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Tips to get the lawn mower ready for spring

Wednesday - 4/23/2014, 5:50am  ET

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Even if the lawn mower purrs on the first pull, there is some simple spring maintenance needed to ensure reliable service all summer long. (WTOP/Isabella Heegaard Rytz)

BURTONSVILLE, Md. -- After the long, snowy winter and the cool, rainy early spring, it's near the time of year to fire up the lawn mower and cut the grass.

But what if the mower won't start?

"You can try fresh gas; you can try your spark plug. If it's clean or you can replace it, a little starting fluid might not hurt. Take your air cleaner off and spray it in there, give it a pull and see if it starts," says Andrew Czakozi, a mechanic at Zimmerman's Hardware Store in Burtonsville, Md.

Even if the lawn mower purrs on the first pull, it needs some simple spring maintenance to ensure reliable service all summer long.

"Changing the spark plug, changing the air filter, changing the oil and either replacing or sharpening the blade," advises Ron Zimmerman, one of the store's four owners.

A sharp blade is also key to maintaining a healthy lawn.

A dull blade "tends to damage the grass," Zimmerman says. "It will cause it to brown at the top and will hurt its growth."

If you're in the market, whether you're looking for a push-powered, self- propelled, electric mower, or one of the new battery-powered models, Zimmerman recommends not skimping on price.

"Generally speaking, the more they cost, the better they are," Zimmerman says.

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