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Hopefully, we’ve put the last of the nasty winter weather behind us and we are ready to move on to spring. Of course, moving on to spring also means that it is time to clean off your riding mower and prepare it for spring and summer tasks.
Change the Oil
Before you get your riding mower moving, you’ll want to change the oil. Dirty oil can damage your engine, shortening its life and causing headaches. It is recommended that you change your oil after every 50 hours of mower usage, and the oil level should be checked at least once every 10 hours of operation. Once in every five hours is preferable, but if you have hours worth of mowing to do, there’s no reason to stop in the middle of everything to check your oil.
Even if you last changed your oil towards the end of the previous mowing season, it’s still a great idea to change it again when you pull your mower out of storage. You’ll certainly want to cut back on your future down time. When you do change your oil, make sure not to overfill it, this can cause just as many difficulties as failing to fill it enough.
Start the Year with Fresh Gasoline
We’ve talked in the past about what seasonal usage can do to gasoline. That’s why we have always maintained that emptying the tank is a great idea over the winter. Don’t undo all the good you’ve done by putting old, bad gasoline into your mower. Get fresh gasoline, without ethanol in it, and make sure it is treated as you deem necessary – we’ve covered that subject before, as well. If you have an inline
Change the Spark Plugs
Spark plugs are fairly inexpensive to replace, but they can certainly hold up your mowing season. Without the spark, you can’t ignite the gas regardless of it being old or new, and it won’t matter how much airflow there is. Spark plugs need to be changed regularly, every 100 hours or so. For a lightly-used mower, this works out to once a year, and there’s no better time to do it than at the start of the season, so the plugs can provide the spark throughout the mowing season. Make sure to use the same types of spark plugs when you make the replacement.
Replace the Air Filter and Air Cleaner
Your air filter and air cleaner will pull all sorts of debris up towards your engine, but if you don’t clean them or change them regularly, they will restrict the airflow to the engine. Restrict airflow will effect the combustion inside the engine, and will cause your mower to lag or sow down. It’s recommended that you use the same make and model air filter that you have in the mower to start. If you expect to be operating in a high-dust environment, think about investing in a heavy-duty filter and cleaner or buy multiples for replacement later in the summer.
Remember that proper preparation can make or break your year of mowing, and can make for smooth sailing, or can give you headache after headache.
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