TIPS, Do's and Don'ts tips for the new guy

Eric ELM

Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
Chicago, IL USA
1) Engage your clutch at the lowest possible rpm's and still not kill your engine. I have seen so many guys start their engines and rev them wide open and engage their clutches. Big no no unless you like to replace them. Basically operate it like your truck. Can you imagine dropping it in gear at full rpm's? Or dropping the clutch at full rpm's? This stretches out the belts on mowers with hand clutch machines or electric clutches.

2) Disengage your clutch at an idle, most electric clutches act as a brake.

3) Let your engine warm up a bit before running it at full rpm's.

4) Let it cool down a bit before shutting down.

5) Don't shut it off at full rpm's.

6) Keep an extra set of belts and blades with you at all times, sure saves a trip to the shop or dealer. Down time sucks.

7) Don't slide a gas can across a plastic bed liner. It causes static electricity.

8) Be safe and keep safety features in place.

This is a few, but does anyone have other things to add?

Double D

LawnSite Member
Memphis, TN
In the manual for my Snapper hydro, it clearly states in bold writing to engage the PTO at full rpm's. I asked the dealer what was the correct procedure, and he also said at full rpm's. I relayed some negative feedback on doing it at full rpm's (from what I read here), and the dude said that the electric clutch is nothing like a manual clutch and should be engaged at full rpm's (I used poping the clutch in your truck at full rpm as an example). So what is the correct procedure? I was also told to pressure wash my machine to increase the life of the machine. I was poking around on the Exmark site, and in the FAQ's section on the site, they say that to pressure wash is a big no-no. Do you guys pressure wash at the end of the day? Not trying to start anything, I just want to do what is best for my equipment.


LawnSite Senior Member
Northwest Ohio
Lots of good advice there. Even for some of the guy's that have been in the business for a while. My dealer told me that I should let my engine run and COOL down a bit before shutting it down. He said it's not good to shut your engine down right away. I will let it run while I blow off the drives and walks, about 3-5 minutes. Engine dosen't backfire and shuts off smooth. To engage my blades on my Walker (geardrive) I just have engine off idle, same to disengage. Saves on the belt.


LawnSite Member
Waxahachie, TX
You grease your equipment, change oil, and other P.M. on a regular basis BECAUSE this is your living not your hobby. When a piece of equipment is down it is money you don’t make. If going out to eat cost more than to repair your mower, trimmer, whatever, buy some bologna and hamburger helper and eat on the mower day and night.

Also, do not let any one set your price good customers are gold, whiners are a dime a dozen “ we can possibly meet so and so price if it is in writing and legitimate” haggling just is not worth the air to do it. You cannot have every lawn as some people are cheap and some of the cheapest son of a !#^#@! ichs live in three story mansions with prize winning lawns.

Hope this helped a little.

[Edited by Freetime on 04-16-2001 at 11:21 AM]

Eric ELM

Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
Chicago, IL USA
Double D,

I have an electric clutch on my 10 year old 430 JD and I have never replaced the clutch. I always engaged it at an idle when I used to mow with it, but it's diesel so it has enough low end torque to do this at an idle. It sure seems like a lot of jolt to the whole machine to kick the clutch on while the engine is screeming full rpm's.

If your manual says to do this at full rpm's, then I guess you should. Sounds to me like they just want to sell you parts for it. An electric clutch should engage at an idle just fine if you have enough torque to power it. 2000 rpm's should be plenty of speed to start up the blades, but bring it down to an idle before shutting the blades off.


LawnSite Bronze Member
I always engage and disengage my blades at idle or a tad above. My dealer agrees this is the correct way also. One thing I learned the hard way was, you should always have backup equipment. Downtimes sucks! Also keep your blades sharp and balanced. I also agree to let your machines warm up and cool down before running full throtle, and shutting down. Do listen to the good advise you will receive here. Don't ever be afraid to ask a question. Make sure you are licensed and insured. I'm sure there will be alot more suggestions.


LawnSite Gold Member
stanfield nc
air tank ,tire plugs,starter fluid,spare tire in my case one suffices for truck and trailer,little1/2 impact wrenches
that plug into cigerette lighter takes blades and tires
of no sweat,exstra blades an belts,sting stopper clorox will work,firstaid items ,12 volt quick starter
common sense and a sense of humor for the days when you discover NOTHIN IS GOING TO GO RIGHT TODAY