Tips for Getting Your Tools Ready for Spring
As the warm weather approaches and the landscapes start turning green again, it’s time to pull out your equipment for those spring projects. These tips from Randy Scully, national service manager for STIHL Inc., will help you get the most out of your tools this season.
Clean your equipment, if you did not do so before storing for winter.
- Always clean sprayers after each use.
- All products: visually inspect the complete machine; check the housings for cracks; and ensure proper operation of all controls.
- Chain saws: check the hand guard and chain brake.
- Trimmers: inspect deflectors.
- Edgers: check cutting guard.
- Hedge trimmers: inspect cutter blade guard.
Thoroughly inspect your equipment, including the safety features, to ensure all is working properly.
- Re-tighten all accessible screws and nuts.
- Replace the trimmer line on trimmers and brushcutters.
- Trimmer line dries out and older line will break more easily, so be sure to stock up for spring.
Inspect and sharpen, or replace, blades, as necessary, on all cutting tools and attachments, including hand tools, edgers, hedge trimmers, lawn mowers, etc., following the directions in the manufacturers’ instruction manuals.
For gasoline-powered equipment, you’ll also want to:
- Start with fresh fuel. Old fuel can cause issues with the engine leading to problems running the equipment.
- For STIHL equipment, we recommend you mix fresh 89+ octane fuel and STIHL HP Ultra mix oil at 50:1 ratio, but you should follow the specific instruction manual for each piece of equipment, whatever the brand or model.
- Try STIHL MotoMix® ethanol-free premixed fuel (w/a shelf life of up to two years once opened).
- Dispose of old fuel properly (including fuel left in equipment over the winter) – ideally, you will have emptied the fuel tank before storing the equipment.
- Replace the spark plugs after 100 operating hours (or as recommended in the manufacturer’s instruction manual).
- Check and change oil and oil filter in your lawn mower and other applicable equipment, as required per manufacturer’s recommendation. For more information to keep your mower running smoothly, check out these tips from Consumer Reports.
- Clean or replace the air filter according to manufacturer’s guidelines.
For electric equipment, you should:
- Charge the batteries for your battery-powered equipment. No hassle of mixing fuel, just make sure your batteries are charged, and, with the 36-volt STIHL Battery KombiSystem power tools, you can be ready to tackle your yard’s needs.
- Recycle your old batteries; find a recycling location at www.call2recycle.org.
- Inspect power cords on corded electric landscaping tools.
Be sure you have the proper personal protective equipment for each of your products, as indicated in the instruction manual.
- Reduce the risk of injury with the latest protective equipment, whether it’s chaps, glasses, gloves, boots or helmet systems.
- If you already have protective apparel and equipment, be sure to inspect it thoroughly to make sure it meets the proper standards. For example: a cut in your chaps or crack in your helmet means it’s time for new gear.
Check the manufacturers’ instruction manuals for other recommended maintenance.
- Be sure to visit your servicing dealer early in the season to get a head start on all your handheld outdoor power equipment needs. To find a STIHL dealer, visit the STIHL dealer locator.
Take your equipment to your local independent servicing dealer for a tune up.
Now you’re ready to keep your yard looking its best all season long! In addition to following these tips, always review your instruction manual at the start of a new season. These tips will not only help protect your equipment, but will help protect you, the operator, as well. For yard and garden projects beyond your capabilities, hire a professional. Need help finding a certified professional in your area? Find a landscaper visit TreesAreGood.org.