Maintaining your rotary mulching mower

A rotary mulching mower is a worthwhile investment for most home gardeners. Here are tips on how to treat it well and get years of reliable service out of it.

Maintaining your rotary mulching mower

1. Air filters

  • When accessing the underside of a mower, turn it so that the air-filter side of the mower is up.
  • Check the air filter. Replace the filter if it's dirty and grimy, on average, about every two years. If it's just dirty, try shaking out some of the dust before reattaching it.

2. Cleaning

  • Keep the undercarriage clean. If the mower's undercarriage is mucked up with caked-on grass and mud, it's a rust problem waiting to happen. The blade may also have trouble moving properly. Grass and mud buildups are easy to remove — a screwdriver wrapped in a piece of cloth or a stiff brush will do the trick.
  • Keep the blades clean as well. Before each mowing, give your blades a blast of Pam cooking spray. It will prevent grass from sticking to the blades and overtaxing the engine.

3. Change the oil

  • The oil in your mower should be replaced annually, or after 40 hours of use. It's a simple endeavour: While the engine is still warm, drain old oil into a container through the drain plug or, if necessary, through the filter hole. Refill with new oil.

4. Getting ready for winter

  • Stow it away for the winter. Empty the gas tank before winter storage, or use a gas stabilizer.
  • Run the tank dry after the last mowing of the season.

5. Money-saving tip

  • Why spend $1,000 or more for a power rake, aerator, or other piece of heavy equipment you'll use only a few times? Instead, call local garden centres and equipment rental suppliers to find the best rental deals.
  • Calculate exactly how long you'll need the machinery; there can be a big difference in price between renting for a whole day versus a few hours. Be sure to ask for tips on equipment setup and safety.
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