Nothing beats zero turn mowers when it comes to efficiency and speed while tending to a relatively large lawn. However, a lot of owners wonder if they can improve the performance of their mower by upgrading some of its parts, such as the wheels.
Can I Put Bigger Tires On My Zero Turn Mower?
The quick answer is yes! However, to make the most out of this upgrade, you have to keep a few variables and aspects in mind, such as; turn radius, maneuverability, deck, etc.
Keep on reading if you want to know these aspects as well as the pros and cons of putting bigger tires on your zero-turn mower!
What is the Standard Size of a Zero Turn Mower Tire?
There’s no universal agreement between lawn mower brands about the size of the zero turn mower tires. However, in most cases, size 15x 6.00-6 is probably the most commonly used one.
The tread pattern design is also similar among lawn mower tires, as most brands use a turf saver pattern, which is specifically designed to minimize the tear while moving over the grass to keep the height consistent.
Breaking Down Zero Turn Mower Tires Measurement System
In order to find out more about lawn mower tires, you should first understand the measurement system they use. For example, if you have a 15×6.00-6 tire, what exactly does that mean?
The first number, which is 15 here, represents the tire’s height when the wheel is properly inflated and not under any load. The larger this number is the larger the tire’s diameter.
The second number, which is 6.00, represents the horizontal width of the tire. This means that the tread width of the tire in question here is 6 inches.
The final number, which is six after the hyphen (-), represents the size of the metallic rim on which the tires will be fitted. It is measured in inches, and the number should always be smaller than the width of the tires.
Is It Possible to Install Larger Tires on Zero Turn Mowers?
As you can see from the previous example, a “larger tire” can indicate a larger tread width of the same length, a larger diameter of the same width, or larger width and height.
In this section, we’ll discuss all these possibilities and whether they’re commonly in zero turn mowers:
Larger Tread Width
Installing tires with larger tread width is relatively common. In that case, the upgraded tires are usually installed on the rear set of wheels but can also be installed on all wheels.
In that case, the overall diameter of the tires should remain equal to the stock wheel. So, for example, if the stock wheel is 15×6.00-6 inches, the rear wheels could be 15×8.00-6 inches without issues.
Installing larger tires is popular for many zero turn mowers. Since the wheels have a larger diameter, you need to install these tires on all four wheels in order to keep the zero turn mower at a level position for consistency while cutting the grass.
Additionally, you’ll need to modify the mower deck by lowering it so that you can adjust the height of the machine while cutting.
Larger Diameter and Width
This one is relatively uncommon but can be done if your zero turn mower spins a lot while mowing on slippery grass.
It can also help evenly distribute the mower’s weight when working on relatively soft lawns.
Why Using Bigger Tires on Zero Turn Mowers Is a Good Idea?
The main advantage of installing a larger tire on your zero turn mower is that it enhances the mower’s traction.
For instance, a zero-turn mower is a perfect machine for cutting dry grass on relatively hard and level terrain. However, if it occasionally rains where you live or your soil is a bit soft, achieving these perfect conditions can be pretty tricky.
In that case, increasing the width of the rear wheels of a zero turn mower or using larger ones, in general, can help in improving the traction of the mower on the lawn.
Additionally, using these wheels makes it easier to use the mower over different terrains, like in snowy conditions.
Important Aspects to Consider Before Putting Larger Tires on Zero Turn Mowers
Using larger or wider tires on zero turn mowers comes with several benefits but can also come with several drawbacks.
To help you make the right decision for your case, let’s have a quick look at some of the critical aspects to consider before making this adjustment:
Your Turn Angle Will Be Increased
Turn angle stands for the minimum angle needed for turning. Ideally, the lower the turn angle of a mower, the more maneuverable it is.
As the name suggests, low turn angle is one of the significant advantages of zero turn mowers, as they’re capable of making up to 180-degree turns in any position.
By using wider tires, this turn angle will increase, which can be a significant hit to the value of the mower if you specifically bought it for the zero degree turn angle.
Deck Adjustment Is Critical to Maintain Mower’s Functionality
The engineering of a zero turn mower is greatly dependent on its height. While this may not be a problem if you only increase the width of the tires, it has a considerable impact on the functionality if you increase the height.
Larger tires result in a relatively higher lawn mower. This means that cutting the grass at a very low level can be impossible without proper adjustment to the mower deck.
As a general rule, you’ll need to lower the mower deck by as many inches as you’ve increased the height.
For example, if the new tires are 3 inches higher than the stock tires, you’ll need to adjust the deck so that it’s 3 inches lower to cancel the difference.
Yet, if you usually cut the grass when it’s relatively high and rarely need to cut it too short, you may get away with the tire upgrade without adjusting the deck.
Can I Put Smaller Tires on My Zero Turn Mower?
Ideally, the standard tires used in zero turn mowers are the lowest they can go. This means that you can only install a larger tire, but never a smaller one. For starters, you’re bound by the size of the rims.
Additionally, using smaller tires doesn’t add any real advantage to the zero turn mower like the previously mentioned upgrades, especially since you’ll also need to readjust the deck clearance in order to get the machine to work.
Smaller tires also put a lot of pressure on smaller wheels, which makes the mower slippery, harder to maneuver and tear the lawn noticeably while turning.
In the end, we hope that this guide helps you figure out the right thing when it comes to using a bigger tire on your zero turn mower.
Typically, installing a larger tire will generally improve your maneuvering and traction. This makes it a viable adjustment for those who don’t cut the grass too short and want better traction while operating the machine.
However, even with deck adjustment, the wider tires will come at the cost of a few aspects, mainly the turn angle, so you have to keep that in mind while adjusting your mower’s tire size or width.
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