Maintenance mode

April 29, 2020 -  By
Person performing engine maintenance (Photo: Exmark)

Think ahead Landscape pros should consider organizing parts before the start of the season so equipment managers can access it easily during maintenance. (Photo: Exmark)

When it comes to gearing up for the busy season — or 100 days of hell as some landscape pros call it — preventive equipment maintenance can make all the difference.

“Landscape companies should ensure both their machines and their business are ready for the grueling demands of the season,” says Jim Goldschmidt, parts product line manager at John Deere.

Landscape Management got the rundown on maintenance musts from Goldschmidt; Jonathan Guarneri, product manager at Exmark; Jack Easterly, product manager for professional handheld products at Husqvarna; and George Reister, product manager for commercial wheeled products at Husqvarna.

Shop sense

Ensure parts management processes are in order before the start of the season. Assign inventory ownership, limiting the number of employees with access to parts storage. Many dealers can set up a recurring delivery, which works in tandem with a parts management process to restock common parts once a minimum inventory has been reached. — J. Goldschmidt

Properly organize and label parts bin locations, creating a designated parts storage location so crew leaders are aware of where things are and what needs to be restocked. Include a minimum stocking level on the bin label so managers know when parts need to be replenished. Incorporate a system that allows for tracking parts usage by machine. — J. Goldschmidt

Equipment maintenance

Confirm everything is in working order: batteries fully charged, tires properly inflated and required maintenance completed. Ideally, complete maintenance and repairs prior to storing machines for the winter. — J. Goldschmidt

Change engine and hydro oil at the specified intervals; clean or replace air filters; and maintain correct air pressure in the tires. On a zero-turn mower, proper air pressure improves machine tracking. — J. Guarneri

Remove grass buildup from the top of the engine cooling fan, following the engine manufacturer’s instructions. — J. Easterly and G. Reister

Sharpen blades; sharper blades cause less stress to the grass leaf. — J. Easterly and G. Reister

Empty remaining fuel out of the fuel tanks and oil from the cylinder head on handheld equipment. As fuel sits idle, the fuel lines can become brittle and prone to leaks. — J. Easterly and G. Reister

Regularly lubricate the moving components of handheld equipment to ensure a multiseason lifespan. Grease gearboxes and lubricate the blades to keep them from being gummed up and sluggish for the next use. — J. Easterly and G. Reister

Staff preseason training

Schedule a training refresh prior to the start of a new season, ensuring that everyone starts off on the right foot. Cover company rules, safety protocols, equipment maintenance schedules, daily pre- and post-mowing checklists and mowing best practices. — J. Goldschmidt

Explain the operation and importance of all safety interlocks and the importance of always working with the rollover protective system fully deployed. — J. Guarneri

When operating equipment, safety, situational awareness and technique are very important. Mechanics of large- and medium-sized fleets should watch for operator misuse and abuse. — J. Easterly and G. Reister

Train staff on how to produce accurate maintenance records. Losing track of a machine’s schedule and missing an oil change or not changing a filter can be the difference between being profitable and not. — J. Easterly and G. Reister

Sarah Webb

About the Author:

Sarah Webb is Landscape Management's former managing editor. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University, where she studied journalism and Spanish. Prior to her role at LM, Sarah was an intern for Cleveland Magazine and a writing tutor.

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