This podcast details the steps in servicing mowers at the end of a mowing season so that they are in top operating condition next spring.
Most folks have gladly put their mowers away for another season and the last thing they want to think about now is servicing their mower. Perhaps you are one of the few that took the time to service the mower after the last mowing of the year my hat's off to you! However, I am guessing that most listeners fall into a class of people that put their mower away the last time they used it and they HOPE it will start again next spring. Remember the old adage an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? It applies to your lawn mower as much as to your health and in just a few hours you can ensure your lawn is getting off on the right foot next season. What will you gain by servicing your mower now? How about extending the life of your mower and its engine, increasing its operating efficiency, and reducing inputs in fuel? A top operating mower will likely even reduce the fertilizer, chemical, and watering inputs for your lawn next year as well the number one disease of lawns is dull mower disease! How could you argue against all of this?
This podcast and its accompanying handout detail the steps in winterizing your mower so that it is in top operating condition for next year's mowing season.
1) Follow your operating manual directions, but most mowers suggest you expend all fuel from the tank before storing for the winter. This prevents potential problems with water accumulation or fuel line clogging and allows you to start next year off with a fresh tank of fuel.
2) Change your spark plug. At the very least, before you start to service your mower you should disconnect your spark plug, but for what a new plug costs it is probably money well spent to just go ahead and install a new one.
3) Sharpen and balance the blade. What could be more logical than starting off the new mowing season with a sharp, balanced blade? Be sure your blade is sharpened and balanced before another mowing season arrives. If you don't have a grinding wheel in your shop, then take the blade to a service technician that can quickly sharpen and balance it for you. Now is a great time to go ahead and purchase another blade to have on hand next season as a back-up to attach when you remove this blade for sharpening. (You were planning on doing this, right?) And then when you are ready to reattach the blade after servicing your mower, make sure it is installed properly. An upside down blade will maintain a cutting edge for a long time, but it sure won't deliver a very high quality cut!
4) While the blade is off, give the underside of the mower deck a thorough scraping. This will extend the life of the deck and prevent you from having a lot of clean-up due to chunks of decomposing grass clippings falling from the deck onto your garage or storage shed floor.
5) Change the oil, other fluids, filters, and inspect belts for wear. Your operator's manual likely lists the specifications on fluids, filters, etc. for replacement. Most fluids and filters require regular changing to optimize mower performance and extend engine life. Perhaps the belts on your riding mower are still in great shape but inspect them to make sure they are not frayed or out of adjustment. There is no better time to change them than during a winter service break. And after changing these items, be sure to dispose of them properly and safely.
Servicing your mower after the end of another long mowing season is certainly not at the top of most people's to do list, but it is a practice that reaps large rewards next season. Spending a few hours on mower maintenance now will result in maximum mower performance next spring, a time when you will likely even be looking forward to the first sights and smells of a freshly mown lawn. Was this podcast helpful to you? Do you have comments or suggestions for this or other podcasts that will benefit your efforts in lawn and landscape maintenance? Please take a few moments to complete the survey at our Turf and Garden Tips website and let us know how we can better serve you.
And never forget that your local Virginia Cooperative Extension Service is ready to assist you in detailing the steps in establishment and maintenance that are needed to keep your lawn green and our waterways clean!
Release Date: January 5, 2013
Link: Service Mowers Now Before Springing Them Into Action Next Season (MP3 | 2MB)