Riding Mower General Maintenance
It is important to perform annual maintenance on your riding lawn mower to ensure your machine performs at peak levels and extend its service life. Listed below are annual maintenance items for riding lawn mowers that should be performed before the start of each season.
Note that if your riding mower is damaged from hitting an object in your yard or has complicated engine trouble, it is best to take it to a local MTD certified service dealer for repairs.
Step 1: Prepare your riding mower
Roll your riding mower onto a flat, level surface and disconnect the spark plug wire(s).
Step 2: Replace the spark plug
Remove and replace the spark plug. Reinstall the spark plug. Once you are finished with all maintenance items, you can reconnect the spark plug wire.
Step 3: Change engine oil and oil filter
Your engine's oil and oil filter should be changed every 50 hours and prior to fall storage. To drain the engine oil, place a drain sleeve and catch basin below the oil drain tube and remove the drain plug, or use a siphon pump.
When all oil is drained, remove the oil filter, and clean any excess oil from the filter housing. Apply a thin coat of oil to the new oil filter gasket, and replace the oil filter.
Clean any excess oil from around the oil drain plug housing and reinstall the oil drain plug.
Before you refill the engine oil, refer to your owner's manual for the type and amount of oil required. Refill as specified and replace the oil dipstick.
Step 4: Replace the air filter
Remove the air filter and pre-filter (if equipped). If your mower is equipped with a pre-filter, clean it with liquid detergent and water, and thoroughly dry. Replace the air filter and pre-filter (if equipped).
Step 5: Add fuel stabilizer
Fill the fuel tank and add fuel stabilizer to avoid exposing bare metal parts to air and moisture which can lead to rust and allow gaskets and O-rings to dry out, crack and shrink.
Step 6: Inspect the mower deck blades
To inspect the mower blades, you will need to remove the mower cutting deck from your riding lawn mower. Follow these instructions for removing the mower deck, inspecting, and removing the mower deck blades. Sharpen the mower deck blades if they are not badly worn - otherwise, replace the mower blades and re-attach the mower deck to your unit.
Step 7: Inspect the deck and drive belts
Remove the mower deck belt guards and check the belt. Replace the belt if it is worn or damaged. To replace the cutting deck belt, follow these instructions. Most riders also use belts to drive their transmissions. Inspect the drive belt for wear, and replace as necessary.
Step 8: Inspect the discharge chute
Check the discharge chute for damage. If the discharge chute (or other safety features) is not functioning properly, contact an authorized service dealer. If the discharge chute is intact, clean any debris build-up using a putty knife.
Step 9: Examine the bagger attachment
If your riding lawn mower is equipped with a bagger attachment, check the chutes and bags for holes, tears, or other damage. Replace bagger parts as required.
Step 10: Inspect the tires
Check tires and deck wheels for excessive wear or damage and replace if necessary. Check the tire air pressure - ensure they are inflated to the specifications noted in your owner's manual.
Fix equipment issues quickly
When you need parts for your riding lawn mower, you can use the MTD Genuine Parts Part Finder to find the correct one. Common parts include:
Shop equipment and parts
- Shop Riding Lawn Mower Parts
- Shop Riding Lawn Mower Accessories and Attachments
- Shop Riding Lawn Mowers
Resolving outdoor power equipment problems as soon as they arise will prolong the life of your machine. Troubleshoot riding lawn mower problems using our symptom guide.
The MTD Genuine Parts Knowledge Center provides do-it-yourself instructions for performing many basic maintenance items, including replacing cutting blades, drive and deck belts, and engine oil. If you find your machine has a bigger problem, use our service locator to find a qualified MTD service provider in your area.