How to Make a Zero-turn Mower Ride Smoother
The zero-turn mowers are wonderful. They are fun, fast, and effective, and an exciting step up from the conventional mowers. But for some users, riding the zero turn mower can be a dreadful experience.
From the annoying bounce of the wheels to the backache-inducing vibration of the mower and unusual riding pattern, riding the zero-turn mower can snuff out the fun that makes it appealing to many.
Tips to Make Your Zero Turn Mower Ride Smoother
If your riding experience has not been as smooth as you wanted, don’t worry: you are not alone. Here, we have compiled a list of steps you can take to make your zero-turn mower ride smoother.
Whether you are using the mid-mount or front mount type of zero-turn mower, the steps contained in this list will surely help reclaim the fun of riding a zero-turn mower and make your mowing experience a memorable one. Let’s get started.
1. Learn how to ride the zero-turn mower
A prominent step-up from the convention lawn tractors is the replacement of the steering wheel with lap bars. Although this is to make the riding easier, you might need to get used to it, if you want to improve your riding experience. This might seem basic but riding zero-turn mowers can ride rough, especially for inexperienced riders. That is why you need to develop competence to smooth out the ride.
The learning process doesn’t have to be something professional; you can start simple. Play around your yard, use the mower on a straight path from one end to another. Pull around the trash can. With time, you will have greater control over your lap bars and thereby set yourself up for a smooth riding experience.
2. Clear the lawn
Except you are using high-end (and more expensive mowers), most of the regular mowers cannot pull through lawns filled with heavy objects and trash. Unlike tractors, zero-turn mowers are best at doing one thing: mowing. Anything that would force it to do beyond this will give you a ride that you don’t want to have.
Clear your lawn off heavy items that can impede your mower. The stones, the firewood, the tough twigs, and so on. This will smoothen the path for you to have an even smoother ride on your zero-turn mower.
3. Get the right anti-scalp rollers
Your zero-turn mower might ride smoothly on an even lawn, but the game changes when you hit rough terrain. To continue with that feel-good smooth riding experience, you need to get some anti-scalp rollers.
The rollers help you to maintain balance when you are on uneven grounds. They come in various sizes depending on the level of cut you want to achieve irrespective of the terrain.
When the mower deck goes too close to the ground during mowing, the rollers take in the pressure and transmit the impact across the mower to minimize the impact of the compression. And you, perched atop the mower, will have no clue what the roller had done as you happily mow along.
4. Keep a low tire pressure
Most zero-turn mowers come with high pressure in the tires. This can make you bounce on your seat as you ride through the lawn. Mowing shouldn’t give you back pains. That’s why you need to let some air out of those tires. This will reduce the pressure in the tire and give you better traction to keep you comfy as you ride along
The reduction doesn’t have to be drastic. Check the user manual and use it as a guide to adjust to the recommended pressure, which is between 10 – 14 lbs.
5. Maintain a medium capacity fuel volume
You are more likely to have a rough ride if you keep a full gas tank during mowing. Why? The high fuel volume makes your zero-turn mower heavy and firm on the ground. While this can fetch you more traction, it is not ideal for pleasurable mowing.
The front swiveling wheels will literally have to drag the rear wheels along, and thus give you a bumpy ride. A slightly filled tank will is also not helpful for a smooth ride. The fuel will swing from one side to the other as you maneuver through your lawn.
To make your ride smoother, keep to the middle capacity. This will lessen the pressure on your wheels and allow you enough power for a smooth and happy mowing.
6. Install a spring suspension
One cause of a rough ride on your zero-turn mower is the transmission of shock from the mower deck to the chassis and your body. This is worse when you are on an uneven lawn and more profound if the seat on your mower doesn’t have a backrest.
A spring suspension–installed underneath the seats or on the caster wheel–takes care of this by maintaining the position of these parts and absorbing the shock and vibration from the cutting deck. With that out of the way, you can look forward to a smoother ride on your cute, little mower.
7. Get large diameter tires for your rear wheel
Small diameter tires are not ideal for smooth rides, especially at the rear wheels where more balance is needed. A low set wheel reduces the space between the ground and the mower deck, thereby increasing the liability of rough impact during mowing. This can also tear your lawn.
To get a smoother ride, invest in some large diameter tires for your rear wheel. With this, your mower will be able to accommodate more weight, while still maintaining some breathing space below the deck to help you maneuver through rough terrains.
8. Grease the wheels
Still on the wheels, a smooth ride comes from smooth rolling of the wheels and all the moveable of the zero-turn mowers. Your mower will fly through your lawn if these parts are well oiled, smooth, and ready for action.
Clean your spindle, caster wheels, and wheel bearings with a dry rag. Remove any dirt or mulch that could obstruct greasing, and then apply grease with a grease gun. Do this at least once a month and you will be sure of a smoother ride on your zero-turn mower.
9. Fix the parts
The rough ride that you experience could be due to some mechanical defects in your zero-turn mower. Is the carburetor free or clogged? Is the oil still fresh? What about the spark plug? Defects in any of these could cause your mower to jerk and run rough. Check to see if the parts are okay. Fix them if they are not or get a replacement.