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Maintain your lawn mower

Whatever kind of lawn mower you have, proper maintenance should help keep it going a decade or more. Consumer Reports offers the most common ways to have your machine humming.

Keep up contacts. A spark plug needs changing about every 100 hours of operation; otherwise, engine startup and overall performance will be affected. Even electric mowers need attention to maximize battery life.

• With the mower off, remove the spark plug cap and use a socket wrench with a spark plug socket to remove the old plug. Take it to an auto-parts store or outdoor-gear dealer and get a new one.

• If you have an electric mower, Consumer Reports recommends periodically charging the battery throughout the winter. Otherwise, its ability to fully recharge will diminish gradually before failing altogether -- sooner than you expected. Mowers should be brought indoors over the winter.

• For lawn tractors or riders, keep your battery fully charged, or at least periodically recharge it when it’s not in use.

• Even if you have to store the tractor outdoors, buy a trickle charger for this type of machine and keep just the battery indoors.

Don’t forget filters. You’ll also need to replace your air filters to protect the engine. In addition to the oil filter, riding mowers have fuel filters.

• On most walk mowers, the air filter is paper and can be removed in seconds. Not sure which to get? Take the old one to your dealer.

• On riding mowers, if the air filter is paper, replace it. If it’s foam, wash it in soap and water. Rinse and squeeze dry.


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By Chuck Sheppard

Fashion Statement: You either love ‘em or hate ‘em, but if you’re going to be mocked for your fashion sense, Crocs’ newest style doubles your chances. Developed as part of a collaboration with Japanese streetwear company Beams, the new Crocs sport tiny fanny packs attached to the ankle straps, reported CBS News. The $53 shoes come in teal and purple, and the miniature backpacks are big enough for keys, a credit card and a few dollars — along with what’s left of your dignity.

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