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Beginning at the moment you start your new engine for the first time, that shiny new engine is on its way to the junkyard. The only person that has and control over how long it takes to get there is you. Your primary key to long engine life is engine maintenance. Every time the crankshaft makes a revolution, a small amount of wear occurs. Proper maintenance can minimize the wear and increase the life of your engine. The primary reason for engine failure is dirt entering an engine.
Most engine problems can be avoided with a few simple maintenance practices. Modern engines are designed and built with systems to prevent dirt from entering the engine and to keep the engine from overheating while it is running. These systems work very well, but do require periodic maintenance to be performed on them. Start out right by reading your owners manual before you operate the engine and keeping the owners manual in a place where you can refer to it often.
The following is a list of things that you can do to increase the life span of your small engine:
Change the oil and oil filter at the recommended intervals. Change them more frequently if you are mowing in dirty conditions. Always use the oil recommended by the manufacturer. Check your owners manual. If you have lost or misplaced your manual, most are available online at the manufacturers home page. See our manufacturers links page.
Replace the air filter whenever it becomes dirty. Trying to clean paper filters is not recommended.
Clean your engine often. Make sure the cooling fins are clear of debris. Use compressed air or water pressure. (DO NOT SPRAY A HOT ENGINE WITH WATER)
Always use clean fresh fuel and store it with a fuel additive when you put it away for the winter. Leave the tank at least half full for winter storage.
Always use original equipment parts to ensure a proper fit. An improper air filter can ruin an engine in just a few minutes of dirty operation.
The maintenance procedures listed above are not complicated, can be performed by most homeowners and will dramatically increase the useful life of your engine. You should also always be aware of any change in your engines operation. Listen for unusual noises or vibrations when operating your engine. If you notice an unusual noise or vibration have your engine checked immediately. Also check for any loose bolts and make sure the governor linkage is not binding.