NEVER do this to your mower!

NEVER do this to your mower!

13 Things You Should NEVER Do To Your Mower

1. Don’t let your engine get low on oil.

Firstly, your engine needs to be lubricated well to prevent your lawn mower from overheating and smoking. If your mower runs out of oil and is run anyway while you do yard work, you WILL be either paying for engine repairs or a new lawn mower. CHECK YOUR OIL BEFORE EVERY USE!

Broken rod from lack of engine oilBroken rod from lack of engine oil

2. Don’t let your radiator coolant get low.

This only applies to liquid-cooled lawn mowers. The engine will overheat and seize up without coolant! You need to check your coolant level BEFORE EACH USE!

Radiator coolant level

3. Don’t suffocate your engine.

Keep dirt and grass cleared away from the engine cooling fins. Your engine needs air circulation to prevent overheating. However, if your engine overheats it can lock up, or even worse, cause your lawn mower to overheat, smoke, then catch on fire!

Clean engine cooling finsClogged Air FilterClogged Air FilterGrass and debris packed in engine compartment of edger starting to burn.Mower on fire

4. Don’t hit tree stumps while you cut the grass.

If you hit a tree stump with a push mower, you will most likely bend your blade and possibly crankshaft. This would result in a very expensive lawn mower repair.

If you hit a tree stump with a riding lawn mower or zero-turn, you will bend the blades and possibly bend the mower deck, break the spindles, or damage other lawn mower parts. This will also require expensive lawn mower repair services, Give us a call if your riding lawn mower hit something and stopped or won’t start after hitting something.

Tree Stump

5. Don’t try to use your mower to quickly re-spool rope or barbed wire.

While your mower will get the job done a lot faster than you could, this is not a very cost-effective method. You will probably end up needing a major repair. Here are some, signs of a bad mower spindle.

  • Uneven grass height after cutting your lawn
  • Squealing noises while using your mower
  • Louder than normal buzzing sounds and random vibrations
  • Broken or bent mower parts
  • Spindle fails to immediately heat up after starting up your mower

barbed wire wrapped around mower blades and spindleRope tangled in mower blade and spindle

6. Don’t operate your mower if safety equipment is not working properly. Do read your manual and follow all lawn mower safety instructions.

Please check all of your safety equipment before you start your mower. Most accidents involving mowers could have been prevented if the operator was following safety instructions. There is no machine worth one of your loved ones getting injured or killed!

Discharge chute tied upBlade ExposedSeat Belt


Good examples of why this is so important:
 | Bill | Faith | Braxton

8. Don’t let your mower deck get clogged with grass and debris.

Clean out dirt, grass, and debris from the top and underneath side of your mower deck after each use. This will keep your pulleys and belts moving freely without overheating. You can hose off your deck. When you’re finished, just engage the lawn mower blades and let them turn for a few minutes to induce drying and to re-heat the bearings.

Trying to store hay for the winter?Mower turned into Chia Pet

9. Don’t let animals live in your mower.

Often times critters make nice little homes in equipment, especially when the equipment is left outdoors or in a barn for the winter. Air filter compartments can make cozy places for mice to live. Make sure you check your air filter and other engine compartments regularly for signs of animal nesting.

Animal nest in mowerAnimal nest in mowerSnake tangled in mower deck spindlesGoat standing on top of mower

10. Don’t use unsafe mower blades.

There are many things that can make a mower blade unsafe.

1. Consult with a professional mower repair company for lawn mower blade sharpening service to help you determine if you have been sharpening the blades too many times – If a blade is worn too thin it becomes weak. If you hit something, the blade could break off and injure someone.
2. Bent blade – If a blade is bent it will be out of balance. This can ruin your bearings and scalp your yard. If you’re unsure of how to straighten a lawn mower blade, contact us.
3. Cracked blade – If a blade is cracked and you hit something it can break off and injure someone.
4. Broken blade – A broken blade will be out of balance and ruin your bearings. You also risk the blade breaking off completely and doing serious property damage or injuring someone.
5. Altering the blade – Lawn mower blades are manufactured with strict standards and tolerances for your safety. Altering can cause property damage, personal injury, and death.

Great Example: Out of Control Lawn Mower Blade Lands Inches From Baby

11. Don’t forget regular maintenance.

Regular maintenance is very important. Moreover, your mower and mower accessories will last much longer if they have a tune-up each year by a business that knows how to repair them properly.

Riding Mower/Zero TurnChange engine oil, oil filter, air filter, pre-air filter, spark plugs, and fuel filter. Clean the engine cooling fins and mower deck. Check deck belts, bearings, and idlers, transmission belt and idlers, tire pressures, charging system, and battery. Lube all grease fittings, level mower deck, sharpen and balance mower blades.

Push Mower: Change engine oil, spark plug, and air filter. Clean engine cooling fins and mower deck. Check cables, check self propel, lube machine, sharpen and balance mower blades.

12. Don’t leave gas in your equipment for more than two weeks.

The new blended fuels that you get at the gas station are a mix of gasoline and ethanol. The ethanol-blended into these fuels not only absorbs water, but also evaporates leaving water and a substandard fuel. The evaporation causes the fuel to form gum deposits quickly which clogs the fuel system and makes your equipment run poorly. If water sits in the fuel system long enough, damage to internal carburetor parts as well as engine parts is inevitable, especially with small equipment like trimmers and blowers, and is usually ethanol gascatastrophic.

We’re not saying that the fuel you’re getting is bad. If you follow these rules, you shouldn’t have any problems.

  1. Don’t get more gas than you can use in two weeks
  2. Store fuel in a sealed, approved gas tank
  3. Make sure your fuel caps are not cracked, broken, or missing
  4. Agitate your fuel cans before pouring, especially with your mixed fuels
  5. Use a quality 2 cycle oil, properly mixed, for 2 cycle engines
  6. If a unit is going to sit for an extended length of time, the fuel system should be drained properly



13. USE COMMON SENSE while operating ANY power equipment!

Please don't ever do this!






48 Responses

    1. We do see this often, clothing, twine, netting, plastic bags. It usually doesn’t cause any real damage. The blades will need to come off and the debris removed. The blades and spindles need to check out for damage. There is a possibility that the fiasco could have bent the deck, which can usually be straightened.

      1. Hi Herb, a plastic bag along with a wad of grass got wrapped around the blade shaft, I was able to remove 98% of it, but there’s still a tiny piece of plastic that is stuck where the blade is attached. I don’t have the skills to remove the blades… is it safe for me to engage them and continue mowing, in spite of the little bit of plastic that’s stuck? I don’t want to do lasting damage to the mower. Thank you!

        1. The plastic should pose no problem, other than if it is wrapped tight around spindle and quite a bit of it, it may melt from friction of the turning spindle. It doesn’t sound like there is much there, so it should be ok. It requires an impact wrench to remove the blade bolt. if a neighbor or someone has that and can help, that would be ideal to get the plastic out completely.

  1. I have a question. We have a riding lawn mower we got used, my husband insists it’s fine to mow our shooting range that has very sparse grass and is mostly glacical silt. It’s made the belt smoke and sound awful. I think we shouldn’t mow out there till it’s more established grass. What are some problems that arise from mowing on basically dirt.

    1. Dust and dirt can definitely do damage to bearings in deck spindles and idler pulleys. It is our experience that a smoking belt is due to something wedged in belt path or an idler pulley seized up. We would suggest not mowing an area of mostly dirt or unestablished grassy area until grass gets well established. In the mean time, maybe a walk behind trimmer would do for knocking down the range area. It also sounds like it is time to have the mower looked at and if financially feasible, be repaired before more damage is done. Thanks for your inquiry. Let us know if we can be of further assistance.

  2. I ran over some wire fencing with my mower, cleaned it all out and now the pto will not engage. What direction should I take from here?

    1. first and foremost would be to make sure all wire has been removed from spindles. remove spindle belt and see if all spindles spin free. you don’t say whether pto is manual or electric. if electric, is the clutch engaging? If manual and engaging kills motor, there is still debris around spindles. if pto engages (manual) but blades do not turn, probably a belt off somewhere.

    1. The best height to mow your grass at is 3″. Any lower than that, especially in summer months will cause your lawn to lose it’s greenery and brown out. You don’t say what the height is now, so not sure how low you are wanting to go

    2. I got a cloth caught in one of my mower blades on my rzt 50 and once I removed it. The electric clutch just clicks once every time I pull the knob. Do you have any idea as to how to fix this?

      1. Jim, not sure if you are saying clutch does not work now or what. The clutch will always click when switch engaged, that is the two plates contacting each other when the magnet is energized. if it clicks and mower blades do not turn, then belt from clutch to deck came off or deck belt, if applicable has come off the spindle pulleys.

  3. I have a yard sale riding mower. I now know why it was cheap. Bad deck spindles-replaced. Bad belts replaced. I just found out that the main pulley from the engine is bent along the rim. This I suspect is from someone else trying to remove it. Any suggestions other than replacing it? Is any.chance of straightening it?

    1. It needs to be replaced. At the manufacturer, they don’t use never seize on shafts. This causes the pulley to rust to the shaft after years of use. The reason to remove it is to replace the drive belt for the mower. The belt can be replaced by removing the motor to gain access to belt and if yours has a good drive belt on it, this is probably what they did. The pulley will be destroyed getting it off the motor shaft, but replacing it is the only viable option. Thanks for using us.

    2. Every year I mulch my leaves my mower runs good until I hit a heavy load of leaves, it acts like it wants to die . I disingage the blades& it wanblades & my engine wants to surge. My air filter is clean & new fuel filter is new. Had same problem last year & they adj. governor. Is there something else I can do? Also when I try to restart I get back fire.

  4. Thanks for helping me understand that regular maintenance is a must. As you mentioned, it will keep the equipment lasting for a long period of time. I will share this information with my best friend since she will be buying an equipment this coming weekend now that she has moved into the property which has a lawn for the first time in her life.

    1. You are welcome and if you or she has more questions, feel free to call us

      1. Can u use wire in the place of the throddle cable. For the blade

  5. Thanks for mentioning that your lawn mower will last much longer if you have it tuned up by a professional every year. My husband and I are thinking about buying a new lawn mower soon, and I want the investment to last as long as possible. I didn’t realize they needed to be tuned up to extend they’re lifespan, so thanks for letting me know!

  6. Help please. I have a cub cadet rzt 54 riding mower all in good shape with new spindles, new deck belt, & blades. As I was finishing mowing my lawn I hit the front left corner of my deck on a stob & it seemed to push the deck back because the belt is loose. The front hanger seems ok & I can’t seem to recognize anything obviously bent but only that the belt is loose. The tension spring is tight & I am at a loss. Whatever help you can help with would be appreciated.

    1. John, some issues can be figured out by listening to the customer. Your issue is informational but hard to determine what might be out of whack without seeing it. My first check would be the front hanger assy. Not sure how your particular one is made but that would be the first point of stress to the deck when you hit something going forward. Again, without seeing it, I can only speculate. Thanks for your post. If you can bring it by the shop, I can take a quick look at it and give you and idea on repairs.

  7. I was mowing some heavy grass and kept killing my mower. What damage might I have done to my mower?

    1. Sara, under heavy grass conditions, we have all stalled out a mower or two. The biggest concern would be belt wear from slippage as the deck slows down while mowing. The heavy grass accumulates under the deck and as the mower blades slow down, prevents the grass from properly leaving the deck, thereby causing more belt stress as the blades attempt to clear the cuttings from the deck. A time or two probably hasn’t done much damage to the mower belt but it should be checked, as the number of times it killed the motor is not listed. If the deck starts normally and gets to speed as it should when not mowing, the belt should be ok. if it takes longer to get to speed now, that would be a good indication that belt slippage has greatly reduced the ability of the belt to do its job and will continue to wear, possibly causing other issues.

  8. I just bought a new John Deere ZTR mower. My husband mowed with it and sprayed it off right after mowing. Will this not hurt the engine?

    1. I would not want to spray off the engine right after shutting down after mowing for any length of time. This could cause warpage to hot parts or cracking such as the porcelain insulators on the spark plugs. I would let it set and cool a bit before washing down the motor area. Most of the time, debris and grass can be removed with an air hose or leaf blower. pressure washing or hosing off will not hurt the mower once it has cooled down.

  9. I have a craftsman riding mower, and ran over some low voltage wire. It shut off on me, so then I looked under and got all of the wire out of the blades where it wrapped all around. Tried starting it again and had white smoke coming out a little. When I let it run for a little longer at idle(about 30 seconds) it got a lot worse so I shut it off very fast. Any idea the approach and steps I need to start looking for/taking.

  10. My boss has a walker 0 turn mower and the motor seased up how do I fix my boss mower with out buying a new motor

  11. Is it ok to keep the blade on 3 while going backwards? Will it hurt the blade driving backwards?

  12. Would it harm the motor if I winched the front of zero turn mower up high enough to stand up to change the blades?

  13. I bend a regular blade on a new Cub cadet riding mower. I bought two low lift sand blades to replace but couldn’t get the undamaged blade off. The blot starting to strip so we just left it on and replaced the bend one. I now have a low lift and the regular blade attached. Will this hurt my mower? I have the other new sand blade but can’t get the other off.

  14. I was cutting thick tall grass with a self-propelled mower and the engine stopped. Now the pull cord won’t pull and I can’t re-start the engine …
    what should I do?

  15. I have a John Deere Z915B with about 300 hrs on it. After mowing for a few hours and stopping for a break, it will not crank. The PTO switch has been replaced twice which solves the problem temporarily but eventually fails again. Is this a common problem with the JD PTO switches? Can mowing high grass put an increased load on the PTO clutch causing it to draw more current? Could using a third party switch with higher rated contacts solve this problem?

    1. If you have gone through 3 PTO switches, I would have the clutch checked out. If it is drawing more than 5 or 6 amps, I would have it replaced. A preliminary check can be done by ohming out the clutch coil. An ohm reading of 2.8 would mean the clutch is still ok but approaching the end of its life. anything over 2,8 means ok. Less than 2.8 days it’s time for a new clutch. With all that said, the JD PTO switches are designed for 5 amps and less. Most aftermarket and other mower switches are rated for 10 amps. When those go out, the clutch is bad. I hope this helps. Feel free to ask any other questions you may have since this explanation is rather technical. Thanks, Herb

  16. My wife has been cutting the grass and I noticed that she keeps engaging and disengaging the blades about 20+ times when she moves around her flower beds, we had this debate that it’s bad for the engine to keep turning it on and off so many times? Any feedback to settle this debate?

    1. I was mowing with my Cub cadet RTZ S zero turn in some high grass and hit a piece of tire that was in the grass. It killed the mower instantly. I cleared the blades and tried to start it again and it won’t even turn over. I can hear the PTO clock off and on when I pull and push the knob. What is causing the motor not to turn over?

      1. The first thing to do is make sure your arms are out, brake on, in the seat and pto off. if that fails, there could be a bad safety switch which would require some electrical investigation. we would be happy to check it out if you can’t get it going. Thanks, Herb

  17. My cub cadet ultima zt1-50 sputters and dies. Only have 61 hours on it. Ran good, put it up, then next time to mow it sputters and dies. Will not stay running or stop sputtering. No exhaust blockage, used gunk out and starter fluid changed fuel pump. Fuel filter is clean, gas and gas tank are clean. Applied water remover and gas treatment.
    My next option is coil. Any suggestions?

    1. Doug, you didn’t indicate how long it had been put up before the issue started. If I had to guess, just based on info, I would say the carburetor needs to be cleaned and rebuilt. It probably has some varnish from gas setting in it for a period of time, plugging up a passage or 2.

  18. I bought a new Bad Boy Zeor-Turn 2 weeks ago – it leaves a trail of grass in the middle – thought caused by the height of the grass until 5 hours later, I discovered the belt was on in a reversed pattern. Would this damage the deck in any way?

    1. Andrea, if belt routing was wrong and all it did was turn the blade in reverse or not at all or very little, it should be just fine. check the belt for fraying and replace if needed, otherwise reroute and go mow. Thanks, Herb

  19. My son disengages and re-engages the PTO for the deck every single time he turns when he mows the yard. I’m thinking this is going to wear out the belts much faster than just leaving it engaged. Is that assumption correct?

    1. you are correct. It will not only wear belts out sooner but if it has an electric clutch, it will wear out the switch and the expensive clutch a lot sooner than normal. Turn it on to mow, off when done. no reason, other than getting off the mower to pick something up, to ever shut it off while mowing.

  20. I need some help figuring out why my Ariens zero turn mower won’t start. I just used it a few days ago and it ran fine. Was low on oil so I added some, maybe added too much? I also lightly pressure washed the exterior and tried to avoid the engine, but I see where some electrical wire is exposed and I guess I could have gotten that wet. If the electrical did get wet, how would I be able to fix that?

    1. Roger, as far as getting wet, letting it set for awhile should dry it out enough for the electrical to work properly. Usually all that happens is the coil gets wet and does not allow engine to spark. You don’t say if the motor turns over or not. that makes a difference when trying to determine a cause for starting issues. First check to make sure you have gas. Make sure the levers and pedals required for starting are in their proper positions. Make sure blade clutch is turned off. there are many safety switches on most lawnmowers and if any of those fail, mower will not start. It is difficult to diagnose starting issues without the mower present, so I hope this helps a bit. If all else fails, you can bring it in or we have pickup and delivery available for servicing your lawnmowers and outdoor equipment.

  21. Well, A snake was in the engine last time I cut and now the mower won’t start. Engine not turning over, just a slight buzz when I turn key. I have the engine cover off and all snake parts I saw removed. Where do I check next? There has to be another piece of snake inside somewhere. Thanks

  22. I recently was doing my yard and felt a random jostling in my zero turn mower. I turned it off and turned it back on to see if everything was ok and the deck violently shook until the belt snapped. I went back to the area where I first felt the change in my mower and found a snake head and pet of its body strewn about the yard. Would a snake be enough to throw a belt?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.