Exmark Offers Mower Service Guidelines as Spring Season Nears

BeatriceNE (January 08, 2008) — As the spring mowing season approaches, Exmark reminds lawn mower owners to perform routine maintenance on their equipment.

Landscape professionals and homeowners who properly care for their machines can potentially save hundreds of dollars and increase productivity, said Paul Jurgens, Exmark Director of Customer Service.

"Time and time again, I see people who were trying to pinch pennies on maintenance or cheap parts end up having to buy a replacement engine for their mower," Jurgens said. "Most of the time, it can be avoided. The Exmark Customer Service staff works with lawnmower owners every day to prevent these types of mishaps."

The industry's leading manufacturer of commercial zero-turn riding mowers for 25 years, Exmark offers a checklist of 14 mower service tips on its Web site at https://www.exmark.com/Service-And-Support/Maintenance/Troubleshooting-Service-Tips.

Jurgens emphasized four service tips:

Minimize the use of water when cleaning the mower. 
Mower owners should clean their units as often as possible, but minimize the use of water. Water and detergents can lead to corrosion problems.

"Pressure washers will clean the equipment, but they also put water and detergents into places that can be very detrimental," Jurgens said. "For example, if water sits on a bearing seal or an electrical connection, it can do more harm than good."

Exmark recommends using compressed air or blowers as much as possible. If water is used to clean the mower, users need to grease and lubricate the unit afterward.

Lubricate the engine with the recommended oil. 
Exmark suggests lawn mower owners use oil recommended by the engine manufacturer. Many engine manufactures recommend a certain weight of oil, and it may depend on the time of year. This can make a big difference in oil consumption, as well as in the proper lubrication of the engine.

"A lot of people think using less expensive grease or non-name brand oil is a good way to save a few bucks," Jurgens said. "But they shouldn't take that chance. If Kohler has formulated oil for a Kohler engine, use it?especially during the warranty period. Using original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts could pay dividends if you have a problem with your mower."

In addition, most engine manufacturers do not recommend the use of synthetic oils. The proper petroleum-based oil lubricates the engine adequately.

Do not store oxygenated fuels for more than 30 days. 
Oxygenated fuels (fuels containing alcohol blends or MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether)) have a shelf life of 30 days. Lawnmower owners should mark the date on their gas cans when filling up.

"People used to fill up a 500-gallon barrel in December because gas prices were low," Jurgens said. "But today, almost all fuel has an oxygen agent in it. If you're not getting pure unleaded fuel, it will start to separate if it sits on a shelf long enough."

In addition, fuel should be checked to ensure that it does not contain over the maximum 10 percent alcohol or 15 percent MTBE. Inexpensive testers are available.

Sharpen blades, and replace damaged blades. 
Users should sharpen blades and replace any damaged blades every 8-to-10 hours of use. A dull blade increases the load on the belts, bearings and engine. An unbalanced blade can cause vibrations and stress to the cutting deck.

"The purpose of the mower is to cut grass, and the whole process starts with the blade," Jurgens said. "A mower with dull blades has to work harder, and it's forced to shred grass, rather than cut through grass.

Blade-balancing tools are inexpensive and readily available. Exmark recommends keeping an extra set of sharp, balanced blades on hand.

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Note to Editors: All media inquiries, image or interview requests should be directed to Matt Gersib at (402) 314-2150 or mattgersib@gmail.com. For other inquiries, please contact Exmark Mfg. Co., Inc., P.O. Box 808, Beatrice, NE 68310-0808; (402) 223-6300.