Having a lawnmower is one thing but keeping it in a great working condition is something different. From ensuring it cuts grass neatly, learning how to sharpen blades to fixing broken belts, proper maintenance of machines ensures their efficiency. With lawnmowers, you would want to think about several components that make it work effectively. Take, for example, self-propelled mowers; you do understand that a mishap in the belt and pulley system can trigger a series of machine hitches and glitches. A question we often come across in most homesteading forums is do lawn mower belts stretch?
Well, depending on many factors, belts in lawnmower can stretch. It refers to a situation where drive belts lose grip on the pulley system. When that happens, the efficiency of mowers takes a dip. You could refer to it as a case of inefficient power transmission via belt drives to the engine and wheels. Take note that some mowers rely on pulley systems to cut grass.
You should, therefore, understand that when a lawnmower fails to move backward or forward, chances are high that belts are the culprits. Its either they have stretched due to wear and tear or they are not the right fit for your machine. In this post, we will explain why belts in lawn mowers stretch and also share more on this subject so keep reading to learn more.
What causes a lawn mower belts to stretch?
You have probably asked lots of questions about lawnmowers but here is the catch. Did you get the right answers? For example, do lawnmowers belts stretch and what causes it? Well, based on many studies that further help explain the answer we gave at the beginning of the post, here is what you should know.
- Lawnmower belts stretch due to wear and tear, something that should expect with any machine. Over time, continued use of these lawnmowers results in some problems. And with belts, losing grip on the threads is not always about using oversized fittings like many tend to think. When belts stretch, they lose contact with the pulley system hence making it difficult to move the mower in a forward or backward direction. You could say, such is a situation that makes it difficult or even impossible to cut grass.
- Another reason why belts on lawnmowers may appear to have stretched is because of quality. You may have bought replacement belts just recently, but did you check to confirm they are original? The truth is that many a handyman always wants to save money when purchasing spare parts, but why should you go for low-quality belts at the expense of your mower’s optimal function? So, what’s the catch? Always buy a top-quality drive belt so it can serve you better and for longer.
How to know if a lawnmower belt is stretched
Let’s face it. Loose lawnmower belts can wreak havoc on your plans of having a neat and clean homestead. So, a question every handyman should try to answer is how does one know when belts drive loose?
Stretched mower are loose, and these are the following telling symptoms:
- First off, as the name suggests, stretched belts lose an effective grip on the pulley system. You can feel it by touching the drive. Their tension is low. Needless to say, stretched belts pose a bigger risk to the engine than any other part of the mower.
- Another sign of stretched lawnmower belts is that they often produce a lot of noise. If the noise is not a squeaky one, then it is a high-pitched squeal.
Adjusting the tension of lawn mower belts
There are two ways of dealing with loose belts in lawnmowers. It is either you adjust the tension or replace them. So, to start with here is a question we should help you answer shortly. How do you adjust the tension of loose belts? Remember, belts should have a first grip of the pulley system for mowers to function efficiently and move around without any difficulty.
If you choose to adjust loose belts, it is often a case of re-reusing pulley belts because they are not badly worn out.
Replacing lawn mower belts
One of the many questions that homesteaders often ask is how to replace worn-out mower belts. Well, having known that wear and tear cause these belts to stretch, we would understand your frustration should you seek advice on replacing them.
The truth is that a novice would need some handy tips to get things done the right way. You should also note that depending on the type of lawnmower you have, the procedure for replacing loose belts may slightly vary. Take a look at the following steps:
Drive the mower to a flat place then park it. It could be a driveway but we emphasize safe parking so that it does not move as soon as you start replacing belts. You can put a rock/stone/brick under the wheels to be sure it will not move. With good parking comes the next question. Are you able to get a good view of the deck underneath, and most importantly the belt drive? If so, move to step two. If not, find a good place to park your machine.
The next step is that you should remove the spark plug. Leaving it attached to the mower may cause it to start accidentally, an experience you don’t want to go through, especially when replacing belts. You can use duct tape to hold the plug against the body of the mower.
Now, using a screw wrench, or a screwdriver depending on the type of lawnmower, remove the pulley cover. Before loosening the belt, remove tension in the pulley by loosening its springs. Remove the belts.
In some cases, you pull forward the spring-loaded arm that adds tension to the pulley system. By doing so, you slack the drive belt, making it lose hence easy to remove.
Now, taking into consideration step three above, you should install a new belt by pulling forward the spring-tension pulley arm. Make sure the flat side faces outwards as you unset the new belt into the threads of the rear pulley.
Now, tighten the screws and bolts you removed earlier with the pulley cover. Connect the spark plug then start your lawnmower. It should work properly after testing. In case of a hitch, something may have gone wrong during the replacement process. You contact your seller for advice.
A point of caution: You should always take appropriate safety measures when replacing belts. Most importantly, check the pulley system to make sure there is no debris of a broken belt. You don’t want to end up with even bigger problems after replacing an old belt with a new one. Take, for example, a belt failing to move at the right speed because the remains of a broken one are a hindrance to its optimal function. That’s not all.
Friction and overheating may also become a problem with which you don’t want to deal. While we cannot ascertain whether a fire outbreak is likely to happen, it is not something to rule out. Now, think about this: what would happen if debris of a broken mower belt gets caught by the blades? Well, that’s something about which to think. In the meantime, let’s move on to something even more interesting.
When replacing belts, you should ensure it is the best for the drive. On this premise, measuring its length becomes indispensable. The question is, how do you do it? Well, we have some answers for you as follows:
- First off, put the spare belt on a table or any flat surface.
- Get a tape measure and wrap it around the belt in question. Remember this is a procedure for complete belts. Measuring the length of broken belts should be easy. Just stretch it alongside a tape measure then get the value of its length from the readings in the tape measure.
The reason for taking these measurements is to get a good replacement for stretched belts, if not a replica. We always emphasize a need to buy new belts from the manufacturer.
Does lubricating lawnmower belts help to prevent them from stretching?
Maybe we saw this question coming, maybe not. But it’s probably something many would ask regarding moving parts of a machine.
Well, you should not lubricate a lawn mower belt, and that includes any surface with which it will come into contact. While it may be tempting to do so, it will increase the chances of slip. Wetting drive belts with a lubricant does not only make them ineffective but also misadvised.
There are no shortcuts to improving the efficiency of lawnmowers. The good news is that apart from DIY maintenance and care tips you can learn from experts, new acquisitions come with comprehensive user guides. From learning how to use a lawnmower, tips on replacing worn-out parts to testing belts for a stretch, the list is endless. Here, we always endeavor to bring you the best tips to help solve your lawn mowing problems.