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Barrette's Small Engines Inc. - SmallEngines.ca FAQ's
How should I clean my equipment?
Before performing maintenance on any unit, always disconnect and ground the spark plug wire on gasoline engines and remove ignition key from ignition switch.
When cleaning any piece of power equipment, DO NOT use any type of water spray like a garden hose or pressurized washer (unless specifically permitted by the operators manual). Riding mowers equipped with the optional "Deck Wash" feature should follow the deck cleaning instructions found in the operators manual of the mower.
Direct water spray is a common mistake made by some consumers.
There is a risk of rinsing away lubrication on critical components as well as possibly allowing water and condensation to set. This setting moisture will promote rust and contamination. Water used on equipment which is still warm from use can cause a variety of problems. The rapid cooling that occurs causes a drastic temperature difference to exist internally and externally, therefore allowing condensation to occur. Metals also expand and contract due to temperature change. This may allow for internal components to be exposed directly to sprayed water, and therefore run the risk of internal rusting resulting in accelerated wear and premature failure. Not only is a unit vulnerable when it is hot, but even a cool unit can be improperly cleaned. Many units have non-serviceable or maintenance free components. These are parts lubricated and sealed at the factory and unable to be serviced. This sealed or non-serviceable part does not mean that it is air tight. Therefore, even on a cooled unit, sprayed water can get into these components, carrying in dirt, debris and other contaminants while rinsing away necessary lubrication. Again, this causes the risk of internal rusting resulting in accelerated wear and premature failure.
To properly clean your unit, first wait for the unit to cool. Some consumers own air compressors. If using this tool, there is not any harm in blowing dust and debris off of the unit. If such a tool is not available, cleaning methods should consist of using a brush or broom to clear away any and all debris from the unit. Make sure to clear debris from the muffler and engine area. Engines and electric motors should be kept clean from dirt accumulation. Accumulated dirt and debris around engines and electric motors will lead to overheating and increase the likelyhood of failure or severe damage to these components. On units with transmissions and gearboxes, these components and and any applicable cooling fins need to be kept clean of debris accumulation as well. To clean the underside of a cutting deck, use a soft plastic or wood scraping tool to remove compacted and caked on dirt and grass clippings. Then, for a showroom shine that many customers desire, use a damp cloth to remove any dust and debris from any painted, molded plastic, or other parts.