Riding Lawn Mower Tips for First-Time Buyers

posted on Wednesday, June 30, 2021 in Residential Property Tips

Riding Lawn Mower Tips for First-Time Buyers

It’s not difficult to understand the appeal of a riding lawn mower, especially if you have a medium- or large-sized lawn. It requires less energy than a basic push mower, generally allows you to get the work done faster, and the results end up looking like the work of a professional.

But if you’re a first-time buyer, a riding lawn mower can take some getting used to. Fortunately, most riding mowers are engineered with an intuitive setup to help beginners get the hang of it. Here are a handful of tips to help get you started.

Prep Your Mower for Use

Just as an athlete needs to stretch before competing, you need to make sure your riding lawn mower is prepared for the task ahead. That means making sure there is enough gas in the tank, unless you have an electrically operated mower, in which case it should be connected to a power source. If it’s been a while since you last mowed, consider greasing the spindles on the deck.

Dress for the Occasion

Believe it or not, there is a dress code for mowing the lawn. Long pants, a tucked-in shirt, and closed-toed shoes are the essential attire when operating your riding lawn mower. Ditch any loose clothing or jewelry before you start mowing. Don’t make any wardrobe choices that might put you at unnecessary risk and avoid anything that might get caught in the mower.

Choose the Right Setting for Your Deck

Assess the length of your grass before setting the deck on your mower. Your goal is to cut one-third of the length at a time, which allows the clippings to return nutrients back into the soil. So if your grass is tall, cut the grass at a higher setting. If it’s low and only requires a trim, cut it at a lower setting. If your grass is out of control, it is recommended that you mow it once at a higher level and then mow it again a couple days later at a lower level.

Protect Your Mower Blades

The blades of your riding lawn mower do all the work, so it’s important to take care of them. If care is not taken to ensure the blades are kept sharp, the quality of your cut will be reduced. You may even have to mow several times to achieve the quality you’re looking for. Sharper blades make cleaner cuts and it is best practice to sharpen them every four to six weeks.

You will also want to avoid damaging the blades. Consider the terrain before you start to mow. The last thing you want to do is go over stones and damage the blades. Sloping lawns also present a unique challenge for riding lawn mowers. Make sure you are following the grain and not cutting across, as that could also damage your mower blades.

Safely Operate Your Riding Lawn Mower

Operating a riding mower is not that different from driving a car, but there are some nuances that are important for beginners to learn. Until you’re familiar with how your mower works, it’s best to be cautious. Start by operating in a lower gear, which generally makes the mower easier to control. Mowing in a lower gear also helps with maneuverability around brush, bushes, and trees.

Before you start mowing, stop the mower using the clutch and brake. You’ll need to lower the deck to the height you prefer to cut at. Have the throttle at about halfway and press or pull up the blade engagement button before releasing the clutch and brake pedals. Once you’ve finished mowing, lower your throttle to halfway again and press the button again to stop the blades. Last but not least, let the mower idle for a minute while you blow off excess grass on the deck.

You’ll need to press the blade engagement button to lower the blades before releasing the clutch and brake pedals. Once you’ve finished mowing, press it again to retract the blades.

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