Routine checks can help keep your equipment out of the repair shop and in the field.
So you’re ready to shell out for some new iron: a sparkling new ZRT that will help you attack your landscape jobs with ease.
You’re looking to make your life easier with this new piece of equipment, and to that end, you’re thinking to yourself, “What can I do to extend the life of this brand-new mower and stay out of the belly of a repair shop?”
The answers are pretty simple. In fact, if you ask Alex Helms, who acts as service advisor for STI Turf Care Equipment in Pineville, N.C., he’ll say they’re pretty much a “no brainer.”
“You really need to think about how you take care of all your other equipment at home, from your car on down, and follow suit,” Helms says. “Start with your owner’s manual. Make sure you’re changing the oil, the filter and those sparkplugs according to manual specifications.
That will definitely maximize the wear of your engine. That really is the main thing that keeps people out of the shop with their equipment early on,” he reveals.
Here is a down-and-dirty list of things you can do to keep that ZRT in tip-top shape:
- Check engine oil and hydraulic fluid levels before each use and check belts regularly for proper tension.
- Check air pressure in your tires, and don’t adjust tracking without doing so first.
- Check and clean/replace air filters every 40-50 service hours (more often in dusty conditions).
- Grease and oil chassis lubrication points as directed in the operator’s manual.
- Change engine and hydraulic oil at recommended intervals.
- Keep mower deck and engine/hydraulic cooling fans and intake screens free of grass and leaf buildup.
- Blades should be sharp and balanced. Check them for excess wear-and-tear, because a bent or dull blade can damage the grass.
- Periodically check your machine for signs of leaks and unusual wear or damage.
- Keep a file of maintenance records on your ZRT, which will help you budget regular maintenance visits and reduce the chance of an extended downtime—(contractors with a small staff and limited equipment can’t afford to be laid up with an out-of-commission cutter).
“We see a lot of owners who actually get leaves and other yard debris impacted around the heating and cooling fan,” Helms adds. “It’s really important to keep that area clear so the mower doesn’t overheat.”
Helms also says that from his perspective, a regular fuel conditioner and cleaner treatment “helps clean things up on the inside.”