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What are some things I should do each time I start my mower?
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« on: March 26, 2010, 12:30:24 »

What are some things I should do each time I start my mower?

A quick inspection of your mower should only take a few moments.  The following are some general guidelines of things you should check for each time you use your mower, before you start the engine.

Check the oil level.  This is important to make sure your engine's oil level doesn't drop too low and cause engine damage.  If your engine oil is even moderately too low and you drive on a slope it is possible to cause some parts of your engine to starve for oil.  This is bad news for you, your wallet and your engine.

Check the air filter.  This is important because the cleanliness of your air filter affects how well your engine will run.  Check out these topics: Hi, I am your air filter. Please be nice to me. and What is all the hype about keeping my air filter clean?.

Check the fuel level.  This is a given, but if you run your engine out of fuel it is more likely to start hard after you fill the tank back up.  Depending on the location of your fuel tank and the condition of your fuel pump, it may be nearly impossible to start your engine.  Besides that, it adds extra wear and tear on the starter motor.

Check the tire pressure.  This is important, not only for the health of your tires, but also to help you with an even cut.  A low tire will permit that side of the mower to drop lower than it was designed to do.  This will permit the deck to drop lower.  In return, your mower is more likely to scalp the yard.  Additionally, operating a tire with low air pressure can shorten the life of your tire(s).

Check the blades.  Check to make sure your blades are sharp.  **Caution! Do not touch the sharp edge of the blade with your bare hands!  Wear protective leather gloves.**  Also check the blades for being straight.  Check the cutting edge for damage.  

Check the drive belts.  You should be able to visually inspect the belts for normal wear, cuts, frayed edges, and other separation problems.  If you find your belt to be damaged you may need to take the mower to your local shop to have it diagnosed to determine why the belt is being damaged.

Check your deck spindles.  This only applies to riding mowers.  You should be able to grab the end of the blade with a gloved hand and try to wobble it up and down.  If there is any "play", or "wobble", you may need to have the bearing assemblies replaced or repaired.  This is especially true if the "play" or "wobble" gets worse.

Check the battery, terminals, and wires.  Check the battery terminals for corrosion, loose bolts, and damaged or striped battery cables.  

Visually inspect the mower for other problems.  Check for loose bolts, loose parts, oil leaks, damaged or cracked fuel lines.  

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