When you're spring cleaning, don't forget this task

Avery Newmark
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

While you're giving your home some love during spring cleaning, be sure to give your lawnmower the preparations it needs to thrive all summer. According to Consumer Reports (CR), now is the perfect time to get your lawnmower primed and prepped.

Now is the perfect time to get your lawnmower primed and prepped.

Here are some helpful hints from their website for getting your lawnmower ready for the warm months ahead:

Just like a car engine, check or change the oil.

After a season of sitting in the garage, gas mowers will need to have their engine oil changed. Always check your owner's manual to see if you should change the oil completely or just top it off.

Don't use the mower before then. A mower engine can overheat and fail from insufficient oil just like a car. "Running it for a minute or two is unlikely to cause damage," John Galeotafiore, head of CR's home improvement testing team, said. "It could lead to problems, though, if you use it to cut for more than a few minutes."

Sharpen the blades.

Don't make mowing the lawn harder than it needs to be — always check your blades to make sure they aren't dull.

If your blades have gone dull, you can remove them yourself and take them to a hardware store for sharpening. "To remove your mower's blades, wear heavy leather gloves, remove the spark plug wire, and jam in a short 2x4 to keep the blade from turning as you loosen the bolts," CR recommends.

For battery mowers, be sure to remove the battery before removing the blades.

Gas up.

Before you start up your mower, make sure that it has fresh fuel.

"A mower carrying leftover fuel — gasoline from last season that was never winterized with stabilizer, for instance, shouldn't be started up right away. Circulating stale fuel could create problems that require you to drain the lines," CR said.

According to the website, users should drain the old gas from the tank before refilling it with new fuel and stabilizer. And if you ran the mower dry last fall, you can add stabilized gas to the tank now.