Man riding mower
Man riding mower
Tips to Keep Your Lawn Equipment Powering Through Springtime
How to ensure your lawn mower, tractor, chain saw, leaf blower, and other equipment are in top shape for the season ahead
By Scott Bish
As your winter weather equipment heads back into the garage or barn, it’s time to get your tractors, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and other lawn equipment ready for the season ahead.
Spring brings along plenty of cleanup—mowing, clearing dead trees, hauling debris, building trails—but it’s also a chance to get outside and enjoy your acreage. The tools you’ll need most this season—small-engine lawn machines and outdoor power equipment—need to be work-ready if they are going to power you through all the projects you have on your list this season.
Before You Turn on Your Lawn Mowers, Tractors, and Other Machines
To get a smooth start-up for your mower and other hard-working machines, start by replacing your spark plugs. This simple, low-cost change each spring can help maintain performance by eliminating slow acceleration, loss of power, engine misfires, shaky startups, and inefficient fuel use.

It’s also a good idea to take a thorough look at your machine’s belts before starting the motors. If you can’t see them, reach in and run your fingers along the length of each belt. If you see or feel a frayed or tattered belt, then it’s time for a replacement.

Man with gloves changing spark plugs
Tip
A light spray of white lithium grease on each pulley will help silence any startup squeaks.
Next, conduct a tire inspection to make sure your tires have enough air, especially if your lawn machines have sat idle over the winter. Properly inflated tires will make sharp turns easier and ensure you get enough traction when carrying heavy loads. Light farm tractors typically require 12 pounds but double-check your owner’s manual to be sure of the correct amount. Also check for small sidewall cracks and worn-down treads and make any needed replacements before a problem occurs.
Man inspecting tires
Between Uses: Care for Your Lawn Machine and Outdoor Power Equipment
Throughout the spring and beyond, give your engines a good cleaning. As always, safety first: Never spray a running or warm engine. If you’re using a hose or pressurized water on a cool engine, be very careful not to get water into the electronics. One way to safely clean the engine is to spray it with engine degreaser, followed by an air compressor. Be sure to do this outdoors.
Man hosing down farm equipment
Using brush to scrape debris from undercarriage
Another tip: Don’t overlook the undercarriage. Plant particles and debris from tall grass, muddy paths, and gravel roads can get stuck in places you can—and cannot—see. All that gunk can retain moisture and cause your equipment to rust, so it’s smart to stay on top of what’s happening underneath. Using a wire brush, scrape off all the grass, mud, and dirt buildup.
Then lubricate the spindles and pivot points with grease or a quality spray lubricant. Without lube, these parts can dry and start to rub against each other, leading to unwanted wear and deterioration down the road. It’s a good idea to grease your equipment after every 25 hours of use. It should only take you about 5 minutes or so—a small price to pay for long-term assurance.
Farmer lubricating spindles of farm equipment
Keep Chainsaws, Leaf Blowers, and Hedge Trimmers Safe When Stored
Storing small-engine tools in a dry, safe space, like your barn, shed, or garage, keeps them performing optimally and can help them last longer. Here’s why: Metal parts become stressed when they repeatedly go from chilly to warmer temperatures, and that stress can lead to breakage and rust. An indoor storage space protects your small-engine tools’ parts from varying temperatures, which means less stress on your equipment over time.
Farm equipment stored in barn
It’s also important to note that tools with motors contain oil and grease, which need to warm up to perform at their best. Warm up your small power equipment by bringing them indoors for a couple hours after a brisk night so that the lubricants get up to room temperature before start-up. This can also apply to the other tools you use for outdoor tasks, such as cordless drills, battery chargers, and hand tools. After all, having a weak battery and a cold wrench in your hand can stall just about any outdoor project.

Lastly, it’s very important to carefully consider your fuel for the season ahead. For small engines, including those in chainsaws and string trimmers, it’s best to choose a high-performance canned fuel option because fuel from the pump, even high-octane, can begin to deteriorate in as few as 30 days. The jets inside the carburetors of these small motors have pinhole-sized openings that can easily get clogged. Make a habit of using high-quality fuel, running it out of the motor, and draining the fuel tank after each big job. That way, you’ll always be ready to fire the motor up the next time you need it.

Signs It’s Time to Retire Your Equipment
Here are some key indications that it’s time for a new machine.
The engine is knocking: That knocking sound from your engine is likely due to a bent crankshaft or broken rod. One potential cause: running your machine when it’s out of oil. This is an expensive repair that might get you picking out a new mower instead of all those new parts, so don’t forget to do regular maintenance while you can.
The transmission is trashed: Once the transmission goes, most manufacturers recommend a full replacement and not updating individual parts, which makes this an expensive issue. On top of that, you’ve probably had your machine for so long that parts are tough to find or not available anymore. Saying goodbye might be the best way to go.
The engine is blown: Replacing an old engine can be expensive. As hard as it is to say goodbye to a machine you love, it’ll likely be more cost-effective and efficient to replace it.
Need help choosing maintenance supplies or lawn equipment brands? Stop into your local Tractor Supply, where a friendly team member would be happy to assist you.
About the Writer
Scott Bish is a writer who hails from Ohio.

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