July is the perfect time to give your lawn mower a check-up. We outline the 6 steps to ensure your mower is running and grass is cut.
- Sharpen the blades! Sharpening at the beginning of the season is NOT enough! For most homeowners, sharpening or replacing the blades monthly is a good habit. A dull blade will cause excessive wear on the mower and leave the lawn vulnerable to disease.
- Clean the deck. Over the last few months, wet grass has been accumulating and drying on the mower deck. If the mower is too clogged to throw the grass as it cuts, it’s going to create problems for the lawn and machine.
- Replace your air filter. Do NOT use compressed air to “clean” a filter – this only causes tears in the filter that allow dirt into the engine. A small engine air filter is short money compared to a replacement engine.
- Check the oil. Your owner’s manual will specify how often the engine needs an oil change. If you can’t recall the last time the oil was changed or debris can be seen in the oil, it’s time to change the oil.
- Check the wheels! On a push mower, make sure all 4 are set at the same height. For riding mowers, ensure all are properly inflated for a nice, level cut.
- Blow off dust, grass, and other debris. If you own a handheld leaf blower, you’re in luck – it’s the perfect tool to quickly clear areas around the deck, belts, and controls. Plus, if storing in a garage, it’s an easy way to keep things inside clean.
While performing mid-season maintenance it's important to consult your lawn mower's owner manual. The manual will provide a maintenance schedule, replacement part numbers, and all the required steps.
If the winter of 2014/15 forced you into a new snowblower, take a few moments to properly store it and protect your investment! The most common repair problems are easily preventable and they can be completed now – NOT—in the days leading up to a snow storm.
The single most important storage tip is removing the old gasoline. If you do nothing else, drain the gas!
High ethanol in gasoline will ruin your carburetor.
Drain the remaining fuel from your gas tank. Fuel that sits all summer will go bad and require an expensive carburetor replacement. It’s also unlikely that a carburetor replacement is covered under warranty when bad fuel is at fault! Start by draining the fuel, then:
- Use stabilizer in your fuel. Mix right at the pump with the BEST fuel available.
- Add a small amount of the treated fuel to the snow blower, and start it up. Run the machine for a couple minutes and allow the treated fuel to run through the engine.
- Turn the fuel shutoff knob to OFF and let the snow blower run out of gas.
Finally, turn off the key switch. This step alone will go a long way to protecting the engine and ensure another season of use.
Completing a proper “summarization” involves a few additional steps, but there are maintenance kits available to make the job easy. Most kits will include oil, spark plugs, and fuel stabilizer. If the snow blower is stored outside, its not a bad idea to pick up a cover too!
If your snowblower needs more repair work than maintenance, stop by our site and find the parts you need here
Sharpening lawnmower blades saves time and money, unless the technique is incorrect – that costs money.
** Always use proper safety equipment and goggles, hearing, gloves. **
- Set the blade grinder to the correct angle. For Oregon replacement blades, use 30 degrees. OEM blades, consult your owner’s manual.
- For a right hand cut, set the motor to forward (counter clock wise) to draw the blade into the stone. This will throw sparks out to the right, away from the user.
- Your first pass should be to square up the blade. This will remove any Knicks or chips in the blade. Once you have set your edge then draw the blade across the stone until you have ground away the metal to meet the bottom edge. Flip the blade and repeat using the same number of passes. Do not attempt to get a razor sharp edge, a .030 - .060 is ideal.
- Balance your blade – it is a simple step, but very important when sharpening your blades. A simple screw on the side of your work bench or even a fancy blade balancer will do the trick. Balancing your blade can save you from having to replace your deck spindles prematurely.
A blade grinder is a great addition to any landscape company. By properly learning how to sharpen your own blades you can get a longer blade life, better cut and save money and time while doing it!