Tips offered for maintaining your lawn mower

If your lawn mower is what’s choking instead of your weeds, you have lots of company.

More than 63 million lawn mowers are revving up for lawn season, and many will need a little tender, loving care. Experts advise that an hour or two of maintenance a year can make a big difference in how well your equipment operates and how long it will ultimately last.

For a trouble-free season of lawn care, here are some tips from experts at a company that manufactures small engines on how to maintain your lawn care equipment so it will start easily and run trouble free:

• Use a fuel preservative. Gasoline goes stale in about 30 days, making your mower or other outdoor power equipment difficult to start. A new type of gas cap is a convenient way to keep fuel fresh for six months. The cap, which replaces the equipment’s original gas cap, contains a replaceable cartridge of concentrated fuel preservative that drips into the fuel tank.

• Check and change your oil. Check your mower’s oil level regularly and change the oil after 25 hours of operation under average mowing conditions. Use a 100 percent synthetic oil, which is made for use in all engines, or use an SAE 30 detergent oil for your mower.

• Add oil to new equipment. When you purchase a new mower or another piece of power equipment, be sure to check the oil before you run it for the first time-new equipment is often shipped without oil. Running power equipment without oil will damage the engine.

• Tune up your lawn mower once a year. It takes about 30 minutes, and you can purchase convenient tune-up kits that contain everything you need: oil, spark plug, filters and fuel preservative.