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    The Basics of Riding Lawn Mower Maintenance and Care

    If you have a property with grass to cut, a riding lawn mower can make tackling your lawn care easier. Riding lawn mowers are more efficient and ergonomic than traditional push mowers, but they also require more maintenance. Tractor Supply offers an extensive range of products for people living Life Out Here, including lawn mowers, lawn and garden tools and more. Here, Tractor Supply discusses how to maintain and care for your riding lawn mower to help it last long and work properly.

    About Riding Lawn Mowers 

    Riding lawn mowers, also known as tractor-style mowers, operate much like a car, with four wheels, steering controls and a seat for the user to sit on. They are usually suitable for areas as large as 10 acres, making mowing large areas easier and more efficient. There are a few kinds of riding lawn mowers, including:

    The type of riding lawn mower you’ll need will depend on your lawn care needs, your budget, the maintenance you’ll feel comfortable performing and other factors.

    Maintaining and Caring for Your Riding Lawn Mower 

    Depending on the type of riding mower you have, the maintenance and care it needs will differ. Generally, gas-powered riding mowers require more routine maintenance than electric-powered riding mowers due to their moving components. The details of each type’s maintenance are as follows:

     Gas Riding Mowers

    Gas-powered mowers are available in traditional riding styles and zero-turn styles. All gas-powered models need oil and fuel to run, so they also need oil changes routinely. This is an important part of maintenance for gas riding mowers to keep the engine lubricated and running smoothly. It’s recommended to change your mower’s oil every 25 to 50 hours of use or sooner if you mow in tougher conditions.

    Another part of gas mower maintenance is winterizing your lawn mower before storing it during the off-season. This process involves:

    • Cleaning the mower deck of dirt, debris and grass clippings using a leaf blower
    • Emptying old fuel and adding a fuel stabilizer
    • Changing the oil and oil filter
    • Cleaning or replacing the air filter
    • Lubricating parts with a grease gun
    • Replacing the spark plugs
    • Checking the tires and tire pressures
    • Inspecting the belts
    • Sharpening the blades

    Completing this process at the end of each mowing season will make sure your mower is ready to use come next spring. It also helps prolong the lifespan of the mower.

     Electric Riding Mowers

    Contrary to gas riding mowers, electric riding and zero-turn mowers don’t require oil or gas at all because they run on batteries. Therefore, the main maintenance for them is to simply charge the battery. Electric mower batteries usually last for around three to five years before needing to be replaced. They do need to be charged often—usually after 30 to 60 minutes of use. The battery should also be removed before storing the mower for the winter.

    The other maintenance for an electric riding mower involves cleaning the deck and sharpening the blade, when necessary. Blades should appear balanced and sharp and be inspected at least twice every season to ensure they’re working properly. The lack of other moving parts like belts and air filters makes the maintenance of an electric riding mower easier than managing a gas-powered riding mower. 

    Overall, the frequency of the maintenance for your riding lawn mower depends on what type of power it has, how often you use it and the terrain you use it on. Some maintenance like clearing debris and checking the oil level should be completed before every use. 

    Frequently Asked Questions About Riding Lawn Mower Maintenance

    Should I get my riding mower maintained by a professional?

    If you’re handy, most routine maintenance for riding mowers can be completed by yourself. This includes cleaning the deck, changing the oil, refueling the gas tank and changing the air filter. If you have an electric riding mower, the maintenance is even easier to do yourself. 

    However, if your gas riding mower is showing signs of wear or damage or your electric riding mower’s battery needs replacing, you may want to trust the maintenance and repair to a professional.

    Why is it important to winterize a riding mower?

    Winterizing a riding mower is important to make sure the mower lasts as long as possible and doesn’t get damaged while it’s in storage. Part of winterizing a mower involves removing old fuel or adding a fuel stabilizer, as fuel left sitting in the tank can cause erosion and damage to other parts. If you have an electric riding mower, make sure to remove the battery before winter for the same reason.

    Where should I store my riding mower after winterizing it?

    Riding mowers should be stored in cool, dry places like garages, sheds or basements to avoid damage from the elements. If you don’t have an indoor space for your riding mower, you can place a large tarp around it to protect it.

    Explore Riding Lawn Mowers at Tractor Supply

    Maintaining your riding mower properly will allow it to last for years—making your life easier when it comes to lawn care. Whether you already own a riding mower or are looking to find the ideal one for your needs, Tractor Supply is here to help you with product recommendations, mower accessories and other assistance. Stop into your local Tractor Supply store today to speak to an experienced team member or browse our riding lawn mower selection online at Tractor Supply.