Six Tips: For keeping equipment cool this summer

Published on Fri, 07/28/2017 - 9:27am

With the heat of the summer upon us, it’s a good time to review some best practices for keeping your mowers and other outdoor power equipment running cool and performing well. A few minutes spent cleaning and maintaining your mowers can make a major difference in the performance and long-term durability they deliver. 

Tip 1: Cleaner is cooler 

Regardless of whether your equipment is air- or liquid-cooled, dirt and debris buildup from normal operation can negatively impact your machine’s ability to keep itself cool.  

According to Exmark Manufacturing Company Product Manager, Lenny Mangnall, when cleaning your mower, minimize the use of water whenever possible to avoid moisture-related corrosion issues later down the road. 

“Instead, use compressed air to blow debris off of the machine and its components,” he recommends. “That said, it’s important to never use compressed air to clean a dirty air filter.” 

On machines with air-cooled engines, blow out any debris buildup in and around the blower housing, and between engine cooling fins.   

On zero-turn mowers, blow dirt from around the pumps and wheel motors, as buildup causes increased drive system temperatures. Overheated hydro oil can significantly compromise component life, so it makes sense to take a few moments to ensure your hydro drive system is clean.  

Blow compressed air through the openings in and around the console, and remove the belt shields on the cutting deck and blow out any foreign material. 

Tip 2: Keep mower blades sharp and balanced 

Mangnall says, “Sharp, balanced mower blades are a valuable combination. Not only do they cut grass cleaner, they require less power to cut the grass.” 

Dull blades increase the load on belts, bearings and the engine, which increases operating temperatures and reduces fuel efficiency. Unbalanced blades can cause vibration and increased stress to the cutting deck and components, reducing cutting system efficiency and potentially compromising long-term durability. 

“Because the mower doesn’t have to work as hard, it runs cooler. It’s as simple as that,” Mangnall adds. 

Tip 3: Stay on top of oil changes  

Oil is the lifeblood of your mower’s engine. Verifying oil changes are being performed at the proper intervals will significantly increase the life of your engine. Failure to perform oil changes at the recommended intervals can increase engine heat, leading to increased wear, reduced performance and compromised service life.  

“If you can’t remember when you last changed your mower’s oil, it’s likely time to get it done,” Mangnall says. 

Tip 4: Inflate tires 

“One of the most common maintenance issues we see is underinflated tires,” Mangnall says. “In addition to being a safety issue, low tire pressure causes increased rolling resistance, so the mower has to work harder to move and maneuver. This generates more heat and wear on the machine.” 

Check the inflation pressure of each tire with a gauge and add air to any underinflated tires. It’s important to balance tire pressure from side-to-side on mowers, as mower handling can be negatively impacted by a pressure imbalance. It is also crucial to not exceed the maximum inflation pressure printed on the tire sidewall, as doing so can adversely affect the safety, control and ride quality of your machine. 

Tip 5: The importance of grease  

Keeping the right parts greased is essential to the efficient operation of your equipment. Check your owner’s manual to verify the recommended grease type, as well as which parts should be greased. Be sure to remove any tension from spring-tensioned pivots, as this allows the grease to be more evenly distributed. 

“Be sure to wipe away excess grease with a rag to ensure it doesn’t attract more dust and dirt to the parts just greased,” Mangnall recommends. 

Tip 6: Create a maintenance checklist 

“It’s a good idea to create a maintenance checklist for each mower you own,” Mangnall says. “It serves as one reference point to help you stay on top of necessary maintenance.” 

Use the recommended maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual as the basis for the checklist. If your owner’s manual is missing, you can often find recommended maintenance schedules on the equipment manufacturer’s website. 

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