Correct care, operation extends ride-on life

For most people with a large area of grass to cut, a ride on mower is a significant investment.

When passing on the price I have sometimes been told “that is more than my car is worth,” but to buy a high quality machine that will do a big job costs a decent amount of money.


Andrew Peacock demonstrates how to easily wash and safely check the underside of a ride on mower.

So having made a decision on the best machine for a property and budget it is prudent to look after it and operate it in way that will make it last as long as possible.

It is such a shame when visiting a client to see their new ride on mower worth in excess of $10,000 covered in dirt and grass, in an open shed. With care and understanding of the strengths and limitations of a machine, most ride on mowers can be made to last very well.

Before operation
Regardless of the age, check the engine oil every time before you start the mower. This procedure is about making the oil check a habit so you never get caught out. Lack of oil is the easiest way to ruin your engine quickly.

Clean and replace your air filter regularly. Dirty air is the easiest way to ruin your engine slowly and shorten the life of your engine.

Keep the top and bottom of your mowing deck clean with moving parts and belts clear of obstructions which create resistance and unnecessary wear.

One operator
If possible, restrict use of the ride on to one main operator. They will get used to the machine and will be responsible for it.

If a mower has a powerful engine the blades should be engaged at lower revs with the deck out of the grass. This is gentle on the blade clutch and associated running gear.  

Tip: engines on ride on mowers are designed to run at full revs while cutting. While mowing keep the engine revs on full.

However, just because a ride on can go fast it doesn’t mean you have to mow fast. Listen to the machine and mow to the conditions.

If the grass is long or wet, slow down. You will get a much better cut and it will be easier on the machine. Keeping the blades sharp also helps.

Be careful when operating on slopes. If the run out below is not safe don’t go there, it isn’t worth the risk. Consider planting out unsafe sections or tackling then with a line trimmer.

If mowing close to the house or when people are in the area, keep the grass deflector down. This will stop stones and other hard objects from been hurting people or causing damage.

After mowing
Check over the machine and pay attention to anything out of the ordinary that was noticed during use.

Clean the mowing deck after every use. A clean deck has less resistance for cutting and clearing the grass, which leads to a better finish on the lawn and extends the life of the deck and moving parts.

Cleaning is easiest done straight away before the grass dries and sticks. Take advice on the best way to safely keep the underside of your ride on clean if unsure.  

Keep the ride on mower in a secure, dry shed away from the elements.

These are just a few points. You can learn many other good ideas from talking to professionals, other users and reading the manufacturer’s operator manual.

For more information on ride on mowers that last, contact Andrew at www.zeroturnmowers.co.nz


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