Mowing for the long haul: Prep your mower for the summer grind

Photo: Bob-CatPhoto: Bob-Cat

They say you can’t win a game in the first half, but you can definitely lose it. By not properly taking care of your commercial mowers, you may face issues later on in the season, or the mower just may not be performing at its peak.

Even if you’re well into the season, these maintenance tips compiled with the help of Ron Scheffler, senior product manager at Bob-Cat Mowers, will make sure you’re set to mow. On your next rainy day, make sure that all of these issues are addressed.

Taking care of your mowers should always be on your to-do list, because proper maintenance can extend the life of your equipment and help ensure breakdowns don’t happen at inopportune times. Always check your specific owner’s manual for exactly what maintenance is needed, how it should be performed and when it should be done, but this general checklist can help keep your mower is in prime condition.

Choosing genuine, brand-compatible replacement parts is important to ensuring quality and fit with your mower. Your dealer will be familiar with them, so they can help you order any parts that you need.

The first thing that you should check is the spark plug. A worn plug makes starting difficult, increases fuel use and can even cause engine damage, setting you back before you even begin. It’s recommended that you clean and monitor the spark plug constantly throughout the season and replace it as needed.

It’s also important that you check and clean the air filter every day and replace it when needed or when your manufacturer recommends it. Airflow is key to efficient engine operation, especially in the heat of the summer months.

Check the fuel filter, and if it needs replacement, be sure to do that as soon as possible. Worn fuel filters cause hard starts and increase fuel use. It’s also recommended that you see your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommended oil and filter when you check and change your oil. New or clean oil is a light brown color that resembles maple syrup. Oil that’s dark black or has debris floating in it should be drained and replaced.

Dull blades will tear the grass instead of cutting it off cleanly, causing grass blade tips to dry out. This has the potential to harm the health and appearance of the lawn. Dull blades also make the mower engine and belts work harder than necessary to cut to the desired grass height.

To circumvent these concerns, inspect the mower blades for wear or damage and sharpen them if necessary. Always be sure to detach the spark plug wire before working with the blades so the mower doesn’t start up accidentally. When you carefully remove the blade to check for dullness, it’s also a good time to clean the underside of the mower’s deck. Use a putty knife to thoroughly scrape off any caked-on grass, and then clean it further with an air hose.

Next, you should make sure the outside of your mower is ready to go once you have the inside working at peak performance. Grease all fittings after checking your owner’s manual to be sure you have the right grease and know the location of the fittings.

Your tires should also be inspected for wear or damage and they should be fully inflated according to your manual’s specifications, as tires with varying pressures can result in uneven or poor cutting. If you need replacement tires, we recommend contacting your dealer.

Use an air hose and a rag or brush to clean any debris from the mower’s body and upper deck. Avoid using high-pressure water spray as it could force water into the fittings, seals, and other internal components, affecting the mower’s performance.

Any questions or concerns you may have with the maintenance of your mower should be taken to your local dealer. They can also help you order parts, give you advice, and make the most out of your mower’s overall performance.

It’s never too late to do the proper maintenance on your mower, so that it can withstand the brutal season ahead.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was provided by Bob-Cat Mowers. 

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