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Small Engine Repair

There are some good reasons to consider repairing your own small engine. Most repair shops charge a fee just to look at your machine. At fifty dollars or more per hour of labor plus the cost of parts, your bill can quickly add up. During busy seasons a repair shop may take weeks to repair your machine. Before any of that you must load the heavy equipment into your car or pay expensive pickup/delivery charges. Will they fix it right the first time?

With some basic mechanical ability and a few common tools you can often do the job yourself, saving money and time. Start by reading the machine’s owner’s manual. There you’ll find important safety and warranty information, operating instructions and maintenance procedures. If the solution to your problem isn’t found there then find the machine’s make and model number. Often these numbers are stamped directly into the engine’s cover, or they may be located on a sticker or tag attached to the engine. There may be separate model numbers for the engine and for the chassis or “body” of the machine.

Use your machine’s make and model number to obtain the correct service manual. Many of the same service manuals that professional small engine mechanics use are readily available via the Internet and are quite inexpensive. Some online stores offer a wide selection of service manuals in a number of formats including paper, downloadable electronic PDF, VHS video and CD-ROM. These manuals are quite detailed yet are written at a fairly basic level. They contain important safety information, adjustment procedures, troubleshooting tips and specifications in addition to step-by-step repair instructions. The service manual will easily pay for itself on the first job.

After using the service manual to diagnose your machine’s problem, decide if it is something that you can repair yourself. Some problems require specials tools or are covered under the machine’s warranty and these repairs are best left to a professional. Many common problems however are easy to fix yourself. Replacing a clogged air filter for example is quite simple and takes just minutes. Replacement parts are available online and at local dealers that support your brand of equipment.