Extension News

Mower Maintenance is Important on Larger Acreages


By Mark Hanna

Agricultural Engineer

Iowa State University Extension


Take time to be familiar with maintenance and safety procedures listed in the mower's operator’s manual to minimize maintenance time. Consider making your own maintenance checklist based on this information if the manual doesn’t already have one. Putting this checklist on a spreadsheet has the added advantage of allowing you to record when maintenance was done. Equipment differs, but following are some important maintenance check points for larger mowers.



  • Maintain and replace filters (air, oil, fuel).
  • Fluids: change oil, check coolant if liquid-cooled and replace as needed. Change filters and fluids at no longer than manufacturers suggested time intervals for best fuel economy and to increase engine reliability. Replace oil using the viscosity suggested by the manufacturer.
  • Clean exterior with compressed air, particularly around air intake and to avoid over heating.
  • Clean battery terminals.


Power transmission

  • Lubricate axle and blade spindles, steering, clutch, and brake linkage. Know location and lubrication interval for all grease zerks.
  • Check tension and wear on belts. Remove debris.


Cutting parts

  • Sharpen blades at regular intervals for best fuel economy and grass health.
  • Remove grass and clean out underside of mower deck after each use to prolong deck life.


General maintenance

  • Check tire pressure and take time to inspect for loose bolts, shields, hose clamps or other parts.



  • Remove yard debris that might be thrown or dull the blade.
  • Stay off slopes too steep for operation. Rider mowers and tractors should move up and down slopes. Walk-behind mowers should move across slopes.
  • Wear appropriate attire. Use shoes with non-slip soles.
  • Keep all guards and shields in place.
  • Disconnect spark plug before maintenance to avoid accidental starting.


Mowers used for heavy-duty work on acreages typically are worked longer hours with the engine operating at prolonged high temperature and additional stress on power trains and mower attachments. Allowing maintenance time during routine mowing operations saves fuel, expense, and time in the long run.


This article is from the June 2008 issue of Acreage Living, www.extension.iastate.edu/acreage/ 

Other articles in this month’s issue--

Can I Grow Grapes?

Pesticide Applications in the Neighborhood



Contacts :

Mark Hanna, Ag & Biosystems Engineering, (515) 294-0468, hmhanna@iastate.edu

Lynette Spicer, Extension Communications, (515) 294-1327, lspicer@iastate.edu