Winter isn't giving up so easily this year, but Easter is just around the corner and the trees are budding. With everything that is going on in the world it's easy to ignore your property until things settle down. But, the reality is despite the fact that most of us are off our routines, the vegetation is still going to do it's thing and start growing. That means it's time to get your equipment started and serviced before you really need it.
One of the biggest problems we run into here at the shop is matching man-power to demand. One of the reoccurring questions we get is "how long is this going to take?" Most people look to their equipment when they are ready to use it. There are few things as frustrating as having your day planned to work in the yard and not being able to get the rototiller started or the mower. To add insult to injury, you call the repair shop and they have a wait time of anywhere from 1 to 6 weeks. The unfortunate truth is most shops have the same problem, not enough hours in the day, not enough qualified mechanics, parts that have to be ordered from who knows where and customers all wanting to take advantage of the nice weather at the same time.
So, what's the solution? The most obvious is get out there and start your equipment before you want to use and get ahead of the game. Wait times are always going to be a problem, but if you are strategic about it the down time won't impact your plans. At this point you might be thinking "that's great advice, if I had thought about it a month ago". If your in the "need it now" category you still have a few options that might work (no promises). The most common issue with equipment that sits for any period of time (even as short as a few weeks) is the gas going bad. We live in the age of ethanol, which means gas has a shelf life just like milk. Once it spoils, game over, you need to throw it away. If your equipment won't start try draining the gas from the tank and the carburetor, get fresh gas (not the stuff that has been sitting in your gas can all winter) and try again. You can also use a little bit of starting fluid to get things going. Sometimes a little squirt of starting fluid will encourage the engine to start and pull some of that new fresh gas through the system. Just be cautious with the starting fluid, particularly with 2-stroke engines (like weed whackers and chainsaws) a little bit goes along way, allot can cause serious engine damage. A couple other things you can check/replace are the air filter and spark plug. Both of these are relatively inexpensive and should be changed annually anyway.
If none of those solve your problem it's time to get your equipment into the shop, just remember when you call, be kind to your neighborhood repair shop, they are working as fast as they can; telling at the person on the phone that your yard is a jungle is not going to speed up the process. Stop, take a breath, and enjoy the fact that you have grass growing, trees budding and bugs flying around. It could be much, much worse; you know like freezing rain, snow, sub-zero temperatures and all that fund stuff!