How to Use a Riding Lawn Mower
As the name suggests, riding lawn mowers are different from push mowers. The riding one requires a person to hop onto the seat and drive it around as it cuts the grass. However, it might not be a simple task, especially for those without experience. Riding it without the technical know-how can be dangerous. There are so many things to check and confirm before starting the machine. The article brings you all you need to know to operate the riding lawn mower as an expert. It includes maintenance instructions to keep it healthy for a long.
How to use a riding lawn mower
1. Start the mower’s engine
Check the fuel level, oil, and wellness of mower blades before starting the mower. Insert the key into the ignition compartment. Step on the brake pad, pull out the choke knob to activate it and turn on the key to start the engine. Hold the key in that position until the engine starts. Finally, push the choke back in so it does not dilute the oil or damage the engine’s combustion chamber. The choke control temporarily adjusts the air and fuel into the engine compartment.
2. Adjust the throttle
Depending on the speed you want to use, adjust the throttle appropriately. If you need to mow fast, increase the throttle to high. In return, the engine and the blades will rotate quickly. Hence it increases the speed of mowing. On the other hand, lowering the throttle will also reduce the rotations, mowing slowly.
3. Shift the gear into low and ride it to the lawn
Like any other machine, a mower cannot start moving in high gear. It has to start from low. Lift your foot from the brake pedal and press the shift lever to place the mower on a low gear level. Press the drive pedal using your foot until you achieve the desired speed. Ride it to the lawn to start mowing. You will realize that it is similar to driving a car!
4. Engage the mowing blades
Once in the desired location, engage the mowing blades and drive the machine across the lawn. Stop riding, place the mower in the rightful position, and pull the blade engagement knob. Alternatively, you can flip the lever.
The action will lower the blades below the mower to the lawn. Drive the machine in the direction you desire. Confirm the term of blade engagement used by your model. Some call it “power lift off” or blade engage.
5. Move in straight lines as you mow back and forth
The movements should be consistent and constant so that they do not overlap. Preferably, start from one end of the yard to the other. It helps prevent leaving patches of grass between the rows.
In case you are working a slopy land, do not mow across. Do it from up to down and vice versa. However, we do not recommend using a riding lawn mower if your garden is tilted more than 15⁰. You risk tipping over and getting hurt. In this case, you better use a push lawn mower.
As a rule, do not dip the blades deep into the grass. Start by cutting 1/3 of its length to avoid stressing the machine. Maintain that measurement progressively until you clear all the grass.
6. Pay close attention to the corners
These sections require more attention as the mower has to turn around severally. Mow as close to the corner as possible and curve to a 90⁰ angle. You may need a trimmer to reach the farthest side. Alternatively, you can use a zero-turn riding lawn mower to cut all parts, including the hard-to-reach corners.
7. Check the mower’s health, gas, and oil at the end of the task
When you finish the work, confirm the wellness of the machine before storing it. Some parts may require replacements in readiness for the next assignment.
Clean the mower and its blades before putting it in storage. Avoid touching such parts with bare hands as they can cut or harm.
Do not store the machine where it is moist because some parts might get rust. The battery will also drain fast.
Why does my mower not start? (Maintenance)
When it stays in the store for a long time, sometimes it may fail to start. Look at the areas to troubleshoot the problem:
- Replace the battery
You might need to replace the battery. Alternatively, charge the existing one and see how it responds. Connect the charging cables to boost the power, and plug them into the wall outlet. It should be able to start within one hour. If it doesn’t respond in 8 hours, get a new one. Charge the battery before storing the mower at the end of the task.
- Replace the fuel
The old one might be contaminated, hence unable to start the mower. It does not combust with ease. Drain it into a can and dispose of it safely in a waste facility. Replace it with a new one. If you have not replaced the oil filters for a long, then it is time to do so. A clean one enhances the flow of fuel within the system hence improving combustion and health of the mower.
- Check the air and oil filters
Apart from the fuel filter, you also have to check on the oil and air filters. They wear out too and require constant replacement, especially after use. Consider also changing the spark plugs every season. Alternatively, you can clean them if they are still in perfect working condition. However, this is not a lasting solution, except that a replacement is necessary.
Using a riding lawn mower is not a complicated task. After checking that everything is fine, such as oil, fuel, and blades, insert the key and start the engine. Engage the low gear, move to the lawn, and start the work.
Make sure you carry out maintenance procedures on your machine every time you use it on the lawn.