How To Improve Zero-Turn Mower Performance: Part 2

In-Season Maintenance Tips for Zero-Turn Mowers

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During the mowing season, periodic maintenance needs to be performed at the specified intervals in the operator’s manual. Jeff Shearin, service manager at Clay’s Power Equipment in Raleigh, NC (, says it’s important to pay close attention to the following:


  • Check oil level daily before use.
  • Check hydraulic fluid weekly.
  • Visually inspect the machine daily for any signs of leaks or obvious damage.
  • Check tire pressure regularly; do not adjust tracking without checking tire pressure first.
  • Check and clean paper air filters every 50 hours or more often in dusty conditions. Use low-pressure compressed air to blow out paper filters from the inside. Do not use high pressure or the filter element may be damaged.
  • Be sure to grease fittings per the maintenance schedule in the operator’s manual.
  • Keep blades sharp and balanced. A dull blade tears grass, which will cause the grass tips to brown while increasing the chance for disease.
  • Check blades for excessive wear, and replace blades that are damaged, worn or bent before they cause a problem.
  • Keep maintenance records on your equipment, this will help you to control costs by keeping track of the correct maintenance intervals. It will also reduce your likelihood of downtime due to lack of maintenance.
  • Check belts regularly for damage and to ensure proper tension.

Keep it clean. After you are done using the mower for the day, simply take your handheld or backpack blower and blow off the entire machine. Keep the engine clean. Doing this reduces heat buildup, corrosion and premature wear.

Visually inspect your work. Shearin advises contractors to periodically walk the area they have just mowed and look at it from all directions. “This can give you a good idea of problems that may be causing an issue with cut quality,” he points out. “Are there ridges at the edge of two mowing lines? Are there skips between blades? Are the tips of the grass cleanly cut? After a few times, this will become second nature and you will develop an eye for ensuring the best possible quality out of your mower.”