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Caring for Outdoor Power Equipment

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By Will Butler of Butler Outdoor Power in Clonmel

As the summer approaches, we should start some pre use checks prior to the first cut of the season

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Maintenance may differ depending on your mower model. There are general steps below, but read your mower documentation before beginning work and follow the instructions for use, maintenance and safety. If you need to replace parts, use manufacturer-approved replacements. Note your mower make and model number and have this information with you when shopping for replacement parts.

Perform the maintenance in a well-ventilated area and on a hard, flat surface. Spread a drop cloth over the work area. Before performing any maintenance, cleaning or inspections on your mower, it must be off with all moving parts stopped.

On a petrol-powered mower, you also need to unplug the spark plug wire. Disconnect an electric mower from its power supply or remove the safety key (if equipped).

Follow any pre-maintenance procedures the manufacturer specifies. You’ll need to tilt the mower on its side for some maintenance.

If you have a gasoline-powered mower, first take steps to prevent fuel spills. Different manufacturers have different methods for preventing spills, such as running the mower until the tank is dry or placing a piece of heavy plastic under the fuel cap to cover the fuel inlet.

grass on mower

Follow the instructions for your mower. Tilt the mower onto its side so the dipstick is down and the air filter is facing up to avoid getting oil in the upper part of the engine.

Step 1 Disconnect the spark plug or power supply as described above and give the mower an overall inspection.
Step 2 Check for loose fasteners and tighten them as needed.
Step 3 Checking Push Mower Wheel. Make sure the wheels rotate correctly.
Step 4 Check for damaged and worn parts. Replace them before operating the mower.
Step 5 Checking a Push Mower Grass Catcher. Clean off dirt and debris from the grass catcher.
Step 6 If you have a petrol-powered mower, make sure the oil and fuel are at the correct levels.
Step 7 Reconnect the spark plug or power supply.

AFTER EACH USE.

Maintenance at the End of the Mowing Season. Once the season is over, prep your mower for long-term storage and get it ready for spring.

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Step 1 Follow the procedures above for disconnecting the spark plug or power supply and for tilting the mower on its side.
Step 2 Inspect the blade. If it’s worn, damaged or bent, replace it. If the blade is undamaged but dull, you may be able to sharpen it. Some manufacturers do not recommend this, so check the instructions for your mower. If your blade can be sharpened, have a professional do it for you or purchase a sharpener and balancer to do it yourself: Maintain the bevel of the blade. Sharpen the cutting edges equally. Check the balance of the blade, making adjustments as needed. Wipe down the blade with a light oil before reinstalling it. Caution Wear work gloves when handling a mower blade. When sharpening a blade, you also need to wear eye protection and — if using a grinder — hearing protection.
Step 3 Wood Block Securing a Push Mower Blade. Place a wood block between the mower housing and the blade to keep the blade from turning as you loosen the blade bolt or nut. Good to Know Most mowers use a counter clockwise threaded bolt. or left sided bolt.
Step 4 Remove the blade, attachment hardware and debris shield (if equipped). Check the hardware and associated parts for damage and replace as needed.
Step 5 Scrape off any remaining grass clippings from the underside of the deck.
Step 6 New Mower Blade Aligned. Install the blade and associated parts, making sure to align them properly. Different models will have different methods for aligning the blade.
Step 7 Installing a New Blade on a Push Mower. With the blade immobilized, tighten the blade bolt to the torque specified in your mower manual.
Step 8 Remove the wood block or blade-removal tool and set the mower back on its wheels.
Step 9 Reconnect the spark plug or power supply.

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