If you have a large yard, you’re familiar with lawnmowers and their maintenance process, especially when it comes to the mower belts considering they tend to be the most bothersome aspect of owning a lawnmower—apart from the loudness!
If you like to take care of your belongings, you’ve mostly asked yourself: “How often do mower belts need to be replaced?”
How Often Do Mower Belts Need To Be Replaced?
Mower belts don’t have a specific time to be replaced. However, you should need a new belt every 2-3 years with average use.
This 2-3 years period could be shortened if:
- You use the mower excessively
- Have a poor-quality belt
- Have faulty pulleys or bearings
Some signs tell you what you should look for when checking your belt. We’re going to explain these signs in this article.
Should you decide to replace the belt on your own, we’ll also give you a step-by-step guide on how to do that. Stick around!
When Should You Replace Mower Belts?
You should check your belt at least once a year. If you use it excessively, then it’s recommended to do that every few months. However, if you hear the engine revving a bit differently than usual, you might want to check the belt, even if it’s new.
On the other hand, if everything is normal, you should look out for the signs that tell you it’s time to have a new belt.
Here are the signs you should be on the lookout for:
The Belt Has Cracks
Cracks on the belt are a sign that it’s deteriorating, especially if you find them on many areas of the belt.
Cracks, even if small, pose a high risk of breaking. Replacing the belt at this point will save you quite the headache.
If your belts often get replaced because of cracking, there’s a good chance they’re of low quality. So consider getting a higher-quality belt.
The Belt Is Shiny or Glazed
Lawnmower belts should be smooth with prominent edges along the belt.
With time, these edges get ground and worn out. If they reach the point where you could see a glazed surface, then this belt needs to be replaced before it breaks.
Shiny or glazed belts don’t pose high breaking risks like cracks, but they won’t allow your mower to work as efficiently.
You’d feel it as you use the mower. It’s going to feel like it cuts much slower.
The Belt Has Damage on One Side
This one should give you a heads up that the worn-out belt isn’t the only problem you should handle.
If you notice excessive damage on only one side of the belt, you may have a pulley or a bearing that has ceased to work.
This problem won’t affect the mower to the point where you could notice that something is wrong. The system would just drag the belt past that broken pulley or bearing.
This results in permanent grinding and tearing on one side of the belt. If you’re not aware of that problem and just got yourself a new belt, it won’t last long, and it will have the same problem.
You should have your mower checked for stuck pulleys or bearings as they could cause more problems than just a torn belt.
The Belt Has Bulges
If you notice that your belt has bulges, that means it has become too tight.
Bulges in mower belts usually mean that the belt is too tight for the machine. It’s recommended to get a more suitable belt for your mower.
The belt should sit comfortably in the machine, but it shouldn’t be too loose. A loose belt has a higher risk of coming out as you use the mower.
How to Replace a Lawn Mower Belt?
So you’ve decided to replace that worn-out belt, but you’re tired of having it done for you. You’re thinking that it’s best to do it yourself and save time and money.
Learning how to replace your belt could be annoying at first, but it would save you a reasonable amount of time and money in the long run.
Before you begin, make sure that you have the appropriate tools for the job. You’ll need:
- Wrench set
- Work Gloves
It’s not a must, but you could get a torque wrench to make your job easier.
In this stage, you’ll get your mower ready to work while ensuring your safety. If you had just used the mower, switch off the ignition switch and let it rest for a couple of hours to cool down.
- Place your mower on an even surface with a good amount of space to spread the parts.
- Lift the hood, then disconnect the spark plug’s wire. You can close the hood again at this point, as you’ll no longer need to do anything there.
- Disengage the cutting blades using the arm next to the driving wheel.
- Use the moving arm to lower the mower deck to the lowest possible position.
This is when you’d start using your tools to undo a few attachments.
- Remove the mower belt from the engine bullies.
- Remove the front link supporting pins and washers from both sides of the mower, then detach the supporting arm from the mowing deck.
- Remove the back suspension arms’ clips from both sides of the mower, then detach the supporting arms from the mowing deck.
- Remove the rear deck bracket attachment clips on both sides, then detach the bracket from the mowing deck.
Belt Changing Stage
Have your belt ready because this is when you replace it.
- Pull the mowing deck out as much as you need to remove the belt freely.
- Memorize how the belt is fixed in place. You might want to take a clear picture of how it looks so you can reattach it correctly later on.
- Remove the belt from its keepers and pulleys.
- Get your new belt and attach it just like the old one. Make sure to pull the belt a few times after placing it to make sure that it’s secure.
It’s just getting everything back the way it was.
- Push the mower deck back inside, and re-align the belt in the engine pulleys.
- Reconnect the suspension arms and the bracket attachments back in place.
- Don’t forget to reconnect the spark plug wire. Reopen that hood and connect it.
This process could take you a couple of hours (sometimes more) if it’s your first time. But by doing it repeatedly, it should take you less than an hour to complete the whole process.
Watch this two-minute video to visualize these steps.
So, how often do mower belts need to be replaced? We’d say after around two or three years of use.
It’s essential to check your lawnmower to keep it in good condition regularly. When you check your belt, make sure to check the bearings and pulleys to make sure they’re not faulty.
Also, keep in mind that our belt replacement guide is not precisely applicable to all mowers.
The designs and attachment locations often vary, but the concept remains the same; turn off the ignition, detach a few things, change the belt, then reattach.
Always go for the decision of changing the belt before it snaps. It may lodge anywhere in the rotating parts and cause further complications if it does. Stay safe.