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When you’re planning on putting your mower away for the winter, we realize you usually pay attention to the major things – namely, the engine. Every good lawn and garden keeper knows to maintain their engine. Often, this can come at the expense of other pieces. Maybe one year you forget to hit the grease points, the next you might forget the air and oil filters. You can’t avoid taking care of your mower deck though. Without it, you won’t be cutting anything at all. Here are some important, in-depth maintenance points to tackle on your mower deck.
You’ll want a paint scraper, a screwdriver, a leaf blower, and any tools that you’ll need to disassemble your mower deck. You’ll also want work gloves and a hose with a nozzle that can direct spray in a stream.
You’ll first need to remove your mower deck, or otherwise disable the possibility of it starting movement. This might include draining the fuel tank and removing the spark plugs. Always wear your work gloves – the blades aren’t the only sharp bits under there. You can get a cut from sharp metal edges, and given the rust and the chemicals the mower deck is exposed to, this could get particularly nasty.
Once the mower deck is removed or rendered inoperable, remove any protective covers such as belt guards. Use the leaf blower to blow out as much loose debris as possible. After that, use the screwdriver and the paint scraper to clean out lingering debris inside the belt or pulley, as well as scraping caked-on debris.
After you take care of the top side, flip the deck over and get to work on the heavy-duty build-up. First use the hose and nozzle to break loose as much debris and grass as possible. Anything that you can’t knock away with the hose will at least be loosened a bit. The paint scraper can then be used to scrape off the remaining caked-on debris. You may need to use soap to help loosen it even further. You’ll need to remove as much as possible – grass can hold moisture to the mower deck, and cause rust.
Deck Sealant and Lubricant
WD-40 solves everything, and can certainly be helpful when you are cleaning up a mower deck. After you’ve cleaned the deck, give it a good spraying. The solvent will inhibit any rust forming over the winter, and will also help to prevent grass from sticking to the deck when you start up again in the spring. If you don’t have WD-40, any other industrial lubricant and sealant can work.
Belt Adjustment and Greasing
Make sure your belts are in shape, checking for any pitting or scraping. If a belt looks like it is cracking, it’s best to replace it while you’ve already got things taken apart. Otherwise, adjust the belts to make sure they are moving properly, and apply lubricant throughout to make sure everything is greased throughout the winter.
So make sure to take care of your mower deck before putting your mower into storage for the winter. The smallest amount of protection now could mean getting extra years out of your mower deck.