How to change blades on zero turn mower

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Mower blades lose their cutting edge over time and will need to be replaced.

This article explains how to change blades on zero turn mower for a continued smooth cutting experience.

How often should lawn mower blades be replaced?

Follow the below steps to replace the cutting blades in the most common zero-turns including Cub Cadet, Husqvarna, Craftsman, Troy-Bilt, Toro, Swisher, and MTD mowers.

How to change blades on zero turn mower: step-by-step procedure

Before you start, wear gloves preferably thick gardening gloves (the blades can be quite sharp).

Also, obtain the manufacturer-recommended replacement blades.

The preliminaries

To be safe, start by implementing the usual precautionary steps as follows:

  • Park it on a level ground such as your driveway.
  • Disconnect the mower’s spark plugs.

You’re now all set to begin the zero turn blade removal.

Remove the blade belt

The first step will be removing the belt. This is vital since it paves the way for the removal of the mower cutting deck to allow you access to the cutting blades.

Procedure:

  • Lower the zero turn’s deck to the lowest possible setting.
  • Locate the safety cover on the left pulley of the mower deck and remove it.
  • Now you need to roll the cutting blade drive belt from the pulley on the left blade. You cannot accomplish this without first pushing the belt’s idler pulley in.

All that remains at this point is for you to release the drive belt from its electric clutch. For starters, the electric clutch is directly under the frame (on the rear end).

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Remove the zero turn’s cutting deck

For many of these types of mowers, the only way to reach the blades is by removing the deck from under the zero turn’s frame.

Guidelines:

  • Look for the deck mounting pins. You have to disconnect them.
  • Next, reach for the hanging brackets and release them from the deck as well.
  • Your next step is pushing the mower deck very slightly forward. Now proceed to release the deck from the front bracket- it should be easy now that it’s more forward.
  • Finally, pull the deck out.

Remove the mower cutting blades

To access the cutting blades, turn over the mower deck.

Then:

  • Drive a block of 2×4 wood (or any suitable size) between the deck and the cutting blade- you don’t want the blade to turn when unscrewing the bolt.
  • With a correctly-sized wrench, remove the bolt mounting the cutting blade – turn it counterclockwise and pull off the cutting blade.
  • Remember to place the bolt/nut in a safe location – you will soon need it.

Mount the new blade

Here is how to approach the installation of your fresh blade:

  • Insert the new blade (note the side indicated “This side up” and insert as marked) on the shaft and replace the bolt/nut.
  • Tighten the bolt – you still have your wrench- until the blade is secured appropriately.

That’s all for this step.

Re-fix the mower deck

Steps:

  • Turn over the mower deck and slide it back in (under the frame).
  • Next, reinstall the front bracket and the hanging brackets before finally reconnecting the mounting pins to secure the deck.

Reconnect the blade belt

Here we follow the reverse of the blade belt removal process.

Procedure:

  • Reconnect the drive belt onto your unit’s electric clutch.
  • Now roll your blade belt back where it was- onto the blade pulley on the left. Like I had mentioned, you have to push the belt idler pulley in before this.
  • Mount the pulley cover back on.

That’s it! Re-connect the spark plugs and test the mower to see if it cuts as you wish.

How to change blades on zero turn mower: Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

I will tackle some of your nagging questions about zero turn blade change.

How do I loosen a lawn mower blade? (Lawn mower blade removal direction)

In most cases, you turn your z-turn mower’s blade retaining bolt counterclockwise (to the left) carefully.

The blade should simply fall off as soon as you’ve removed the holding nut.

How do I know that it’s time to change the blades?

The ideal thing to do is to keep an eye on the quality of the cut when mowing.

And you should consider installing new blades the moment you start observing a shambolic cut, despite you having sharpened the blades prior to cutting (This may be due to the blades being worn down extensively).

Importantly, here we are assuming that your blades are not fitted upside-down (confirm if in doubt).

The other telltale sign is when you notice that your blade is clearly damaged – perhaps you hit a stone or branch when mowing.

How often should lawn mower blades be replaced?

This is a question of usage (how often you mow) and proper blade maintenance.

That said, sometime you may only require to change their blade once a year unless you own a commercial unit- these will obviously need more frequent changes even in one day.

Final comments

Like you have seen, replacing the blades should be straightforward and you don’t need to involve an expensive technician.

The good thing is that you’ll master how to change blades on zero turn mower by the time you do it twice or thrice.

The steps may, of course, be slightly different for your specific model and you should refer to your owner’s manual first.

If possible, have a spare set of mower blades to avoid inconveniences when it’s to change the blades.

Useful video (blades replacement on Husqvarna rz-series zero turn)

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