Investing in a zero-turn mower can be a fantastic idea, especially if your lawn stretches over uneven ground or rough terrain. But, you might wonder, “are zero-turn mowers more maintenance-focused than other mowers?”
Fortunately, zero-turn mowers are as easy to maintain as typical lawnmowers. Moreover, the process isn’t difficult to do, nor is it time-consuming if you stick to a maintenance schedule. So, that’s a relief!
Now that you have the answer to your question, why don’t we dive into zero-turn mower maintenance details?
How Much Maintenance Do Zero-Turn Mowers Need?
Maintaining a zero-turn lawn mower shouldn’t take so long if you keep a steady schedule.
For example, you’ll have some checkups and quick cleaning before every use, which can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 minutes.
Then, you can tweak tire pressure levels, sharpen blades, check the batteries, etc. This could take you an hour or two to complete based on what you find.
After that, you’ll have more things to do each 25, 50, 100, and 200 hours, which we’ll discuss later.
What Happens If Zero-Turn Mowers Aren’t Regularly Maintained?
Like all machines, the lack of proper maintenance can negatively affect a zero-turn mower. Improper maintenance will affect both long and short-term use.
To give you the whole picture, here’s what not sticking to a maintenance schedule could do to your loyal zero-turn mower:
- Dirty air filters can lead to insufficient operation, which wastes fuel and requires more frequent refills
- Debris and dirt in the engine could cause permanent damage
- Blunt blades won’t get any work done
- Lack of lubrication can wear out engine parts and shorten the machine’s life
Regular maintenance ensures that none of these scenarios happen, so it’s always a top priority once you buy your zero-turn mower.
How to Stick to a Zero-Turn Mower Maintenance Schedule?
Because life can interfere with our plans or make us forget certain chores, keeping up with a maintenance schedule might seem hard. However, if you make sure to follow these steps, you’ll have a lower chance of forgetting your maintenance tasks:
- Set up a calendar reminder on your smartphone to alert you about essential duties
- Write a physical to-do list and keep it in plain sight next to your zero-turn mower
- Don’t pile many demanding tasks on the same day to avoid feeling stressed out
- Have a friend or family member help you with your maintenance chores so that they don’t seem intimidating
How to Maintain Your Zero-Turn Mower to Help It Live Longer?
The thing about zero-turn mowers is that they need to be routinely checked and maintained to give you their best performance. If a user neglects a problem, even a tiny one, it might lead to more significant issues and make maintenance more challenging than it has to be.
With that in mind, here are a few tips you must follow to keep your zero-turn mower in good condition for years.
Step 1: Always Refer to the Manufacturer’s Maintenance Schedule
Before you jump up to the oil tank to change the machine’s oil or sharpen the mower’s blades, take a moment to browse the operator’s manual. You’ll come across helpful maintenance instructions and a detailed schedule to follow there.
We know that, for the most part, all zero-turn mowers have the same needs. Still, some models may have special requirements, and the user’s manual will be your faithful guide to those.
Step 2: Check a Few Things Before Each Use
Remember that even checking different components before starting the mower’s engine before use is a form of maintenance. By making sure all the parts are clean and prepared for operating, you can minimize future issues.
Before each use, make sure to check:
- The oil level in the engine to see if you’ll need to refill the tank
- The air filter for debris or tiny loose parts (clean it if you find any)
- The engine intake screen (clean it up if it’s dirty)
- The underside of the deck (wipe it clean, too)
Now that you’ve ensured all the parts are ready for work, you can start trimming your lawn with more confidence.
Step 3: Maintain Your Zero-Turn Mower Every Ten Hours
Once every ten hours of operation, you must do these checkups to prevent any potential hiccups:
- Look at the battery terminals and clean them up
- Double-check the tire pressure and adjust if necessary
- Check the blades to make sure they’re sharp (replace or sharpen if they’re not)
Besides observing the condition of these components, you must grease the front pivot axle and the caster axles.
Step 4: Perform a Series of Checks Every 25 Hours
Every 25 hours of use, your zero-turn mower will require some more in-depth maintenance to stay in perfect condition. At this point, you’ll have to:
- Check the pre-cleaner before cleaning and adding oil to it
- Clean the engine cooling fins to remove any stuck particles, debris, or dust
- Take a good look at the level and pitch of the deck and adjust to your liking
Step 5: Check the Major Components Every 50 Hours of Use
At 50-hour intervals, you must inspect the most critical parts of your zero-turn mower and give them some love. These components are the engine, oil filter, deck wheels, belts, and pulleys.
- Change the oil in the engine and get a brand new oil filter
- Check the belts and pulleys and look for any signs of wear and tear that might signal a need for a replacement
- Add lubricant to the deck wheels
Step 6: Maintain Your Zero-Turn Mower Each 100 and 200 Hours of Use
We’re talking maintenance you’ll probably have to do once every couple of years or so, depending on how frequently you mow your lawn.
At 100-hour intervals, you must:
- Get a new air filter
- Shop for another fuel filter
- Take note of the condition of the spark plug to make sure it’s working properly
Then, once you’ve completed 200 hours of operation, it’s essential to check the transmission fluid to see if you need to add more.
Step 7: Remember to Always Store Your Zero-Turn Mower Correctly
Sometimes, a simple thing as paying attention to how you store your
zero-turn mower can contribute to its longevity a great deal.
Here’s everything you need to do before storing your mower:
- Grease all the axles on the machine (front pivot and caster)
- Add lubricant to the wheels
- Clean the engine cooling fins as well as the battery terminals
- Check the condition of the spark plug
After you’re done, you can finally keep your lawnmower in the garage or shed where it belongs.
“Are zero-turn mowers more maintenance-focused than regular lawn mowers?” You might ask yourself before purchasing that fantastic beast you’ve been dreaming about for several nights in a row.
Well, you’re in luck because zero-turn mowers aren’t different from other mower types when it comes to their maintenance requirements. All you’ll have to do is write down your maintenance schedule and do regular checkups according to the big plan.
Don’t forget to consult the manufacturer’s manual first for maintenance instructions to ensure you’re on the right track.