Posts Tagged ‘David Martin’

It’s Time For Fall Mower Maintenance

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

As the calendar moves from summer to fall, it makes sense to turn your attention to maintaining your mower. Proper maintenance is essential to the longevity and performance of any mower, and proper service ahead of extended storage ensures the performance you enjoyed this season will carry forward to the next.

A focus on fall maintenance helps you get a quick, trouble-free start next spring.

A focus on fall maintenance helps you get a quick, trouble-free start next spring.

Start clean

It’s important to start a period of storage with a clean mower, as any debris left on the mower will either trap moisture or become fodder for a rodent nest. It’s also easier to inspect and perform necessary service prior to storage when you’re not working through a thick layer of dust and debris.

Never use solvents to clean your mower, and minimize the use of water as well. Instead, use compressed air or a leaf blower, and finish by wiping the exterior surfaces with a damp cloth. Take your time and clean the mower completely, including under the seat, under the deck, behind the wheels and around the engine and drivetrain.

Examine Your Machine

Refer to your owners manual or to for information about specific service schedules, but once your mower is clean, inspect it for clear signs of wear and tear and replace any parts that are at the end of their life cycle. Checking and servicing or replacing normal wear items such as belts, tires, blades and other parts restores mower performance and ensures safety and long life. Plus, replacing worn parts prior to storage gives you the opportunity to get a quick start on the next season, as your focus won’t be distracted by service related issues.

Pay particular attention to normal wear items during your mower inspection, such as the condition of blades and deck drive belts.

Pay particular attention to normal wear items during your mower inspection, such as the condition of blades and deck drive belts.

Sharpen Blades

The efficiency and quality of cut your mower delivers is highly dependent on sharp blades for top performance. After a hard season of mowing, it makes sense to sharpen your blades. In doing so, you can be confident your mower will hit the ground running when it comes out of storage in the spring.

Focus on Fuel

Extended storage can wreak havoc on an unprotected fuel system, so prior to storage it’s important to either drain the fuel tank (and system) completely, or add stabilizer to the fuel. If you go the fuel stabilizer route, be sure to run the engine for a few minutes after the stabilizer is added. This will distribute the treated fuel throughout the fuel system to keep it clean and deposit free during storage.

Remove the Battery

When storing a mower for extended periods, it’s a good idea to remove the battery from the machine and store it in a climate controlled area (preferably at 50-70 degrees F). Not only will this preserve battery condition, it will ensure that a leaking battery doesn’t cause corrosion to the mower frame during storage. Learn more about caring for batteries in this post from Exmark’s David Martin.

Fresh Lube is Good

Lubrication is the life blood of your mower, and it’s important to refresh all lubricants prior to extended storage. This includes changing the engine oil and filter as well as the hydro (drive) fluid and filter, and greasing all zerk-equipped bearings on the machine.

Replace both engine and hydro oil and filter(s) prior to extended storage.

Replace both engine and hydro oil and filter(s) prior to extended storage.

Take your time when lubricating your mower, as it’s important to remove any load or binding from bearings being greased. This ensures lubrication reaches the entire bearing instead of just a portion of it. Also, inspect bearings for wear and/or play, and replace any bearings that have been compromised in any way.

Storage Considerations

Regardless of where you store your mower — in a barn, under a waterproof tarp, or in an inclosed trailer — it’s just as important to keep rodents at bay as it is to keep the elements out. There are a variety of traps and chemicals to choose from, and natural solutions such as oil of peppermint or Osage oranges can also be effective at keeping your machine free of vermin. It’s important to avoid the use of harsh chemicals on your machine, as many can cause damage to its finish, or to specific components. Your local Exmark dealer can be a good resource for suggestions to control rodents specific to your area.

Keeping moisture at bay is equally important. Store your mower in a place where snow, rain and ice can not reach it. Rust can appear quickly on stored machines left out in the elements, so keeping your mower in a well-protected place preserves not just its longevity, but also its performance.

Learn more mower service tips at Locate the service schedule for your Exmark machine at

Employee spotlight – David Martin

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

This month, we’re featuring customer service manager and all-around nice guy, David Martin. David is one of the reasons why Exmark is known for unbeatable customer service.

David Martin: Customer Service Manager

Before Exmark, David had very little experience with lawnmowers. When he first started, like everyone else at Exmark, he dedicated himself to learning everything there is to know about the machines. Inside and out. So he spent his first few months working two jobs: fulfilling his regular customer service duties during the day and joining second shift on the factory floor after hours.  There he learned about the different parts and pieces of the mowers and how they fit together to make superior products.

When he’s not diving into his work, David is diving into the ocean.  He’s been on dives in the Bahamas, Belize, Jamaica, Cozumel and Honduras, just to name a few. His scariest and most thrilling moment happened in Belize. An 8-foot shark swimming a foot away from him. He could see every line on its body. Every gill. The shark swam away as quickly as it appeared. It left David both frightened and awed by its powerful presence.

Have a comment or question for David? Leave it below.

Battery TLC during mowing season

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Sometimes batteries get ignored during mowing season until the day your mower refuses to start.

Here are a few things you can do to show your battery a little love and help keep it going throughout the season:

  • Check your battery’s fluids at least once a month. If you live in an area where summers are scorchers, check fluids weekly. If they’re low, only use distilled water.
  • If your battery can’t seem to hold a charge, try removing it from the machine and putting it on a trickle charger for a couple of days. It can refresh the battery.
  • Make sure your electrical system isn’t overcharging the battery. If your mower’s fuses are blowing and there’s no good explanation for it, it’s a sign your electrical system needs to be checked. Your Exmark dealer can run a fairly quick test to see if the system is working properly

This post by David Martin, customer service manager at Exmark.

Helping your battery survive the winter months

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Your mowers’ batteries are no match for winter’s cruel, frigid temperament. Extreme cold can sap the life out of your battery, leaving you with nothing more than a new, heavy doorstop. Here are a few simple steps you can take to protect your battery from the bitter cold:

  • Always remove the battery from the machine and store it in a climate controlled area that stays between 50 and 70 degrees.
  • Put your battery on a trickle charger throughout winter. Or about a month before mowing season starts, put it on a trickle charger for at least a week, to recondition the battery and get it ready for mowing season. A trickle charger will give your battery a slow, deep charge that will help rejuvenate it after a period of dormancy.
  • Open up your battery’s ports and check to see if the fluids are low. If they are, fill them up with distilled water. Never use tap water to fill your battery.

This blog post is by David Martin, customer service manager at Exmark.

Fall maintenance, Part 2

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

In this second part of our maintenance segment, we continue to provide tips to help you get your mower in tiptop shape for its hibernation period. If you missed part one of this segment, go here.

Closer inspection

This is a good time to check your machine’s belts and replace any that are frayed, cut or damaged. Check the mower’s pulleys, making sure they’re not bent, misaligned or jammed with debris. Landscape bark has a tendency to get wedged deep into the pulleys, so give them a close inspection.


Whether you’re storing your machine in a shed, under a tarp or in an enclosed trailer you want to do whatever you can to keep rodents away. Aside from thoroughly cleaning your mower, you can take other precautions to deter little critters from turning your machine into their winter home. You have your pick of traps and chemicals as well as natural means, such as Osage oranges and oil of peppermint to keep mice at bay. Peppermint candy will NOT do the trick, but invite more critters as well as insects to the party. Don’t use any harsh chemicals around your machine as they will cause damage. If you live in a rural area, you might want to consult with your local pest control office. They’re likely to give you good suggestions. Your local Exmark dealer will also be able to provide ways to keep your mower rodent-free.

Moisture is the other thing you want to keep as far away from your mower as possible. Wherever your mower is stored, make sure rain, ice and snow aren’t getting in.

We also recommend draining the fuel from your machine, or adding a fuel stabilizer. Don’t let fuel sit in your mower through the winter months.


To extend the life of your battery, best thing to do is remove it from your machine and keep it in a climate controlled area that’s between 50 and 70 degrees. For other tips on battery maintenance, check out this post.

Following these steps will ensure a safe winter season for your machines. Come spring, they’ll be ready to go back to work.

This blog post is by David Martin, customer service manager at Exmark.

Fall maintenance, Part 1

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

There’s nothing more important for extending the life of your mower than proper maintenance, whether it’s pre-season maintenance, in-season maintenance or fall/winter maintenance. Since summer is officially over (already?), we thought this would be the perfect time to focus on fall maintenance. You want your mower to be ready for the long, cold days ahead. Since the list is long, we’ll break up maintenance into two posts, so make sure you come back for the sequel.

A good cleaning.

Storing a clean mower is key. Your mower’ worked hard all summer long and deserves a good wash down. Which brings us to our first cleaning tip: never wash your mower with water or solvents. Water on steel results in rust and deterioration. Clean your mower with air. A leaf blower is a great way to clean a mower, or you can use compressed air.

Make sure you clean everywhere – lift up the seat, get under the deck, reach behind the tires, remove belt guards and clean the area underneath, really get into every nook and cranny. Any debris left on the mower can do one of two things: become a rodent nest or trap moisture. If you’ve already forgotten the first tip we gave you, here’s a recap: steel + water = rust.

Grease is good.

Your mower has bearings that need to be greased. This is the time to do it. Make sure you’re not only starting with fresh grease, but also using the right kind of grease for your machine and conditions. Your Exmark dealer will be able to help you in picking out the appropriate grease.

The greasing technique for the bearings is extremely important. In other words, don’t hurry through it or use shortcuts. Make sure you remove the load before you grease the bearings. If you try to grease bearings while they’re still under load, you’ll end up greasing only half the bearing. It’s worth your while to take your time and remove any belts and springs before employing the grease gun. If the bearing is moveable, we recommend that you move it three or four times to get a nice coating on the bearing. This is also a good way to inspect the bearings for wear and tear, making sure they move freely without any grinding or tightness.

Oil change

Like your car, your mower needs its engine oil and filter changed. It also needs its hydraulic fluid and filter changed. Once all of the fluids and filters have been changed, start the machine for about five minutes or less to make sure the clean engine oil circulates throughout the machine. Utilize the hydraulics to get the fresh fluid circulating as well. If changing your mower’s fluids isn’t your strong suit, take your mower to your dealer. Most dealers run a winterization special during this time of year. One of the benefits of having your dealer perform end of season maintenance is that they usually have a multipoint inspection of the machine that examines multiple wear points, catching something you may miss or not even think about checking. If they do find something, winter is probably the ideal time to have your mower serviced, since you won’t need it in the field.

That’s it our first segment of fall maintenance. Check back soon to see more tips on what you need to do to maintain your mower.

This blog post is by David Martin, customer service manager at Exmark.

Fall Clean-up

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

As mowing season winds down, pros need to start thinking about fall maintenance and winterizing their mowers. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s talk fall clean-up.

Picking up extra debris and keeping customers’ yards clean sometimes can be more difficult than it should be. But using the right tool, like Exmark’s UltraVac system, can keep a simple clean-up job from turning into a big production.

Something else to consider is your blades. More times than not, we get calls from pros telling us that their mowers aren’t picking up extra debris, like twigs. The issue is often blade related. Regular blades do a great job of bagging grass clippings, but leaves need to be chopped up into very fine pieces to move quickly and efficiently through the tube. Extreme blades are designed for this job. They’ll get more debris in the bag, and you won’t have to stop as often to empty it.

One last thing to check is your deck setting. If your deck isn’t set at the correct level, your mower won’t be able to pick up debris. Your local dealer can help you get your deck to where it needs to be.

This blog post is by David Martin, customer service manager at Exmark.

Find Your Zen in the Art of Mowing

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

We’ve heard it time and time again from both pros and homeowners: there’s just something relaxing about mowing. About getting out in the fresh air with the scent of freshly mowed grass holding the air captive.

There’s also a feeling of pride and a sense of accomplishment that comes with looking at a perfectly cut lawn. And when you take mowing seriously, you naturally move into the ranks of being an artist, because you’re creating something beautiful. Every lawn is your canvas.

We don’t mean to get overly Zen on you, but it is undeniable that there’s a certain Zen-like feeling that can come from mowing.

As calming as mowing can be, there are still mower operators who are less than gentle on their equipment. Not that machines are sensitive by any means, but an aggressive operator who manhandles the mowers will wear the equipment down at a much quicker rate, as well as tear up the turf. This forceful handling causes an enormous amount of strain on the hydraulic system and will also compromise the quality of cut.

Another way to compromise the mower is to try to jump over things. If you need to go up or down a curb–don’t jump it. Take your time in finding another way to move the mower. Jumping off a curb results in free-spinning tires and, upon landing, creates excess weight and pressure on the machine.  It doesn’t matter what type of equipment you have, none of these systems are designed to deal with a force that strong and can cause an immediate failure of the hydraulic system.

So when you get out there, remember to extend the tranquility to your equipment. Not only is it pricey to fix, but a broken machine can shatter the peaceful balance of being outdoors and creating your lawn masterpiece.

Author: David Martin, customer service manager at Exmark

The Nuts and Bolts of Dealing with Nuts and Bolts

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

This is the fifth part of Exmark’s ten part Service and Maintenance Series.

Hi again, David Martin, customer service manager for Exmark.

Before you start cutting grass this spring, make sure the connectors on your equipment are in working order. With most units, the number one connection to check is the castle nuts. These points are essential to test because if they become loose, your wheels could fall off the unit, and we can’t stress how dangerous a situation that can be. Problems with your wheels or castle nuts could also cause damage to the wheel motor—one of the more expensive parts on the equipment to repair.

It’s ideal to check the bolts after the first 100 hours of operating a machine; after that, every 500 hours is adequate. By doing this, you can proactively maintain the least expensive items on the machine before they lead to expensive, larger unit repairs.

The motion control dampers are items that should also be maintained regularly because the deterioration of this piece leads to problems with other, more expensive parts of the mower, like the wheel motor.

So keep an eye on your nuts and bolts for normal wear and tear, and replace them accordingly. It’ll help you save a lot more than money.

Up next in our series, storing your mower’s fuel, so come back soon for the latest post.

Choosing the Right Oil

Thursday, March 11th, 2010




This post is part three in Exmark’s ten part Service and Maintenance Series.

Hey, David Martin again, customer service manager for Exmark.

Your choice of oil is just as important as lubricating your machine. Considering today’s economic climate, we all want to save a few bucks here and there. It’s understandable. But when it comes to your oil, going with a less expensive grease or generic brand of oil might actually cost you more in the long run.

As for appropriate types of oil and grease, many engine manufacturers recommend a certain grade of oil for various engines and equipment. Heeding this recommendation can make a big difference in oil consumption, as well as in the proper lubrication of the engine. It’s also important to note that all grease is not created equal. 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 full synthetic oils. The proper mineral-based oil lubricates the engine adequately.

Finally, depending on your wear points, you’ll also need to consider the lubrication of bearings. This information can be found in your maintenance guide or on Exmark’s YouTube channel by clicking here.

Next we’ll cover cleaning your equipment. Be sure to check back soon for the next tip.