Riding mowers are arguably the most efficient mowers out there. You simply hop on the mower and treat it like a tractor. Because of their cutting efficiency, they’re the prime choice of most people who have a yard.
However, riding mowers aren’t towing cars and, thus, they can’t carry infinite weight. Have you ever asked yourself, “what the weight limit is?”
Do Riding Mowers Have A Weight Limit?
The short answer is yes; riding mowers do have a weight limit. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll be too heavy for one. As a guideline, many manufacturers recommend weights between 110 pounds and 310 pounds. But, of course, the weight limit will differ from one make and model to the other, and it will vary based on the mower’s build.
It’s advisable to stick to the recommended weight range when using these riding mowers. Yet, there might be times when a person who’s heavier than the mower needs to get the job done.
Additionally, there are times when you’re actually below the weight limit. We’re going to discuss that too.
What Happens If I Exceed the Weight Limit?
Technically, you can’t be so heavy that your lawnmower wouldn’t work. The reason why weight limits exist is to guarantee that the mower works as intended.
Going over the weight limit won’t instantly damage your mower. The wheels won’t come off or anything crazy. However, you should expect a few problems in the long run.
You normally wouldn’t have these problems if you don’t exceed the weight limit. Below are some of the issues you’ll face if the mower is forced to carry too much weight.
#1 Extra Fuel Consumption
Riding mowers are essentially engines that need fuel to operate. So when there’s an extra load on the machine, there’s more need for petrol.
Usually, that wouldn’t seem like a big deal. Money consumption, however, could be annoying in the long run, especially when the price of gas is so high.
#2 Slower Cutting
The mower would need more power to move and steer with the extra weight. That eventually leads to less engine power delivered to the cutting blades.
Slower blades are less efficient in cutting. The efficiency won’t drop down to a level that annoys you, but it’s worth mentioning nonetheless.
#3 More Maintenance
The extra load on the mower shortens the lifetime of its mobile components. As a result, you should expect shorter intervals in changing your oils and mowing belts.
Also, if your manual says that your mower should be checked every year, you’ll have to check it every six months instead.
#4 Louder Noises
Riding mowers are notorious for their loudness, which could cause hearing damage. In addition, if you apply more weight, you apply more pressure on the machine.
The mower tries to compensate for that extra weight by working harder. That causes the engine to rev higher than usual.
Precautions to Take If You Are Over the Weight Limit
There are some scenarios you need to get the job done. If you’re over the weight limit and that’s the case, please follow these guidelines whenever possible:
#1 Get a Heavy Duty Mower
We’ve previously mentioned that mowers have a maximum capacity of around 310 pounds.
You could always check the maximum weight capacity of the mower before buying it to see if you’re exceeding the limit. That would save you the hassle of getting a mower that can’t carry you.
Additionally, you might want to consider lawn tractors as they have a higher weight limit than your conventional riding mower.
#2 Drive Slowly
There’s no need to rush the procedure if there’s an extra load on the mower. Instead, take your time and steer slowly and carefully.
The extra weight could quickly shift the center of balance if you steer suddenly. This could lead to falling off the mower, or even worse, the mower tipping over you.
#3 Check the Mower
When the mower carries more weight than it’s supposed to, you should regularly check it for any problems.
Inspect the mower belt, the pulleys, and the bearings. Ensure that none of them is stuck in place and that they’re functioning correctly.
Don’t forget the attachments, washers, and bolts as well. The extra weight could loosen them over time. So make sure that all of them are secure in place.
#4 Avoid Going Uphill
When the mower is already working more than it should, it would be wise to prevent it from going uphill.
This isn’t a problem for most households, but it’s essential for landscapers who mow large areas with slopes.
#5 Don’t Mow for Too Long
If the area to cover is too much, it would be better to let the mower rest in between. You could mow the front of the yard and then let the mower rest for 30 minutes before starting the back.
The overwork mixed with prolonged mowing times could lead to engine malfunctions.
Factors Increasing the Weight Problem
The increased weight could pose more risk based on the following factors:
#1 The Type of Soil
Driving on different terrains dramatically affects how much effort the machine needs to exert. Driving on mud or sand, for example, is more energy-consuming for motorized vehicles.
We’re not saying you’ll have mud or sand on your green lawn. However, if your soil is full of water because of sprinklers or rain, it’s best to postpone mowing it until the soil is dry.
Wet grass is already challenging to cut on its own, so adding extra weight to this already existing problem is bad news.
#2 The Inclination of the Ground
Walking upwards is always more difficult than walking on a flat plane. Well, the same applies to your mower.
If the area to be mowed has many hills and slopes, consider not getting on the mower if you exceed the weight limit. Instead, use a push mower to cut the grass.
Most mowers aren’t even designed to mow slopes that are steeper than 15 degrees. There are dedicated mowers for slopes and hills, but they’re more expensive than average mowers.
#3 The Wind
While strong winds don’t often cause issues with riding mowers, they could push you sideways if you’re not careful.
If you are above your mower’s highest weight capacity, we recommend that you don’t use it in strong winds.
Can I Be Too Light for My Mower?
The answer to that is yes. Riding mowers have built-in weight sensors. If your weight is below that minimum limit, the machine won’t work.
That’s an intended safety feature by the manufacturers to prevent children from using the mowers.
Riding lawn mowers come with weight restrictions, but you could occasionally put a heavier person on the mower without serious problems.
This might complicate the cutting process by making it slower and more prone to falling, but it won’t cause serious damage to the mower on the spot.
The increased fuel consumption and maintenance requirements are also things to keep in mind if you intend to use a mower that you’re too heavy for. Don’t furtherly complicate the process by mowing wet soil or sloped surfaces.
It’s also worth noting that one can be too light for a lawnmower. Mowers have weight sensors onboard that sense if the rider is too light. If so, the mower won’t work.
Weight sensors are implemented as a safety feature to prevent children from using mowers.