If you’re looking for something to do on these wintery weekends, may I suggest getting your tools ready for the landscape and gardening season. This segment of the economy has not been spared from the supply chain issues that have been plaguing us. A good way to start is to make a list of each tool and what needs to be done before you can put it into service this spring. Then you can start at the top and chip away until everything’s ready to go.
Shortages may be particularly acute in the power tool segment. Many are manufactured in Europe or Asia. Even those manufactured in America source parts from around the world, just like the automobile industry. Don’t think you can avoid these problems just because you’re not planning to buy new equipment. If you planned to have your current tools serviced, you may encounter delays.
Outdoor power equipment, whether handheld or large equipment like lawn mowers and garden tractors, should undergo preventive maintenance annually. Annual maintenance for wheeled power tools like lawn mowers includes…
• Changing the oil.
• Lubricating if the manufacturer requires it.
• Checking the ignition system for worn or dirty spark plugs and changing them if needed, and setting the timing on multiple cylinder engines.
• Checking the fuel system, checking and cleaning the carburetor or fuel injectors, replacing worn hoses and dirty air filter and fuel filter if one is present.
• Checking the muffler and exhaust system.
• Checking the suspension for worn joints and bushings.
• Checking belts.
• Checking hydraulics if present.
• Sharpening mower blades.
Handheld power equipment maintenance is less involved and you may be able to do it yourself. You should…
• Clean everything.
• Change the oil in four cycle engines.
• Be sure oil and gas is mixed properly for two cycle engines.
• Charge batteries for electric tools. Charge or replace as necessary.
• Change spark plugs.
• Check and clean the carburetor or fuel injectors.
• Check the muffler and exhaust system.
• Check the air filter and replace if dirty.
• Sharpen blades.
Even if you do your own service, you may have to shop around for a store that has the parts you need. Who knows where the parts are made? Even the transport of domestic parts is subject to truck driver availability.
While navigating the power tool challenges, don’t forget your hand tools. Sharpen blades. Oil pivot points. Tools like shovels, hoes and rakes just need a cleaning to remove last year’s dirt. You might also make sure the handles are solidly attached.
Doing these tasks now can save you a great deal of stress in the spring when your lawn needs mowing, your flowers beckon and your garden needs tending.