Since 1956, when Cecil Pond created the first four-wheel riding lawn mower, these remarkable machines have manicured lawns worldwide and have made previously almost impossible tasks much easier. While they are incredibly durable, parts wear out and need repair or replacement.
So, how many hours do riding mowers last? While manufacturers aim to have their riding lawnmower last a minimum of 1000 hours, this is the lowest possible time. If you actively maintain the lawnmower and fix or replace parts as necessary, it will last many years, around 15 to 20 years, beyond the manufacturer’s predictions.
Staying on top of the riding lawnmower preventative maintenance schedule will ensure the machine lasts for many years, around 15-20 years.
Even when significant components wear out and ultimately fail, these are all replaceable, and often you can interchange the engine and cutting deck with other model riding lawnmowers.
Riding Mowers Should Last At Least 1000 Hours
While most manufacturers aim for a life of more than 1,000 hours for their ride-on products, the actual potential life will be determined by.
- The type of use the lawnmower is subjected to.
- The conditions under which it is stored.
- Its maintenance.
The Type Of Use
Riding Mowers are ideally suited for bigger properties with large expanses of lawn.
The engine, deck, and drive system will be affected if the riding mower is regularly run over a patchy lawn on which the riding mower catches and makes a horrific grinding noise with clouds of dust being produced.
If the riding mower is not fitted with Anti-scalp deck wheels, it will exacerbate the problem.
How Do You Maintain A Lawn Mower?
Irrespective of how the riding mower is used, the frequency and quality of the maintenance will determine its ultimate longevity.
A natural part of owning equipment with moving parts is that they will ultimately wear out and need replacing.
Fortunately, riding lawnmowers, repairing, or replacing parts is not difficult. The manufacturers have designed the components so that, in most cases, enthusiastic DIYers can perform the activity themselves.
The issues which are most likely to need attention through the life of the riding mower are.
The Drive Belts And Pulleys
Most riding mowers use two drive belts which are.
- The belt drives the blades under the deck.
- The belt drives the gearbox and moves the lawnmower.
The belt that drives the blades under the deck will be the first to wear out.
These are very easy to change without removing the cutting deck.
The belt which drives the gearbox has a built-in adjustment that automatically controls the tension.
However, after several hours of use, the lawnmower will start to move more slowly and struggle to climb hills.
When this happens, this drive belt will need to be changed.
While this may be a little more complicated on some manufacturers riding mowers, it generally only involves.
- Removing the cutting deck.
- Undoing a few bolts.
- Possibly disconnecting the steering shaft.
However, it is well within the skill level of an amateur DIY enthusiast.
The Riding Lawnmower Cutting Blades
On most machines, changing the blades can be accomplished with the deck still attached to the riding lawnmower or more easily by removing the deck.
Most machines’ decks are removed;
- Removing the cutting drive belt from the pulleys.
- Removing the engaging blade spring.
- Removing six to eight circlips and dropping the deck.
While you are changing the blades, ensure that they are properly balanced.
In addition, use the opportunity to inspect the spindle assembly to which the blades are attached and ensure that these are tight enough (manufacturers torque specifications).
Before you change your lawn mower blade, read Are Lawn Mower Blades Universal?
The Riding Lawnmower Blade Spindles
The spindles consist of a camshaft that protrudes through the top of the deck.
They are encased in a grease-filled shaft that contains ball bearings at both ends.
A pulley attaches to the cutting drive belt on top of the deck and the blades underneath the deck.
Most models have a grease nipple, and it is good practice to periodically refill this with a grease gun.
If you regularly run over high spots or hit rocks and other hard objects, these spindles, generally made from aluminum, will suffer stress cracks and ultimately fail.
They are not difficult to replace; however, access to a torque wrench will be advantageous when you reinstall the new ones.
The Steering Shaft And Driving Console
A known weakness with some riding mowers (e.g., Murray) is that the steering console, to which the steering wheel is attached, works loose, and ultimately, the thin tin brackets fail, and the steering becomes unsecured.
It becomes increasingly difficult to drive the mower and turn corners when this happens.
The fix, however, is quite simple. Instead of trying the weld the very thin console material, it is suggested that you use suitably sized shelf brackets on the inside of the console and reattach the console to the riding lawnmower chassis.
The Riding Lawnmower Tires
Like any inflatable tire, the ones fitted to a riding lawnmower can go flat (during long-term storage), be punctured, and overtime wear to the point when they become ineffective when the tread wears down too much.
You can repair most flat tires by using a tire sealant, and if it is time to replace a worn tire, these are easy to replace with new ones.
The Riding Lawnmower Engine Needs Regular Servicing
To stretch out the engine’s life, you should ensure that it is serviced regularly.
It should include;
- Replacing the oil.
- Replacing the oil filter (where applicable)
- Replacing or cleaning the air filter.
- Replacing the spark plug.
It will ensure minimal wear in the piston chamber and delay the need for a rebuild or replacement.
When the time comes to replace the riding lawnmower engine, in most cases, you can use any engine which has the same length crankshaft.
If you will store the riding lawn mower over winter, remove the gas to prevent it from gumming up and blocking the fuel system.
The Riding Lawnmower Starter Motor
Riding mower starting motors are generally robust and will last for many years.
If it stops working optimally, it can be removed and rebuilt in most instances.
Replacing it is very simple and can be done at home.
The Riding Lawnmower Cutting Deck
The cutting deck of a riding lawnmower is generally subject to the most abusive treatment; if you take a little time to care for it, it will last longer.
It will include panel-out every dent in the side of the deck. It is necessary because if it is bent in, the rotation of the blades may be obstructed, which makes a horrific noise.
In addition, this will cause the blades to wear and will also put pressure on the riding lawnmower blade spindles.
If the time comes when the riding lawnmower deck is at the end of the road, you can replace it, often with one from another manufacturer’s machine.
There is almost no situation where a riding lawnmower gets too old and cannot be reconditioned into a new state.
While a new riding lawnmower is nice and shiny and has more bells and whistles, if you don’t want to spend the very high costs of modern machines, it is possible to keep your old one going for as long as you need.