Based in Sussex, Wis., Jerry Kienast is service director for the Reinders dealership – four brick-and-mortar locations plus a half dozen mobile mechanics. We caught up with him to get some winter mower maintenance tips.
1. Stay on schedule. Each piece of equipment comes with an operators guide with a recommended maintenance schedule. Follow it. “That’s the biggest thing I would recommend,” Kienast says.
2. Sweat the small stuff. Hour totals, spark plugs, timing belts, oil changes. They’re minor and cheap to replace, at least compared to an entire machine. “Next thing you know, they’re calling me needing a new $9,000 or $10,000 engine,” he says.
3. Don’t get hosed. Oil, gasoline, hydraulic fluid. Engines run on wet stuff. And you need good hoses to get those fluids from point A to point B. Regularly check tubing – especially if it’s exposed to the sun – for cracks or broken seals.
4. Don’t forget. A lot of grease points are hidden from easy view, especially on axles. So are brakes and the seals on your differential. They’re easy to overlook, but a problem could knock you out for a few days.
5. Keep clean. To see where a machine might be leaking, Kienast steam cleans it and then runs it for a few minutes. “It just looks dirty, but after you’ve cleaned it you see the oil,” he says.
6. Keep a record. If you get into a spot and can’t fix the machine yourself, make sure you let the mechanic know what’s wrong. “Talk to the operator and tell me what’s wrong with it. There’s nothing worse than going all the way through a winter maintenance check not knowing that on a hard left turn the machine starts to stubble,” Kienast says. “I want to make sure you’re profitable. That’s my job. If I have a good road map for success, I’m going to get you there.”
Still need to work out some kinks on your machines? You can download Reinders winter maintenance guide at bit.ly/mowerfix.
Picture courtesy of Toro.