Purchasing a new ride on mower from our range at BS Power can be an exciting process. In your mind, you are already envisioning all the thrilling tasks and projects you are going to get done with the help of your ride on mower. However, in all the excitement and first few uses it is easy to forget how important it is to properly clean and maintain your ride on mower in order to keep it functioning at its highest capacity. In just a few minutes of reading, learn how to clean and maintain your ride on mower, as well as how to safely store it during periods of non-usage.
What are the uses of a ride on mower?
If you have a large lawn or garden area to mow, or are required by work projects to complete similar tasks, having a ride on mower is an absolute boon. Before we launch into the intricacies of cleaning and maintaining your new mower, here is a list of some tasks that riding mowers excel at:
- Lawn maintenance
- Lawn art
- Mowing soil
- Spreading seed and fertilizer
- Hauling feed to livestock
The above are but a few uses of riding mowers, which just goes to say that these machines are diverse in their abilities and will serve you in more ways than one.
How to wash your ride on mower
Purchasing a ride on mower is not a cheap ordeal. This means that once you have spent the required funds on your new machine, you will want to keep it working efficiently for as long as possible. This is where regular cleaning and maintenance come in. Although your new machine will come with its own manual and cleaning instructions, we have compiled a general and simple, step-by-step method of how to safely clean your new mower to help you on your way:
Step 1 : safety first
Whenever you do work on your ride on mower, or any machine for that matter, your safety should be your main concern. If your mower starts unexpectantly during the cleaning process, you or those around you may become seriously injured. This can be avoided, however. Before you even approach your mower with the intention to clean or maintain, you should become familiar with any safety documentation that came along with your machine in the purchasing process.
You should also ensure that you always work in a flat-surfaced, well-ventilated area. To begin, make sure that the parking break is engaged. Failure to do so could lead to your mower rolling forward when you least expect it (which is to be avoided at all costs). Further, you should remove the key from the ignition as well as unplug the spark plug or disconnect the mower’s battery to be extra sure.
This goes without saying, but ensure that the mower’s blades have stopped completely before you attempt any cleaning or maintenance tasks. Once you have checked all these points, it is considerably safe to begin cleaning or maintaining your mower.
Step 2: washing your ride on mower
The easiest and most efficient way in which to clean your riding mower is arguably through the use of a pressure washer. But first you will need to access the bottom level of your mower which is responsible for the cutting. You may need to use a lift to raise the front of the mower so that you can perform your washing and maintaining. Once you have made the underside accessible, you can utilise multi-purpose detergents to clean it.
First, apply the detergent to the underside deck and leave it on for between 5 to 10 minutes to activate. Next, use a high-powered jet of water to rinse it off. If you do not have access to a pressure washer, a hose pipe on its highest setting could do the job (albeit a bit slower). Next, wash the tires of the mower in the same fashion. Afterwards, you can lower the machine back onto the ground.
Now it is time to wash the top of your riding mower. Should you wish to clean the engine (if at a recommended stage by your mower’s manual) it is recommended that you use a heavy-duty degreaser.
Tips on washing your mower safely
While following the steps to cleaning your ride on mower, you should be aware of the following safety tips:
Avoid all electrical system components
When using a pressure washer or garden hose to clean your mower, take extra care to avoid spraying any electrical system components. Wetting these components can cause them to rust and create other problems that prevent your machine from having a long lifespan. You can even remove your spark plugs before cleaning to be extra safe.
Avoid all bearings
In the same sense, wetting the bearings on your riding mower can cause them to rust and eventually seize up during usage – which is a most frustrating and costly affair.
Choose to wash your mower on a sunny day
It is highly important that your riding mower dries properly after you have washed it, which is why washing it early on a sunny day is the optimal time. After hours in the sun it should dry thoroughly and rusting is an unlikelihood.
How to perform general maintenance on your ride on mower
Washing your ride on mower is certainly not the only measure required to ensure the long life-time of your machine. In fact, some even go so far as to say that while washing a mower is purely a question of external cosmetics, maintenance is of vital importance to the mower’s performance. We have provided a step-by-step guide on how to maintain your mower in light of several scenarios:
Maintenance after each mowing session
While it may seem like a schlep, there are maintenance procedures that ought to be carried out after each use of your ride on mower. Before you begin any maintenance efforts, however, ensure that you stick to the post-cleaning and maintenance safety tips mentioned earlier in the article. Once you have completed those checks, perform the following:
Clean dirt and debris off the mower
Debris and dirt has a knack for building up faster than we anticipate, and once it is stuck and solidified, it is rather difficult to deal with. After each mowing session, use a brush to clean off any debris and dirt from the machine – and pay particular attention to doing so around the oil and fuel fill areas.
Brush the mower’s engine
Similarly to the above step, you should use a brush to clean the deck and engine regions of the mower of any dirt and debris that may have collected there during the work session. If left for too long, grass and plant clippings combined with debris can really take a toll on your mower’s ability to function efficiently.
Check deflectors and shields
These two elements of your riding mower are essential for keeping both you and the machine safe during work sessions. For this reason it is important to check them for any wear or tear in order to assess whether they are damaged. Do not hesitate to replace any that have become damaged.
Check the tires
Your ride on mower’s tires must always be fully inflated and in acceptable condition. Upon checking the tires, you may discover that they need some extra air.
Check oil and fuel levels
It is of the utmost importance that you check the fuel level in your mower after each work session – and top it up as required. Checking the oil at the same time is a good habit and will help you to never forget to perform the duty.
Seasonal maintenance jobs
The following jobs are just as important, but only need to be done at least once or twice during your mowing season:
Check your mower’s air filter
It is important to check out the air filter and ensure that it is clean. Should you find it to be lightly blocked, go ahead and clean it gently with a brush or sponge. If the filter is heavily blocked, it is a good idea to replace it altogether.
Lubricate the pivot points and spindles
This is an essential task that allows the mower to operate smoothly and at its highest capacity.
Check the blades
Blades must at all times be sharp, as blunt blades do not cut grass, but rather tear it. This damages leaves as well as weakens your lawn in general. It should be enough to sharpen them twice a season if you are using your mower regularly.
Replacing spark plugs
It is recommended that at least once a mowing season, preferably at the beginning of each season, you should think about replacing your mower’s spark plugs. It is inexpensive and a good way to ensure your mower will always start up with no problems.
How to store your ride on mower
In many countries, a gruelling winter prevents excess grass growth. If you find that you are not using your ride on mower during a specific time of the year, it is important to store it away safely and in the correct manner to prevent damage. You will need to spend a bit of time preparing your mower for its storage, and this is how you do it:
- Remove leftover fuel
- Before you store your mower, it is important to remove any leftover fuel in the engine. Fuel does not age well, which is why it must not be left to dwell in your mower. You can refill your mower easily at the start of the new mowing season.
- Remove the battery
- Removing your mower’s battery and storing it separately in a cool and dry place is a sure way to keep it safe. You can remove it by:
- Disconnecting the battery cable from the battery (start with the negative cable that is recognisable by the minus sign)
- Once you remove the battery, wipe it down with a cloth
- Next, you can clean the battery terminal using either specialised battery cleaner products or simply a metal brush
- Make sure that you store the battery far away from any water heaters, furnaces or gas cans.
- Clean the mower
It is a good idea to give your mower a thorough clean before storing it. You already have a good idea on how to do this properly.
Store your mower in a dry, safe place
It is advisable to store your riding mower in areas like a garage or a garden shed. It should never be stored next to a water heater, furnace or any appliance with a pilot light. It is a good idea to place your mower on a slightly elevated surface so as to avoid any potential condensation or water damage from the ground.