What is: Reel Mower Maintenance Checklist

Reel mowers are a popular choice for many homeowners who prefer a more eco-friendly and quiet way to maintain their lawns. These manual push mowers have a rotating reel of blades that cut the grass with a scissor-like action. While reel mowers are known for their durability and low maintenance, regular upkeep is still necessary to ensure optimal performance. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive reel mower maintenance checklist to help you keep your mower in top shape.

1. Cleaning the Mower

One of the first steps in reel mower maintenance is cleaning the mower after each use. Grass clippings and debris can accumulate on the blades and in the cutting mechanism, affecting the mower’s performance. Use a brush or a soft cloth to remove any grass clippings and dirt from the blades and the reel. Make sure to also clean the grass catcher, if your mower has one.

2. Sharpening the Blades

Regular blade sharpening is essential for reel mowers to ensure a clean and precise cut. Dull blades can tear the grass instead of cutting it cleanly, leading to an uneven and unhealthy lawn. You can sharpen the blades yourself using a sharpening kit or take them to a professional for sharpening. It’s recommended to sharpen the blades at least once a year or more frequently if you have a large lawn.

3. Adjusting the Blade Height

The blade height adjustment is crucial for achieving the desired grass height. Most reel mowers have adjustable cutting heights, allowing you to customize the length of your lawn. It’s important to regularly check and adjust the blade height according to your preference and the season. For example, you may want to cut the grass shorter during the summer months to prevent it from drying out.

4. Lubricating the Moving Parts

Proper lubrication is necessary to keep the moving parts of the reel mower functioning smoothly. Apply a few drops of oil to the moving parts, such as the reel bearings and the wheel axles, to prevent rust and ensure easy rotation. Be sure to use a lubricant that is specifically designed for reel mowers to avoid any damage to the components.

5. Checking and Adjusting the Reel Tension

The reel tension determines the cutting efficiency of the mower. If the tension is too loose, the blades may not cut the grass properly, and if it’s too tight, the mower may become difficult to push. Regularly check the reel tension and adjust it as needed. Consult your mower’s manual for instructions on how to adjust the tension properly.

6. Inspecting the Blades and Reel for Damage

Regularly inspect the blades and the reel for any signs of damage or wear. Look for bent or broken blades, as well as any dents or cracks in the reel. Damaged blades and reels should be replaced to ensure safe and efficient operation. It’s also a good idea to inspect the cutting edges of the blades for nicks or chips, as these can affect the quality of the cut.

7. Cleaning and Replacing the Air Filter

If your reel mower has an air filter, it’s important to clean or replace it regularly. A clogged or dirty air filter can restrict airflow to the engine, leading to poor performance and increased fuel consumption. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning or replacing the air filter, and make sure to use the recommended type and size of filter.

8. Checking the Spark Plug

The spark plug is a critical component of the mower’s engine. Regularly inspect the spark plug for signs of wear or damage, such as corrosion or a worn electrode. If necessary, clean or replace the spark plug according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. A faulty spark plug can cause starting issues and poor engine performance.

9. Inspecting and Cleaning the Wheels

Check the wheels of your reel mower for any signs of damage or excessive wear. Inspect the tires for proper inflation and make sure they are securely attached to the axles. Clean the wheels and remove any debris or grass clippings that may have accumulated. Lubricate the wheel axles if necessary to ensure smooth movement.

10. Storing the Mower Properly

When not in use, it’s important to store your reel mower properly to protect it from the elements and prolong its lifespan. Store the mower in a clean and dry area, preferably indoors. If storing it outdoors, use a weatherproof cover to shield it from rain and direct sunlight. Before storing, make sure to clean the mower thoroughly and follow any additional storage instructions provided by the manufacturer.

11. Regular Maintenance Schedule

Creating a regular maintenance schedule for your reel mower can help you stay on top of the necessary tasks. Set reminders for cleaning, blade sharpening, and other maintenance activities to ensure that your mower is always in optimal condition. Following a schedule will not only extend the life of your mower but also contribute to a healthier and more beautiful lawn.

12. Safety Precautions

When performing maintenance on your reel mower, it’s important to prioritize safety. Always disconnect the spark plug wire before working on the mower to prevent accidental starting. Use protective gloves and eyewear when handling sharp blades or chemicals. Follow all safety guidelines provided by the manufacturer to avoid injuries.

13. Professional Servicing

If you’re unsure about any aspect of reel mower maintenance or if you encounter any major issues, it’s recommended to seek professional servicing. A qualified technician can inspect and repair your mower, ensuring that it operates at its best. Professional servicing may be necessary for complex repairs or if you don’t have the time or expertise to perform certain maintenance tasks yourself.

In conclusion, maintaining a reel mower requires regular cleaning, blade sharpening, lubrication, and inspection of various components. By following this comprehensive reel mower maintenance checklist, you can keep your mower in excellent condition and enjoy a well-maintained lawn for years to come.