Maintenance Musts

Mowing experts from John Deere and Husqvarna explain what landscape pros need to know when it comes to mower maintenance.

Jd W48 R 1
John Deere

As landscape professionals enter peak mowing season, it’s crucial that they keep their fleet maintained properly to avoid costly downtime.

“The benefits of having the mowers serviced and inspections checked off is it minimizes the downtime of the machine. If they don't perform the routine maintenance, they could have breakdowns in the field, and when the machines are down, they're not making money,” says Brian Aldinger, product manager for John Deere. “It also keeps the machine operating at peak performance.”

Aldinger and Sean Dwyer, product manager at Husqvarna, lay out what landscape pros should do to keep their mower fleets up and running like a well-oiled machine.

The Checklist

·      Start the season with fresh engine oil and a new oil filter.

·       Inspect the air filter system, spark plugs and fuel filter and replace if needed.

·       Check the hydraulic oil level to see if it is time to change the transmission oil filter according to the recommended service intervals and the operator manual.

·       Check the machine for leaks and lubricate all the service points.

·       Inspect the tires, check the air pressure and adjust properly.

·       For machines equipped with electric start, ensure that the batteries charged and ready for the upcoming season.

·       Examine the controls and control linkages, the parking brake, the safety interlock system and all the safety guards and shields.

·       Look over the machine for any loose, missing or damaged parts.

·       Inspect the mower deck drive traction belt drives and verify that the the mower deck is level from side to side and has the proper deck rate.

·       Ensure the underside of the mower deck is free of debris.

·       Inspect the collection bag where relevant. A season of collecting grass clippings can slowly restrict the breathability of the bag. This can be alleviated by washing the bag with high-pressure water from the outside in.


Additional Tips and Tricks

Plan ahead

Ideally, most of these service items should be done at the end of the prior season, Dwyer says.

“This should be done so the mower deck, for example, doesn't sit over the winter with caked-on grass clippings that will only become more difficult to remove,” Dwyer says. “Likewise with the engine: Running the engine out of fuel and replacing the engine oil and air filter will give the best results when spring hits.”

Aldinger agrees that many maintenance items can be taken care of in the offseason.

“This way, machines are ready to go, and  it minimizes downtime later,” he says.

Stock up on essentials

For those times when a mower inevitably needs a new part, it saves time and money to keep those supplies on hand.

“With the current climate of supply chain headwinds, stocking up on key maintenance items like air filters, mower blades, drive belts and control cables will result in reduced downtime in the event of a breakdown," Dwyer says.

Aldinger suggests sourcing all those parts from one store location. 

“Having all the parts at one location saves the mechanic time instead of having to go from store to store (in search of supplies),” Aldinger says.

Refer to the operator’s manual

When it comes to maintaining the machine, the operator manual is great resource to use for the recommended maintenance intervals on their machines.

“There are recommended service intervals according to the engine hours, and in that operator manual, there is a list of items to check and inspect before and after each use,” Aldinger says.