Posts Tagged ‘fuel’

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

Fuel Safety Tips

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

Fuel safety is critical to the safe operation of any mower, and understanding how and when to inspect fuel system components doesn’t just increase safety, it also increases mower efficiency and longevity.

Keeping the mower clean from accumulated debris makes it easier to spot fuel system problems and reduces the risk of fire.

Keeping your mower clean from accumulated debris makes it easier to spot fuel system problems and reduces the risk of fire.

Tips that can increase the safety of you and your workers when working with fuel include:

  • Prior to fueling, always shut the mower down completely and allow it to cool.
  • When refueling, verify the correct type of fuel is being used — Filling the tank of a diesel-powered mower with gasoline (or vice versa) can cause significant engine damage, so double-check your fuel before you fill.
  • DO NOT operate the mower if any of the following fuel system conditions exist:
    • Fuel is leaking around hoses and/or clamps.
    • The fuel tank makes a hissing sound when the cap is loosened.
    • The fuel tank is bulging or collapsing.
  • Keep the mower clean and free of debris — Accumulation of grass, leaves, excessive grease or oil, or other debris can become combustible and could result in fire. After each mower use, remove debris from:
    • Fuel tank
    • Engine and muffler area
    • Oil filter area
    • Under belt shields
  • Frequently check all fuel hoses, clamps and connections — Some fuel system components are under pressure. Fuel hoses can be pulled, damaged or disconnected from contact with bushes, tree branches or other landscape features.
    • Check that all hoses are in good working condition and verify the secure fastening of clamps and connection points.
    • When replacing hoses and filters, use original factory routing and clamping.
  • Use only Original Equipment Manufacturer’s (OEM) replacement parts — Using improper components can result in gasoline leakage, fuel system failure and/or an increased potential for fire. Saving a buck just isn’t worth the risk!
  • Keep all guards, shields and safety devices in place and in safe working condition.
  • Before each use, check the condition of all electrical wires — Damaged wires increase the potential for a fire. Never operate a mower with damaged wiring. Replace or repair the damaged wire(s) and secure properly prior to mower operation.

Consult your operators manual for specific fuel system information for your mower. Visit to view the online safety resources Exmark offers, or visit your Authorized Exmark dealer or distributor for prompt, efficient service with any fuel- or fuel system-related need.

Oxygenated Fuels Gone Bad

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

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

Milk. Parking meters. Unused gym memberships. Some things are meant to expire after a certain period of time. Fuel for your mower is included in that list.

Oxygenated fuels (fuels containing alcohol blends or MTBE—methyl tertiary butyl ether) have a shelf life of 30 days. This should prompt mower owners to mark the date on their gas cans when filling up. It is an easy step to ignore or forget when starting fresh with a new season. Using old fuel can contribute to poor engine performance and a decrease in horsepower, along with a string of other problems. Plain and simple, mark your cans and dispose of old fuel.

In addition, fuel should be checked to ensure that it does not contain over the maximum 10 percent alcohol or 15 percent MTBE. There are plenty of inexpensive testers out there, so make sure you pick one up.

Our next post will be about blades, so check back soon.