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Tips for Clean Air: Engine Tune Ups

March 20, 2012

How to Make the Air Cleaner While Keeping Your Lawn Greener

Developing a regular maintenance schedule is the first step in helping to keep our air a little cleaner.

Air pollution comes from many sources. One of the smallest is exhaust and fuel emissions from gasoline powered engines — the kind used in lawnmowers, riding tractors, string trimmers, tillers, and other types of outdoor power equipment. Another contributor is fuel spillage and evaporation.

Today the industry is doing its part to reduce air pollution by manufacturing new generations of outdoor power equipment that operate with low-emission engines and cordless electric power. You too can do your part. Not only can you perform earth-friendly lawn and garden tasks like mulching and composting to nourish and beautify your lawn, but you can help to reduce air polluting emissions by handling fuel properly and keeping your equipment in good working order. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, here are some easy steps you can take to keep your power equipment more air-friendly. (Always check your operator’s manual for specific recommendations on maintenance.) Otherwise, you may want to seek help from your local outdoor power equipment service shop.

  •     Change your equipment’s oil seasonally and be sure to recycle the old oil.
  •     Replace the spark plug and air filter, and check for proper carburetor adjustment … a properly tuned engine helps burn fuel more efficiently, thereby reducing emissions.
  •     Be sure to use replacement parts recommended by the manufacturer.
  •     Avoid gasoline spillage when you’re refilling the tank. Also, keep fuel tanks and containers sealed tight, leaving room (approx. 3/4 full) for expansion.
  •     Tighten loose nuts, bolts and belts so that your mower runs a little quieter, too.
  •     For mowers, sharpen cutting blades and keep decks cleared of all grass clippings to further enhance performance.
  •     Replace old worn out equipment with the latest models offering low-emission engines that run 70% -95% cleaner than 1990 models. Electric or rechargeable battery power is also available.