Lawn Mower Parts You Can Replace Yourself

Lawn mower letting you down? A little repair know-how can go a long way. Learn which lawn mower parts you can fix yourself and save cash on repairs.

Like other machines, lawn mowers need regular maintenance to work optimally. Keeping the blade sharp, changing the oil every 50 hours of use (or once a season) and cleaning underneath the mower deck to prevent grass buildup are all important parts of mower ownership.

But even diligent mower owners eventually deal with failed parts that need replacement. Learn the benefits of making mower repair a DIY job, and which parts you can probably replace on your own with a little know-how.

Why Repair or Replace Lawn Mower Parts?

Repairing or replacing lawn mower parts makes sense because you can save money and time.

Today it’s easy to find replacement mower parts online. With just a few clicks, you can have the particular replacement blade, cable, pull cord or other part you need shipped to your door. Parts are getting less expensive all the time, too.

Professional repairs cost more because you’re paying for the technician’s time, and repair shops often charge more than online retailers for the same parts. Non-DIY repairs take longer, too, because you’ll spend time carting your mower to and from the nearest repair shop. For many of these repairs, you could easily do it yourself, finish mowing and move on to other things.

Lawn Mower Replacement Parts

These are the parts that require replacement most often:

Blade: Mower blades are always getting dull, rusty and bent. Luckily, they’re easy and inexpensive to replace. Disconnect the spark plug wire for safety before doing any repairs. Flip your mower on its side (it’s best to do this when the gas tank is empty), then use a wrench to loosen the nut holding on the old blade. Replace it with the new blade, and tighten up the nut.

Be sure to buy a replacement blade of the right length and hole spacing to fit your mower. Online shops and local hardware stores often carry various mower blades, usually costing $20 or less.

Drive Belt: Some self-propelled walk-behind mowers have a drive belt that powers the wheels. These are vulnerable to stretching or cracking over time. If you notice your mower doesn’t drive itself as usual, a bad belt is likely why. Buy a replacement of the right length and thickness (refer to your owner’s manual for this), then remove the belt cover and pull the old belt from the transmission and drive pullies. Pop the new belt on, then button everything back up.

Pull Cord: Repeated friction from frequent yanking often causes mower pull cords to fray and break. Order a replacement for your specific mower to ensure it’s the right length and diameter, or get a generic pull cord kit and carefully trim it to length yourself, matching it to the old one. Remove your mower’s starter assembly. Unwind the old cord, then cut it at both ends to remove it. Thread the new cord into the starter assembly and handle, then tie it at both ends and wind it back up.

Spark Plug: Although modern spark plugs don’t fail often, if your mower has serious trouble starting, a bad plug could be why. Find out the type of spark plug you need in your mower’s manual, then buy one online or in store for a few bucks. Disconnect the spark plug wire, then use a socket wrench to loosen and remove the old spark plug. Carefully thread the new one in, then snug it up with your wrench, taking care not to overtighten. Reconnect the spark plug wire and you’re good to go.

When to Replace Your Lawn Mower

Although most parts on modern lawn mowers are relatively easy and inexpensive to replace, some repairs are difficult enough that buying a new mower makes sense. One example: serious engine damage from low oil levels or failing to change oil often enough. Major lawn mower engine repairs are not something the average homeowner can do, and a repair like that will almost certainly cost more than buying a new mower. That’s when it’s time to start shopping.