By Gene and Katie Hamilton

Tune up a lawn mower, the workhorse of yard work, at the beginning and end of the growing season to keep it working at peak performance. Just like your car needs regular maintenance to keep it operating, so does your lawn mower; it’s a job even a first-time do-it-yourselfer can tackle.

A lawn mower service will charge about $80 to tune up a typical four-cycle power mower, which includes the labor and material. You can do the tune up for $18, the cost of the replacement parts, and save 77 percent. As you work, refer to the mower’s owner’s manual. If you don’t have one, go to the manufacturer’s website, where you’re likely to find it to download.

The easiest way to work on a mower is to raise it off the ground, so put it on a pair of workhorses so you can access all of its parts and under carriage. The tune-up involves checking and replacing spark plugs and filters and sharpening the cutting blade. You need a socket or spark plug wrench, a file to sharpen the blade, and a drip pan to catch the old gas and oil you remove.

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You have to find an environmentally safe place to dispose of the old oil you remove.

To give your mower premium service, check the tires to ensure proper inflation. Then tighten all nuts, bolts, chain drives and belts, and lubricate moving parts or exposed metal to prevent rust. Check the manual to find out what type of lubricant to use.

Wrapping up, given the average cost to tune up a lawn mower you can compare the price of a contractor’s bid with doing it yourself. For a local cost input your ZIP Code.

Cost updated 2016

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Poll Results

  • DIY48%
  • PRO52%