Lawn tractors, riders and zero turns need the same basic maintenance as a push mower (clean oil, fuel and air), but they also need a little more attention because of belts and pneumatic tyres etc.
Basic tips & tricks:
- Before use, check the oil, make sure it’s clean and not over or under filled.
- Check the air filter, make sure it’s clean and the motor can breathe properly.
- Always use fresh fuel, fuel goes off and makes the mower hard to start, as well as reducing its power.
- If you aren’t going to use the mower for a few months, drain the fuel.
- Always tip the mower with the carburetor facing up. If you tip the mower with the exhaust facing up the oil can leak into the carburetor and air, making it very difficult to start the mower.
- Tip the mower (air filter up) and check the condition of the blades. Make sure they’re not damaged. There’s generally 2 or 4 blades on push mowers.
- Clean your mower after every use. Leaving grass on top of the deck will accelerate rust. DO NOT USE WATER on a hot mower – use a blower or rag instead to clean off the deck.
- It’s advisable to change the oil, air filter and spark plug every year, doing so will save you having to buy a new mower sooner than expected!
Extra tips & tricks for ride on mowers:
- Check the level of the blades to make sure they’re even. Balanced blades will still cut nicely, even if the deck shell is damaged or worn.
- Keep the tractor clean. Once again, avoid using water and use a blower or rag to remove any grass from the top of the deck.
- Grease your mower anywhere that has grease nipples on a regular basis.
- If the mower isn’t used often over winter, it may be a good idea to buy a trickle charger to keep your battery in perfect condition.
If you’re experiencing issues with your tractor, and have a bit know-how, try these diagnostics:
- If the mower is cutting the grass unevenly, check the tyre pressures to make sure they’re all equal.
- Check the blades and make sure they aren’t worn out or bent.
- Inspect the belts: the drive belt, deck belt as well as any intermediate belts that might be on your mower.
- Listen for any grinding noise coming from the mandrels and pulleys. If there is a noise, turn it off and find if it’s a bearing that’s failing.