

To reinstall the spool, place the ends of the string inside the holes that are in the outer spool and draw out the line from the holes. After this, replace the cap.

Use the Correct Line: Not all string types work for all string trimmers. This means that you need to select the right string for your trimmer. You should find a description of the correct line to use in the user’s manual. If you don’t find useful information there, take a sample from your trimmer with you to the market.

Choosing the Right Fuel: Using the wrong oil can damage the machine. Many petrol stations now have the right blends of ethanol fuel that exceed E10. These oil blends are not ideal for string trimmers, leaf blowers and similar machines with small engines. They can cause serious havoc to them. As such, ensure that you avoid these oil blends.

Using String Trimmers, The Safe Way

Now that your strimmer is in a good state to work, you must be eager to see it perform. However, safety is important. So, here are some safety precautions to put in place before powering your string trimmer.

  1. Read the product manual thoroughly. When you do, you’ll get familiar with the safety measures and operating instructions of your machine
  2. There is a proper way to dress when using a string trimmer. Wear protection over your eyes and ears, hand gloves, tight fitted clothes, and toe-covered boots.
  3. Clear sticks, cans, rocks and the likes away from the area you’ll be working on. Ensure that children and pets are not roaming the area.
  4. You need the stamina to handle a string trimmer. So, do ensure that you stand strong, holding the machine tightly with your hands securely around the handles. Avoid stretching or working in sloppy areas.
  5. Keep the machine away from you when cutting. This will prevent debris from heading your direction when propelled by the machine.


It doesn’t cost so much to have your mower tune-up done for you by a professional. However, no matter how cheap it may be, doing it yourself is cheaper.

However, if you don’t have the time to tackle such a project you may not have a choice. Either way, ensure that your mower gets tuned up properly if you want it to function at its peak.

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