At Barrett Lawn Care we hold training classes every winter for all of our crews: lawn care, landscaping, and irrigation. I would like to expand on one issue of lawn care training: engaging the clutch.
First off, all of our mowers are Exmark products; sit-on riders (Lazer Zs, walk behinds, and even push mowers). Exmark makes great products and over the years I have seen these mowers go over cliffs and into ponds, and when you pull them out they run and cut grass like nothing ever happened!
Let’s talk about engaging the clutch on these mowers. This discussion does not apply to a homeowner who has a 21″ push mower to mow their lawn. You don’t have to worry about a clutch with push mowers because when the mower is running the blade is running as well. When it comes to riding lawn mowers and commercial mowing equipment there is a clutch involved with turning the blades on and off. You can start the machine and drive all day long without the blades on. However, when you want to turn the blades on and actually cut some grass, what is your throttle position? If you engage your blades at full throttle you are doing harm to your clutch. A clutch is a two piece system: one side is spinning the same speed as the engine and the other is not spinning at all. The clutch is basically a large magnet. If the one side is spinning as fast as the engine and the other side is not moving, when you engage the clutch both pieces have to come together and lock up magnetically in order for the blades to spin. This is equivalent to doing a neutral drop in your car! Nothing good can come of that! Engage the clutch on your lawn mower at 50% throttle. This will allow for minimal slippage and a longer life for the clutch. This applies to all commercial walk behind mowers, riding mowers, and residential riding lawn mowers.