Lawnmower Blade Maintenance Guide

Posted on: 22 July 2015

Keeping your lawnmower in peak running condition not only saves you money on costly repairs, it also makes it easier to operate and complete the chore of mowing. Further, properly sharpened and maintained mower blades won't damage your grass, so you end up with a healthier, greener lawn. The following guide can help you keep those mower blades in good condition.

Choose the Right Blade

Most lawnmowers come equipped with a general purpose mowing blade, which is fine for most applications but not always ideal. When it comes to blades, you generally have a choice between a high-lift, or general purpose, blade or a mulching blade. The high-lift blade is perfect if you are going to simply deposit the grass clippings on the lawn or collect them in the lawnmower bag. If you have a mulching mower, though, you need a mulching blade. These blades are designed to chop grass into fine pieces so it decomposes more quickly.

Keep It Clean

A dirty blade can quickly become a dull or rusted, requiring premature replacement to ensure a proper cut. After each mowing, take a few minutes to rinse the grass and dirt off the blade and out from the undercarriage of the lawnmower. A clean blade will dry quickly and stay sharp longer.

Perform a Pre-Mow Inspection

Before mowing, inspect your lawn. Rocks, large sticks, toys, or other debris can be hiding in long grass, just waiting to jam or damage your blade when you mow over them. Walk through the lawn right before you mow to make sure there is nothing dangerous lurking.

Keep It Sharp

Lawnmower blades need regular sharpening to work their best. The frequency varies, depending on your mower and blade, but generally a quick sharpening after every 10 hours or so of use is sufficient. Although you can take a blade in for sharpening, it's much quicker and less expensive to do it yourself with a purchased blade sharpening kit. These usually consist of a set of files and a balancing tool. You grind the edges of the blade with the file, working from the center outward and using the same number of strokes on both sides. Then, you suspend the blade from the balancing tool to ensure it is properly balanced. If it's not, you grind down the heavier side slightly with the files until you achieve balance.

You can find replacement mower blades and maintenance kits at both garden centers and auto parts stores. These locations may also offer sharpening and balancing services.