These next few months are the time to really be on your mowing game—they’re not the time for lawn mower downtime or inefficiency. Even if you’re well into the season, key maintenance practices can keep your mower and business running smoothly.
These maintenance tips are sure to help make sure your mower is a well-oiled machine. Whether you’re just ramping up, have a rainy day or aren’t quite full steam yet because of COVID-19, here are some things you can do to invest in your equipment.
Use the right parts
Choose genuine, brand-compatible replacement parts to ensure you have quality equipment that will work with your mower properly. Check with your local dealer—they’ll be familiar with parts that best fit your mower and get you what you need.
Read up on the manual
Always check the owner’s manual specific to your make and model for exactly what maintenance is needed, how it should be performed and when it should be done. You can even distill this down to a checklist so you don’t have to go thumbing through the manual each time. Set reminders on your phone to make sure you don’t forget scheduled maintenance.
Start with a spark
The first thing you should check is the spark plugs. Worn plugs make starting difficult, increase fuel use and can even cause engine damage, setting you back before you even begin. It’s recommended that you clean and monitor spark plugs constantly throughout the season and replace them as needed.
Clear the air
It’s important to 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.
Oil it up
Check the fuel filter—if it needs replacement, be sure to do that as soon as possible. Worn fuel filters cause hard starts and increased fuel usage. It’s also recommended that you reference your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommended oil and filter types 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.
Sharpen your blades
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 issues, 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 then clean it further with an air hose.
Give it the grease
Once the inside of your mower is at peak performance, you’ll want to make sure the outside is ready to go. Grease all fittings after checking your owner’s manual to be sure you have the right grease and know the location of the fittings.
Check the tires
Your tires should be inspected for wear or damage and should be fully inflated according to your manual’s specifications. Tires that vary in pressure can result in uneven or poor cutting. If you need replacement tires, contact your local dealer.
Use air, not water
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.
If you have any questions or concerns about the maintenance of your mower, contact your local dealer. They can also help you order parts, give you advice and make the most out of your mower’s overall performance. You can also see more tips in this video from Bob-Cat.
Maintenance isn’t just preseason practice. If you remain diligent throughout the season, your mower will be in top condition for the months when it matters most, and for years to come.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was provided by Bob-Cat Mowers and Ron Scheffler, senior product manager at Bob-Cat.