How to...

Welcome! Here is where you'll find Bob's weekly tips and tricks for all your outdoor maintenance needs.


Getting Your Snowblower Ready for Winter

January 11, 2016

Check out the informative videos below for lots of great tips to prepare your snowblower for winter.



How to Tune Up Your Lawn Mower For Spring

May 7, 2015

Preseason mower maintenance tips

It's a good time to check the oil, sharpen the blade, and replace parts


It may be several weeks before homeowners across much of the nation can see their lawns. And, after being weighed down with snow, the grass won't need cutting right away. But with spring arriving in two weeks, it's a good time to get your mower or tractor ready. That way, it will start when you need it. Here’s how to get your gear in shape:

Fuel comes first. Any gas in your walk-behind mower’s fuel tank? If you added stabilizer before the winter, you should be able to start the mower right up. Similarly, if you ran the mower dry last fall, you can add stabilized gas now. Otherwise, siphon out the degraded gas before adding new. Tractors, with their larger engines, are less susceptible to fuel problems. Still, fuel up with gas to which you’ve added stabilizer. Watch the video below for more fuel tips.

Check or change oil. If you didn’t change the oil at the end of last season, do it now—a mower can overheat and fail prematurely from dirty or insufficient oil. For a mower, change the oil when the fuel tank is empty to avoid spilling. Position an auto-style drain pan beside the mower on the side of the dipstick cap. Remove the cap, and tip the mower over the pan to drain the oil. Refill to the dipstick marking. A tractor needs an oil change only as specified in your manual. At the very least, check the level and add as necessary.

Sharpen those blades. Dull blades rip rather than slice the grass, and that makes your engine work harder than it needs to. To remove your mower’s blade, wear heavy leather gloves, remove the spark plug wire, and jam in a short 2x4 to keep the blade from turning as you loosen the bolts. Even tractor blades should be sharpened three times a year.

Mind the electrical. Your spark plug needs changing about every 100 hours of operation; if not, it can affect engine startup and overall performance. If you don’t know when you last changed it, do it before using the mower. With the mower off, remove the spark-plug cap and use a socket wrench with a spark-plug socket to remove the old plug. Take it to an auto-parts store or outdoor-gear dealer and get a new one. For a tractor, most manuals instruct you to keep the battery indoors on a trickle charger. If you didn't, fully recharge the battery before starting the season, or you’ll reduce battery life. The engine alone can’t fully recharge the battery.

Change or clean filters. A dirty air filter may prevent your mower or tractor from starting. On your mower, it’s paper and can be removed in seconds. Take the old one to an outdoor power equipment dealer if you’re not sure which one to get. For a tractor, replace your carburetor’s air filter if it’s paper. If it’s foam, wash it in soap and water. Rinse and squeeze it dry. Some manuals suggest you also oil a foam filter with engine oil. If so, squeeze the filter dry again before you reinstall it. Tractors have a fuel filter, too. Check your manual for the proper maintenance schedule and procedure.

Carburetor Maintenance: The carburetor is an integral part of your small engine, so it’s important to keep it running smoothly for the overall health of your lawn mower and other outdoor power equipment.You can clean the main fuel jet with carburetor cleaner and compressed air to blow out loosened debris.   Carburetor cleaner dissolves deposits in your carburetor and choke, and consequently, can reduce your need for maintenance, repair, and downtime, while improving starting for all 2-cycle and 4-cycle engines.   Carburetor cleaner can be found at your local power equipment dealer.


If, after inspection, you determine your mower needs repair, you have two options:  1) Take it to your local authorized Toro servicing dealer (Bob's Rental Center located in West Sand Lake, NY) or 2) Repair it yourself, if you are so inclined.  To find and purchase the parts you need for making repairs, call Bob at (518) 674-3958.

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3731 NY Highway 43 - West Sand Lake, NY 12196