Spring has sprung, and for many that means it’s time to clean out closets, tackle the toy chest or even spruce up the garage. It also means mowing season is upon us. While most might not think to pay attention to their lawn mower’s tires, this is the perfect time to make sure they’re in tip-top shape. Getting your equipment prepared properly is an essential step in keeping that pristine cut all season long.
At first glance, here are five signs that you need to change your tires….
- The sidewall of the tire is showing signs of dry rot.
- The tire loses air pressure over relatively short periods of time.
- There are multiple cuts in, or chunks missing from, the tread.
- Loss of traction going up/down hills.
- Rough ride while moving.
Now, let’s get more in-depth….
It’s All About the Air
Even though you may not use your lawn mower as much as your car or truck, making sure lawn mower tires have the right amount of air is key. Over or under-inflated tires cause increased wear and also reduces the amount of traction your mower has when traveling up a hill or turning a corner in wet grass.
As a best practice, tires should be between 18 and 22 psi, but be sure to check the owner’s manual for recommended pressures.
Don’t Tread Too Lightly
The tires on your mower have a thick, chunky tread that is specifically designed to grip grass. However, over time those tread blocks wear down and can lead to problems with steering or wheel spin.
While inspecting your tires, take a close look to see how much tread is left. Normally, you’ll want more than 3/32 of an inch - anything less can become a safety hazard. Also, make sure to check for cracks which indicate tires need to be repaired or replaced.
Need New Tires?
If the time has come to spring for new tires, be sure to follow these steps to ensure they’re replaced safely.
- Immobilize the mower by keeping it in gear and blocking off the opposing axle’s wheels while jacking it with a set of wheel chucks
- Pull the valve core, then fully deflate the tire
- Break the bead with a pry bar
- Remove the rubber tire from the rim
- Lube the tire beads and slip the new tire over the wheel
- Secure the beads against the rim lip before inflating
And if changing your own tires isn’t your thing or you’re feeling a little intimidated, consider having a professional do the work and even recommending a Hercules Terra Trac Turf tire as a replacement. The tire has many benefits including versatility for any lawn or garden need, balanced profile with ample tread depth, rounded shoulders to help with maneuverability and an overall tread design that provides excellent traction with limited turf damage.
Taking the time to inspect your tires at least twice a year (spring and end of summer), will ensure that you’re able to catch any potential damage or problems before they become critical – leading to more hours of happy mowing. With new tires, you can achieve a cleaner, more consistent cut, a better ride quality and improved traction.