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Lawn Mower Maintenance & Repair

  • Winterizing Your Lawn and Equipment

    Texas is finally getting into the swing of winter.  Time to get that lawn mower and other power equipment put away for the season.

    Winterizing Your Lawn and Equipment GrapevineWinter can be harsh on more than just people. It can be harsh on your lawn and your equipment as well. Whether it’s cold temperatures or actual snow and sleet, your lawn and equipment need to be protected in order to have a long life span of functioning well. Lawn equipment, especially a lawn mower, is a big investment. If not taken care of, they might not start back up when spring rolls around. Here are some tips that will help you give your lawn and tools the protection they need.

    Prepping Your Lawn for Winter 

    1. Remove debris. Take time to rake up the rest of those fall leaves. A think layer can actually smother your lawn, locking out light and air.
    2. Mow one last time. As a general rule, cut warm-season grasses to a height of one inch and cool-season grasses to a height of two inches. Anything higher can trap unhealthy moisture.
    3. Aerate. Your lawn can become impacted during the busy warm months, so to help it breath, aerate it in the late fall. You can either rent an aerating tool or hire a lawn maintenance service to do it for you.
    4. Seed bare patches. If you do it early enough, your lawn should fill in nicely before the ground freezes. To help improve germination, aerate.
    5. Add fertilizer. A sleeping lawn, still needs to eat, so don’t forget the fertilizer. Look for sustained-release products, which will ensure your lawn gets the nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous, and partially blended sulfate.
    6. Water. Before the cold sets in, be sure to give your lawn one last drink. This will help activate the fertilizer.
    7. Drain sprinkler lines and shut off your system. Excess water can lead to frozen, and even broken, water pipes. If you need to water during a dry winter, resort to the hose.
    8. Weed. Sometimes weeds have a way of popping up even when your grass is dormant. Grab weeds when you see them or apply product as needed. 

    Taking Care of Your Lawn Equipment 

    1. Drain the oil. Oil that sits gets sludgy, making it hard for the engine to run efficiently. Lawn mowers, as well as other tools, need to have the oil drained. Drop the old oil off at your town’s hazardous waste facility, or seek out a recycling center.
    2. Preserve the gas. Smaller tools, like trimmers, should have the gas drained completely. Larger equipment like your mower, however, can have its gas preserved. If the fuel sits untreated, it will degrade. To keep this from happening, pour some fuel stabilizer into the tank. This will keep gas fresh for about 6 months.
    3. Replace worn parts. Parts that are cracked and brittle can leave equipment vulnerable to absorbing dust or moisture. Check for missing screws and nuts. Make sure the gas cap has an intact O-ring. Look at your local hardware store or contact the manufacturer for replacements.
    4. Change out fuel and air filters. Dirty filters make a tool’s engine work much harder than they should have to. The fuel filter can be found at the end of the fuel line (a hangar can help you fish it out). Simply pull it off and install a new one. Air filters that are torn should be replaced. If you still have one that’s intact, be sure to remove trapped debris regularly to extend its life.
    5. Clean the spark plugs. Spark plugs ignite the air-fuel mixture that starts the engine. With repeated use they get dirty, but they are relatively easy to clean. Remove them with a socket wrench, spray them with brake cleaner and scrape off the carbonized black bits with a wire brush. Plugs that are too difficult to clean can be replaced at minimal cost (usually under $5 apiece).
    6. Get rid of dirt and rust. Remember, safety first. Disconnect the spark plug before removing the blade. Use a brush and water if needed, to scrape off dirt. A wire brush will also work when scraping off rust. Before replacing the blade, spray it with rust-inhibiting enamel.
    7. Lubricate. Hinges and moving parts need to be sprayed with lubricant, otherwise they can rust into place. After lubricating, wipe tung oil on wooden handles to prevent drying and cracking.
  • How to Sharpen a Lawn Mower Blade

    If you mow your own lawn, then performing some maintenance on the lawn mower is inevitable. One of the most important tasks is making sure the blade is sharp. Over time, a mower blade can develop nicks and dings from coming in contact with things such as rocks and branches.

    Lawn-Mower-Maintenance-Rockwall-how-to-sharpen-a-lawn-mower-blade

    When a blade reaches this point of being dull and full of imperfections, grass is ripped, rather than cut cleaning, which leaves it susceptible to damage and disease. A dull blade also causes your mower to run less efficiently, ultimately increasing the time it takes for you to work on your lawn. No matter what type of lawnmower you have, it’s important to keep that blade sharp. Here’s how to do it.

    Tools You’ll Need:

    • Work gloves
    • Clamp
    • Vise
    • Adjustable or socket wrench
    • Steel wool
    • Metal file
    • Balancer or wooden dowel
    • Bench grinder (optional)

    Step-By-Step Instructions

    Before you begin any maintenance, disconnect the spark plug or remove the battery. You want to eliminate any potential risk of the mower starting as you work. Now, onto the work…

    1. Drain the gas. Since you will be turning the mower on its side, removing the gas will keep it from spilling out and being wasted.
    2. Mark the blade. Take a piece of chalk or dab a bit of paint on the bottom side of the blade before you remove it. This will keep you from putting it on upside down after it’s been sharpened.
    3. Remove the blade. The wrench will help loosen and remove the mounting nut or bolt so you can remove the blade from the mower. Once it has been removed, clamp it in a vise.
    4. Remove rust. A blade with minimal rust will perform much better. Use the steel wool to remove any rust spots that have formed.
    5. Sharpen the blade. If the blade is severely damaged, you’ll most likely need to use a bench grinder to fix it. For blades with minimal damage however, a metal file will work just fine. Run the metal file, in short, smooth strokes, along the beveled edge of the blade, keeping the file at a 40 to 45-degree angle.
    6. Check the balance. Use a balancer to determine if the blade is balanced. An unbalanced blade can cause damage to your mower. If you don’t have a balancer, you can place the blade on a wooden dowel. If one side tilts higher than the other, the opposite blade needs to be filed some more until it lies flat.
    7. Reinstall the blade. Before you put the blade back on, take the time to clean dirt and grass buildup from around the hole beneath.

    Although the most often recommended time to sharpen a mower blade is in the spring, right now is actually the best time.  We find that the first mow of the year often sneaks up on homeowners, and once the season starts, they often forget to circle back up and sharpen their blades. It takes time, but when done regularly it will benefit your grass and prolong the life of your mower.

    If your blade needs to be sharpened, right now is the best time because you won't forget.  It takes time, but when done regularly it will benefit your grass and prolong the life of your mower.  If you live nearby, Richardson Saw can sharpen or replace your blade along with any other maintenance your mower needs for long lasting performance.

  • Routine Lawn Equipment Maintenance

    Preventative maintenance doesn't require a huge amount of time and pays off in longer-lasting lawn equipment. Investing your time in weekly, monthly, and yearly maintenance combats wear-and-tear on equipment and keeps it running longer. Richardson Saw & Lawnmower carries the parts you'll need to maintain the equipment we sell, and if you run into a problem you'd rather not tackle yourself you can bring your equipment into our service department.

    Rockwall Outdoor Power Equipment Routine Lawn Equipment Maintenance

    Always keep safety in mind when working with lawn equipment. Remember to disconnect the spark plug and battery cables before servicing any power equipment to prevent accidental starts, and exercise caution when working with sharp parts like cutting blades.

    Cleaning

    All lawn equipment gets dirty. Chainsaws get covered in sawdust, cut grass builds up on lawn mower decks, weeds wrap around trimmer heads. Leaving dirt or decaying organic matter on equipment can reduce efficiency and encourage rust on metal parts. If it's covering air intakes, debris can also trigger engine overheat.

    Brush off loose dirt with a stiff brush and use a wire brush or putty knife for caked-on grass and other debris. You can dip the brush in soapy water for cleaning trimmers and use a water hose for spraying off mower decks.

    For small walk-behind mowers, you can drain the gas and then tip the mower on its side to get at the mower deck. For larger mowers, such as zero-turn riding mower and lawn tractors, you'll have to either remove the mowing deck or raise the mower (safely! Make sure it is secure) far enough to reach under the deck. Some mowers have a wash-out port on the deck that you can connect a garden hose to and make cleaning easier.

    Sharpening

    Sharpening lawn mower blades and chainsaw teeth reduces strain on equipment and improves performance. Lawn mower blades should be sharpened or replaced at least once a year. Sharpen chainsaw chains when they start to get dull to prevent stress on the powerhead, sprocket, and guide bar. For trimmers, simply replace the trimmer line.

    You can tell lawn mower blades need to be sharpened when the blades are tearing grass instead of cutting it. Signs that a saw chain needs sharpening include the chainsaw doesn't cut straight, the chain stops self-feeding, and the chainsaw is expelling dust instead of wood chips. Check out these posts from our archives for more sharpening tips:

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    Engine Care

    Once a year, remove the spark plug and inspect it for damage. If the plug is just dirty, you can clean it and replace it. If it's damaged, replace with the manufacturer's recommended spark plug (check your owner's manual).

    Clean or replace the air filter regularly to keep clean air coming into the engine. Follow manufacturer instructions in your owner's manual for cleaning air filters, or replace with the recommended type of filter. Most paper filters should be replaced, but foam filters can be cleaned if they're not damaged.

    For 4-cycle engines, remember to change the oil regularly. Make sure the engine is warmed to operating temperatures, then turn it off and disconnect the spark plug. Drain the used oil and replace with the type of oil recommended in your owner's manual.

  • Spring Yard Cleaning & Maintance

    As winter draws toward a close, it's time to start looking forward to spring yard care tasks. In late February and March, the weather starts to warm and you'll be able to get out into the garden and lawn more. Just make sure you wait to do any major yard and garden work until the soil has started to dry out. In the meantime, tune-up your lawn equipment and make sure everything is ready for spring yard cleaning.

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    Spring Tune-Up

    Before turning on equipment like lawnmowers and trimmers for the first time this spring, give it a quick look-over. Clean off any accumulated dust, or dirt and grass clippings from last year. Clean around the spark plug cylinder, then remove the plug and check it for damage. If the plug is intact, clean and replace. If not, change it out for a new spark plug. Clean and/or replace fuel, oil and air filters as well.

    Check the owners manual to find out what type of grease is recommended by the manufacturer, then grease every fitting with a grease gun. Change the oil (if needed), then fill the tank up with new gasoline and try to start the engine. If it starts, you're ready to go this spring. If you're having any problems with your lawn equipment, bring it to our service department and have one of our factory certified Outdoor Power Equipment (OPE) technicians take a look.

    Early Lawn Care

    Begin spring lawn care by raking up leaves and any debris that accumulated on the lawn during the winter. Raking also fluffs up the grass leaves and encourages new growth. If there are piles of snow sitting around, spread them out with a shovel so they will melt faster and not smother the grass. Start mowing the grass as soon as it starts growing, removing only 1/3 of the overall leaf height at a time.

    To control weeds that sprout in the spring, apply pre-emergent herbicides about 2 to 3 weeks before the time of year you usually start noticing weed growth. A more precise guideline is to apply per-emergents when the top 1 inch of soil has stayed at or above 55 degrees Fahrenheit for five days in a row. If you want to re-plant any bare spots in the lawn with grass seed, skip the pre-emergents for this year. They will stop grass seed sprouting along with the weed seeds.

    Garden Prep

    Before plants start growing is a good time to get in and repair any damaged hardscaping in the flower beds. Replace or fix damaged boards on raised beds, fences and trellises now, while the plants are dormant and you're less likely to damage new growth. If you left the dried leaves and stalks from perennials and ornamental grasses in the garden over winter, trim and rake the dead plant matter out now to make way for growing plants.

    Once garden soil is free of ice crystals and dry enough to crumble easily, use a tiller to work the soil deep enough to plant seedlings and root vegetables. You can start planting cool-weather vegetables like salad greens, peas and leeks as soon as the soil is workable. About a week before the last frost date in your area, start planting other cool-weather vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, potatoes and onions.

  • 5 Things NOT To Do To Your Lawnmower

    We see lots of articles telling us how to take care of maintenance on our lawn mowers, but what about things we shouldn't do? Here are five tips for what NOT to do with a lawn mower that will help it run smoothly for many years.

    honda mowers princetone 5 Things NOT To Do To Your Lawnmower

    1. Don't mow things that aren't grass

    It's pretty obvious lawn mowers are designed for cutting lawn grass. They can also cut weeds growing in the lawn, but don't do well mowing over fallen tree branches and twigs or going over tree stumps. Trying to mow over twigs can dull the mower blades, or even damage them if the branches are large. Hitting a stump with a push mower will most likely damage the blade and crankshaft, and hitting a stump on a riding mower can damage blades, mower deck, and spindles.

    You also don't want to try to use your mower for non-cutting tasks, like re-spooling rope or barbed wire. That will damage the mower's undercarriage and blades, most likely resulting in an expensive repair. Just keep using the lawn mower only for lawn mowing, and you won't have a problem.

    2. Don't forget to check the oil

    If you have a mower with a 4-cycle engine, you'll want to make sure to check the oil regularly. Don't let it get low, and remember to do oil changes on schedule (check your owner's manual for model-specific oil change tips and what type of oil to use). It's a good idea to change the oil at least once a year before storing your mower.

    3. Don't let the mower get clogged

    If air can't get into the engine, it will overheat and may even catch on fire. Reduced airflow also makes the mower less fuel-efficient. Keep the air intakes clear of dirt and cut grass, clean filters regularly, and check to make sure engine cooling fins aren't clogged. A mat of cut grass or a thick layer of dust can build up pretty quick when you're using your mower a lot.

    Clean the undercarriage to keep belts and blades in good working order and prevent clogging the discharge shoot. Some mower models have a wash-out port on the deck so all you have to do is hook up a garden hose after each use to wash-off built-up grass. For other mowers, you'll have to scrape the grass off with a wire brush or hard plastic scraper. Remember to disconnect the spark plug before working under the mower to prevent accidental starts.

    4. Don't leave old fuel in the tank

    Fuel that contains ethanol can damage lawn equipment if left in the gas tank longer than 2 weeks. If you use your mower infrequently, add fuel stabilizer when you buy gasoline. If you'll be storing the mower for longer than 90 days, drain the fuel or run the mower dry before storage. Small amounts of fuel can remain in the carburetor fuel bowl even after you run the tank dry, so make sure you drain gas out of the fuel bowl as well so it won't gum up your carburetor.

    5. Don't leave the battery connected

    When storing the mower for a long period of time, such as over winter, you'll want to disconnect the battery. Even when it's turned off, a lawn mower can slowly siphon power from the battery, which decreases the overall battery life. Store the disconnected battery in a cool, dry place away from flammable things like gas cans and sources of heat like a water heater.

  • End of The Season Lawn Care Tips

    The growing season, and with it lawn care tasks, are winding down for the year. As the grass stops growing and landscape plants die down, there are a final few yard care tasks that will help your landscaping overwinter healthily and come back strong in the spring.

    Stihl SH 86 Shredder Blower DallasClean Up The Landscape

    Throughout fall, rake leaves on the lawn every few days. This keeps the lawn healthy by making sure enough sunlight get to the grass and removing places where mold and rot can develop. In the landscape bed, you can either remove fallen leaves and dead foliage now or wait until spring.

    If you let leaves stay in the landscape bed, they can help insulate the plants, but it'll look messy. For a more attractive alternative, you can clean up the flower beds and then use a shredder to turn fallen leaves into mulch. Use the shredded leaf mulch in the landscape bed to insulate delicate plants from frost. As the mulch decomposes, it will also add nutrients to the soil.

    While you're working on the landscape, pop some spring-blooming bulbs in to add color next year. Fall is the best time to plant spring bulbs since it gives them a head-start on the growing season. If you live in USDA growing zones 8 through 10, chill bulbs like crocus, tulip, and hyacinth before planting. Just put the bulb bag in the refrigerator for 6 to 10 weeks, then plant during the coolest part of the year.

    Mow One Last Time

    hrr216vla-honda-lawnmower DallasIn late fall, mow the lawn one last time and cut the grass short. If you live in an area with snowfall, this helps prevent the grass from getting matted down. Even in locations without snow, the final mowing puts the grass at a uniform height and makes it easier for you to notice winter weeds that grow while the lawn is dormant.

    Take care not to fertilize too late in the year. The last time you can fertilize your lawn depends on the local last frost date. If you were following a schedule to prepare your lawn for fall and winter, most Texas homeowners applied the final fertilizer application in September or October. Do not add any more fertilizer late in the year.

    Many autumn lawn care articles advise aerating lawns in the fall. This advice applies only to lawns with cool-season grass. Most Texas lawns are warm-season grass, and you should wait until late spring or early summer to aerate these lawns.

    Winterize Equipment

    Before storing lawn equipment, make sure it's clean to help prevent rust. Wipe shovels, spades, pruners and other metal with an oily cloth for additional rust protection. For gasoline-powered equipment, drain the fuel before storage. If you want to use any equipment during the winter, you can keep it filled with fuel that contains a fuel stabilizer.

    Sprinkler systems should also be winterized. Dormant lawns need very little water, so there's no reason to have the water system on over winter. Turn off the water, and then drain as much water as possible out of the system to prevent damage from freezing weather.

  • Routine Lawn Mower Maintenance

    You've purchased a quality lawn mower, and you want it to last for a long time. The good news is that lawn mowers from reliable brands, like those Richardson Saw and Lawnmower carries, will stay in good working order for many years of use – especially if you take the time to maintain them.

    Richardson Saw carries a large parts inventory and has a full-service department to fill all your lawn mower maintenance needs. We can answer questions you have about your mower, help you with routine maintenance, and repair mowers if they stop running.

    Routine-Lawn-Mower-Maintenance-Dallas

    Keep It Clean

    The maintenance task you'll be performing most often is cleaning the mower. Since you're working in the yard, lawn mowers quickly get covered in dirt and dried grass. This can clog up the discharge chute and cutting deck, and also compromise the engine by plugging intake screens and fans.

    Brush dirt and grass off intake screens and fans every time you mow. A clogged screen or fan can make the engine overheat and cause serious problems. The cutting deck needs to be cleaned less frequently, but this is still an important task. Use a wire brush or putty knife to scrape off caked grass, and then spray with a hose. Some larger mowers include a washing port so you can connect a hose directly to the deck. Before working on the mower deck, disconnect the spark plug to prevent accidental starting.

    Sharpen Blades

    For most homeowners, sharpening blades is a yearly maintenance task that's great for spring. Mowers used in professional lawn care may need to be sharpened more frequently to maintain a good blade. Remember to disconnect the spark plug before removing the blade. Sharpen the blade using a metal file, sharpening stone or motorized grinder.

    Check your owners manual for instructions on removing blades. For most push-type mowers, you can simply tip the mower on its side to get at the cutting deck. For larger mowers, you'll have to raise the mower so you can reach under the deck and remove blades. Exercise caution when raising mowers for removing blades and for cleaning the deck, and never crawl under the mower deck if there's any chance the mower could roll or fall.

    Replace Worn Parts

    Though the mower is designed to last for years, several parts require regular replacement. Check and clean your spark plug every year, and replace it if the plug is damaged. Some sources recommend replacing the spark plug every year just to make sure it's in good shape.

    Air filters made of foam can be cleaned with soap and warm water, and you can clean paper filters with pressurized air. Replace paper filters that become too clogged to clean. Foam filters last longer, but be sure to replace them when they no longer come clean or if they are damaged.

    For mowers with four-cycle engines, check the oil regularly and add oil if the levels are down. If the oil becomes dirty or is dark black in color, drain and replace the old or contaminated oil. Check your owner's manual to find out which type of oil to use, and how to drain your mower.

  • How to Prepare Your Lawn for Fall

    It seems like summer only just arrived, and it's already time to start thinking about fall maintenance tasks around the lawn. The warm-season grasses typically grown in Texas go dormant at the end of the year, and they're going to need a little extra attention in the late summer or early fall to help keep them healthy.

    The most important thing you can do in the fall for a warm-season lawn is stop fertilizing at the right time. Too much fertilizer late in the year can stress the grass while skipping the last fall application can weaken grass so it doesn't get through the winter as well.

    Fertilizer Timing

    Using a lawn fertilizer containing nitrogen triggers lush fall growth, which helps choke-out winter weeds. The timing for your last fertilizer application depends on the first frost date in fall, which is determined by location.

    In northern Texas where the average first frost date is November 1, apply fertilizer by September 15. For parts of Central Texas, including the Dallas area, where the average first frost date is November 16, apply fertilizer by October 1. Warmer parts of east-central Texas where the average frost date is December 1 should be fertilized by October 15. For southern Texas, including areas where it doesn't freeze, apply fertilizer by November 1.

    Application Rates

    As a general rule, apply 1/2 to 1 pound actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn space. To find out how much nitrogen a fertilizer contains, you'll have to look at the N-P-K ratio on the fertilizer packaging. The first number in this ratio tells you what percentage of the fertilizer is made up of nitrogen.

    A fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of 30-0-6, for example, contains 30% nitrogen. You'll have to apply 1-2/3 to 3-1/3 pounds of fertilizer per 1,000 square feet to supply 1/2 to 1 pound of actual nitrogen. Always read and follow the label directions for your specific fertilizer. For best results, use a spreader to apply dry fertilizer evenly. Across the lawn.

    Other Fall Tips

    Continue mowing while the grass is actively growing. Growth of warm-season grasses won't slow down until the weather starts to cool, so be sure to keep up with the mowing until that happens. After the lawn starts to go dormant, you can cut back on mowing and eventually stop altogether unless you overseed with ryegrass for winter color.

    Removing weeds before the grass starts to go dormant will help prevent them from taking over the lawn during the winter. Dormant grass isn't competing with weeds, so the weeds are more likely to get out of hand during the winter than at other times of the year. To control annual weeds, apply a preemergent herbicide in the late summer or fall once nighttime lows reach 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit for four consecutive days. For perennial weeds, spot-treat with a post-emergent herbicide using a garden sprayer.

  • Storing Lawn Equipment

    Winter is coming, and that means less work for lawn equipment. During a particularly mild winter there might still be need for lawn mowers and trimmers, but it's more likely that they will be spending a few months in storage. To make sure mowers, trimmers, and other lawn equipment still runs well after sitting idle for a few months, take the time to drain or stabilize the fuel and clean the equipment before storing.

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    Remove Fuel

    The first thing to do when prepping lawn equipment like trimmers and mowers for winter is drain the fuel so it won't become stale or gum up the carburetor. Fuels that contain ethanol have a shelf-life of about less than 30 days in an engine. After draining the fuel, start the engine and let it run until it is dry.

    If you added a fuel stabilizer when you purchased the fuel, the fuel can be stored in a fuel container for later use. The best containers for storing ethanol E10 fuel for lawn equipment are self-venting with "no spill" self-sealing spouts. Some sources suggest that you can leave the fuel that contains a stabilizer in the lawn equipment all winter.

    If you'll be using the equipment over winter, such as a chainsaw for woodcutting, consider using an ethanol-free packaged fuel designed for use with power equipment, such as Stihl MotoMix or Echo PowerFuel. Since these do not contain ethanol, they won't separate or go bad in the engine.

    Clean Equipment

    To help prevent rust over winter, take the time to clean lawn equipment thoroughly before storing it. Remove the spark plug to prevent accidental starts, and wear gloves to protect your hands from cutting blades and sharp corners. Use a stiff brush and a soft cloth to remove dried grass and other debris from ventilation slots and air intakes. A wire brush can be used to removed dried leaves and grass on hedge trimmers.

    For mowers, clean the deck using a utility knife or a smooth-edged plastic trowel. Many push mowers can be turned on their side to make this easier. Check your owners manual to make sure this is safe for your particular model. Some riding mower decks can be removed for cleaning, or raised high enough to allow access. Mowers can also be raised using a chain hoist or driven up two auto ramps. Be certain that the mower is completely secure before working under the deck.

    Routine Maintenance

    While you're cleaning is a good time to perform routine maintenance. Mower blades and the blades on brush-cutters can be replaced or sharpened at this time. For string-line trimmers, clean the string head and replace cutting line. Air filters and spark plugs can be cleaned or replaced as well. Use a quality spray lubricant on exposed pivot points.

    Finally, store lawn equipment in a dry location where no corrosive agents – such as cleaners, fertilizers, and pool chemicals – can spill on them. Avoid storing under a plastic sheet or tarp, which can trap moisture. Then in the spring, your equipment will be ready to be refueled and start working.

  • Extending the Life of Your Equipment

    When you buy a new lawn mower, trimmer or any other piece of lawn equipment, you want something that will last. Starting with good-quality equipment is a great first step, and with routine maintenance to keep your equipment in top condition, you can make sure you're getting the best value for your money. If you come up against a problem you can't fix on your own, our service department is more than qualified to help get your equipment back in working order.

    Choosing & Caring For A String-Line Trimmer

    Start With Quality

    One of the best ways to ensure that your lawn equipment will last for years is to start with a good-quality brand. Cheap, off-brand items are often just that – cheap. Purchasing a quality piece of equipment might cost more initially, but it can save money in the long-run because they last longer with fewer repairs.

    Richardson Saw and Lawnmower carries a variety of high-quality brands, including Stihl, Scag, Echo, Honda, Toro and Shindaiwa. These brands often use professional-quality parts even in the equipment designed for homeowners.

    Keep Them Clean

    Cleaning your lawn equipment is one of the easiest ways to keep it running smoothly. Removing dirt and debris helps prevent rust on metal parts, especially if the debris is damp like grass clippings typically are. That's one reason it's so important to clean trimmers, brush cutters, and mower decks regularly. Some mowers, including Toro's walk-behind Recycler and Super Recycler and riding mowers in the eXmark Quest S-Series, make this task simple by including wash-out ports for attaching a garden hose to clean the deck.

    You'll also want to keep filters and screens clean. If they become clogged with dust, dirt, dried grass or other debris, it can affect the engine life. When air filters become clogged, the engine can overheat and will consume more fuel. If the filter develops holes, that will let dirt in to clog the engine. Cleaning screens and filters, and replacing those that are too worn, helps prevent these problems.

    Regular Maintenance

    There are a few other routine maintenance tasks that can help extend the life of your lawn equipment. Every year before storing gasoline-powered equipment, make sure to drain the fuel tank and run the engine dry. Alternately, you can use fuel that contains a fuel stabilizer. This helps prevent damage to the engine from fuel going bad and gumming up the carburetor. Throughout the year for two-cycle engines, including trimmers and certain mowers and tillers, make sure you're using the correct oil-to-gasoline ratio. For four-cycle engines, such as lawn tractors and larger tillers, keep the oil-dipstick level near the full mark.

    Lawnmower blades should be sharpened at least once a year. It's also important to keep hedge trimmer blades sharp, and replace the cutting line on string-line trimmers when it becomes brittle. For equipment with an engine instead of electric power, check the spark plug at least once a year, and replace if it is damaged. Remember to check belts regularly and replace them when they show signs of wear. You can also check the owners manual for specific models to find any other maintenance suggestions.

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