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Engine Maintenance Tips for Zero Turn Riders

Your zero turn rider undergoes considerable use during the spring and summer. Without regular maintenance, there’s a greater chance your hard working machine will fail when you need it most. Maintenance is the key to a long, healthy life for any lawn mower engine so keep your engine running great by following these engine maintenance tips for your zero turn rider.

Before performing any maintenance on your lawn mower, refer to your operator’s manual as it lists the required maintenance, safety information, and instructions for your machine. Maintenance instructions vary by model, so depending on your zero turn rider model number our instructions may vary slightly.

Make sure you engage the parking brake, stop the engine and allow the engine to cool before performing any engine maintenance on your zero turn rider.

Engine oil maintenance

Engine oil lubricates and protects the inside of the engine. It also captures contaminants so over time it gets dirty. Change your oil after the first 5 hours of mowing, and then every year or 100 mowing hours after that.

To drain the oil, run your engine for 5 minutes or more to warm the oil so it drains easier. Park your zero turn rider so that the drain side is slightly lower than the other side to help make sure the oil drains completely.  Grab your drain pan and drain the oil.

Wipe around the dipstick to get rid of any dirt that may fall into the filler hole. Remove the dipstick and add oil. Pour about 80% of the oil into the filler tube and check the oil level with the dipstick. Add more oil as necessary to bring it to the full mark.

Oil filter maintenance

Change the oil filter in your zero turn rider every time you change your oil. The oil filter is designed to remove as much debris as possible in order to help the engine run smoothly.

Remove the old filter by hand or with a filter wrench. The old filter holds a decent amount of oil so use your drain pan to catch spilling oil. Wipe any excess oil off the engine opening with a rag. Apply a thin layer of clean oil to the new oil filter’s gasket and screw the filter on. Turn the filter until the gasket contacts the engine and then tighten it an additional three-quarters of a turn, but do not over tighten it.

Air filter maintenance

Lawn mower air filters help prevent dirt and debris from getting into your lawn mower engine. A dirty air filter can reduce air flow, while a clean air filter can improve engine performance and fuel efficiency.

Wipe away any grass or debris from around the air cleaner area and open the cover. Remove the air filter and gently tap the filter to dislodge any dirt and debris. Be sure to never blow an air filter out with compressed air because it will open the pours of the paper and let dirt into the engine. Inspect the filter and if dirt is deeply embedded in the pleats or you notice obvious wear and tear, it’s time to replace the filter.

Before reinstalling or replacing the air filter, clean the area around the air cleaner base. Then install the air filter and close the cover door.

Fuel filter maintenance

In order for the fuel filter to help keep contaminants from entering the engine through the fuel line, replace it annually, after each season, or every 200 hours of operation.

Spark plug maintenance

You will need a deep well socket to remove the spark plug. Once removed, check the condition of the spark plug. It can tell you if the engine is operating properly and if the spark plug is working.

Clean around the base of the plug before removing the spark plug. This will prevent dirt and debris from contaminating the engine. To replace the spark plug, remove the ignition wire and use a deep well socket to remove the plug and metal washer.

Examine the washer. If you see light brown or gray on the insulator, the engine is working properly. Check the gap between the center and side electrodes with a feeler gauge. If there is a black coating on the insulator this means the air cleaner is dirty and the spark plug needs to be replaced. Install and tighten the new spark plug with the socket wrench and reconnect the ignition wire.

Proper engine maintenance on your zero turn riders can help you avoid unnecessary parts replacement and keep your machine performing at its best. Protect your investment with regular maintenance. Maintaining your engine is easier than you might think, but do not hesitate to bring your zero turn rider to our experts for maintenance.

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 Weingartz At Home Maintenance 

Why Weingartz?

Weingartz, family owned and operated, began in 1945 as a farm supply store for local Michigan families. In the 1970s, we began to focus exclusively on outdoor power equipment. Over time, we morphed into the “power equipment superstore” that now defines all of our locations. The staff and experts at Weingartz work diligently to provide the best service possible and give honest and helpful advice to each and every customer.

Weingartz also sells parts for all outdoor power equipment at

6585 Dixie Hwy.
Clarkston, MI 48346
(248) 620-5258

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