1. Read Your Manual: It's not big and its not clever but you would be amazed how many simple problems can be sorted quickly by just reading your manual or instructions.
2. Assembly: Any element of self-assembly is likely to be fairly simple but, even so, try to follow follow these five rules;
- Give yourself space to work in
- Have the right tools ready in advance
- Follow the instructions to the letter
- Tighten nuts and bolts carefully (but don't over tighten) and check them
- If there are any bits left over at the end go back and check - DON'T TRY TO START THE MOWER
3. OPC: Make sure you know what, and where this is. Every petrol lawn mower will have a an OPC. OPC stands for Operator Presence Control and if you let it go the engine will stop. This is for safety so it cannot run amok without you controlling it. This is the handle you pull towards yourself that squeezes against the main handle (see fig A below).
4. Mower Controls: (see fig A below) Familiarise your self with all the controls. A petrol lawn mower will have an OPC, a throttle for revs', maybe a drive lever or bail-arm if it has a self-propelled drive system. Nowadays the recoil pull is often attached at the handle. These are fairly standard but do check your manual for any alternative details. See below for a fairly typical petrol lawn mower control system.
Fig A. Standard Petrol lawn mower controls
5. Mulch Plug: If your lawn mower comes with a mulch plug included, chances are it is already in the machine for safe transport purposes. it will be in the grass exit channel and, of course, you will not be able to cut and collect with it in. This is definitely worth checking as it often causes customers to think their machine is not working.
6. Cutting Height Controls: Make sure you know where your cutting height adjustment controls are. On a very basic machine they l lever, or will be individual axle levers or a central lever or a front and rear control. Your manual will help and if you need to know more about this. Try our detailed article 'How Do I Adjust the Cutting Height on my Rotary Lawn Mower?'
7. Oil and Fuel A: Petrol lawn mowers are NOT transported ready fuelled. Even when bought as 'ready to go', they are NOT filled with oil or fuel for safety purposes during transport. You will always need to oil band fuel them before your first use.
8. Oil and Fuel B: Check your machine and/or manual to see if your machine has an oil/fuel on/off tap. Make sure not is on before you start the mower.
9. Choke: Check your machine and/or manual to see if it has a choke. If so, please make sure it is fully on before you start the mower. (But remember, once it is warm, you must disengage it).
10. Grass Collector: If you have a machine with a grass box/bag/collector, check it is is fitted properly and is flush before you start. The manual, again, will help with this. If it is not fitted properly,it could fall off and a deflector will snap down to cover the channel.