How to Clean Your Garden Tractor

All the maintenance tips you need

Inspirations / Evergreen tips

23/06/2020

Estimated reading time 5 minutes

A garden tractor is indispensable if you have to mow very large lawns. Whether you have to mow a vacant field in the countryside, an overgrown slope or a wooded park around your house, you can easily find the most suitable garden tractor model to get the job done quickly and effortlessly.

However, if you want your garden tractor to deliver top results at all times, you need to pay attention to maintenance, so that the machine can keep mowing for extended periods and with maximum efficiency. Let's see what cleaning tasks and checks you need to perform when using a garden tractor and before stowing it away for the winter.

Cleaning your garden tractor

After mowing with your garden tractor, you should ideally give it a thorough clean straightaway. Don't let grass residues dry out, because then they're much harder to remove. Park up on a suitable flat surface and get ready to clean your garden tractor safely:

  • Raise the cutting plate to maximum height and disengage it.

  • Put the gear selector into neutral and engage the parking brake (or handbrake).

  • Turn off the engine and remove the ignition key.

  • Make sure the blades are stationary (they will rotate for a few seconds after the ignition is switched off).

  • Let the engine cool down.

  • Unplug the ignition spark plug.

At this point you are ready to start cleaning your garden tractor:

  • Disassemble and empty the grass-catcher (if provided).

  • Remove most of the dirt from the surface of the garden tractor.

  • Remove any dirt and grass from the engine grille and the end of the exhaust pipe.

  • Thoroughly clean any grass from the cutting deck, to maintain cutting quality and the durability of the garden tractor.

  • Proceed to wash the garden tractor using a sponge, detergent and a hosepipe for plastic parts.

If you prefer cleaning your garden tractor with a high pressure washer instead of a sponge, just keep the jet away from the ball bearings (in the blade holder or wheels) and from oiled parts. Also, be careful not to let the pressurised water enter the ignition system, battery and other electrical components, carburettor, air filter or exhaust pipe.

 

While you are cleaning the cutting deck, check the condition of the blades: are they still sharp and intact, or damaged, or in need of sharpening?

 

Some garden tractor models are equipped with special fittings that connect to a hosepipe, allowing you to wash the inside of the cutting deck and ejection channel. For example, Oleo-Mac provides a Deck Wash quick-fit connector on the MISTRAL 72/12.5 KH rider mower, the OM 108 L/18.5 side-discharge garden tractor and the OM 103/16 K and OM 123/22 V professional rear-discharge garden tractors. After connecting the quick coupling to the hosepipe, and with the grass collection bag mounted:

  • Lower the cutting deck completely.

  • Turn on the garden tractor.

  • Engage the blade and leave it to turn for a few minutes.

  • Remove the collection bag, rinse it and hang it up to dry.

While the cutting deck is lowered, you should also clean the upper part of the garden tractor’s cutting deck, preferably using compressed air.

In models without a quick-fit connector, such as the Oleo-Mac APACHE 92 EVO 4X4 professional all-terrain garden tractor, to facilitate cleaning the cutting deck and checking the blades, you can tilt the garden tractor sideways using a hydraulic lift. When holding the garden tractor tilted to one side, make sure that the carburettor is always facing upwards, so that oil does not enter the air filter.

Routine garden tractor maintenance

Maintaining a garden tractor means preserving its functionality over time, thereby retaining its value and, consequently, protecting the investment you made in purchasing it.

Check the battery and clean the contacts: a well maintained battery will last longer. At least once a year, or depending on how often you mow with the garden tractor, check the electrolyte level and if necessary top it up using distilled water only. Make sure not to let the battery run flat and, if necessary, charge it as soon as possible, to prevent it being irreversibly damaged.

Now let's move on to garden tractor engine maintenance, which should be performed at least once a year, or more frequently depending on how heavily it gets used:

  • Change the oil: drain the used oil and add new oil according to the type and quantity recommended by the machine manufacturer. Always keep an eye on the oil level and top up if necessary.

  • Clean up the engine air filter and change it if necessary.

  • Check that the spark plug is correctly installed and clean, otherwise clean it with a brush. Examine the distance between the electrodes and adjust if necessary. If the spark plug is very worn or encrusted, it must be replaced. To find out which spare part to buy, check the user and maintenance manual for your garden tractor.

  • Replace the fuel filter: this is essential for the proper functioning of the engine.

  • Remove the engine fan cover and clean thoroughly, including the engine radiator fins, to prevent the engine from overheating. If necessary, repeat the procedure more frequently. As a rule, before cutting grass and while working, check that the engine grille is always free of grass or other debris.

Storing your garden tractor away at the end of the season

Routine maintenance of your garden tractor is important, but preparing it for storage is just as vital. After cleaning the tractor and checking that everything is in order, before winter or whenever you plan on not using your garden tractor for a long time (at least a month):

  • Disconnect the cables from the battery.

  • Charge the battery and keep it in a cool and dry place (remember to recharge it before using the garden tractor again).

  • Empty the fuel tank and drain the engine oil according to the instructions in the user and maintenance manual.

Park the garden tractor in a dry and sheltered place, ideally covering it with a tarpaulin sheet. Is your garage small? There are space-saving solutions: some models, such as the MISTRAL 72/12.5 KH rider mower, can be stood on-end and fixed to the wall with a strap.

Still unsure which garden tractor is right for your needs? Here is an article that will help to resolve your doubts when choosing a garden tractor for your vegetable plot, vineyard or orchard.

Correlated news

/ Inspirations

22/09/2020

How to use a garden tractor for preparing soil in th...

Get the most out of your garden tractor

Read more

/ Inspirations

22/09/2020

Working in the vineyard: month-by-month activities

How to have well-kept and productive vines

Read more

Inspirations / Evergreen tips

21/08/2020

Flail mowers: When to Use Them for Mowing Grass

Get rid of unwanted greenery in the countryside and in woodland

Read more