Posts Tagged ‘mower care’

Fall Mower Maintenance and Winterizing

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

As mowing season winds down and you think about winter storage, take the time to do some basic fall maintenance. Whether you own one mower or an entire fleet, you’ll want to protect your machinery – and your investment. Proper maintenance will help protect your mower during the cold off-season, and make getting started next spring easier.

First, clean your mower fully. Moisture in damp grass clippings, leaf mulch or mud can cause rust or a freeze and thaw cycle, potentially weakening metal. Even though clumps of material will dry eventually, the caked on grass or mud will be much harder to clean off months from now. Spray the deck, remove and clean the blades, and if necessary, scrape out grass clumps and organic matter that won’t come out with water. Wipe the mower down to be sure it dries.

Once your mower is free of grass, soil and other dirt, change the oil, oil filters, spark plugs and air filters. Lubricate friction points with a grease gun. Because gasoline and diesel can degrade, empty the fuel from small walk behinds. For larger mowers, top-off the tank and add a fuel stabilizer designed for winter storage. A full tank will help prevent condensation, and the fuel stabilizer will prevent fuel spoilage. Run the mower for a few minutes to distribute the fuel stabilizer.

Some people start up their mowers periodically during the winter. If you don’t plan on doing this, it’s best to remove and store the battery in a cool, dry place. Just be sure to recharge it fully before starting the mower in the spring.

Check the tires. Inflate them to their proper pressure to prevent damage to the tires as they lose pressure over the winter. You should also protect pneumatic tires from cold concrete by parking the mower on cardboard or other insulating material.

How to Store You Mower for the Winter

Store your mower in a garage or shed, as this will protect it from rain, snow and freeze/thaw cycles. Do not store your mower near fertilizers and other corrosive materials, as these can eat away at metal when airborne. Keep it away from items that can cause sparks. And even indoors, protecting it with a cover or tarp is a good idea, as that will help keep dirt and dust out of important components.

If you must store your mower outdoors, be sure to cover it completely. If you use a tarp, rather than an equipment cover, tuck loose edges under the machine, and ensure that the tarp will not blow away. Place it on a level surface, preferably one that is paved. Do not store your mower in a spot that is likely to become muddy, as your machine may become stuck as the mud dries or freezes.

Get more mower service tips, or find the mower maintenance schedule for your Exmark.

How to Winterize and Store Your Mower

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

Proper winter storage for your lawn mower is essential if you want to protect your investment over the long-term. Any period of inactivity can be bad for mechanical equipment—add in the effects of cold weather on machinery, and you can see why you should take the time to properly maintain and store your mower.

Whether you have a single push mower, a riding mower, or an entire fleet of zero-turn mowers, here are the basic steps you should follow.

Fully Clean Your Mower

Winterize Lawn Mower

Cleaning your mower is important before storing. Keeping the mower clean from accumulated debris helps prevent moisture which can cause rust.

If you perform only one task in your winterizing prep, let it be a full cleanup of your equipment. Any debris left on the exterior or interior can result in moisture, which can cause rust or a freezing/thawing cycle that is bad for metal. Take any normal steps you would to clean your equipment, including spraying the deck out, removing blades, scraping out clumps of grass, and other wipe-down steps. At the end, your machine should be free of any grass, clippings or dirt.

Regular Maintenance

The next step in your mower winterizing plan is to change the oil, the spark plugs, and/or the air filters. These types of activities should be a part of your regular maintenance plan anyway, so always schedule one after your final run. You should also either empty out the fuel system or add a fuel stabilizer designed for winter storage. For more comprehensive maintenance care, you can also lubricate all points of friction.

Once these updates have been made, we suggest you run the mower’s engine for a few minutes. This will allow you to ensure that everything has been changed properly and get the new fuel and additives into the mower’s system.

Prep the Battery

You have the option of either re-charging the battery throughout the winter months or removing it and storing it in a cool, dry place. Some people prefer to check on their equipment every month or so, firing it up so that it doesn’t sit too long in a garage or other storage area. In this instance, it’s okay to leave the battery in (although you should fully charge it first.) Others prefer to put their equipment away and forget about it until spring. Decide which approach is right for you.

Don’t Forget the Tires

If your mower has pneumatic tires, you should park on a surface that’s not cold concrete (a piece of cardboard over the surface will often do the trick). You should also rotate the tires throughout the winter season so they don’t bear too much pressure on one side.

Store the Mower

The final step in winterizing your equipment is to find a place to store it. A garage or other covered facility is best, as this will keep the cold out and ensure that no moisture gets in your equipment. A cover is ideal, as this will add extra protection against the elements. Keep the mower away from any appliance that can cause a spark. It’s also best to store your equipment away from fertilizer or any other corrosive materials, which eat away at the metal when airborne.

Lawn Mower Mistakes to Avoid

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

Exmark lawn care

When you make the investment in a quality mower, regular maintenance and upkeep is a must. Therefore, it is important to avoid situations that can damage your equipment, cause wear and tear, or even increase your chances of an injury. Take better care of your lawn—and your equipment—by staying away from these common lawn mower mistakes.


Buying More/Less Mower Than You Need: If your yard is smaller in size or covered with many things to mow around, chances are a larger zero-turn mower might not be the right machine for the job. At the same time, a yard that’s half an acre or more could take you hours to trim with a push mower. Always match the lawn mower you use to your specific needs. Considerations like the size of your lawn, the grade of any slopes, the type of terrain and obstacles, like trees, will all play a role.

Low Oil Levels: Just like a car, low oil levels can damage your lawn mower’s engine. To avoid overheating and keep everything lubricated properly, check your mower’s oil level each time you go out.

Low Tire Pressure: If you’re noticing an uneven deck, your problem might be as simple as low tire pressure on one or all of your tires. Low pressure can cause an uneven cut and affect your ability to steer or have proper traction, so always make sure the pressure matches mower guidelines before heading out.

Clogged Decks: The common mower advice to clean out your equipment after every use exists for a reason. Mowers work best and are safest when their blades and undercarriage are clean. After you mow, and once the mower is turned off, remove any dirt, grass, weeds, or other debris, and be sure to give the equipment plenty of time to dry before you put it away.

Dull Blades: Lawn mower blades aren’t meant to last forever. Over time and with excessive use, they will grow dull and less effective overall, which can cause tearing of the grass and make the turf more susceptible to disease. If you aren’t equipped to sharpen mower blades yourself, take them to your authorized dealer for sharpening or replacement.

Not Checking for Rocks and Other Debris: Even fairly small rocks and other debris in the yard can bend or chip your mower blades, leading to dull blades and uneven cutting. More importantly, not removing these items from the lawn before mowing can cause serious injury to others or property damage. Be careful with known rocky areas in your lawn, and trim around rocks that are too big to move before mowing.

Ignoring the Air Filter: When you’re performing regular lawn mower maintenance, make sure you check the air filter. To avoid clogs, wash the filter after each use and replace it once or twice a year.

Cutting a Wet Lawn: Clumps caused by wet clippings can clog the machine, and the water-soaked grass might be more slippery than you think. Even if you’re on a tight mowing schedule, it’s safer to wait until conditions improve.

Bad Storage: A lawn mower isn’t like a car, in that it’s not ideal to leave it parked outside and exposed to the elements. Covered storage is a must when the mower isn’t in use, even if it’s just for a few days at a time; however, you will want to make sure the mower is cooled down before putting it away. You should also consider storage where rodents and other pests can get in.

You should also keep up with mower maintenance schedules and follow the safety instructions for your mower. Most accidents occur because of shortcuts or a failure to properly secure the equipment before you use it. It might take a few extra minutes to get everything running in tip-top shape, but the quality of your lawn and your safety will be well worth it.

How Do You Know When It’s Time to Tune Your Lawn Mower?

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

Believe it or not, this Friday is the first day of spring. Along with the blossoming trees and pretty flowers comes the growing grass. If you own a landscaping or lawn care company, your busy season is fast approaching. One of the most important things you can do to prepare for a successful season of cutting grass is to service your mowers.

Exmark Engine Oil

Oil is the life blood of your engine, so it makes sense to start the season off with a fresh oil change.

Here’s a quick list of ways to know when it’s time to tune your mower:

Service Tip 1: A New Season
Before every new mowing season, you should take your mower in for a tune-up. This doesn’t just apply to lawn-care companies. Whether you mow hundreds of acres a day or do your own yard once a week, every mower needs a tune-up before a new season of mowing. Lawn mowers are the workhorses of any landscaping company and need to be in perfect condition if you want to stay profitable. Using old, worn-out, faulty, or damaged equipment will cost your company time and money; two things you can’t afford to waste.

Even if your mower has only been idle for 1 or 2 months, that’s enough time for fuel to go bad, oil to become contaminated, blades to rust, or other problems to crop up. Consult your owners’ manual for a list of seasonal maintenance items for your specific machine.

Service Tip 2: A Poor Cut
If you or your employees have been using the same mower for more than a couple of months, you are probably well aware of how it cuts as well as its overall capabilities. If you notice a sudden decrease in cutting performance — areas of the grass no longer looking uniform and smooth but appearing uneven or chopped — your blade could stand to be sharpened.

As long as the decrease in performance is not accompanied by a sluggish engine or poor power, taking your blade to be sharpened will return your mower to mint condition. Look for a more detailed story on sharpening and balancing mower blades here next week.

Service Tip 3: Engine Trouble
Your mower should have its engine serviced at least once a year. And while annual tune-ups are great, how do you know if something is wrong in-between recommended maintenance?

Pay attention to the way your mower’s engine sounds. A sputtering or uneven idle can mean the fuel-to-air mixture is not balanced properly. A decrease in power can mean filters are clogged. Excess exhaust smoke or strange smells might mean oil is mixing with the fuel, and could be a sign of larger issues inside the engine. Unless you know engines inside and out (literally), these problems are best left to the professionals.

Service Tip 4: Dirt and Debris
Is your fleet of mowers dirty? Are your mowers covered in mud, grass, branches, and other messes? If so, it’s time to tune and clean your fleet. When you run a landscaping business, maximizing efficiency and cutting extra costs are both musts. Excess dirt and debris, though seemingly insignificant, reduce mower efficiency. A bit of mud near the axles, grass stuck to the blade, and branches jammed in the bodywork will each have a small impact on how much fuel you use and how long it takes to mow a given lawn. Add up all of those small issues and you will see a significant increase in not just running costs, but also machine wear over the course of a season.

DIY or Send It In?
Depending on how familiar you are with your mower, you may be able to do much of the maintenance on your own. Here are just a few of the things you should be able to do at home or in your shop:

  • Changing your mower’s oil is a relatively straightforward process. Most mowers have an oil tank that can be emptied by removing a cap (in a process very similar to changing a car or truck’s oil). Just make sure to do this outside or over a cloth and bucket.
  • Changing an air filter is simple enough for anyone to do. Most mowers, whether commercial or walk-behind, have easy-to-access filters mounted near the engine. All you typically need to do is remove the cap, pull out the old filter, and insert a new one. Just make sure you insert it in the proper direction, and consult your engine owner?s manual with any questions.
  • Replacing a spark plug is easy, assuming you have a spark plug socket wrench. Just make sure plugs you install are properly gapped for your specific mower.
Scan the QR code on the model plate on your Exmark to be taken to maintenance schedules for your machine on

Scan the QR code on the model plate on your Exmark to be taken to maintenance schedules for your machine on

More involved maintenance is often better left to a qualified service professional. If you don’t feel comfortable tackling something on your own, don’t do it. You will lose more money fixing a mistake than sending it to the dealer to begin with.

Saving Money with Regular Maintenance
Here at Exmark, we make a wide range of modern mowers and lawn care tools that dramatically increase efficiency to help you get more work done using fewer resources. Whether you have a top of the line Exmark mower, or an older machine, maintaining what you have is one of the best ways to save money. Make sure you tune your mower this spring and repeat as often as necessary. Doing so will not only save you time and money, but will prevent more costly problems in the future.

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

Mower TLC

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

For those of you that haven’t had a chance to check out some of our older posts about maintenance for your Exmark, here’s a refresher. Sure, your Exmark mowers are tough machines, but even the metal beasts need to be shown a certain amount of care to keep giving the results you and your customers are looking for. Here are a few ways to help your equipment get the job done right.

  • Change the gas and oil soon after taking out your mower. Gas that has been sitting in the tank throughout the winter becomes lower in quality and has a tendency to go stale faster, causing damage to your mower.
  • Check the blades before any big job. Seriously. Do it. With a little practice, you can change a set of blades and be mowing in less than five minutes, and the higher quality cut is sure to impress.
  • Give your mower a good cleaning inside and out since grass clippings can often hide out of plain sight. It may require a little more work, but in the end better airflow through the deck will deliver more of the cut quality you’ve come to expect.
  • It’s not exactly manly, but reading the manual is essential for proper care of your equipment. Even if you’re a mower maintenance guru, the difference from one model to the next can be staggering.
  • If something does go wrong, call up an expert. A few well spoken words of wisdom can save a do-it-yourselfer from hours of headache.

See? It doesn’t take that much to keep your mower happy, which, in the end, will keep you happy.

We’d love to hear how you keep your mower in tip-top shape.

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.

Mid-season mower maintenance

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Now that mowing season is well under way, the last thing you want to happen is for your mower to experience downtime. The following tips will help you keep your mower running in tip-top shape.

  • Check your operator’s manual to see what might need to be greased!  Keeping the right parts greased is an important step in extending the life of your mower.
  • Check the air filter (inner and outer) and change it if necessary.  Never use compressed air to clean a filter.
  • Depending on how many hours the mower has been running, consider changing the fuel filter.
  • Check and, if necessary, change the spark plugs.
  • Verify that you are doing the oil changes at the proper intervals.  You should NEVER exceed the manufacturer’s recommendations by more than 100 hours.
  • Blow the debris off the unit
    • Remove the belt deck belt shields and blow off all foreign material.
    • Blow the grass off the areas around the pumps and wheel motors (overheated oil leads to shorter component life).
    • Blow through the openings in and around the console or remove the console mounting screws to get debris out of this area.
    • Check for loose hardware.
    • Verify torque on wheel motor castle nut and tire mounting lug nuts.

How is your season going? If you have any comments or questions, we’d love to hear from you.