Taking care of garden machinery
If you have bought machinery, it is obviously in your interest to keep it in the best condition. When hiring, too, it is as much in your own interest as that of the hire operator to take good care of tools. Any breakdown is lost time, which is a waste of money as the hirer usually has to pay for the time when the machine is out of action.
Before using any motorized equipment, familiarize yourself with it. Make sure you know exactly what each of the controls is for, and how to operate it. Check the ignition, brakes, gears or other drive system, and the accelerator.
If the moving parts are protected by guards, always keep them on when using the machine, and never remove them when the engine is running. Also, make sure before starting the motor that there are no loose nuts and bolts to work free. Check the lubrication points, sump, and cooling system.
The best time to carry out major maintenance work is before you put the equipment into store for the winter. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully regarding cleaning and other maintenance. When you come to use a petrol- or diesel-engined machine again at the beginning of the season, drain the tank and refill it with fresh fuel in case any gumming has occurred. Never wash out the gearbox or sump with paraffin; always use a proprietary de-greasant.
With battery-operated electrical equipment, always keep the battery fully charged and topped up with distilled water. Carry out maintenance according to the manufacturer’s instructions and always check that you are recharging batteries at the correct rate.