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How to Remove a Stuck Lawnmower Wheel?

During your mowing session, suddenly, your lawnmower is stuck. Maybe you noticed recently that the machine had more trouble riding and that it could not reach the speed it used to have. The engine is still running, and the blade can even work, but the machine is just not moving. This happens when a wheel is stuck and somehow can’t rotate. A wheel being stuck can be frustrating, but you’d be relieved to know that it is not difficult to fix. With some basic info and guidelines, you can remove the stuck wheel and solve this issue yourself.

How to Remove a Stuck Lawnmower Wheel:

When you have a stuck or jammed wheel on your lawnmower, there are several methods to fix it. You can use penetrating oil to reach into the wheel’s gaps and release and remove any stuck debris. Once this is done, you can use the force from a mallet to remove the wheel. Another method is to use wax and a propane torch. The heated wax can soften any stuck debris and make the wheel free and easy to take off. The third option is to pull off the wheel using a hydraulic bottle jack’s excessive force. This method could be a little dangerous because of the jack’s excessive force, but it can get you the result just fine if done carefully.

These methods of removing a stuck lawnmower wheel are quite simple, but there still are some details to take care of. We’ll take you through a step-by-step guide of each method to ensure that you face no problem when removing the stuck wheel of your lawnmower.

Why does a Lawnmower Wheel get stuck?

It’s typical for rotating parts of machines to get stuck due to many reasons. A lawnmower wheel can get stuck because of debris buildup or corrosion to components. These increase the friction so much that the wheel does not rotate at all.

Another reason for a stuck wheel could be thermal expansion and/or contraction when operating in or being stored in more extreme temperatures (cold or hot). Whatever the reason may be, a lawnmower with a stuck wheel won’t move, making mowing impossible. But using some simple methods, you can release and remove a stuck wheel.

Method 1: Using Penetrating Oil and a Rubber Mallet

In this method, you make use of penetrating oil to reach the gaps where debris is stuck. Penetrating oil softens up any dirt or debris, or gum and release the wheel. Then the wheel can be taken off by hitting it softly with a rubber mallet.

● Equipment Needed for this Method:

  • A hydraulic jack to lift your mower
  • A socket wrench to loosen the bolt/bolts
  • A flathead screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Wooden blocks to balance the mower
  • Penetrating oil
  • Rubber mallet

● Make Sure that:

  • The engine is turned off. Disconnect the spark plug.
  • Turn the ignition switch off and remove the ignition key.
  • The parking brake is applied.

You can also use a pressure washer before starting this method to remove any excess debris or dirt.

● Step 1: Preparation

Prepare yourself and the mower. Wear safety gloves to avoid injury due to sharp edges. Park your mower on an open flat surface and disconnect the spark plug.

● Step 2: Lift the Mower

Lift the mower to get better access to the wheel mechanism. If you have a heavy machine, you can use a manual or hydraulic jack to lift the mower. You can often use one from your car, but make sure to use the parking brake and some stones or wood behind the other wheel so the lawnmower will not move. Lift the front part if you are lifting the front wheel or the rear part in the case of a rear wheel. Once the mower is lifted, place a wooden block, or more than one wooden block if needed, under the wheel axle to support the mower. Ensure that the support is enough so the mower does not fall when you start working on it.

Once the mower is firmly standing on blocks, you can remove the jack.

● Step 3: Remove the Hub Cap from the Rim

You can easily remove the hub cap from the rim by using a flathead screwdriver. Place the screwdriver’s head in the gap between the hub cap and the rim and slowly move the hub cap up to remove it.

● Step 4: Open the Bolt

Once the hub cap is removed, you’ll have access to the bolt. Use a socket wrench to remove the bolt. Removing the bolt will unlock the wheel and make the removing process easier.

● Step 5: Spray the Penetrating Oil

Using oil is to loosen and free the stuck wheel from the axle and the shaft. So, spray the oil in every area that you think could have dirt and debris stuck in it. Both internal and external parts of the wheel should be sprayed.

After spraying the oil, leave it for about two hours. The oil will perform its action in that time and loosen any dirt, debris, or gum locking the wheel.

● Step 6: Hit with the Mallet

To remove the wheel, hit the metal rim with a rubber mallet. At first, hit it softly and see if it is coming off with soft blows. Then use slightly harder blows to finish the job. It would be best if you tap the wheel all across its circumference so that it can free up at all the locations where it was stuck.

If hitting the rim with the mallet does not produce any movement, put more lubricating oil on the shaft and axle, then hit again after waiting for five minutes.

● Step 7: Remove the Wheel

When the wheel becomes loose enough after hitting it with the mallet several times, use your hands to pull it off. If pulling it off seems difficult, you can apply more lubricating oil to the shaft and axle and call for help.

Method 2: Using Wax and a Torch’s Heat

In this method, you’ll use a propane torch and wax to soften up the debris, then remove the wheel, hitting it with a rubber mallet.

● Equipment Needed:

  • Light wax
  • Propane torch. You can use another heating torch too.
  • A mallet
  • A fire extinguisher

● Make Sure that:

  • You have performed the preparation steps mentioned in method#1.
  • You have latex gloves on. This is because, unlike oil, you’ll have to apply wax using your hands.
  • You have a fire extinguisher ready and close to you. Some waxes are flammable and can catch fire due to the heat from the torch. Note: Not all waxes are flammable.
  • You don’t necessarily need a propane torch. Even a small lighter can work.

● Step 1: Spread the Wax with your Hands

Check for any visible dirt and debris, and remove it with your hands or a screwdriver. To prevent the wax from sticking to your fingers, wear latex gloves while applying wax. Apply the wax to the rim and axle. Basically, you have to cover every moving part or area of the wheel with the wax.

● Step 2: Apply the Heat

Use the torch to heat the metallic rim and axle. Heating will decrease the wax’s viscosity, or in other words, make it thinner. This will allow the wax to penetrate smaller gaps and help to remove the stuck dirt and debris.

The heat should be focused on all areas covered with the wax, but the rim’s center and the wheel’s internal parts are the most critical. Be careful that you do not melt any plastic or rubber parts. If needed, you can shield a part with some insulation material.

The indication for when to take the torch off is when you see a metallic part get red or smell burning oil. Heat affects the metal directly, which is useful for freeing the wheel.

Once properly heated, the metal will decompress, unsticking the wheel.

● Step 3: Wait for the Wax to Penetrate:

Let the wax penetrate smaller gaps to perform its job better. Remember not to let it move too much or settle in the gaps, on it will stick the wheel even more.

● Step 4: Hit with the Mallet

Hit the wheel rim softly with the mallet, just like in method 1, until it is loose enough to be removed.

● Step 5: Remove the Wheel

Finally, remove the wheel, similar like in method 1.

Method 3: Use a Hydraulic Bottle Jack

You can also use a hydraulic bottle jack and use its immense pressure to pull the wheel off. This method is a little dangerous because the bottle jack’s excessive force can break something off if proper care is not taken during the process. You can find online tutorials of using a hydraulic bottle jack to pull the stuck wheel off.

Final Remarks:

Dirt and debris in the gaps of a lawnmower wheel can cause it to get jammed or stuck. A lawnmower with a stuck wheel does not move even when the engine is generating power. This can cause frustration and ruin your mood on a potentially excellent mowing day. But you need not worry, taking a stuck wheel off is not too difficult. There are multiple simple methods mentioned in this article that can help you remove a stuck lawnmower when quite easily. Just follow one of these procedures step by step, and remove the stuck wheel.