Repairing a riding lawn mower requires knowledge of mechanical troubleshooting techniques and the ability to follow the information provided by the manufacturer. A regular maintenance schedule, as specified by the mower manufacturer, will prevent the need for most repairs. Work on a lawnmower according to the specifications of the owners manual.
Before working on a lawn mower, follow safety precautions to reduce the risk of injury. First, remove the spark plug from the engine to prevent ignition during repair, advises the Mississippi State University Extension Service. Safety gloves are required when working on any part of the engine and undercarriage. The parking blade set in the engaged position will prevent the lawn tractor from rolling while work is performed.
Inspect the engine first to determine whether you can see any easily missed causes of mower failure. Check fluid levels because some riding lawn mowers have engine cut-off controls that are engaged when the crankcase is not filled with oil. The fluids require regular inspection to ensure they are not contaminated. Checking all switches and ignition parts for proper engagement with the engine will reduce the need for taking apart complex engine components.
Many mowers require model-specific tools for repair. The owner's manual will specify whether any special tools are required. Nuts and bolts sometimes require a certain amount of torque, or tightening force, to prevent component damage and ensure operator safety. Always check torque specifications before tightening components.
Riding Mower Specifics
When working on a a riding lawn mower, disengage the battery as well as the spark plug. This prevents sparks, shocks and unplanned engine starts. Riding mowers require a flat surface to work on, such as a concrete floor. Use a tire ramp when working on the underside of a lawn tractor, which are available at most garden supply stores. Engage the parking brake when working with the riding mower on the ramp, and place wooden blocks behind the tires. Check tire pressure when making adjustments to the mower deck. Uneven tires give an inaccurate measurement. When the mower will not start, check that all the safety equipment is working properly. Almost all riding lawn mowers have a safety catch under the seat that will keep the engine from starting if it is not engaged. Check the wiring before moving onto more serious troubleshooting. The belts of a riding lawn mower also need regular maintenance. Inspect their condition during the mowing season for wear and tear, as well as dry spots that indicate the belt is worn out.