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Lawn mower blade spins freely: Should it be so?

I noticed your lawn mower’s blade spinning freely, and I’m wondering if that’s normal. We’re here to provide clarity. Our extensive knowledge in this field ensures you’ll get the accurate information you need.

Should lawnmower blades spin freely?

No, Lawn mower blades should not spin freely when disengaged. Properly tightened blades will spin when engaged but not freely when the mower engine is off. Loose, freely rotating blades can be dangerous and risk damaging the mower. Blades should be tightened appropriately.

Don’t stop now! We will reveal why a freely spinning blade on your lawn mower is a red flag. Understand the implications and learn how to ensure it’s’ adequately tightened. Your mower’s efficiency could be at risk!


Loose mower blades-What it means and how to fix them

While blades in your lawnmower should spin without touching anything, it is not the same as being open at the shafting point. The catch here is that loose blades are a disaster in waiting. Thus, it would be best if you tightened them before it is too late to do anything.

Rotating blades should do so at the correct torque but not too loose to damage the engine or your mower. In a nutshell, loose blades are a recipe for an accident. So, here comes the next question. How do you tighten flexible blades in a lawnmower?

• Understanding Loose Mower Blades and How It Works

Well, with a torque wrench, you should realize an ideal fix. Foot-pound pressure measures how loose or tight a securing should be. And because a torque wrench has a gauge that helps determine the proper fix, we recommend it.  

Before you start fixing loose mowing blades, take note of the type of mower you have. Is it a riding or push lawnmower? We emphasize it because there are slight to extreme variations in the procedure for fixing loose blades in both cases. Let’s’ take a look at each of them separately.

In my 20 years of experience, I’ve found that the ideal condition of a lawn mower blade is when it has a certain amount of resistance when turned by hand. This ensures that the blade is properly attached and the engine isn’t damaged.

● Fixing loose blades in push lawnmowers

When tightening loose blades in push mowers, you should follow the following steps:

– Step 1: Empty the gas tank:

Start emptying a gas tank using a hand siphon or run it dry if the content is less than a quarter.

– Step 2: Turn the mower over:

Turn your mower upside down so the oil fills the cap/tube facing upwards.

– Step 3: Place a wedge between the blade and the deck:

Fix a wooden wedge between the mower blade and the deck. It should stop the lawnmower blades from spinning when you use a torque wrench to tighten them.

– Step 4: Attach the socket:

It is time to tighten the loose blade, so attach the right fitting socket to the wrench. With that, adjust the foot-pound pressure to 30. You should also check the wrench user manual for guidelines.

– Step 5: Tighten the blade:

Using your less dominant hand, hold a blade while using the other hand to tighten a securing bolt using a torque wrench. The wrench should click the set time.

– Step 6: Turn the mower back to its wheels:

With the above steps followed to the letter, remove the wedge and return your mower to its wheels. The blades should rotate at the set foot-pound pressure without feeling too loose or tight.

● Fixing loose blades in riding lawnmowers

 When it comes to tightening loose blades in riding lawnmowers, here is the procedure you should follow:

– Step 1: Park your lawnmower:

Park your riding lawnmower on flat ground in your yard, garage, or driveway.

– Step 2: Raise the mower deck:

Raise the deck to the highest possible position, then turn it off. Make sure the key does not remain in the ignition.

– Step 3: Loosen the bolts:

Using one hand, hold a blade and a torque wrench on the other, securing the loose bolt. Tighten it until you hear a click. Remember to set foot-pound pressure accordingly before you can start tightening flexible blades.

– Step 4: Repeat:

Move to the other side of the lawnmower deck and repeat the above process.

Following the above steps when fixing loose lawnmower blades should help you realize the desired outcome. In the end, the blades should rotate without vibrating. You can turn the spindle by hand or use a drill.

What do you do if lawn mower blades won’t’ rotate?

Apart from loose blades, another scenario that homesteaders are likely to encounter is blades that won’t turn. Often, you wonder if they are too tight to spin. So, the next question is, how do you repair mower blades that fail to spin? Well, we did some homework on that, too, and here is the procedure for a quick fix:

● Check the deck and deck belt for faults:

Mower blades that won’t’ turn even after engaging blade controls could mean the deck is the problem. Thus, you should ask, is the deck broken? While its location varies depending on the type of mower, lowering it should be the first step toward repair and maintenance.

First, wipe the grass debris from the deck belt before removing the cover. It would be best if you inspected it for wear and damage. Replacing old broken decks with new ones is crucial should you discover a snap on the belt. If there are no issues with the deck belt, no problem.

Common mistakes I’ve seen people make when installing a lawn mower blade include not tightening the blade enough, installing the blade upside down, or using a blade that’s not designed for the specific model of mower.

– When to Inspect the Drive Belt

Let’s move on to the next component: the engine’s drive belt. You should only take this step if the blades still do not spin.

The engine’s drive belt powers the belt system and could probably have some wear and tear. Replace, if any, broken belts or remove grass debris that might be hindering blades from working correctly.

● Checking blade clutch for faults

Check the blade clutch to see if there is no problem with the deck and drive belt. Note that the blade clutch stops the spinning blades even if the engine runs. You must engage the controls. Find the blade clutch attached to the crankshaft under the engine.

A belt connects the clutch and crankshaft, powering belts to spin. Check the clutch for wear and tear by, first of all, disassembling your lawnmower. Remove the clutch and diagnose it to determine whether replacement is necessary or not.

● Check safety switch:

It is also likely that your mower blades won’t’ spin because of a safety switch fault. Safety switches trip when there is a problem with the main switch.

You can locate them on the clutch, operator’s seat, and clutch or the transmission. It depends on the type of lawnmower. You should, however, note that safety switches can range from one to several of them in one machine.

Problems in safety switches could range from faults in the electric components to tripping—Discovery of either calls for a quick fix. It would be best to remember that disabled safety switches automatically stop blades from rotating.

One unique tip I’ve learned in my 20 years of experience is to clean the underside of the mower deck regularly. This can greatly improve the mower’s performance and extend the life of the blade.


Ultimately, the most important thing is to have lawnmower blades that work efficiently—one of the three blades that do not spin means you can do nothing with your machine. The spinning of mowing blades creates a force for cutting turf.

Moreover, when blades spin without stopping after engaging the controls or turning them using your hands/drill, chances are always high that they are very loose and spinning freely. We have explained why flexible and rotating blades could cause an accident, let alone damage your mower.

Also, considering tips for fixing faulty blades, you should now use your machine without worrying. After all, nothing gives a homesteader greater confidence than having a few DIY tips under the sleeves. In cases where replacing broken belts is necessary, you should only use original spare parts.

• The Prevalence of Counterfeit Lawn Mower Parts

Counterfeits are everywhere, but we don’t want you to damage your lawn mower by spinning it loosely and freely. Most importantly, check the user manual for guidelines on performing the above fixes on blades that don’t turn.

For a novice learning about this for the first time, always feel free to ask for help. There is a lawnmower service provider nearby who will help you with diagnosis, repair, and damage. You would better be safe than sorry.

The Importance of Regular Blade Inspection

Upon inspection, if you notice noise or wiggle in the blades, it could be a sign of loose and spinning blades. If one of the three blades on the lawn mower is open, it’s’ also essential to check the other blades.

If the blades show signs of wear or damage, it’s best to replace them immediately. Always remember the bolt holding the blades should be tight and secure.

If it’s’ loose and spinning freely, it could lead to accidents or damage to your mower. So, always keep an eye on the condition of your blades and ensure they are in top shape for efficient mowing.