Riding Lawn Mower FAQ: 14 Things to Know

The question of whether or not to get a riding lawn mower often arises. If you have space and need the extra power, consider investing in one! Here are 14 things to know before making your decision.

What Questions to Ask When Buying a Riding Lawn Mower?

When it comes to new riding lawn mowers, you can usually find all of the specs you’ll need upfront. You can also get a good deal on preowned equipment, but ask these questions before you do:

  • How old is the machine?
  • Was it stored inside?
  • Why are you getting rid of it?
  • Is the warranty on it still good?
  • Do you still have the original manual?
  • How worn are the tires?
  • Is the cutting deck level?
  • Are the batteries leaking or corroded?
  • Is any wiring good?
  • Do the belts look like they could hold up?
  • How are the brakes?

Does a 1/2 Acre Need a Riding Mower? 1 Acre?

You could probably mow a half-acre lot with a traditional hand mower. Those who don’t mind a lot of yard work could probably do several acres by themselves, but those who find this a daunting task may prefer a riding mower.

You may also want to consider natural alternatives, like the use of ruminant animals.

How Much Horsepower Do I Need for a Riding Mower?

Since a riding lawnmower isn’t a hot rod or a race car, you don’t want to be sold on having countless horses under the hood. Anywhere from 11-30HP should be more than enough for most residential and commercial uses, unless you’re looking for towing capacity.

How Many Hours Is Too Much for a Riding Lawn Mower?

Standard riding lawn mowers are designed with a service life of around 200 hours in mind, but proper maintenance can keep this functioning for much longer than this. Some people have measured service lives above 1,500 hours, but this is certainly atypical.

How Do I Mow My Lawn With a Riding Mower?

  1. Push on the brake
  2. Pull out the choke
  3. Start the engine
  4. Shift into low gear
  5. Steer into your lawn
  6. Lower the cutting blades once you’re in the grass
  7. Mow in straight lines back and forth
  8. Curve to a 90° angle in corners
  9. Move the shift whenever necessary to get through heavy areas
  10. Adjust yourself in the seat so you’re comfortable – mowing a large lawn can take a while
  11. eep your hands firmly on the steering wheel and limit your speed – going too fast can impact the quality of your cut
  12. Raise the cutting blades with the lever once you’re finished
  13. Shift out of gear
  14. Place the lawnmower back in its storage area
  15. Power it off

How Long Does it Take to Mow an Acre With a Riding Mower?

This depends not only on the width of your cutting surface but also on your speed. While you could cut almost three acres every hour with a 60″ mower, you’d have to be going at 6 MPH to do this.

Anything faster than maybe 8 MPH will start to make your lawn look clumpy and may potentially even leave spots.

How Long Does a Riding Mower Battery Last?

Since batteries are designed for around 500-600 charging cycles, a purely electric riding mower could probably rely on a single battery for four or five years. Internal combustion-powered ones that only use the battery for starting may last even longer.

When Should You Not Mow Your Lawn?

Never mow your lawn when it’s really damp and doesn’t do it when it’s raining. Mowers will often just start to pull up grass if you try this, and you could uproot all of your sod in the process.

What Time of Year Do Riding Lawn Mowers Go on Sale?

It used to be that riding lawnmowers went on sale right at the end of the summer season, and this is still true to some extent. You’ll also want to check in late spring, however, because there is an increasingly large number of sales at that time as well.

How Many Acres Can a Riding Lawn Mower Cut in an Hour?

Assuming that you’re operating your lawnmower at a leisurely 3-4 MPH, you can multiply this figure by the size of the lawnmower and 80 percent, because no mower is truly efficient. Divide this by 100 and you get the following acreages:

  • 50″ ≈1.6 acres
  • 54″ ≈1.7 acres
  • 60″ ≈1.9 acres
  • 66″ ≈2.1 acres
  • 72″ ≈2.3 acres

Can You Jump a Riding Mower With a Car?

Since internal combustion-powered lawnmowers use a battery that’s interfaced with an alternator and a regulator, you can jumpstart one with a car. It could theoretically be possible to do the reverse, too, and start a car with a riding lawnmower.

That being said, you shouldn’t ever try to start an electric riding lawnmower with jumper cables attached to any type of piece of equipment.

Can You Recharge a Dead Lawn Mower Battery?

Dead gas-powered lawnmower batteries might be able to be charged. Check for damage like corrosion, which might inhibit your ability to give it any juice.

Electrically-powered riding lawnmowers can get a charge, however, from their approved charger in many cases even if the batteries have been run all the way down.

How Much Does a Riding Mower Cost?

On average, you could be looking at a few thousand for a larger riding lawnmower. Some small budget models are in the upper hundreds, so you’ll want to shop around if you’re looking for a deal.

Used models normally sell for at least half of the price of a new one, and they might be even lower if they’re used and belong to an obsolete model.

What Will Cause a Riding Lawn Mower Not to Start?

Perhaps the most common problem is that the spark plug cap has become dislodged. On top of this, you might have something caught in the blades that prevents the starter from rotating them.

Check the fuel line or the battery as well, since problems related to these components could also stop a lawnmower from starting.