Servicing Tools End or Start of Season?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
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CottaCotta Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
Hi All,

I have a Honda walk behind mower that was in quite a bad way with the deck rusting (it had develpped a hole) and the powerdrive system was broken. I took it last week for repairs and in the process I opted to get it serviced with a plug replacement, oil changed and blades sharpened. However I wonder if I have made a bad decision here and perhaps I should have serviced the mower at the begininning of next season instead, what are your thoughts?

Thanks in advance

Replies

  • madjackslammadjackslam Forumite
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    It may not be entirely relevant here, but I need to confess. I bought a lawnmower with a Briggs and Stratton engine in 1995. In 23 years it mowed several different-sized gardens that we lived in, from the size of a living room to almost a quarter of an acre of lawn. This year it has (probably) gone to meet its maker at last. (Although I managed to find the instruction booklet over the weekend and might have a play with it.)

    Thing is, I never got it serviced at all. Ever. No change of spark plug, not even new oil. No sharpening blades. Just put petrol in and go. I'm sorry.

    Given that the local lawnmower servicing outfit charge £70+ for an annual service, I reckon I did pretty well, saving perhaps £1000+ over those years. The "green" part of me thinks this disposable consumption is terrible. The "academic" part of me thinks I've just been seduced by survivor bias.

    I haven't yet answered your question, so based on my experience, my response would be that it probably doesn't matter.
  • edited 12 November 2019 at 2:14PM
    Ebe_ScroogeEbe_Scrooge Forumite
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    edited 12 November 2019 at 2:14PM
    Oil change, spark plug change, blades sharpened - doesn't make a difference whether you do it at the start or end of the season. Although, in true MSE style, the first 2 items are really very easy to do yourself (and the spark plug shouldn't need changing very often, it should last years before it starts to wear out).

    What I would say IS important if you want things to last : at the end of the season, give it a really thorough clean and dry, and drench the whole thing liberally with WD40. This should keep the damp off it over winter, and help to prevent rust. It's worth giving the air filter a clean as well.

    What I always do as well is run the fuel tank dry. Fuel "goes off" after time, so you really want to be using fresh fuel when you come to start it in Spring. It's perhaps more important to do this with a 2-stroke than a 4-stroke - 2-stroke fuel can go waxy after time, and can gum up the carburettor.
    I may not know much about art, but I know what I like.
  • DaftyDuckDaftyDuck Forumite
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    I now service all my own two- and four-stroke equipment, (along with a growing collection of tractors...) at the end of the season. Less time for crud to set in, more time to order replacement parts. Mind you, for chainsaws, end of season is March for me, but they get serviced as I go along anyway.

    Refuelling is never done until the equipment is to be used. Equally, blade sharpening is often done last minute, less chance of blade rusting or being chipped, far less chance of me catching a toe on something. Oil lasts, petrol doesn't!

    I agree that self-service makes sense, even if learning from scratch. But, OP, I think you were right to service at the same time as repair.

    There aren't many good service books out there as far as I can see. Paul Dempsey's Two Stroke Engine is about as good as I have found. Any recommendations?
  • CottaCotta Forumite
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    What about fuel, should mowers and strimmers be left away empty?
  • Ebe_ScroogeEbe_Scrooge Forumite
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    Cotta wrote: »
    What about fuel, should mowers and strimmers be left away empty?

    It's a good idea to empty them. Fuel goes off after a few months - with a 4-stroke you'll find it difficult to start, with a 2-stroke the fuel/oil mixture can gum things up, especially the carburettor. You'll save yourself a lot of hassle by emptying it before you put it away, and use fresh fuel next Spring.

    You're only talking a very small amount of fuel, but there's no need to waste even that little bit - it's great for cleaning and degreasing engine parts << cue the 'elf & safety brigade saying you mustn't do that :-) >>
    I may not know much about art, but I know what I like.
  • DaftyDuckDaftyDuck Forumite
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    Agree. Empty tank, then run engine on low revs to empty last drop. You can buy the expensive alkylate petrol like Aspen, which you can leave in indefinitely, and use that for the last refuel to clean the carb out. But it is pricey, and this is MSE!

    leaving fuel in a two stroke will also rot the fuel lines, which are time consuming and fiddly to replace.
  • CottaCotta Forumite
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    I always thought leaving a tank empty was bad for it.
  • DavesnaveDavesnave Forumite
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    Are there still places in the UK where people put their mowers away all winter?

    I don't. I remember mowing in January or February this year and it just went on from there, because there was no proper winter and the grass still grew. There might have been a few weeks when little growth occurred, but there was no laying-up the mower.

    Incidentally, mine's a Honda walk-behind too, from around 1985. It bags anything. A few weeks ago I ran over a Lidl stainless steel trowel, which it cheerfully chopped-up and bagged for me.

    Mine has the alloy deck,which is why it's lasted 34 years, but I still clear the compacted grass out from underneath; something if neglected that kills a steel decks fast.

    I only service once every 3 years or so, but the air filter is cleaned at least annually and I don't have that 'old petrol' issue
    People who don't stand for something will fall for anything.
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