Tune up a lawn tractor

By Gene and Katie Hamilton, Tribune Media Services

Do It Yourself or Not?

9:30 AM EDT, September 30, 2013


Regular maintenance of any lawn equipment makes it operate at peak performance and ensures that it's running safely. To keep a lawn tractor in good running order, get a regular tune up by the manufacturer or do it yourself.

A thorough checkup involves inspecting belts for wear and adjusting the tension, then cleaning the engine compartment and removing any build-up of debris under the deck. Next, change the oil and replace the spark plugs and air and fuel filters, and check the battery for voltage and continuity. Then grease the axle and mower spindles. Sharpen and balance the blades, but be careful. Remember to disconnect spark plug wires or negative battery cable to prevent an accidental startup. These routine procedures guarantee you'll get the best cutting action and a smooth ride all season.

John Deere is a manufacturer that does house calls for lawn tractors with a mobile tune up service. A mechanic and trailer (with a service bay and lift) arrives at your house, and the mechanic moves the tractor inside and does a complete checkup for $250. A mechanically savvy do-it-yourselfer can do a tune up for $80, the cost of the oil, filters, belts and other materials, for a savings of 68 percent.

To find more DIY project costs, and to post comments and questions, visit http://www.diyornot.com and http://www.m.diyornot.com on smartphones.

Pro Cost -- DIY Cost -- Pro time -- DIY Time -- DIY Savings -- Percent Saved

$250 -- $80 -- 2.0 -- 3.5 -- $170 -- 68 Percent