MAINTENANCE: A STEP BEYOND

Do you practice maintenance by the book? If so, great. But here are some tips you might not see in a maintenance manual.

Gas filter replacement

Avoid barbed in-line replacement gasoline filters normally sold for mowers — the type that does not need a clamp. Not only do these occasionally pull loose, the barbs can tear up the inside of the hose, allowing small rubber pieces to find their way to the carburetor. Instead, purchase a gas filter with smooth ends at your automotive store and use worm clamps for a tight fit.

Grease

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Don't overlook your spindle and wheel bearings. Spindle bearings often get covered with clippings and are easy to pass over. Also, when choosing grease, consider heavy-duty marine grease. It's water-resistant properties are beneficial, and it tends to be very long-lasting.

Deck cleaning

Clean your deck regularly. Mud and stuck-on clippings can alter your mower's mulching and cutting characteristics.

Oil

If you asked ten mechanics, you'd get ten different opinions about oil. However, for what it's worth, most long-lived mowers I've seen started out using a major brand oil for their first 100 hours, then switched to a full synthetic. Also, most technicians tilt their mower during an oil change to get every last drop of dirty oil out of the crankcase.

Pressure washer

Pressure washers are great tools, but equipment makers never thought folks would have 1,000+ psi in their hands, so be careful. Do not force dirt or water into bearings and remember that a high-pressure spray will wash away any lubricant that it hits.

Robert Sokol is an Associate Editor with the Grounds Maintenance Equipment Blue Book; a pricing guide for used grounds equipment. For more information, visit the Web at pricedigest.com or call (800) 654-6776.

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