Frequently asked questions
Servicing & Repairs
When is the best time to get my machinery serviced?
Although we service machines all year through the demand for our services is always high between February and May each year so early booking is advisable. The best time to service your machines is from November to January to ensure that your machinery is back with you in good time for the first cut of spring.
Collection is available for lawnmowers and garden tractors at a small extra charge within the local area, alternatively you can bring your mower to us anytime from 8.30 am - 5pm Monday to Saturday
How long does a service take?
We use a strict first come first serve system so depending on the amount of machines infront of yours it can take upto 2 weeks or so however if we are quiet we have been known to turn machines around in a day or two, obviously depending on the availability of required parts. In the busy season occasionally the waiting time can exceed our standard times however we will always advise you when booking in a machine.
Why should I Service my machines?
Servicing does not repair a machine it is a preventative measure to prepare your machine for the work it needs to do and will reduce the amount of repairs that are required. Machinery can be very expensive and by servicing you are increasing the reliability of your garden equipment and it will last longer. Most new equipment has a warranty supplied by the manufacturer and part of the terms will require you to regularely service machines.
How much are Repairs?
We always try and advise you of how much a repair could be however until your machine has been looked at by the workshop we can only give a best guess.
When a machine is not running correctly and not starting the approximate time taken can be from anything upto and above 1 hour to diagnose the issue also it could be repaired in 15 minutes so we take a £40 inspection fee when booking in your machine. We also offer to put a maximum spend limit should the repair be above your spend limit we then will stop work and no addition costs will be invoiced. The inspection fee will cover the work carried out by the workshop unless you have advised us to continue with the repair.
Does fuel go stale?
The answer is most definately 'YES'.
Approximately 70% of repairs are now caused by bad fuel so we have tried to give you the reasons why below. Good Reading
Does petrol really go stale?
Petrol from the pump is a mix of many components (over 100) with different properties that determine the performance of the fuel. If left in an open container it will in time evaporate completely but as it evaporates the make up of the fuel will change as different chemical components evaporate at different rates. This evaporation also happens in fuel cans and tanks and the process of degradation starts the moment the fuel is purchased.
Petrol will generally last for around 3 weeks at summer temperature in a vented fuel tank, after which time the performance will suffer and it will be best to add fresh fuel to restore the performance. Petrol in a sealed container will last for more than 6 months before the performance suffers too much.
Fuel stored in underground garage tanks is unlikely to degrade much because of the rate of replenishment except in remote small garages which these days are rarely found.
How the petrol changes in the machines fuel tank.
The lighter components evaporate first these are the chemicals that provide valuable octane benefits on starting from cold. These are very volatile and compose most of the fuel/air mix during initial startup but when they are depleted by evaporation the mixture becomes lean causing higher temperatures detonation pre-ignition and piston damage, especially in small high revving two strokes such as strimmers and saws.
The fuel that remains when the volatile parts have gone has a higher density as well as a higher octane but as it is not as volatile, cold starting is impaired. Carburetors meter fuel by volume the mixture now becomes rich because of the extra amount of fuel in the denser liquid, this richness will cause plug fouling and blocked exhaust ports due to carbon deposits but the lack of volatile octane will suppress full revs.
So, in short marginal fuel will result in hard starting and lack of top end revs and power but the machine will run once started.
Formation of Gums and Peroxides
After several months storage at summer temperature the petrol will start to form peroxides and gums, the degradation will continue as the fuel ages and the peroxides which form will slowly attack the soft materials in the fuel system. The first to suffer will be the rubber and plastic fuel hoses which will fall apart, followed by primer bulbs and carb diaphragms. Eventually even the harder plastic of the fuel tank will be eroded as will the aluminum of the the carburetor.
The 'gums' or 'varnish' are solid material which forms and lines the inside of the carburetor, blocking the microscopic bores and jets, thereby effecting the functioning of the carburetor.
Stale fuel is the number one cause of stiff metering diaphragms and the primary cause of carburetor replacement. Gums and varnish will quickly stick to the piston rings of a running engine causing expensive failure.
Phase seperated fuel Gel
If this engine is lucky enough to start it will run on ethanol with no added oil and rapid engine damage will occur but more commonly the damage is done during storage while the phase separated fuel corrodes away the inside of the carburetor, causing expensive repair which is not covered by warranty.
Stale petrol is nothing new
We had the problem of stale fuel long before the addition of Ethanol, its just that todays fuel turns bad much quicker than in the past in fact depending on temperature, light and humidity, the fuel can be unusable in as little as 30 days. The ethanol speeds up the process for two reasons the affinity to water mentioned above and the fact that ethanol is oxygen rich which speeds up the oxidation process which turns petrol stale.
How do we overcome the problem?
1. Keep you fuel fresh and store it in sealed containers in a cool dark and dry place (under the bench on a stone floor rather than on the bench in front of the shed window) Store your machines in a similar manner.
2. Purchase only enough fuel for 30 days use and never ever use fuel over 60 days you may get away with it but the chances are that you will have problems.
3. Use a fuel additive such as Briggs and Stratton Fuel Fit, if this is added correctly to fresh petrol at the time of purchase then your fuel should stay usable for up to 90 days. Remember that additives will never be able to rejuvenate old stale petrol whatever they claim on the bottle.
4. You could try draining your machine before storage, some manufacturers even recommend this but in my experience this causes the carb metering diaphragm to shrink and go brittle. It never rehydrates properly.
How to recognise stale petrol.
As petrol ages it will change noticeably in colour, smell and viscosity. New petrol fresh from the garage will have a pleasant 'tang' and will be almost clear, with just a slight colour but as it ages it will develop an unpleasant smell more akin paint or varnish which will linger on materials or skin for a good while, whilst the colour will deepen considerably. The old fuel will also become much thicker more akin to very light oil or diesel fuel. Really old petrol will have a very heavy and unpleasant smell and can be very dark in colour whilst being very thick, more like a liquer.
What is the best solution?
The best solution by far is to use an alkylate fuel such as Aspen. These fuels are derived from petrol but go through a special 'alkylation' process which removes 90% of the unwanted chemicals leaving around just the 10 essential components. This fuel performs as well (if not a little better) than petrol but is chemically pure (stable) and will never degrade. Fuel lines, tanks and carburetors will not be attacked by this fuel and the machine can safely be stored for years with the same fuel with no detriment.
In addition the clean burning nature of the fuel will ensure that the internal workings of the engine stay clear of any gums, varnish or carbon residues.
Aspen is by far the best and most readily available alkylate fuel.
Are you OPEN?
YES, we are currently open for business and abiding by the recent Government Rules.
1) You must wear a face mask to enter our shop
2) We have provided hand sanistiser at the shop door and on the till area
3) We advise a maximum of 4 peolpe in the shop at one time
4) Please do not touch equipment in the shop, ask a member of staff to assist you
5) Please stay 2 metres away from other people including shop staff
6) please contact us via phone ore email for any questions are parts enquiries
Top 10 Tips
Our Top 10 Tips for your garden machinery.
1) Before using your machine check the Oil level. Without a doubt the most important thing to remember at the beginning of the season and again every few weeks thereafter. Low or no oil is the most frequent culprit for engine failure!
2) Sharpen blades you would not expect your kitchen knives to cut when blunt and the same goes for your garden tools and machinery. Keeping them sharp will reduce engine strain and prolong the life of your machine's.
3) Service regularly, keeping your machines serviced will have your machines running like new. Look after your investment and your garden machinery will give you years of faithful service.
4) If something is cheap, it always is cheap, buying a un-branded chainsaw on eBay is tempting for under £100 or the DIY store special offer mower's seems too good to be true but when something goes wrong with your “bargain” purchase, we can almost guarantee that parts to repair this are not available. Putting it simply – It’s false economy, you don’t have to spend a fortune but for the sake of an extra few pounds buying a reputable brand will ensure that when something goes wrong a repair is possible. The majority of products we sell have 95% uk parts all we need is a serial number when we sell you a machine we then keep the serial numbers on your account so it easy to order parts when you need them.
5) Cover your machines where possible. In the garden shed or garage is great. If your ride on/tractor mower must be housed outside, invest in an inexpensive shelter or at the very least a tarpaulin. Keeping your machinery away from the elements will extend life.
6) Clean your machinery. A mower blade clogged up with grass from previous cuts will not perform as well as one free of debris. Hedgecutter blades need to be cleaned and sap constantly removed.
7) Drain your fuel after the season. Lots of machinery fails to start in the spring if left over winter with fuel in the tanks that have gone stale.
8) Never cut saturated grass! It blunts blades, makes engines labour and will shorten the life to your mower. If you really need to cut the grass when wet, set your blades to the highest possible setting to just trim the top.
9) Listen to your engine. If it’s labouring, spluttering or generally making a funny or unusual noise get it checked out! Chances are you can avoid a costly engine replacement if you nip it in the bud quickly. If using a ride on tractor slow down if the engine starts to labour or makes sounds, this could be your belt slipping and will end up with a costly repair.
10) If you are unsure call us! Tinkering with garden machinery can be very dangerous so it’s often better to leave it to the experts. Having your machinery professionally cared for is not expensive and may save you from a nasty injury!
I want to look at my blade on my Lawn Mower
Firstly be very careful it may seem silly but ensure that the machine is not running, the best way is to look at the front of the machine and inspect from it from the front, however should you need to turn it on its side there is only 1 way you can do this. The side that the oil dip stick is on must face the grass (make sure it is screwed on) and the carburetter must face up. NEVER the other way. Blades can be very sharp so do not touch the edge.
I want to change the oil in my Lawn Mower
There are a couple of ways of doing this as follows;-
1) You can buy a oil removal pump that will extract the oil from the engine without having to turn it over on its side, these are normally around £10 - £15. Running the engine so the oil is warm will help the oil to be removed better.
2) You can turn the machine on its side and by using a baking tray or simular, undo the oil filler (dip stick) and the oil will drain out, leave it until all the oil has stopped. Running the engine so the oil is warm will help the oil to be removed better.
Re-filling your machine with the correct grade of oil is important, check your owners manual to ensure you are using the correct oil and where to fill it too. Never put too much oil in an engine, this can cause major failures.
Most Briggs & Stratton engines will use a SAE30
Most Honda engines will use 10W-40
Regulary check the oil level.
What are your opening times?
We are open Monday to Saturday 8.30am to 5pm.
We are closed Sundays.
We are closed Bank Holiday Mondays
We are open Bank Holiday Fridays