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How to put a ball hitch on a lawnmower, step by step

A ball hitch can make your machine more productive. If you have a rollback trailer, you can use it with your lawnmower to move logs and other materials around your property. If you are trimming the trees, you can move the cut-down branches effortlessly with your mower instead of pulling the trailer by hand. Another example of using a ball hitch on your lawnmower or lawn tractor is a tow-behind lawn sweeper. When you mow your grass, the lawn sweeper collects the clippings. No need to rake them separately. Now, think of any other tasks like aeration, grading, or even seeding. These tasks can be achieved by hand but are much more manageable by attaching devices like a plug aerator for aeration or a grass seeder for seeding. This article explains how to choose and mount a ball hitch on your lawnmower or lawn tractor.

How to put a ball hitch on a lawnmower, step by step:

  • Step 1: Check the towing capacity of your mower. Never tow more than the machine’s weight
  • Step 2: Select a suitable ball hitch depending upon your needs
  • Step 3: Collect the required tools for the installation
  • Step 4: Assemble the hitch and attach the mounting bars.
  • Step 5: Attach the ball hitch to the rear end of the mower. Screw the nuts tightly and make sure the connection is secured.
  • Step 6: Test the ball hitch. Gradually increase the weight and make adjustments accordingly.

Guide for Installing a Ball Hitch on your lawnmower

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to choose and attach a ball hitch to your lawnmower or lawn tractor.

● Method 1:

-Step 1: Know your Mower’s Towing Capacity:

Before you can start looking at different hitches to put on your lawnmower, you should know its towing capacity. You should find this number in the user’s manual. If you don’t have a manual and you can not find it anywhere else, the best thing is to follow the rule that you should never try to tow anything weighing more than the lawnmower itself. So, if the machine weighs 500 pounds, that’s your towing limit. With that being said, we highly recommend giving yourself a buffer. So, in this case, you should limit your towing capacity to 400 pounds. Doing this will prevent your engine from trying to perform more work than its capacity and stalling.

-Step 2: Finding a Suitable Ball Hitch for your mower:

Fortunately, there are so many different lawnmower ball hitch options. Most of these hitches are universal. It means that you don’t have to worry about your mower’s compatibility with a certain ball hitch. Not all hitches are easy to install, so you need to pay attention to the instructions. Some of the important factors to keep in mind are:

  • Height: Some hitches will sit high on the mower, so they are easier to hook up. However, in most cases, you might prefer to have the hitch sit lower on your machine. What do you plan to do with the ball hitch? Does a higher-mounted ball hitch make this impossible or harder?
  • Ball Size: Lawnmowers are not designed for loading heavy things. That’s why most hitches use a one-inch ball. But, some may be bigger. It greatly depends on what you will be towing. Based on that, you can choose the correct ball size. Keep in mind that you should try to make the weight on the ball as low as possible.
  • Assembly: Most of the hitch models don’t require any assembly, but some do. If ease and simplicity are what you are looking for, we recommend buying a single-piece hitch.

-Step 3: Gather the Right Tools for the Job:

Depending on which hitch you got, you may or may not have to drill a hole into the rear of the mower. For instance, a high-hitch has stabilizer bars that have to be attached to the mower itself. Some other hitches can fix this mounting-hole issue, as they come with standard riding lawnmowers. Typically, the only tools you’ll be needing are a drill and a socket wrench set, but you might need a hammer and screwdrivers. Be sure to read the hitch installation instructions before starting the procedure so that you aren’t left looking for tools midway, which will waste your time.

-Step 4: Assembling the Hitch:

If your hitch has mounting bars, you need to assemble them into a mounting unit before mounting them to your lawnmower. Fortunately for you, ball hitches usually come with all of the bolts and washers and the necessary instructions.  So, the process is relatively straightforward and easy. Even a novice user, and you won’t have to purchase additional bolts and washers.

-Step 5: Attaching the Ball Hitch to the Lawnmower:

With the assembly step completed, your riding lawn mower has a mounting bracket on its rear end, so all you have to do is attach the ball hitch with bolts and nuts. But, sometimes, you may have to drill into the metal to put brackets or the mounting assembly properly. In this case, make sure that you don’t drill into any critical components of your lawnmower.

Mostly, there is enough space behind the metal to install the bolts without hurting any critical component. Whatever might be the case, be sure to follow the hitch mounting instructions, as well as the user manual for your lawnmower.

-Step 6: Testing the Ball Hitch:

Once the hitch is perfectly secured in its place, it’s time to give it a test run. We recommend pulling something light in weight to ensure that the hitch won’t come off and you have done everything right. This way, you can make all sorts of necessary adjustments at that very moment rather than finding that the hitch was too weak when you haul a lawn vacuum later on. You don’t need to attach a trailer or wood chipper for the test run and have the hitch ripped off. Haul something light and gradually increase the weight until you are satisfied.

● Method 2:

-Using a Homemade Hitch Adapter:

A DIY receiver hitch will also work fine and will most certainly cost you less than the different hitches sold on online stores and other marketplaces. It will give you the freedom and flexibility to build one to accommodate two balls of various sizes. There are plenty of options, but the most straightforward design involves crafting a sturdy receiver-style hitch using steel tubing, which will do the job just fine and cost lesser.

Safety Issues

The ball-hitch installation process is safe and fairly simple, especially if there is no drilling involved. But if you need to drill into the metal, we strictly recommend that you wear safety goggles because small metal chips may get into your eyes and cause temporary or permanent damage. In any case, take care of the following things:

  • Ventilation: Always work in a well-ventilated and well-lighted room.
  • Worksurface: Work on a flat surface. Put a wood block or tire chockers behind the wheels so that you can prevent the mower from wobbling.
  • Personal Protection: Always wear protective gear during the installation. That includes gloves and eye protection.
  • Stay fresh and attentive: If you become tired, distracted, or frustrated, leave the project. This is when accidents happen, or irreparable mistakes are made. Return to it when you are fully fresh and in the right state of mind to work.
  • Drive safely: Drive the tractor and tow anything with great caution, especially a trailer or lawn cart. Inclines and sharp turns can turn ugly if not done properly. Turning may take a little while and a lot of practice because it is too easy to tip over your load or, worse, tipping the entire mower over.

Related Questions

1. Will towing wear down my lawnmower engine?

Well, yes, it can wear down your mower with time. But, the extent of wear and tear will be determined by the weight your mower is pulling. That is why it is recommended to haul less than the maximum hauling capacity to extend your machine’s life.

2. Is a ball hitch necessary or optional?

It is not necessary, but it surely can help in many situations. If you only intend to cut grass, you are just as fine without a ball hitch. However, if you’re not sure, we suggest you install a hitch anyway. If and when you need to tow something, your mower will be ready for the job.

Final Remarks

A homemade ball hitch or the one that you purchased from a nearby hardware store will work fine with your lawnmower as long as you know what you need it for and how to attach it with your mower. Remember your mowers towing capacity and never load more than or even close to its limit. Inspect all parts before each use for rust or deformation. Working on machines can be dangerous, and you should not forget some basic safety instructions. Always keep in mind the guiding tips when towing a trailer or any attachment. Now you know what you need to know if you want to put a hitch ball on your lawnmower.