For professional landscapers, the efficiency and reliability of your equipment are crucial to your business's success. As the saying goes, "a worker is only as good as their tools." Well-maintained mowers not only ensure high-quality results for clients but also minimise downtime and repair costs.

Your engine is the heart of your machine – if it’s working below its optimal level, the mower’s performance is affected. Efficiency, productivity and longevity are all impacted by an engine that hasn’t been maintained correctly.

By keeping to a regular servicing routine, you can extend the lifespan of your engine and enhance its efficiency, as well as address potential issues early, preventing serious problems that could impact your business.

Engine maintenance is an essential part of petrol lawn mower servicing. There is no room for complacency when any easily preventable downtime can bring your business to a halt. For those looking to check they’re adhering to the right practices when servicing their lawn mower engine, we’ve amassed the dos and don’ts – many may seem obvious to experienced professionals, but failing to do any of these can have serious consequences.

Do: Implement a regular maintenance schedule

There's no shortage of reasons why regular lawn mower maintenance is an absolute must; enhancing lifespan, efficiency, and reliability is at the top of that list.

You can use your meticulous maintenance programme to bolster your differentiation within the market. If your equipment is consistently operating at peak performance, you can offer a higher level of service. A well-maintained engine helps improve efficiency, quality and reliability – you can get more work done thanks to the increased productivity provided by an efficient engine, improve the quality of your work with superior cutting performance, and reduce downtime, helping customers recognise you as reliable. Through this, you can quickly build a reputation for premium service with customers.

A regularly serviced engine also ensures safety, reduces costs, and ultimately maintains consistent, high-quality performance. Not to mention that well-maintained equipment tends to be more fuel-efficient, retain higher resale value, and comply with warranty requirements, benefiting your landscaping business in many other ways.

By performing regular inspections, in line with the maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual, you can easily identify any issues early on, allowing you to address them before they escalate into serious problems that could harm your machine or affect a client's lawn.

  • Daily checks: Inspect your petrol mower before and after each use for any signs of wear and tear. Engine-specific tasks include cleaning the cooling fins, as well as checking oil levels and air filters. Beyond the engine, checking blades and tyre pressure should also be part of any daily routine.
  • Weekly and monthly tasks: Plan for more thorough inspections and maintenance on a weekly and monthly basis. Remove any debris build-up caused by grass, leaves etc. and clean the air filter (see below).

For more details on timings of maintenance tasks, read our guide to 4-stroke engine maintenance.

Don't: Use the same engine oil for more than 100 hours

An often neglected facet of lawn mower upkeep is the timing of oil changes. It's recommended to swap out engine oil and oil filters at least once per spring or summer season, or after every 100 hours of operation, whichever occurs first. If you’re working in particularly tough conditions, such as high temperatures, you may need to replace your engine oil more frequently.

Like any mechanical equipment, your lawn mower relies on oil to ensure internal components remain properly lubricated. A telltale sign that it's time for an oil change is the appearance of discoloured or debris-laden oil. Engine oil tends to take on a charcoal-black hue when it's due for a replacement.

Between lawn mower oil replacements, keep an eye on the oil level in your machines as too little oil can result in friction within the engine and increase the likelihood of it overheating.

Do: Keep your air filter clean

Clogged up air filter

Keeping your air filter clean is crucial for ensuring your mower's engine receives the optimal amount of air necessary to achieve the ideal fuel-to-air ratio for efficient combustion. During operation, dust particles and grass clippings accumulate on the air filter, hindering airflow to the engine.

Remove any build up by hand or shake loose the debris. If the filter is too worn or damaged to clean effectively, replace it with a new one. Consult the owner’s manual for recommended intervals for cleaning and replacement – if you’re working in an area susceptible to hot, dry weather and dusty conditions, you will need to clean the filter more regularly.

Don't: Wait too long to replace the fuel filter

Ensuring your engine runs smoothly and efficiently hinges on having clean, high-quality fuel. The fuel filter is crucial for this: without it, the engine would fail. It diligently sifts through every drop of fuel from the fuel tank to the engine, sieving out any contaminants along the way.

Recognising signs such as engine stalling, difficulty starting, decreased power, and visible debris in fuel indicates a potential need for a new fuel filter; though following a maintenance schedule avoids such issues entirely. Regularly check your engine's maintenance schedule and replace the filter at recommended intervals to maintain peak performance.

Do: Read the owner’s manual

With experience, you may feel that referring to the owner’s manual is unnecessary – you can perform maintenance tasks routinely. But it’s always worth consulting the owner’s manual to ensure you’re servicing your engine correctly; even small issues with maintenance can have long-term impacts on your equipment’s productivity.

This is especially worthwhile as technologies improve and engine builds are updated – what you remember to be correct procedures may have changed.

Don’t: Overlook general cleaning as part of maintenance

You may change filters in accordance with the official guidelines and follow the maintenance schedule perfectly, but if you’re not regularly cleaning your mower, you won’t have equipment operating at peak performance.

Regular, daily cleaning is essential – the rotating grass screen should be checked and cleaned before each use. While the cooling system will need to be more thoroughly cleaned after every 100 hours of operation.

Don’t: Ignore changes in your machine

Very subtle changes in your equipment can be an indication of an underlying issue. If you sense a change in smell, vibration or noise, trust your experience that it’s unusual. A slight change could mean something is wrong, so it’s worth investigating. If you are unable to determine the cause yourself, book in a service with a Kawasaki Engines Authorised Dealer.

Do: Use a Kawasaki Engines Authorised Dealer

Kawasaki sign for parts service sales

Your equipment is one of the most important investments you make in your business – why risk it by choosing to service your equipment with a dealer that lacks familiarity with our engines? Our dealers are supported by Kawasaki Engines training and systems, so will have the latest knowledge on our engines and parts, and therefore have the know-how to always offer accurate and useful advice.

Our dealer network is supported by Kawasaki Engines: you can trust that your equipment is in safe hands, and that Genuine Kawasaki Engines parts will be used.

Don't: Delay replacing spark plugs

You should clean, regap or replace spark plugs after every 100 hours of operation. Keeping to a routine schedule is best, but you should also check regularly to make sure there is no damage.

If you see that its electrodes are dirty, burned or showing signs of wear, or if the porcelain of the body is cracked or damaged in any way, then it’s time to find a replacement.

Whether you’re installing a new plug or simply re-using the old one, make sure to check the gap between the centre and side electrodes as this is crucial in providing the spark required for ignition.

Do: Use Kawasaki Engines Genuine Parts

Kawasaki genuine spare parts

The best thing you can do for your engine is to use genuine parts. They not only increase the longevity of your machine, they perform better, delivering better results and minimising downtime from avoidable performance issues or breakages. 

They’re designed to your exact engine specification and thoroughly tested to maximise performance: choosing to use other parts brings the risk of causing damage. By using an official Kawasaki Engines Authorised Dealer to service your engine, you can be confident that every filter, spark plug and any other service part used in your machine will have been extensively tested to deliver original performance levels.

And, in the rare event that things go wrong, a Kawasaki Engines Authorised Dealer can provide any warranty support you might need. Find a dealer near you to guarantee your engine servicing is performed to the highest standard.

Whether you’re using a lawn tractor or walk-behind, or a cylinder mower or rotary mower: make this mowing season a productive one with regular maintenance. Following our advice for engine maintenance, should set you in good stead – for other important lawn mower servicing tasks (such as when to sharpen the blades) you should refer to the manufacturer’s guidance. From a lawn mower blade to a spark plug, it’s vital to make sure every part of your mower is operating in peak condition.