Following the proper lawn tractor maintenance tips will save you a ton of money in the long-term. But an owner’s manual only tells you so much! They only include the basics – things that are obvious to everyone. So we’re going to look at some not-so-obvious maintenance tips that might not be covered by the owner’s manual.
These lawn tractor maintenance tips will increase the lifespan of your tractor. In times like these, we all need to save as much money as possible and having a tractor break down is the last thing we want!
Lawn Tractor Maintenance Tip #1: Keep the Mower Deck Clean
Remove all belt guards so you can reach the pulleys. Blow away all of the loose grass that has built up. Use a screwdriver to remove grass that gets caught under the pulleys.
It’s important to note that the guard does not protect it from grass. Its job is to keep you from being injured by the belts. However, many manufacturers leave this out of their owner’s manual for some reason.
Lawn Tractor Maintenance Tip #2: Clean or Replace the Spark Plugs
Keep spark plugs clean will not only increase the lifespan of your machine, it also makes it run more efficiently. Worn spark plugs require more power to fire. That means the machine burns through more fuel.
Remove all spark plugs one at a time so you don’t lose track of which wire is plugged into each one. If it’s too damaged, then you will need to replace it. Sometimes you can just clean the residue from the base to improve efficiency. Use a wire brush to clean them. My recommendation is to clean them once and then replace them during the following maintenance.
Important Note: Be sure you tighten the spark plugs according to manufacturer specifications. This is found in the owner’s manual. Use a torque wrench.
Lawn Tractor Maintenance Tip #3: Replace the Fuel Filter
This one might be obvious to some but many manufacturers don’t include it in the owner’s manual since they feel like professionals should perform this task. However, it’s easy enough that most farmers can do it themselves.
Start by pinching the fuel line and secure it with a clamp. This keeps you from being drenched in fuel when removing the filter. Now drain the excess fuel from the line and then remove the old filter. Now install the new one and remove the clamp from the line. Be sure there are no leaks.
Lawn Tractor Maintenance Tip #4: Keep the Blades Sharpened
Dull blades force the tractor to work harder to cut grass, greatly reducing its longevity. So you need to sharpen blades one or two uses, depending on the size of the lawn being cut.
With that said, removing blades can be dangerous so you must take the appropriate steps. Never work from under the machine. Remove the deck so that you can stay above the machine while removing blades.
If the blades are too damaged, you might need to replace them. I recommend you keep a spare set on-hand just in case.
Lawn Tractor Maintenance Tip #5: Winter Prep
There are several steps required for farmers who live in colder climates. Start by spraying the cylinders with an oily mist in order to prevent fogging. To do this, remove each spark plug, spray into the cylinder, and then replace the spark plug.
Recharge the battery before storing it away for the winter months to avoid damage. This prevents the battery from being damaged by the cold weather.
Lawn Tractor Maintenance Tip #6: Inspect the Hydraulic Cylinders
Many lawn tractors have hydraulic cylinders, especially ones with a front-end loader or an automatically retracting mowing deck. Over time, these cylinders can start to leak the hydraulic fluid and eventually fail. Be sure to inspect them for leaks and functionality. If needed, install replacement hydraulic cylinders.
Regular maintenance greatly boosts the life of your machine so don’t skip any of these essential maintenance tips. A lot of it will vary depending on how often you use the machine so use your best judgment.