The 8 Worst Practices in Lawn Tractor Maintenance

Lawn TractorLawn tractors are extremely useful machines for large property maintenance; an owner can sit down and ride out the lawn mowing sequence in comfort. But, for many owners, they do not realize that proper maintenance is key for a long lasting lawn tractor. In fact, these machines can be relatively expensive to purchase, so a consistent maintenance schedule should be followed to retain the usefulness of the tractor, as well as its resale value. There are eight improper maintenance practices that should be avoided at all costs.

Forgetting to Maintain the Battery

If the battery has no charge, the lawn tractor will simply not turn on. Careful attention must be paid toward the battery, much like a car’s engine battery. It is handy to have a portable charger nearby in case the battery fails to hold a charge; the owner can at least use the tractor another time and purchase a new battery afterward. However, do not replace the battery automatically if it appears to not hold a charge. Owners should verify if the electrical leads are properly adhered to the battery’s terminals; they can easily vibrate off during the mowing action. Any older batteries that accept water should be observed for their level of electrolytes. Add water if the level is low.

Neglecting the Clippings

Underneath the tractor’s seating area is the mowing deck; this area can accumulate a lot of grass clippings over a mowing season. If this deck becomes full of clippings, the lawn tractor will not operate within its best parameters; air flow will be reduced which can cause the clippings to stay on the ground, rather than sucked into a waiting disposal bag. Owners should hose the area down with water while being careful to keep the tractor’s engine block and transmission dry.

Not Sharpening the Blades

Lawn tractors have sharp blades when they are initially purchased, but the blades cannot retain this edge without seasonal sharpening. Before storing the tractor during the winter, it is good practice to sharpen the blades beforehand. As a result, the tractor will be ready to cut in the spring.

Storing the Tractor with Gasoline

Gasoline has a shelf life of up to 2 months; storing a lawn tractor with gasoline in the tank can damage the engine components. Owners need to run the mower until all the gasoline has been used. After storage, new gasoline can be added to the fuel tank for proper running in the spring.

Neglecting the Engine Oil

Much like a car’s engine, the lawn tractor’s oil is its blood line; the engine would become irreparably damaged without a good, clean supply of oil. Owners need to periodically check the oil level, as well as its appearance. If the level is low, the owner should refill the oil until it is at a satisfactory level. Each mowing season should prompt the owner to replace the engine oil prior to storage or directly after a storage period. If the oil is not replaced once a season, it will become thick and full of hardened deposits that damage the internal engine.

Low Air in the Tires

Of all the maintenance items on the lawn tractor, the tires seem to be ignored the most. Owners should not run the machine with low tire pressure; improperly maintained tires will cause the machine to use more gasoline and damage the tires more quickly than normal. Replacing the tires is an expensive alternative. The tractor’s resale value is directly affected if unevenly worn tires are kept on the machine, rather than replacing them or keeping them maintained.

Neglecting the Engine’s Moving Parts

Belts and chains within the engine allow the intricate parts to move as a unit to create motion for the tractor. Owners need to inspect, adjust, and possibly replace these parts if they are loose or damaged. A broken belt or chain within an operating engine can destroy sensitive parts.

Forgetting the Spark Plugs

Before storage, owners need to replace the spark plugs; these cylinders produce the spark needed to turn the engine on. Tractors are used quite frequently during the mowing season; new spark plugs for each year will help retain the functionality of the engine for a good resale value.

For any lawn tractor brand, a high resale value is directly proportional to its yearly maintenance. Engines and accessories that are obviously cared for long term will look and function as almost new machines. Over the years, many manufacturers have come out with quality brands that retain their selling value, along with proper maintenance from the owner. Kubota, Toro, John Deere, and Craftsman all build strong and quality products; these name brands in particular have good resale value throughout the industry.

Overall, it is up to the owner to remain diligent about their maintenance schedule. High resale values will be achieved with a little dedicated time under the tractor’s engine hood.

Ralph Helm Inc is a proud dealer of eco-friendly outdoor power equipment from popular brands like Stihl and Toro. For more information and money saving coupons visit us online at, call or visit us at any of our two convenient locations: Elgin, IL (815) 788-1616 and Crystal Lake, IL (847) 695-1616


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