Preparing Equipment for Spring

Soon it will officially be spring. On some particular Saturday, usually in early April, the repair backlog at lawnmower repair shops across America will change from 3-4 days to 3-4 weeks. Make time now to take your equipment in to a local shop for a Spring Service or do the task yourself and avoid the rush. If you prefer to do the task yourself the following might be helpful.

Lawn equipment leads an unusually rough life. It lives in your garage, dirty and dusty until rolled out into the summer heat to mow the lawn, roots, rocks and anything else put in its path. Then it's back to the garage again.

The following are also the basics of a Spring Service:
Applies to 4-cycle engines (most riding and push mowers)
Items 4, 5 and 6 also apply to 2-cycle engines. (most trimmers and saws)

  1. If equipment is new, make sure there is oil in the crankcase before using (see owner's manual for correct oil type)
  2. Change your oil after the first 5 hours of use and then every 25 hours thereafter. (at least once each season)
  3. Sharpen blades after 25 hours or once a season.
  4. Inspect air filter for dirt accumulation every 10 hours and clean or replace. Replace air filter after 25 hours. (This is a biggie. Do this even more often when Austin's dry/dusty months come around)
  5. Inspect spark plug/s every 25 hours and replace if fouled. (at least once a season)
  6. Drain fuel from fuel tank at end of season or run engine until it runs out of fuel. If you have bad fuel in the tank, drain and replace before running. (alternatively you can dose good fuel with a fuel stabilizer)
  7. General Inspection - a thorough inspection of wear items such as belts, tires, control cables, bearings and other parts will help identify worn parts before they break.
A Note on Fuel:
Today's gasoline (without lead) breaks down quickly. When it does, it leaves behind a thick varnish-like residue that adheres to the walls of its container, including the inside of your lawnmower's carburetor. Probably 50% or more of the equipment repaired at lawnmower shops stopped running because of this varnish. If you follow step #6 above, you can avoid this costly repair.