As the weather starts to warm up and the grass begins to grow, it’s time to start thinking about the first cut of the season. Before you do this though, it’s a good idea to uncover your Countax and prepare it for the season ahead. In order to get the most from your mower, we recommend these essential maintenance tips to get it up and running.
Check the battery
Ensure that the battery is fully charged. If the tractor has been sitting idle over the winter months with the battery connected, it is more than likely to have lost its charge, if not fully then at least partially. Cold temperatures accelerate battery discharge rates. We recommend removing the battery at the end of the season and storing in a warm and dry environment to prevent discharge. Replace any batteries that show signs of wear or don’t hold a charge.
Follow these steps to charge the battery:
- Remove the battery
Open the bonnet and disconnect the negative cable and then the positive cable from the battery
Unsecure the battery as per user manual
Remove the battery
- Clean battery
Clean terminals and battery cable ends with a wire brush
Coat terminals with dielectric grease or petroleum jelly
- Charge battery
Remove battery from unit
Place battery on bench or other well-ventilated area
Connect positive lead of charger to positive battery terminal
Connect negative lead of charger to negative battery terminal
Charge battery following battery manufacturer’s instructions
- Install battery
Reinstall positive cable and then the negative cable
Secure the battery as per user manual
Close the bonnet
Removing corrosion from the battery
Apply baking soda over the entire area that’s affected by corrosion. This will neutralize the battery acid. Add a small amount of water to activate the baking soda and cause a chemical reaction which will remove the corrosion. Clean and dry the area with a paper towel, and clean up any residue using a scrub sponge or a tooth brush.
Remove stale fuel
Stale fuel can cause all sorts of problems, including preventing your lawn mower from starting and affecting it’s performance and is one of the major contributors to your lawn tractor to breakdown, Old petrol in your mower can go bad in as little as 2-4 weeks, so it’s important to only put as much fuel in your lawn tractor as you need and drain it before outing it into storage.
Check engine and transmission oil levels
Ensure oil level is correct, as per the user manual. Top up if necessary, using the correct grade of oil as specified in the user manual.
Low oil levels can create increased wear in the engine, reducing its lifespan.
Check the tyre pressures
Check tyre pressures and inflate if necessary. Tyres should be inflated to the levels shown in the user manual. Incorrectly inflated tyres can cause the wheels to spin or lose grip and can affect cut quality. Underinflation can also damage the tyres, resulting in replacements being needed sooner.
Whilst checking tyre pressure, it is useful to visually inspect the tyres to ensure that there are no cuts, bulges, punctures or other damage.
Clean your machine
If you didn’t get a chance to clean your machine after its last cut of the season, or you have used it to spread salt or plough snow, it is a good idea to clean it with appropriate cleaning materials (warm soapy water and then rinse off), paying particular attention to the underside.
Cleaning underneath removes any lodged debris such as stones or grass and leaves that may have collected around the blades. Sodden leaves can cause rust to build up on the blades, so it’s a good idea to clean the deck after each cut.
Carry out a visual inspection
After cleaning your mower, carry out a visual inspection around the tractor, paying particular attention to the following:
- Parking brake operation
- All safety guards are in good condition and properly secured
- Steering / handling operation
- Condition of drive belts. We recommend replacing cracked, split or worn belts
- Damage to any components from gnawing rodents
- Tyre condition – cuts, bulges, punctures etc
- Check the condition and sharpness of the blades. If a blade appears damaged or blunt, your dealer will be able to advise on whether it needs replacing or can be sharpened
Listen to your machine
After starting for the first time, listen for any unusual noises. If any are heard, stop the machine immediately and contact your dealer to avoid unnecessary damage.
Also, after starting the engine, check the warning lights do not stay on. If they do, turn the engine off and contact your dealer.
Longevity from your mower starts in the garage! We recommend your machine is serviced by your local dealer and you carry out routine maintenance as per the tips above, regularly dependent upon use. A well-maintained mower will give you many more years of loyal service.
Contact your local Countax dealer to arrange getting your mower serviced prior to the first cut of the season.