- Ideas & How-Tos
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You've invested a lot in your outdoor power equipment, so it's important to get the most from it. And just like your lawn, garden or home, it needs proper care to be at its best. Good maintenance practices will help your machines run better and run longer, protecting your investment and saving you time and money.
Maintenance may differ depending on the model and type of your equipment. There are some general tips below, but read the documentation that came with your equipment before beginning work and always follow the manufacturer's instructions for use, maintenance and safety.
Before performing any maintenance, cleaning or inspections on you equipment, turn it off and make sure all blades and moving parts have come to a stop. On gasoline-powered equipment, unplug the spark plug wire(s) as instructed in the manual. Disconnect electric equipment from its power supply. Remove the ignition key (if equipped). Follow any pre-maintenance procedures the manufacturer specifies.
1. Change the engine oil after the first 5 hours of operation (or as recommended by the manufacturer) of a new machine. New engines naturally create mineral deposits over this break-in period that affect power and performance.
2. Add fuel stabilizer to your gas supply can to prevent deposits that affect engine efficiency.
3. Improve performance and prolong the life of your 2-cycle gas engines — take care to measure correctly when mixing the gas and oil. (Follow the manufacturer’s specifications.)
4. For a clean look and to promote healthy grass, sharpen the blades on push and riding mowers prior to mowing season.
5. Change your spark plug regularly as directed by the product manufacturer.
6. Check the line regularly on your trimmer and have replacement line or a new spool ready when you need it.
7. Clean or replace air filters in all power equipment prior to first use and throughout the season.
8. Check the O-rings and hose connections on your pressure washer before first spring use.
9. Check for loose bolts and screws on machines that experience a lot of vibration during use (such as tillers and mowers).
10. Start each cutting season with a new or newly-sharpened chain saw blade.
11. Check oil level before each use in any and all engines. This simple step can save you a lot of money and distress.
12. Make sure you use the proper gauge outdoor-rated power cord for electric power equipment. The smaller the gauge number, the more watts it can conduct. Check your equipment's owner’s manual for specifications.