You probably haven’t thought all that much about your lawn mower tires, but they deserve your attention at least twice a year. Specifically, at the beginning of the mowing season (typically in the spring) and at the end of the summer when fall weather rolls in and you’re getting ready to pack your mower away for the winter.
Inspecting your mower tires at the start and end of the summer ensures you catch any issues that could lead to potential damage or maintenance problems over time. Check out these tips for keeping your lawn mower tires in great shape and you’ll enjoy a trouble-free machine all season long.
Inflation, Inflation, Inflation
Even if your rider mower doesn’t weigh as much as a car or a truck, the amount of air in your lawn mower tires is an important consideration. Under-inflated or over-inflated tires will wear out that much quicker, and they’ll also reduce the amount of traction your machine has in wet grass or when traveling up or down a hill. Check the owner’s manual for exact pressures, but as a rule of thumb tires should be set between 18 psi and 22 psi.
Caution: Danger Zone
The tires on your mower feature a chunky tread that’s designed to grip grass, but over the years those tread blocks can wear down and lead to wheel spin or problems while steering. When you inspect the tires, check to see how much tread is left. You’ll typically want to have more than 3/32 of an inch of tread in order to ensure safe operation. Worn out tires can be dangerous. Pick up a small tire tread depth gauge to make things easier, and don’t forget to check for any cracks or dry-rot on the sidewalls at the same time as you’re looking over the tread.
Safety First When Changing Tires
If you change your lawn mower tires, make sure to do so as safely as possible. Immobilize the mower by keeping it in gear and blocking off the opposing axle’s wheels while jacking with a set of wheel chucks. Pull the valve core from the valve stem, fully deflate the tire, break the bead with a pry bar and remove the rubber tire from the rim. Lube the tire beads, slip the new tire over the wheel and then secure the beads against the rim lip before inflating.
If you’re not comfortable breaking the bead on a tire, which can be intimidating even after you let air pressure out of the wheel, then consider having a professional swap out the tire for you.
Check out all the lawn & garden products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to keep your lawn more tires in great shape, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Morguefile.
Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time. I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.