(ARA) - It's that time of year when handheld outdoor power equipment is pulled from storage and pressed into service. It's also the time when this equipment should get its annual maintenance.
Fortunately, equipment manufacturers and their dealers have made it easy. "Most products out there today have a tune-up kit available," says David Shumate, owner of Ike's Small Engines in Bryan, Texas. "The kit typically includes air and fuel filters, the type of oil the equipment requires, a pre-gapped spark plug, and whatever else is needed for the tune-up." Take the model and serial numbers of your equipment with you to get the kit, because "the kits are product-specific. Nobody shares parts."
A thorough tune-up goes beyond the obvious, says Nick Ellis, owner of Bethel Power in Bethel, Conn. "Lubricating the gearbox on a string trimmer is overlooked, as are control cables and carbon deposits in mufflers. And although manufacturers design engine cooling fins that won't collect debris, those fins should be checked and cleared of any leaves or pine needles that have accumulated there."
Shumate agrees that it pays to be thorough. When a customer brings in a piece of equipment, "we look at every moving component," including clutch, clutch drum, safety devices, air box integrity, as well as belts, bearings, pulleys, and the recoil starter rope.
Is all this too involved for the average homeowner? "I recommend that everyone give it a shot themselves," says Shumate. "If they replace the filters and the spark plug and that doesn't solve their problem, then they can bring it in to us."
Complete servicing takes only a half an hour to three-quarters of an hour, says Ellis. That's for the pros, who are familiar with the process and they have the necessary tools at hand. Even so, the homeowner should be able to service a piece of equipment in an hour or so.
And how often does it need to be done? "About every 25 hours," says Ellis. "If you use the equipment for an hour a week and your season is six months long, once a year is just about right." Ellis recommends the machine be brought to a dealership every other year for inspection and servicing.
Lots of people bring their machines to their dealers whenever service is needed. Lots of them bring them in when the weather warms. That's a problem, says Shumate. "The earlier, the better, especially if you want to get the machine back in three or four days." By late February, many people in his area are already cutting grass, so his regular customers bring their machines into the dealership in late January or early February to beat the rush.
Proper servicing ensures safe and productive use of the equipment. It also prolongs the life of the machine, says Ellis. "Homeowners who invest in a premium brand like ECHO and service the equipment regularly will get 10 or 15 years of reliable use without a problem."
For more information on the full line of ECHO handheld outdoor power equipment, visit www.echo-usa.com.
Courtesy of ARA Content