Cut costs, grass: Race to tune up, repair your lawn mower in fall

Cut costs, grass: Race to tune up, repair your lawn mower in fall
push lawn mower

push lawn mower

Ever wonder what repairs it would take to add a little more vroom to your riding lawn mower?

Take a drive just south of Charlotte to York, South Carolina, where dozens of lawn mower enthusiasts race their not-so-slightly tweaked mowers every other weekend this fall at York’s Phat Bottom Speedway. There’s no prize money — proceeds go to charity — just a chance to see exactly what your John Deere can do as it roars around the dirt track.

Prefer to keep on the grass? Fall is still a great time to get your lawn mower in shape for what it’s supposed to do: cut grass. After putting your mower through a summer of hard work, here’s how to get the maintenance your rider or push-behind needs to race through its chores next spring.  

Treat it to a professional tune-up

Charlotte lawn mower repair technicians are busiest in the spring, when everyone realizes the grass is getting long. If you want a quick turnaround, and maybe a cheaper tune-up, take your mower in at the end of the grass-cutting season.

Technicians will drain your mower's gasoline, replace the air filter and spark plug, and check the oil to see if needs to be replaced. They’ll also perform diagnostic tests to see if anything else needs adjusting or fixing.

TIPS: 8 maintenance tips to keep your lawn mower running

TLC can also be DIY

If you have a socket wrench, spark plug wrench, locking pliers and screwdriver, you can save yourself some money and give your mower a do-it-yourself tune-up.

Keep your owner’s manual nearby, and make sure to disconnect the spark plug’s rubber boot so the mower can’t accidentally start. Then, following the manual’s directions, drain the engine oil and replace the air filter.

You also should empty whatever gas is left over before storing the lawn mower for the winter.

DIY: How to tune-up and maintain your lawn mower

Time for something new?

The life of a lawn mower inevitably includes the frustration of broken cables, pull cords and belts, but those are small issues that can be fixed easily and inexpensively. What if Old Reliable has been showing more troubling signs of disrepair?

If the issue is with your mower's transmission or engine, such as broken rods or pistons, you might spend $500 to $1,000 on a repair. A clogged carburetor, which prevents mowers from starting, is a much less expensive fix.

Now is the time to evaluate whether a fix is worthwhile, or if it’s time to find an end-of-season deal on a new unit.

RELATED: Repair or replace: Is it time to buy a new lawn mower?

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