While you may be taking care of most maintenance when you store your equipment in the winter and get it out in the spring, there are still a few things that need to be done during the season. These tips will help you keep your Cub Cadet mower running at its best from the first time you start the motor to the first snowfall.
Before starting the engine, check the oil level. Air-cooled engines depend on the oil to both lubricate internal components and move heat from the combustion chamber to the rest of the engine, increasing the effective cooling surface to keep temperatures under control. Some oil consumption is normal on these motors, which means the oil level can drop to a point that will lead to overheating before a full oil change is needed.
Mower Decks and Blades
Wash the deck after each use. Riding and wide deck motors come with a washout port that attaches to a garden hose to clean the deck. If you have a walk behind mower, tip the deck so that the carburetor is facing up to access the deck for washing or blade maintenance. Excessive buildup can be removed by scraping off the deck surface with a putty knife.
Inspect and sharpen the blades. Blades should be replaced if they’re cracked, bent or heavily worn. A dull blade is harder to push through grass, putting a strain on the engine, and it can tear the tips of the grass, opening them up to infection.
On riding mowers and wide walk behind mowers, the blades connected to the engine by a series of belts. These should be inspected and replaced if they show signs of wear including cracking and stretching. The spindles that connect the belts to the blades also need to be greased occasionally.
Depending on your engine, the air filter will use a paper element, a foam element or both.
Paper elements are designed to trap fine particles of dirt in their fibers while maintaining air flow, but surface dirt can cover the surface, restricting air flow. Tapping the filter against a hard surface will loosen this dirt so air can pass through the filter again.
Foam elements use oil to trap dirt. To clean them, the foam needs to be soaked in a non-flammable solvent or washed in a mild detergent. After the filter has dried, it should be soaked in engine oil, then any excess oil should be squeezed out before re-installation. The type of oil doesn’t matter so long as it’s clean.
When cleaning the filters, remember to wipe out any dirt inside the filter housing. Buildup can block the entrance of air which can keep the engine from running at peak performance.
Modern fuel doesn’t age well, which can lead to power reduction and starting issues in small engines. While ethanol is blamed for a lot of fuel problems, it also acts as a solvent, inhibiting the formation of gums inside the fuel. That means even if you buy ethanol-free gas, you can still end up having problems due to varnishing inside the fuel system.
For most equipment, fuel should be used within 30 days of purchase or within 90 days if it has been treated with a fuel stabilizer. This includes fuel injected engines: they may not need the same after season maintenance as carbureted motors, but they still need fresh fuel.
Having trouble starting the engine? Check the spark plug for carbon buildup and electrode wear. While the plug should last through the season, problems with the oil and fuel systems can lead to premature wear.
Over time, engine vibration can literally shake your equipment apart. Checking the tightness of the bolts on your equipment, particularly around the handle, will keep you from losing them when you’re mowing.
Ensure Reliability with Genuine OEM Parts
www.cubparts.com is a certified dealer for Cub Cadet as well as the manufacturers of engines used in their professional models including Kawasaki and Honda so we can provide you with everything you need to keep your equipment running this summer. Our site has built-in factory parts diagrams and descriptions to make it easy to find what you’re looking for, and we can ship those parts to any address in the U.S. and Canada.