Getting the mower ready for spring
I always look forward to the first time we mow the yard. The smell of freshly cut grass is so pleasant, and immediately makes me think of summer – even if it’s still a long time off! But before the mowing happens, we have to put the mower through a spring maintenance routine that ensures the machine is all revved up and ready.
John Deere product manager Mike Ballou says right now is the best time to get your mower in shape.
"I would start out with a tune-up. A new spark plug, a new air filter, and a new fuel filter," says Ballou. "Just those three things right there are critical in getting the best performance out of your machine year-after-year."
Lawn tractor batteries are often over-looked in a tune-up. Clean and tighten the terminals and charge the battery. Measure the voltage and if it's below nine-volts, the battery doesn't have much life left and may need to be replaced.
After you’re done under the hood, take care of things under the deck.
"Make sure that you’ve checked your blades, you’ve checked your belts, you’ve gone through and greased your lubrication points in your front axles, in your spindles on your mower decks" says Ballou. "You want to make sure that the tires have the correct air pressure because you want a nice even cut, and you want all of your tires to be relatively in the same tire pressure range."
If there’s still a lot of grass and debris on the machine from last year, rinse it off with a hose. A clean mower not only looks nice, it runs better. Caked-on grass under the deck can decrease performance. Use a screwdriver or putty knife to chip it off.
None of these things will matter if the fuel has been sitting in the tank all winter without a stabilizer in it, because the engine won't start. Make sure you always have fresh gas in the tank.
See how to do the work yourself with these rider mower maintenance videos
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