Riding lawn mowers need a fair bit of maintenance to keep running perfectly. Washing after every mow, checking the oil, lubricating the grease points--these should be parts of a regular maintenance routine. One maintenance task that doesn't come up all that often, but can be quite frustrating when it does, is when a belt breaks. Belts control both the mower deck and the drive function of your lawn tractor. Until these belts are replaced, your mower becomes a very expensive paperweight.
Remove your mowing deck by pulling the locks on each side of the tractor that holds the deck in place. This is common on many models, but check your owner's manual for specifics.
Remove the deck from the pulley and turn it over so that you can view the belt. The belt will be wrapped around the discs underneath the deck. Notice how the belts are wrapped around the discs and write down or take a picture of what you see.
Remove the belt from the discs by releasing the belt locks, which are somewhere near the belt system.
Replace your old belt with a new one, following the pattern of the belt that you removed as a guide. Replace the deck.
Roll your tractor onto a flat surface, put it into neutral and engage the parking brake. If the mower has a disengagement lever, lower it to the off position, and lower the mower deck toward the ground.
Remove the covering over the pulley area, using your socket wrench. This will uncover the pulleys on top of the mower deck. Clean any debris away.
Remove the belt first at the engine pulley, which is located toward the front of your mower.
Remove the belt from all the idler pulleys toward the back of your mower. Take note of the belt positioning. Many mowers have a small diagram sticker that shows you the correct way to wrap the pulley.
Install the belt in the reverse order you removed it, ending at the engine pulley. Make sure all of the belt is free of snagging and runs along properly without dragging against the pulley guides.
About this Author
Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on eHow.com, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.