Robot Lawn Mower Care And Maintenance
Robot lawn mowers require very low maintenance and you can generally take care of things yourself rather than needing to call in an expert to do it for you. There are only a couple of things needed of you.
In short, ideally you ought to clean the underside of your robot mower as regularly as you replace its blades, that’d be roughly twice per mowing season. You could also lubricate wheels and such. Check the lawn for any branches and the like the robot mower might not be able to handle before starting it up. For added protection, you can place the charging station in shaded, well ventilated area to better protect the robot mower against the elements (direct sunlight and heat, heavy rain and humidity). Don’t forget to clean and recharge the robot mower before storing it away for a long period of time and avoid leaving it in freezing temperature.
There are a few more things you can do to keep the robot lawn mower healthy, but those were the main things. Now let’s look at why you shouldn’t just go: “Oh, okay, I guess… But why bother?” after reading all that. ^^
Why Clean the Robot Lawn Mower?
If you have an air compressor or even just a vacuum cleaner, removing grass nibbles stuck on the robot mower takes almost no time at all. Otherwise it’s a bit more tricky with a brush or the like, but still fairly simple.
- Grass clogging up the wheels can increase the amount of energy it needs to move around. That means the robot lawn mower will do less work and instead spend more time charging.
- Grass clogging up the cutting system can simply hinder cutting efficiency, or start deteriorating the mechanism over time.
- If it’s particularly hot outside, the clogging could somewhat block airways and only make the already too high temperature potentially have even more of a negative effect on the robot mower mechanisms and electronics.
- If the robot lawn mower was not cleaned regularly, the negative effects could start to show in the health of your lawn. In case where the robot mower was already working at its max capacity, shorter work periods could lead to some uncut areas, needing to work more frequently in a day for longer. In case the cutting system was deteriorating to a point where grass started to be ripped and torn instead of cleanly snipped, brown-ish spots could appear on the lawn (usually the result of blunt blades at work or simply just too dry of a weather, the latter can be pretty common regardless).
On their own, these reasons seem like weak arguments, but all those little things add up.
Why Replace the Blades?
A sharp blade cuts more efficiently than a blunt blade, that much is obvious. But you might be thinking: “Is that the only reason?” As long as the grass is cut, why bother, right?
I’d say that’s a decent enough way to think about it. Guidelines are not set in stone. How long a blade remains sharp can vary on the type of grass your lawn has, how often the robot mower goes about it, etc. No need to follow instructions blindly. Some blades you can even sharpen yourself.
However, never even bothering to check the blades isn’t a good idea either. A blunt blade can result in the following:
- parts of the blade breaking off, waiting for somebody to step on the broken pieces in the grass;
- ripped and shredded grass tips;
- damaged grass turning brown.
When To Replace the Battery?
Manufacturers have written that the lifespan of a lithium-ion rechargeable battery is roughly 2 to 4 years. Have I bothered to change it out in those years? Nah…
The way I go about it is that when it can’t handle the task no more, then I’ll change it out. But until then, I’ve decided to simply leave it be. The extra cost from more frequent recharging sessions is fairly minuscule anyway. I guess if electricity costs a lot in your area, I guess then it might be more cost-effective to just swap it out.
Why Place the Charging Station in a Shaded Area?
As was partly mentioned earlier, having the docking station in a shaded area can protect the robot mower from the elements (direct sunlight and heat, heavy rain and humidity).
The first thing that you inevitably come across is having to place the robot mower charging station closer to a power plug. At this point you automatically have placed it near somewhat of a shaded area out of common sense, I hope. Most of them are advertised as water resistant anyway simply because they’re installed outdoors.
But maybe you left the docking station out in the open still. Does it even matter?
- Direct sunlight can deteriorate robot mower’s outer shell’s paint;
- direct sunlight can also add to an already hot day to a point where inner mechanisms may get damaged.
- Although the robot mower and docking station are water resistant to an extent, humidity can creep up to sensitive areas still and cause damage.
And if you were feeling clever, you could even put the charging station on a little hill to protect it from flooding, but that can be impossible in most cases. And besides, it might more likely get struct by lighting like that…
Robot Mower & Charging Station Winter Storage
In the case of robot lawn mower itself:
- Charge the robot lawn mower for the last time;
- turn it off;
- clean it;
- Store in dry, well ventilated indoor conditions at temperatures above 0˚C.
The reason for all of that is mostly because all batteries tend to lose their charge when stored away and not used (see self-discharge rates by battery type – most robot mowers run on lithium-ion battery). It reads that the discharge rate for lithium-ion batteries is roughly 1% to 2% per month. And when a battery becomes discharged to a point where the chemical processes in the battery cannot be fully reversed by charging (like, super low), the battery may get damaged (emphasis on “may”). Also, the discharge happens Much quicker in cooler temperatures.
When it comes to the charging station (a.k.a docking station, base station):
- you can leave it outside where it’s always been. It doesn’t need extra storage conditions (PS! do confirm with your r-mower’s manual though);
- disconnect the power supply from the charging station.
And that’s about all there is to it.
To Recap: Robot Mower Maintenance
Very low maintenance:
- clean regularly;
- replace cutting blades when need be;
- replace rechargeable battery when it seems almost dead;
- install charging station in shaded area to protect the mower from the elements;
- don’t forget to unplug the power supply connected to the charging station you left outside for winter;
- when storing the robot mower, charge fully, turn off, clean, and place in dry indoor conditions, and avoid leaving in freezing temperature.
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