Qspray.com interviews vendors and customers to give our readers valuable information on pest / weed / lawn equipment to help them in their businesses.
This interview is with Bob Dreher, Qspray.com's Honda Engine rep for the past 20+ years. Qspray sells and services hundreds of Honda Engines every year. We only install Honda Engines in our pest & landscape sprayers because any other engine is not as good. With a little maintenance the Honda will run for many, many years and replacement parts are readily available.
What is your job and how long have you been doing it?
For the past 30 years, I have been with Tru-Power Inc, based in Corona, CA. We are a wholesale distributor for Honda General Purpose Engines and other outdoor power equipment manufacturers. I do both sales and service for all our products. My job is simple. Sell to dealers and do whatever I can to help them sell and service our products. I help my customers when they have a problem or a warranty situation. Prior to Tru-Power, I spent 5 years working in a local lawnmower shop doing it all: sales, service, parts, etc.
Tell us about the company you work for.
Tru-Power, Inc. is a family-owned, wholesale distributor. There are not too many of those left these days! Currently we have 4 outside salesman who cover Southern California, Arizona and Clark County NV. We do not do retail sales. We sell only to our servicing dealers and assist them where we can. By doing this our dealers know we are there to help them them with their business and not compete against them.
What do you do in your time off?
I am also an Arizona Certified EMT for over 20 years. And I currently volunteer with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (16 years) on the weekends. Most of the time I am helping with the Lake Patrol division. This includes 3 lakes in the area I live in along with a very large off road area, a river used for tubing in the summer time and assist the Arizona Department of Public Safety with accidents on the highway. The truck I drive is my personal 4X4 truck that currently has over 450,000 miles on it. So preventive maintenance has really helped me to stay on the road.
Can you give us an idea of how many Honda engines you have sold or serviced?
Just for Arizona, I estimate I have sold over 30,000 Honda engines!
What is the craziest thing you have ever seen working with Honda engines?
A few things come to mind, but I would go with the Honda engine mounted in a 1939 Crosley automobile. Last I heard it was being driven around Tucson, AZ.
What is the biggest screw up you have ever seen with a Honda engine?
I have seen lots of times where people are in such a rush to run their new Honda engine that they forget to add oil to the engine before starting it. Of course, after a few minutes, the engine seizes and the new owner now has a new engine with major damage.
What is best advice you can give a pest/landscaper who owns a Honda engine?
That is easy. Preventative Maintenance. In the harsh Arizona climate, there are 2 things that seem to be the leading cause of engine failure. Lack of air filter service and lack of changing the oil. For most of Qspray.com's pest & weed control customers, I would recommend changing the oil every time you change the oil in your truck. And the air filter should be cleaned or replaced twice during that time.
Service really depends on how and where the machine is being used. Heavy use such as pressure washers will need the oil changed often. But the air filters in pressure washers and generators tend to stay clean for a long time. Usually used while in the back of trucks or on concrete/asphalt so very little dust. Lawnmowers, especially in dry dusty areas such as our Valley of the Sun will go through air filters quickly. Tampers, rammers used to compact dirt will also go through filters quickly. So quick that it is suggested that the filter be checked TWICE a day. That is why both oil and air filter need to be checked daily before use. And again, if the oil is changing color then it is time to change the oil.
Synthetic oil is usually a waste. Cost if very high and you usually are better off changing the oil more often to get the dirt out of the engine. But synthetic is good in cases of clean running situations to extend the time between changes. And also good for very cold weather for easier starting. But not on a new engine. The engine has to have time to break in or else the oil could get past the rings and cause smoking.
If you look at the cost of an engine and the cost of a quart of oil you will see that spending $5 is a small but wise investment. Spending 10 minutes and $5 can save your company hundreds of dollars and hours of downtime. For landscapers and construction contractors, the maintenance timeframe is more frequent. My rule of thumb is simple. If the oil is changing color, it is time to change the oil. I can go on for a long time on this subject. So best to say, " Read the owner's manual and educate your employees about checking the oil and air filter every day to prevent problems."