• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Getting lawnmower ready for summer

Checking the engine oil on a regular basis and always using fresh fuel are two of the best ways to keep a lawnmower and other outdoor power equipment running well, according to the owner of Henry's Outdoor Power Equipment in Versailles. Todd Henry said his customers are having problems starting their lawnmowers and other outdoor equipment this spring because they did not drain the fuel tanks before putting them in storage for winter. "I've got 50 trimmers staring at me," he said. "They put them up in the winter and they don't drain the fuel out of them and the fuel sits in there and basically gums up the carburetor - and bam, they're in here. Those who do drain the gas tank typically have far fewer issues starting their mowers, weed trimmers and other equipment in the spring, Henry said. Besides always storing outdoor equipment without any fuel in the gas tank during the winter, Henry said never use fuel that's older than 30 days. He described a lawnmower as being much different than an automobile because of its working environment, which is "typically in a cloud of dirt. So the air filter has to be serviced more often. "These engines aren't built to the same tolerances as automobile engines and so they do require a little bit more maintenance." He said regular annual maintenance can save a person a lot of money in repair costs. "We'd love to just sell you . a sparkplug and an air filter and a quart of oil, and see you next year," said Henry. "You cannot just run this equipment for free," he continued, "it does require minimal maintenance." So when a customer asks how long a mower, weed trimmer or chainsaw will last, Henry said he tells them, "It depends on how well you take care of it." He described this spring's backlog of mowers and outdoor power equipment needing repairs as normal. "Typically," Henry said, "everybody waits until their grass is about ankle-high and then panic - 'My lawnmower isn't going to start. What am I going to do?'" After being in business for 23 years, Henry said he still enjoys the challenges of diagnosing what's wrong. "You can have 50 push-mowers there to do and you're going to have 49 different problems," he said.

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