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Come on, start your engines

March 31, 2003|by Chris Copley
(Page 2 of 2)

An engine needs air just like the human operator does. Semler said cleaning or replacing the air filter should be part of spring maintenance. Riders and larger push mowers may have foam filters; these can be washed with soap and water, dried and reused. Paper or cardboard filters may be blown out and reused once or twice, but then the tiny pores fill in and the filter won't function anymore. Replace it.

Read the manual

Marshall said another thing equipment owners don't always think of is the increasingly complex nature of lawn and garden equipment. New mowers have more controls and safety switches than in years past.

"I get a lot of calls: 'My mower won't start,'" Marshall said. "They bring 'em in, and I get 'em off the truck and start it right up. They say, 'I feel so stupid.'

"You got to check the owner's manual and see where all the levers and switches need to be when you start it."

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Take it to a professional

If you are one of thousands of area residents who take their mowers to a lawn and garden shop, Marshall's advice is to do it soon. Power equipment shops are swamped with work now that warm weather is finally here. And get an estimated time of completion.

"Ask approximately how long it will be," he said. "A lot of people, it could be three or four weeks, five weeks. People need to know that."

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