You’re probably very used to checking and adjusting the tire pressure on your car or truck but it isn’t only road vehicles for which this is important. Your zero turn or riding lawn mower also needs its tire pressure to be spot on if you want it to perform at its best. But if you’ve never even given this a second thought, it’s not always easy to know the best tire pressure for zero turn mowers.
Generally speaking, the ideal zero turn tire pressure is around 10psi for the rear tires and 14psi for those at the front. Most manufacturers will adhere to these guidelines but there may be subtle differences so it’s worth checking your owner’s manual to be certain.
Fortunately, checking and adjusting the tire pressure of your zero turn mower isn’t a tricky job. You just need to understand a little more about it and that’s where this guide will quickly become your go-to reference.
What’s the difference between a zero turn mower and a riding tractor? Well, they’re both designed for cutting and maintaining your lawn but a zero turn mower has the advantage of being able to make a full 360 degree turn on the spot. This means no marks on the lawn and is the reason why a lot of professionals choose this option.
They feature two steering levers which give you far greater control compared to a riding mower. However, if you’re cutting a large lawn, say more than an acre, then the speed and comfort of a riding mower might be more suitable. These machines cut close to the ground and are ideal for all types and conditions of lawn.
Importance Of Tire Pressure For Riding Mowers
You might not have thought much about the importance of zero turn mower tire pressure. After all, most of us are focused on how well the machine cuts. But this is an essential part of your lawn mower’s maintenance so it’s worth getting clued up.
Let’s say that you have overinflated your zero turn mower tires. You might think that you’re doing a good thing here; more air equals more stability and will mean you don’t have to fill them up again as soon, right? Not really. Overinflated tires could affect the quality of the cut as they will cause the mower to bounce and means it cannot cut as evenly.
Moreover, if there is too much air in the mower tires then the traction won’t be as good so the tire treads won’t get a good grip. The result of this could be that the lawn is torn up during cutting and you may be left with skid marks. Nobody wants an unsightly lawn!
And don’t forget that if you fill the tires too much, this could lead to them blowing out or sustaining a puncture. You’ll be mowing over a lot of lumps and bumps and overina lot of stress; one small bump or sharp object could push them over the edge.
But you also have to keep in mind that it’s possible to under inflate the tires which can also cause a range of issues. For starters, the tire is far more likely to sustain damage as it will wear out more quickly, especially when you take corners. If you’re happy to keep unnecessarily replacing tires then go ahead but we’d hazard a guess that this isn’t the case.
What’s more, the rim may also become damaged as when you go over hard objects, there won’t be enough tire to protect it so it may end up getting dented.
Signs Of Incorrect Tire Pressure
Now that you understand why having the correct tire pressure is so important, you’re probably keen to make sure that yours are just right. You can obviously check the tire pressure using a device but it’s also possible to notice issues as you are using the mower so keep your eye out for the following things.
If you have noticed that the tire traction is lacking even when the ground is dry then this could be a sign that the tires are over inflated.
It’s important to make sure that your riding mower or zero turn mower has tires that are flexible enough that they’ll grip the ground but can also maintain their shape. If they’re over inflated then this becomes more difficult.
On the other hand, you could have issues with traction when there isn’t enough air in the ties and this will usually be displayed when you are taking corners.
One of the first things that people often pay attention to when thinking about zero turn tire pressure is a flat. Before this happens, you may remain blissfully unaware that there’s even a problem.
When your tire pressure is too low, this is going to cause it to go flat. But the loss of air could be caused by several factors including cold weather, air leaks due to faulty valves and many other things.
Fortunately, you will easily be able to see that there isn’t enough air just by looking at the tires. They may appear to be bulging or noticeably ‘flat’ so take the time to regularly inspect them to ensure there’s always enough air.
If you have too much air in your tires then you may find that the lawn mower bounces around as you use it. One of the main issues with this is your own comfort and it just won’t feel good to be thrown around every time you hit a bump or lump. But even more importantly, this bouncing can result in a less than even cut.
If the tires don’t have enough give then not only will the traction be affected but they won’t ride as smoothly. If you’ve noticed a lot of bouncing around then the issue is likely to be that there’s too much air in your tires. And not only will this uneven cutting make your grass look bad, it can also affect its health and quality.
How To Make Sure You Have The Best Tire Pressure For Your Riding Mower
Zero turn mower tire pressure is so important so we would urge you to get into the habit of checking it. It doesn’t take long and the process is simple. All you need to do is follow these steps.
Measure The Tire Pressure
Start by getting your hands on a tire pressure gauge. There are many different types you can use such as a dial or stick but all will produce the same results. Take the cap off the tire valve and pop the gauge onto the valve. It will then give you a reading but we would suggest taking a couple just to make sure it’s accurate.
Double Check Pressure Rating
Now that you have an accurate reading for the air pressure, you will need to find out the correct PSI for your mower tires. As we mentioned earlier, this is usually pretty similar between models but it’s crucial to check with your manufacturer.
You will normally find the required PSI printed onto the side of the tire. If it is dirty, just give it a wipe with a damp cloth.
Also remember to check both the front and rear tires as the PSI for each is normally different. In some cases, you may not be able to see the rating but a quick online search should yield the correct results.
Add or Remove Air
In the event that your tire pressure is not right, it’s important to add or remove air as needed. If you have to add air then you can do this with an air compressor. These are fairly easy to get your hands on but they can also be found at gas stations. Whichever option you go for, be sure to add air slowly and keep an eye on the pressure as you work.
In the case that your tires have too much air, you can remove some by allowing small amounts of air out at a time. Don’t go over the top as it’s easy to remove too much and again, keep an eye on the pressure at all times.
Measure The Pressure Again
After you have added or removed air, you will need to check the tire pressure once again to be sure that it’s now where it needs to be. Use your tire pressure gauge again and take a couple of readings for each tire. If you can get into the habit of regularly checking the tire pressure, you’ll notice that the mower performs so much better.
Most of us don’t realize that zero turn tire pressure is of the utmost importance. We often aren’t even aware of what under or over inflated tires can do but they can really mess up the performance of your mower.
Regularly checking will ensure the best cut and improve your comfort as well as avoiding damage to your tires.