5 tips to make your garden power tools last

Want your lawn mower to last a long time? Of course you do. Upkeep of blades and being smart about fuel will go a long way, but it's not all about physical maintenance and repairs — you also want to keep these tips in mind.

5 tips to make your garden power tools last

1. Note the warranty when buying

  • It's surprising how much warranties vary for similar products.
  • In a recent survey of electric power-tool manufacturers, for example, warranty periods ranged from one to three years.
  • Of course, the warranty is not a perfect indicator of quality — it often has as much to do with marketing as product durability.
  • However, you should still consider the warranty length when purchasing equipment.
  • Save receipts and warranty information. It's also a good idea to register online (or mail in warranty registration postcards) when making a purchase of any significance.
  • While it is not usually mandatory to do so, it won't hurt to have your name on file with the manufacturer.
  • Plus the manufacturer will be able to notify you should there be a recall.

2. Put your name and address on expensive tools

  • Your outdoor machines will stick around a lot longer if you make a point of writing your name, address, and phone number on them with a permanent marker.
  • This will help to remind neighbours to return them.
  • If theft is a problem where you live, buy an engraving tool and mark each machine in two places, one hidden and one apparent.

3. Put a file box in the garage or shed

  • The end of the road for many tools comes when they stop working or a part is lost.
  • Many of these tools can be easily fixed, but the owner's manual that would spell out how, or provide a parts list, is missing.
  • Don't let this happen to you. Get a file box for all of your garden equipment manuals, and keep it where you store your tools.
  • Most owner's manuals have troubleshooting sections that will solve most of the problems you run into.
  • They will also spell out the best maintenance schedule for your tool.

4. Get a replacement manual

  • Lost the owner's manual to your mower or other piece of power equipment?
  • Type the manufacturer's name into an Internet search engine to find the company's website.
  • You can usually order a new manual or look up a part online. In some cases, you can even view and print out the manual.

5. Consider a high-tech theft deterrent

  • Tool theft causes millions in losses in the construction and yard-maintenance industries.
  • Several manufacturers have developed systems to help contractors prevent theft.
  • You may want to check these out to prevent the theft of a valuable piece of outdoor power equipment, such as a garden tractor that you store in a shed.
  • The systems include transceivers planted on the machine.
  • Should a theft occur, the transceivers can be activated and will begin to emit an inaudible signal.
  • Police can then track and recover your equipment.
  • Whether or not you want to invest in such a high-tech solution, you will find it helpful to have the receipt, identification or serial numbers, and a photo when making your report to the police and claim to the insurance company.
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