Mowing a large yard with a push mower takes a lot of effort and time, and can be too much trouble. Therefore, for a large grass area, a riding mower becomes necessary. Riding mowers make life on a large yard easier by considerably reducing both the required effort and time. One thing though, riding mowers are not as cheap as push mowers. Both the first and the maintenance costs are higher than those of a push mower. When you buy a riding mower after extensive planning and spending a considerable chunk of money, all you want is for the mower to perform well and last for many years. The key to your machine working well and lasting long is proper maintenance. And cleaning is an important part of machine maintenance. So, it’s only beneficial for you to learn the basics of how to keep your riding mower clean.
How to Wash a Riding Lawnmower:
The most straightforward technique to wash a riding lawnmower is to use a pressure washer. Lift and raise the front of the riding mower in the air. Once you have access to the underneath part, you can use a multipurpose detergent to wash and clean all exposed areas. The best practice would be to apply the detergent and leave it there for five to ten minutes. When the dirt has softened, wash it off with a jet of water. The best thing about leaving the detergent on for some time is that it will soften and absorb the dirt, and you won’t need a high-speed jet to wash it off. While the front is still in the air, wash the tires with the water jet too. When all this is done, put the front down and wash the top, again with a detergent, using the same technique. Use a heavy-duty degreaser to wash the engine, if needed.
Now that you know how a lawnmower is washed, let’s get into the details of some important riding mower cleaning and maintenance essentials.
- Ensure Safety:
- General Maintenance Routine:
- After Every Mowing:
- Twice a Season Jobs:
- Once a Season Tasks:
- Washing Tips:
- Using a Deck Washing System:
- Power Washing is Risky:
- Related Questions:
- Final Remarks:
A riding mower is a heavy machine that can cause injury just if it rolls forward unexpectedly. So, you need to ensure safety before cleaning or washing your riding lawnmower.
- Make sure it can not start: First of all, make sure that your riding mower won’t start unexpectedly during the cleaning process. Because if it does, it can cause some serious injury. So, before starting the cleaning process, remove the ignition key, or unplug the spark plug. To ensure safety from any shocking hazard, disconnect the battery.
- Flat area: During washing, the mower should be on a wide flat area that is sufficiently ventilated. Ensure these things.
- Manual: To familiarize yourself with the safety protocols, read the safety documentation that came with the riding lawnmower.
- Enable the parking brake: As said before, a riding mower can cause injury just by unexpectedly rolling forward; make sure the parking brake is engaged.
- Blades should not turn: Also, make sure that the blades have completely stopped turning before you proceed with the cleaning process.
Make sure to follow the complete safety protocol before you proceed with your maintenance routine. We don’t want you to get hurt!
General Maintenance Routine:
Washing your riding mower is an important part of machine maintenance, but not the only part.
Washing your mower regularly will make it look great, but there are some other things to be done too to ensure that your mower works well and lasts long.
Some of these tasks have to be performed regularly after and before mowing, some only two or three times a season, and some just at the beginning and end of the mowing season.
After Every Mowing:
Make sure to perform these cleaning tasks every time you use the mower. It is important to know that these cleaning routines can be done for other types of mowers too.
Please make sure to follow the safety procedures that are mentioned above before you perform any maintenance routine.
● Dirt and Debris:
Dirt and debris can get accumulated on different machine parts and can cause all sorts of problems, from the mower looking dirty to blocking fuel lines, fuel fil, and oil fil areas. After every mowing, make sure to clean off dirt and debris, especially around the fuel and oil fil areas, using a brush.
Check that the tires are fully inflated and clean. Clean and add air if need be.
● Engine and Deck:
Too much debris and clippings on the deck and in or around the engine can make the engine perform less efficiently. Use a brush to clear off debris from the deck and engine. Take special care to remove any debris that is stuck in these areas.
● Shields and Deflectors:
Check the shields and deflectors for any damage after every mowing. Make sure that the shields and deflectors are all undamaged and in place.
● Fuel and Oil Levels:
Check the fuel level after every mowing and add if needed. Make a habit of checking the oil every time you refuel. Once you develop this habit, you will always be updated on your mower’s oil level and top-up right away whenever required.
Twice a Season Jobs:
The tasks mentioned in this section must be performed at least twice every season to ensure that your mower runs smoothly.
Lubricating the spindle and the pivot points will ensure that your mower keeps running smoothly and remain in optimum condition.
● Air Filter:
Make sure that the air-filter is intact and dirt-free. Even if it is a little dirty, clean it. This will ensure that a dirt buildup doesn’t block the air-filter. If there is so much dirt accumulated that you cannot clean it, replace the air filter.
The blades can become blunt over time. The problem with blunt blades is that instead of cutting the grass, they tear it, damaging your lawn. So, check the blades regularly. Sharpening the blades twice a season will be good enough for regular use throughout the season.
Once a Season Tasks:
● Spark Plugs:
Replace the spark plug at the beginning of the season. This inexpensive routine will make sure that your mower starts easily throughout the season.
● Fuel Removal:
Make sure to remove any leftover fuel before storing the mower at the end of the season because gasoline doesn’t age well. You can refill the fuel tank at the beginning of the next season.
Washing a riding mower is not difficult, but keeping certain things in mind will ensure that washing doesn’t damage your mower.
● Avoiding Electrical Components:
Make sure to not hit the electrical components of your lawnmower during the washing process. Water in the electrical components can destroy the components causing you a lot of distress. Any water left around the electrical components of the mower can result in a shocking hazard later.
● Avoiding Bearings:
Make sure to avoid any water getting into bearings. If water gets sprayed into bearings, they could seize up, rendering the turning components attached to them useless.
● Washing Early on a Sunny Day:
Water remaining on the metallic parts of your riding mower could result in rusting these parts, which is highly undesirable. So, try to wash your mower early on a sunny day, and after washing, leave it in the sun, so it dries off before it is stored or used.
Using a Deck Washing System:
A riding mower deck washing system can help you wash the area underneath the deck without going through the trouble of lifting the front in the air. Follow these steps to use a riding mower deck washer system:
- Step 1: Screw a wash port quick coupler for your mower on one end of a garden hose and attach the other end to an outdoor spigot. Stretch the coupler end to a flat area of the lawn.
- Step 2: Drive your riding mower to this area and park it with the discharge chute facing an open area.
- Step 3: Disengage the blades and shift the lever to neutral. Turn off the engine and set the parking brake.
- Step 4: Plug the coupler to wash port on top of the deck and release the coupler. Turn the water on at the spigot.
- Step 5: Sitting on the mower’s seat, turn on the engine and move the throttle to the “fast” position. Engage the blades and let them turn for two minutes for the grass clippings to eject from the discharge chute.
- Step 6: Disengage the blades and turn off the engine. Turn of the water at the spigot.
- Step 7: Repeat this process for all the wash ports on the deck.
Power Washing is Risky:
Power washing is a great washing tool, but it would be better if you didn’t use it on your riding mower. The water pressure from a power washer is so great that it forces water into bearings, cables, and under the seals.
High-pressure water can also wash off lubrication from the components causing premature wear.
Instead of a power washer, use a brush or a leaf blower to clear off any grass. For removing dirt, use a detergent, and wash off with a normal-pressure water jet.
● Is it fine to lift a side of the mower?
Yes. It is fine as long as the carburetor is still pointed upward.
● Should the fuel tank be empty when a mower is stored?
Yes. Make sure that your mower’s fuel tank is empty before you store it.
A riding mower is an expensive piece of machinery, and every owner would want it to last longer. With proper and regular maintenance, it sure will. Cleaning and washing the mower regularly and performing the other maintenance tasks mentioned above will enhance your riding mower’s performance and life.