Changing blades on a riding mower is important when they become dull, Here how to remove and replace riding lawn mower blades safely and easily.
As kids, driving a riding lawn mower with our father was a fun experience. Now as adults, we have our own lawn to manage but riding a lawn mower can still be fun and relaxing.
As with any expensive machine with a lot of moving parts, it requires periodic maintenance. A badly maintained machine can be expensive (sometimes, even more expensive than to buy a brand new and cheaper model) to repair and replace its parts.
You are also risking yourself to injury. That is why it’s important to keep a routine maintenance for your riding lawn mower.
Maintaining your riding lawn mower is no easy work. You need to pay special attention to detail and keep yourself safe while doing it. Riding lawn mowers have multiple moving parts, fixtures, and interchangeable parts.
One of the basic ways to maintain your riding lawn mower is to keep its blade sharp. To keep it sharp, you must remove or change the blade on a riding lawn mower. Read this guide to properly and safely remove riding lawn mower blade.
- Why Do I Need To Change My Lawnmower Blades?
- How To Remove And Replace Riding Lawn Mower Blade
- 1. Safety Is Priority
- 2. Lift Your Riding Mower For Easy Blade Access
- 3. Picture For Reference
- 4. Keep The Blade In Place
- 5. Remove The Nuts
- 6. Remove The Blade
- 7. Inspect The Blade
- 8. Do An Overall Checkup
- 9. Refit/Install The Blade
- 10. Tighten The Nuts And Bolts
- 11. Lubricate Bearings
- 12. Finish Up
- 13. Test Run
- Conclusion On How To Remove Riding Lawn Mower Blade
Why Do I Need To Change My Lawnmower Blades?
Before we start, we need to understand the lawn mower blade. The mower blade is the cutting component of a lawn mower.
The engine provides power to the blade, where the latter spins in high speed via the rotor attached to the spline. Size and material of the blade vary from each manufacturer.
The blade is an expensive part of the lawn mower due to its material and size. That is why it’s advisable to have it maintained rather replace it from time to time. Here are some benefits of a well-maintained blade:
- Extended Life. Maintaining your blade will lengthen its use. Depending on the materials used and the frequency of maintenance, the blade’s service life may extend to years.
- Fuel Efficiency. A well maintained blade means it cuts through grass evenly. This means no fuzzes or stray grasses once it passed through your riding lawn mower. If stray grasses do appear, this means that the blade is dull. You need to pass that area again to make sure the lawn is evenly cut. This means additional fuel being burned.
- Improved Performance. With continuous periodic maintenance, the blade can still be as good as the day you bought it. Wear and tear will reduce the blade’s performance. But if you follow a strict maintenance regimen, the effects of wear and tear can be mitigated.
How To Remove And Replace Riding Lawn Mower Blade
1. Safety Is Priority
Start your maintenance by practicing safety measures. The lawn mower’s blade are large and can do serious damage if you fail to observe proper safety measures.
Wear heavy-duty gloves and safety glasses. If you have overalls, better wear it over your regular clothes.
Park your lawnmower in a bright, well ventilated area. Make sure that the lawnmower is in park mode. Remove the keys from the ignition.
For extra measure, remove the spark plug. This will disable the whole lawn mower. There is no chance that the blade will suddenly turn on while you start your maintenance.
If you still have your lawn mower’s manual, study it. Ready your tools as indicated by the manual.
2. Lift Your Riding Mower For Easy Blade Access
There are multiple ways to raise the deck of your mower. Lawn mowers have a ride height configuration which you can adjust with a pull of a lever.
You can fit yourself when adjusted to its maximum ride height. But most of them require additional support.
The ride height adjustment might just not be enough to expose the whole inner frame.
You can lift your lawn mower using a jack lift. Once lifted with the jack, you can add wood to support the lift.
For extra safety, you can also have it lifted with a hydraulic and pneumatic lift if you have one available. Lawn mowers are heavy and can cause serious bodily harm if it falls upon you so better secure it properly.
3. Picture For Reference
With the blade in plain view, take a picture of how it is fixed from the lawn mower. Dismantling the lawn mower is already a challenge but it is more difficult once you are finished cleaning and need to put it all back together again.
Machines, after a maintenance, won’t start or work properly due to improper reassembly. There might be some parts missing or parts being attached to the wrong places.
This could lead to serious problems for you and your lawn mower. With a picture, this can all be avoided. The picture will serve as your reference once you reassemble your lawn mower.
4. Keep The Blade In Place
Once the lawn mower has been lifted, its blade will move as it has no lock on its own. You can have someone hold the blade in place while you remove the bolts.
If no one is available, you can wedge in any strong material like wood or PVC. Make sure the wood or PVC is levelled to the ground and wedged between the blade so you don’t need to hold it.
5. Remove The Nuts
Get the correct size of the wrench to remove the nuts and bolts of your lawn mower. Your manual may indicate what size of the wrench to use.
If you lost your manual, most likely there is an online source material from the manufacturer. If you don’t have any wrench that might be suitable, you can use locking pliers to twist them out.
Turn them in a counter clockwise. Remember the saying “left loose, right tight” when loosening and tightening nuts and bolts.
Once you remove all of them, store the nuts or bolts in a receptacle so you won’t lose one and you have them ready once you reassemble.
6. Remove The Blade
With the bolts removed, you can now remove the blade. To remove it, gently pry the blade away from the spline. Feel how tight are the blade snuck into the end of the spline.
Once you determine how tight it is, apply reasonable force when removing the blade. You do not need to rush when trying to remove the blade.
Continuously pry the blade gently away from the spline. Once the blade is fully removed, place it in a well ventilated area.
7. Inspect The Blade
Once you removed the blade, inspect it thoroughly. Look for chippings, damages, and other deformation. Consider the years you have been using your blade.
If there’s no substantial deformation appeared upon inspection, sharpen it using a grinder. Any grinder would do, but there are specialized grinders dedicated for lawn mower blade. You can also have a professional grind if for you.
If your blade is already dull and looks that it could break at any moment, consider replacing it. Before heading to your nearest hardware store, check your owner’s manual for any freebie or policy for your blade.
Once you have that sorted out, go to your hardware store along with your blade and owner’s manual.
The blade and the manual will serve as a reference for you and the sales attendant for an easy transaction.
Your hardware store should sell the blade that you need. In the instance that there are no blades for sale within your area, consult your manufacturer.
Ask whether you can use other brands or have them send you a replacement.
8. Do An Overall Checkup
Check the interior of your lawn mower before installing the blade. Since it is still exposed, it’s the perfect time to check the overall health of your lawn mower.
Here are the parts of a riding lawn mower that you should check:
- Spark Plug. Check your spark plug. If you have a hard time starting your riding lawn mower, the engine doesn’t sound right, or dies in the middle of mowing, then it’s time to replace your spark plug. Spark plugs are inexpensive. It is recommended to replace your spark plug/s every two years.
- Undercarriage. This can be the greenest or dirtiest part of your riding lawn mower. The undercarriage catches most of the grass and can clog the chute if not cleaned often. Clean the undercarriage by spraying it with a hose and brush the surface. For the tight and difficult to reach areas, use a wire brush and spray.
- Oil. Check the appearance of your oil. If your oil has some impurities and having a darker hue, you better it change it. On some riding lawn mowers, there is a drain plug underneath. Open the drain plug and make sure it’s flowing to a container. Consult your manual on which type of oil to buy. It is advisable to change your oil annually or every 50 hours, whichever comes first.
- Air Filter. The lawn mower’s air filter protects the engine from debris that might get sucked in from the carburetor. To clean your air filter, find and remove the air filter cover. Once you opened it, there should be the air filter itself. If it’s a paper filter, check it under a bright light. If light can barely pass through the filter, then better change the filter. If it’s a foam filter, yellow stains are the indicator that you need to change them. After removing the filters, clean the air filter system with a damp cloth. Once you cleaned and replaced the filters, close the air filter cover.
- Belts. Riding lawn mowers have two belts, the upper and the lower belts. If any of the belt falls of the mower completely without even operating it, then you need to replace it. If not, then remember if there are times when you use your lawn mower and you can smell burning rubber and hear loud squealing noises. If there are no issues like the ones cited earlier, then check for any frays or signs of wear and tear.
- Idler Pulley. Better check the structural integrity of your Idler pulley. It may be a single pulley, but it’s the one that drives the belt system of the lawn mower. The pulley is actually sturdy but inspect for any wear and tears.
9. Refit/Install The Blade
Once you finished the additional checkups for your lawn mower, it is time to refit or install your blade. Before you start, consult the picture you took of the mower earlier.
Remember which part of the blade is facing the ground. If you have a new blade, consult the packaging.
The blade may also have a written instruction on which side to face. Slide it fully to the spline to prevent any damages.
10. Tighten The Nuts And Bolts
Get your nuts and bolts you stored in your receptacle. Make sure you tighten them properly. Once again, use your wrench to secure the nuts into its place.
As soon as you finished securing the nuts in place, check your picture again if everything is in place. Have some stress tests to make sure that it will properly hold.
11. Lubricate Bearings
Add some finishing maintenance to your lawn mower’s interior. Lubricate its bearings and parts which has grease fittings.
Consult your manual which part requires lubrication. It can be messy, but it will surely extend the lifespan of your lawn mower.
12. Finish Up
Lower down the mower slowly and carefully. Clean your lawn mower and your tools. Finish up by cleaning your workplace.
13. Test Run
Put in the spark plug/s and run a diagnostics. Attempt to start the lawn mower. If it started, try to feel if there are any changes with the sound of the engine.
Then try to drive your lawn mower slowly. Once again, check if there are any unusual noises. Try to mow the lawn.
Observe if it can mow the grass evenly. Keep your ears open for any weird sound. Test your lawn mower until satisfied.
Conclusion On How To Remove Riding Lawn Mower Blade
Riding lawn mower maintenance is not easy, but it can be done. Removing the blade of a riding lawn mower can be dangerous for those who do not know what they are doing.
But after reading this full guide, you now only need to be careful when you disassemble and reassemble your riding lawn mower.
Not only did you save hundreds of dollars, you also know more how your lawn mower works.
Since you’ll be removing your lawn mower blade, take time to do some checkups on the other vital parts of your lawn mower.
It is extra work, but if you have the time to check, then you just gave your lawn mower the care it needs.
I operate a seasonal lawn maintenance business and have 20 years of experience with cool season grasses and coordinating labour for residential yards. I do a lot of work outside as well as writing, making films, equity investing, and overseas travel during the cold winter. Previous life as an architectural design intern.