Performing seasonal maintenance ensures that lawnmowers and other landscape equipment operate as expected from year to year. With autumn approaching, Scott Mack, the senior training specialist on the Kohler Engines field service team, offers the following fall maintenance tips.
Assess Your Fleet – Consider the age of your equipment and determine if you should look to repower equipment or plan new purchases for the next year.
Inspect the Engine – If your fleet contains Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) engines, have your dealer run diagnostic reports, which can evaluate run times, engine performance, and typical operator use.
Remove or Stabilize the Gas – Stored fuel can break down over time and damage the engine. With today’s blended fuels, aging is accelerated because ethanol absorbs moisture faster than traditional gasoline. Remove unused gas by letting the mower idle. Or, fill the tank using a reputable fuel stabilizer.
Change the Oil – Clean oil should coat the engine during storage. The best time to drain and refill oil is just after the last mow of the season when the engine is still warm. And include an oil filter change too.
Inspect the Spark Plug – Using a socket wrench, the spark plug should be carefully taken out and inspected for carbon deposits or other damage. If it appears to be worn, replace it.
Replace the Air and Fuel Filters – Clean or replace the air filter and fuel filter at least every year, or more often depending on the hours you’re putting on your equipment. Check your owners’ manuals for recommended intervals. And don’t use compressed air to clean filters.
Inspect the Blade – If there are any cracks, nicks, bends or other signs of damage to the blade, replace it. If the cutting edge of the blade is dull, it should be sharpened using a standard file or taken to a small engine repair shop for sharpening. Also check other mower parts, including the tires, fuel cap and external cables. If anything appears to be loose or out of place, make sure it’s fixed before the next season.
Clean the Mower – All dirt and debris should be removed from the engine, and the underside of the mower should be thoroughly washed. A wire brush or putty knife can also be used to scrape away ground-in debris.
Store the Mower – Store mowers in a moisture-free environment. The mower should also be covered or positioned where it won’t be exposed the elements over winter.