All outdoor power equipment requires some maintenance to keep running in top shape. By changing the oil, air filter and keeping the equipment clean, you can extend the normal life by several years. I don’t know about you, but I prefer to get my monies’ worth from something. I believe the average life you can expect from any piece of outdoor power equipment is about 10 years, ± 2 years.
Case in point, last year, my 10 year old craftsman lawn mower bit the dust. The aluminum crank case cracked and leaked oil all over the place. I used this lawn mower at our rental house, which had an acre of lawn, then when we moved here, I used it for four more years, again, mowing about an acre of lawn every week.
Last fall, my 9 year old chain saw broke the connecting rod. The chain saw was heavily used, and a higher quality unit like a Stihl or Husqvarna may have lasted longer. This year, my 10 year old string trimmer bit the dust. The cable that transfers power from the power head to the cutting head unsprung. The whole unit was beginning to fall apart anyway, again, a higher quality unit may have lasted longer. So I have concluded that 10 years of medium to heavy use is about all you can expect from most stuff.
The Toro Model 20071A Lawn mower was brand new last year, and it has been a good unit so far. Always starts on the first or second pull and does a real nice job with the lawn.
Maintenance is pretty easy. Changing the oil took about 15 minutes, including 10 minutes of warming the engine up. I like to change the oil when the engine is warm because the it thins out the oil and more of the old oil comes out of the crank case. This unit does not have an oil plug on the bottom of the engine, so it needs to be tipped on its side. This is best done when the fuel tank is nearly empty, so gas does not leak out when it is tipped over. I use a catch pan, then empty the catch pan into my “dirty lube oil” container, which is a 5 gallon gas can so purposed. When the dirty lube oil container is full, I take the oil to my favorite garage, M. Alpert and Sons, for recycling. The lawn mower takes 20 ounces of SAE 30W detergent motor oil.
The air filter should be changed every year. The replacement filter is a Tecumseh 36905, which I found at both Lowes and Home Depot.
The old filter is on the left. That is the filter that came with the lawn mower after one season of use. You can see why they need to be replaced every year.
The only other thing that is recommended is to lube the wheel gears for the front drive wheels.
An occasional blade sharpening will also make cutting the grass much easier. You can tell when your lawn mower blade needs to be sharpened by how cleanly it is cutting the grass. A blade of grass that looks torn or shredded where it was cut is a good indicator that the blade is dull and needs to be sharpened.