How To Improve Zero-Turn Mower Performance: Part 1

Follow these pre-season maintenance tips to help ensure better performance of zero turn lawn mowers.

Kearney14 10279509 10279877

Proper preparation of your zero-turn lawn mower before, during and after the mowing season can help to reduce downtime, increase productivity and ensure a good quality of cut. All of these will lead to increased customer satisfaction, which is a winning combination for everyone.

Start with training. “Prior to using your zero-turn this season, be sure to follow the operator’s manual,” says Jeff Shearin, service manager at Clay’s Power Equipment in Raleigh, NC ( “If you’re a contractor with employees who operate your equipment, be sure to train all new hires on the safe and proper operation of a zero-turn. Also, make sure even your experienced operators receive refresher training.”

Pre-season maintenance. Shearin then offers the following pre-season maintenance tips to ensure that your mower runs efficiently with a greatly reduced risk of problems later in the year.

  • Charge the battery completely and reconnect.
  • Check all tire pressures for proper inflation.
  • Grease all fittings and make sure all moving parts are free.
  • Check all belt tensions.
  • Change the oil and oil filter.
  • Change the fuel filter.
  • Check the air filters and replace or clean as needed. Do not clean secondary filters; only replace them as required.
  • Check to ensure that the deck is level, all spindles and pulleys move freely, and that the blades are sharp and balanced.
  • Check all fluids on the machine.
  • Check spark plugs. Do not clean dirty plugs; replace them with new ones.
  • Adjust the parking brake per operator’s manual.
  • Add fresh fuel (old fuel should actually be drained at the end of the season)
  • Start the engine and check that it is running properly and at the correct rpm.