Following the maintenance advice in your tractor’s manual is the best way to keep it humming along smoothly. But owner’s manuals usually only tell you the maintenance basics. Try these expert tips before things start going wrong to help save money on lawn tractor repairs.
Buy a maintenance kit
- Instead of paying a lawn tractor dealership to carry out routine maintenance buy a maintenance kit from your dealer.
- This kit will cost at least half of what your dealer would charge for this maintenance.
- The kit should also include all of the parts you’ll need to regularly maintain your lawn tractor.
Blow the mower deck clean
- Though they protect your lawn tractors belts an pulleys from some debris, your belt guards actually trap a lot of grass clippings and debris in the underside of your machine.
- While trapped, this debris grinds away at the pulley surfaces and tears up your belts.
- Once a pulley wears, it will quickly chew up every new belt you put on.
- To avoiding having to replace your lawn tractor’s belt and pulley use an air compressor or leaf blower to blow down your mower’s deck after every third or fourth mowing.
Choose the right oil
- Regularly change your lawn tractor’s oil, but use whatever brand you like so long as you follow your manual’s recommended viscosity (usually marked along the lines of “10W-30”).
- If you use your tractor for snow removal, check the manual for a “winter weight” oil recommendation.
- Whenever you change your lawn tractor’s oil, also change the oil filter.
- Also, be sure to wipe up any oil that you happen to spill onto the engine while changing the oil.
- Bottle the old oil and take it to your nearest oil recycling centre for disposal.
Clean the air filter between changes
- Along with changing your lawn tractor’s air filter as often as your owner’s manual recommends you should clean it between changes.
- If your tractor has a foam pre-filter, just wash it with soap and water.
- Blow out the pleated paper filter with a light
- blast from an air compressor.
- The brand of grease you use on your lawn tractor doesn’t matter, but do use the type that the manufacturer recommends.
- Grease every fitting every time you change the oil.
- Check your owner’s manual for all of the fittings’ locations.
- A flexible hose makes reaching the fittings a lot easier, so it’s a good idea to pick up a grease gun and hose from your local home centre.
Keep your engine clean and cool
- A buildup of grass clippings and dirt restricts airflow and prevents your lawn tractor’s engine from cooling properly.
- An engine that’s overheating is going to wear out more quickly, and could cause that buildup of grass clippings to catch fire.
- To clean the engine, vacuum out the engine compartment and the engine itself, including the air cleaner assembly.
- If you can’t get all the debris with the vacuum, you may have to remove the engine covers and pull the debris out by hand.
- Once the engine’s cooled spray it with an environmentally friendly household cleaner, then let it soak for a few minutes before you gently hose it off.
- Don’t use a pressure washer since the high pressure may damage plastic components.
- If your engine is coated with oil, don’t even think about cleaning it in your driveway or
- The leaking oil can stain concrete, kill plants and cause major damage to your local environment.
- Instead, take the tractor to a shop to have the oil leak repaired and the engine professionally cleaned.
Keep these expert tips in mind and you’ll be better able to save money on lawn tractor repairs and to keep it your lawn tractor in better shape.