RERMAG

Keep it Running

Outdoor power equipment, like all rental items, requires careful maintenance. Because it is often used year-round, outdoors, under all types of weather conditions, and is often rented by inexperienced users, service is particularly important. The following tips can help your service personnel and can be passed along to customers.

For all outdoor power equipment

* Disconnect the spark plug wire before cleaning, making repairs or conducting routine inspections.

* Clean all old debris and clippings from mower and tractor decks.

* Never remove or tamper with safety devices and labels.

* Handle gas carefully. Fill before starting the machine, when the engine is cold.

* Never smoke when gasoline is being used.

* Regularly check that engine oil is full.

* Regularly check all nuts, bolts, belts and screws for tightness.

* Check that engine cooling fins are clean with every operation.

* Regularly check that the air filter is clean.

When taking equipment out of storage at the beginning of spring: * Check safety devices to make sure they are attached and working.

* With the spark plug disconnected, sharpen tines and sharpen or replace blades in accordance with the owner's manual.

Lawn and garden tractors * Disengage power to attachments when leaving the operator's seat while transporting the machine or when the tractor is in storage.

* Regularly check that tires are properly inflated.

* Always remove dirt, grass and debris from engine cooling fins, engine covers and air intake screens.

* Check blades for sharpness and make sure cutting deck is cleaned of old clippings and debris.

When taking equipment out of storage at the beginning of spring: * Give battery a thorough charging before reinstalling, checking the electrolyte level in each cell first according to the owner's manual.

* Check the electrical system for loose or dirty connections.

Lawn mowers * Regularly check belts and chain drives for wear and tightness.

* Check that pull cords are not frayed and are in working condition.

* Make sure the throttle control is properly adjusted.

* Check blades for sharpness; make sure cutting deck is cleaned of old clippings and debris.

* Check that attachments are connected and working properly.

Handheld leaf blowers and edger/trimmers: * Use a high-quality engine oil specifically for two-cycle handheld equipment, if applicable. Fuel stabilizers can help fuel maintain a high octane level for longer periods, giving easier starting and cooler engine performance.

* Make sure all intake vents are clear.

* Before using, carefully balance and adjust equipment for operator comfort and safety.

* Use high-quality two-cycle engine oil specifically for two-cycle handheld equipment. Lower-grade oils or oils for outboard boat engines will not provide specific protection.

Before end-of-season storage: * Disconnect power, then thoroughly clean outer surfaces and clear all intake and exhaust vents.

* Empty vents, ducts, vacuum tubes and other attachments of any debris.

* Hang or store according to manufacturer specifications.

After removal from storage: * Clean or replace spark plugs annually.

* Make sure all components are in working condition.

* Check that straps, handles, nuts and bolts are secure.

Walk-behind blower/vacs * Check wheels, intake vents and other components to make sure they are free from debris and in working order.

* Disengage power before switching attachments.

* Empty bag and make sure vacuum is unobstructed.

* Fill the collection bag to recommended levels

Before end-of-season storage: * Disconnect power before cleaning the outside surfaces of the vacuum and attachments.

* Clear debris or dirt from any intake or exhaust vents.

* Empty and clean vacuum bag of debris.

* Hang or store according to the manufacturer's directions.

Before using again in the spring: * Check that all engine components are properly lubricated and in good operating condition.

* Make sure the catch bag is clean and in good repair.

* Check that attachments, tires, levers and controls are in good operating condition.

Walk-behind rotary tillers * Check all working components to see if they are operating properly.

* Make sure nuts and bolts are tight.

* Select forward or reverse (for dual-direction models) and carefully align handles, controls, operating height and operator position before starting.

Before end-of-season storage: * Disconnect power. Thoroughly clean outside surfaces of the tiller, including tines and tires.

* Hang or store according to manufacturer's directions.

Before using again in the spring: * Check that all engine components are properly lubricated and in good operating condition.

* Sharpen tines.

* Make sure tires are properly inflated.

* Check that control levers, connections, nuts and bolts are secure and operating correctly.

Log splitters * Carefully position equipment on stable, even ground.

* Make sure tires are properly inflated and all components operate correctly before starting.

* Check that pressure hoses are tight and not leaking.

* Follow manufacturer's directions for operating and standing at a safe distance.

* Periodically rotate the bar for even wear.

* Check throttle trigger and interlock system for proper function.

* Check chain brake for proper function.

Before end-of-season storage: * Disconnect power. Clean and check all components, including hitch and tires. Store according to manufacturer's directions.

Before using again in the spring: * Check that all engine components are properly lubricated and good operating condition.

* Replace cracked or leaky pressure hoses.

* Make sure tires are properly inflated.

Chain saws * Ensure that the saw chain is properly tensioned, sharp and is getting sufficient oil.

* Check that the saw idles properly. The chain should not rotate at idle speed.

* Inspect the entire saw for loose parts, cracks or other problems.

* Use high-quality bar oil to lubricate the bar and chain.

* Avoid gasoline that contains alcohol, or use a gasoline with less than 10 percent alcohol with a high-quality two-cycle engine oil with additives.

* In cold regions, use winter-grade bar oils that pour and flow more easily.

Before end-of-season storage: * For prolonged storage, run the saw dry and empty the fuel tank, or fill it completely and add a fuel stabilizer. A half-full tank can attract condensation, adding harmful water to the fuel mixture.

Before using again in the spring: * Lubricate the clutch drum bearing.

* Check the bar for excessive wear or bent rails. Replace if necessary.

* Clean the cooling fins on the flywheel, the cylinder fins on the area outside the carburetor and the starter housing with a brush or light air source.

* Check the fuel filter and replace if necessary.

* Have the carburetor checked and adjusted by a properly trained technician to ensure that the saw is running at peak performance and without excessive heat.

Grinders/shredders * Always disconnect spark plug wire before cleaning, making repairs or conducting routine inspections.

* Check oil every two hours of operation to ensure full levels.

* Apply lubricant several times a season to the clutch lever, wheels and axle spacer, and the belt tension adjustment bolt.

* Ensure correct tension of the belt.

* Check cutting blades often and rotate or replace as necessary.

Before end-of-season storage: * Clean dirt and debris from engine and shredder housing.

* Remove battery and recharge.

Before using again in the spring: * Give battery a thorough charging before reinstalling after storage. Check electrolyte level in each cell first.

* Make initial oil change after first two hours of operation and every 10 hours thereafter.

* Clean or replace spark plug every year.

Walk-behind snow throwers * Fill tank with fresh winter-grade fuel before the snow season starts; test run to ensure dependable operation.

* Change spark plug every year.

* Change engine oil before cold weather, and use recommended viscosity and grade for easier starting and engine protection.

* Check safety devices to ensure that they are attached and working.

Before end-of-season storage: * Run the machine a few minutes after final use to prevent freeze-up of auger/impeller.

* Disengage power to the auger/impeller when not in use.

* Run or drain gas tank completely dry of all fuel, or added fuel conditioner, outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.

* Disconnect spark plug wire.

* Store in dry, ventilated area.

* Store fuel can in a dry, ventilated area and never near a pilot light, stove or heat source.

* Fold handles for more compact storage.

Tips provided by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, Alexandria, Va. For more maintenance information, see OPEI's Web site (http://opei.mow.org) Always consult manufacturers' manuals for detailed maintenance, operating and storage information.

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