6 Most Common Lawn Equipment Maintenance Mistakes

It's spring time again - and time to pull your lawn equipment out of hibernation. Regular maintenance and proper storage techniques are crucial to keep lawn equipment in optimal condition. When you tune-up your engines for spring and carry out routine maintenance throughout the season, be sure to avoid the most common mistakes of lawn equipment maintenance.

1. Using dull blades. Dull blades are very dangerous and can snag on tougher items like tree branches or even fly loose when the mower is in operation. A dull blade can also cause grass tips to turn brown, and weakened grass blades are prone to pests and disease. By inspecting your blades each season and replacing with Genuine Parts', you'll get a clean, even cut, giving your lawn a professional look. Read your operator's manual carefully when reinstalling the blades and be sure not to reinstall them upside down.

2. Using old fuel. When winter rolls around, it's very tempting to simply roll the mower into the garage and retire it for the season without emptying the fuel tank and the carburetor bowl. As the fuel sits, it turns stale and becomes viscous. The bad fuel can then cause the engine to sputter, cough or prevent it from turning over all together. To help maintain the engine, drain the old fuel before the down season and fill it with Sta-Bil® Stabilizer and Ethanol treatment. This will prevent any moisture from collecting in the engine and will help avoid any corrosion of metal and plastic parts. When spring comes, be sure to refill the tank with fresh fuel and Sta-Bil® Stabilzer according to your operator's manual.

3. Changing oil infrequently. It's a best practice to change your oil every 5-8 hours of using your equipment. Running a mower or other yard equipment on low or dirty oil can decrease compression and possibly burn out the engine. Too much oil, however, can weaken seals. To replace the oil, remove the oil plug and let the old oil flow out. Refer to your operator's manual for the proper oil type and oil amount you should use to refill the engine.

4. Using old spark plugs. Old spark plugs should never be cleaned or reused because they will start to corrode. Spark plugs should generally be replaced at least once a season. Also, always remember to remove the spark plug lead before starting any repairs on your mower.

5. Tipping equipment on its side. Placing your equipment at an angle or tipping it on its side can coat the spark plug with oil, which ruins the plug and prevents it from sparking. Tipping a mower can also allow oil to leak and clog the air filter or to mix in with the fuel. If this happens, replace the oil, install a new spark plug and clean the air filter. If you have a paper air filter, just replace it.

6. Refusing professional help. Some equipment owners are very skilled at solving mechanical issues. Those who are not, however, can sometimes damage their equipment further by trying to repair it themselves. Consider visiting a Troy-Bilt Authorized Service Center or an equipment dealer when dealing with more complex mechanical issues. Professionals can maximize your time by repairing your equipment quickly and efficiently.

You can overcome many technical mishaps by avoiding the mistakes above, but always refer to your operator's manual for details about proper equipment maintenance to ensure top performance.


The Dirt from Troy-Bilt®, March/April 2014