Craftsman Riding Mower Deck Too Low: How To Adjust It
A riding lawn mower makes cutting your lawn a breeze because it gets the job done quickly and easily. Getting the most out of your Craftsman Riding Mower is essential, but the blade may leave bare patches if the mower deck is too low. Adjusting the mower deck’s height may take a bit of time, but the result should be worth the effort.
Park the mower on level ground with the engine turned off. Then, disengage the attachment clutch switch and put the gearshift lever to neutral. If your Craftsman mower has an attachment lift lever, it is likely to the steering wheel’s right. Depress the release button on top of the lever and adjust the lever back and forth to reach optimal height.
The mower may have a height lever and one or more adjustment nuts controlling deck height. If adjusting the height lever isn’t enough, use the adjustment nuts. These are located below the tractor chassis, where the rods suspending the mower deck meet the chassis. Loosen the outer “lock” nut and turn the inner nut clockwise to raise and counterclockwise to lower.
In this article, we will explain the reasons your mower deck can be too low. Additionally, we walk you through how to correct it to no longer have issues when you’re trying to mow your lawn.
Why Should You Adjust Your Mower Deck?
The height of your mower deck determines how tall your grass will be when you are done cutting it. Sometimes it may just come out of alignment with time and need to be reset. Alternatively, you may need to set it because you need to mow different terrains or grass types. Also, it is a good idea to change it between hot and cold seasons for healthy grass.
So when your mower deck is too low, this can cause your grass to be cut too short or shorter than you want it to be. In addition, it can also end up cutting into the soil, chopping up your yard, and damaging your blades. When this happens, you need to adjust the mower deck immediately.
What Tools Do You Need?
There are only a few tools that you need to adjust your mower deck:
- Adjustable wrench
- A flashlight
Make sure to wear gloves and goggles before working under the mower so that you don’t hurt yourself on the blades and so nothing gets into your eye. You will need a small ruler and an adjustable wrench so that you can adjust and measure the height of your mower deck.
Step 1: Preparing To Raise The Mower Deck
- Check the tire pressure. If your tires are not correctly inflated, the entire procedure may not work effectively. Making sure your tires are fully inflated will allow you to measure accurately. If they aren’t, you’ll have to readjust the mower deck again when they are.
- Park the mower on level ground. Also, for safety reasons, park the mower on level ground. This allows you to see exactly how far the mower deck is to the ground so you can adjust it appropriately.
- Disengage the clutch. Disconnect the cutting blades by switching the attachment clutch switch to the “disengaged” position.
Step 2: Adjusting The Mower Deck
Depending on your model, you may have an adjustment lever, adjustment nuts, knob, or all of the above. Take a moment to look over your mower before doing this step so you can become familiar with the levers and the adjustment nuts.
- Put the gear shift into the neutral position. For an adjustment lever, first, follow the preparations above. Then, depress the brake and switch the gearshift into the “neutral” position.
- Move the lever to adjust the deck height. Next, find the height adjustment lever, depress the release button, and move the lever to adjust deck height. Or, if you have an adjustment knob, turn it clockwise to raise the deck height or counterclockwise to lower it. The knob is typically located on the central console.
Step 3: Adjust The Adjustment Nuts
Now, there are often two adjustments necessary to position the mower deck properly.
- Look at the sides and front of your mower deck. Look for rods suspending the mower deck, which have two nuts threaded on their ends on the front and back of your mower. Additionally, on either side of the mower deck, there are another two sets of 2 nuts.
- To begin, the sides of the deck must be level. Make sure the blades are facing to either side of the mower. If you cannot turn the blades, the mower’s gearshift is not in neutral; put the gearshift into neutral. Continue by measuring either side by the blade’s outer tip, ensuring they are within ¼ inch of each other.
- If the sides need to be adjusted, first loosen the locknut (the lock nut is the outer nut of the two nuts you will see) with an adjustable wrench. Then, turn the inner nut clockwise to raise the side and counterclockwise to lower. Each full turn of the nut should raise or lower about 1/8 inch of deck height.
- Now the front-to-back position needs to be adjusted. Loosen the front and rear locknuts and turn the inner nut clockwise to raise and counterclockwise to lower. Craftsman recommends the front be set 1/8 to 1/2 inch lower than the rear of the deck.
- If one side is connected to a height control lever, the procedure remains the same; find the two nuts and set them as desired.
Step 4: Check The Deck Wheel Height
Deck wheels, also known as anti-scalp wheels, are responsible for keeping your mower deck from damaging your lawn. If you adjust your mower deck, you may want to set your deck wheels. This will help keep your mower deck at the height that it should be and help you adjust it more accurately.
Adjusting the mower deck height is generally a do-it-yourself fix. However, you may be uncomfortable doing it or lack time. If this is the case, you can have the mower serviced. Leveling or raising the mower deck is generally part of a mower tune-up. The cost of a tune-up varies but is approximately $139 to $225. Since there can be a significant price difference, it may be worth shopping around.
But, this guide provides accurate information so that you can do it yourself. Before you spend $200 for a specialist, call up a friend to see if they can help you. You’ll save money paying a friend $20 to $40 rather than paying a crazy amount of money for a professional to do an easy job.
Types Of Grass
Depending on your type of grass, optimal mowing height may be different. Adjusting your mower deck to get the appropriate grass height can encourage the grass to grow and provide full coverage.
Type of Grass
Recommended Height (inches)
.5 to 2.5
.75 to 3.5
Fine Fescue Grass
1.5 to 2.5
Saint Augustine Grass
2.5 to 3.0
Of course, you don’t have to follow this guide religiously. If you don’t want your grass to be 3.5 inches tall, it doesn’t need to be. Or, if you want it longer, you can do that too and then mow over it once in a while. Not to mention, if you don’t want your grass to be .75 inches, you can choose the height that’s the best fit for you and your preferences. After all, it is your property.
How do you repair a short lawn?
If your mower is cutting your lawn too short, you will need to adjust your mower. However, you will also need to fix your yard. Watering the lawn heavily a few times a week is the essential step to recovering your lawn. Applying chelated iron may also help your yard to recover. If these steps are not enough, consider adding some topsoil or fertilizer to your yard.
How do you repair pet damage to your lawn?
Dogs and cats can cause brown spots in lawns, and this is due to the nitrogen in their urine. There are a couple of possible fixes for this problem. It may be possible to repair the lawn by heavily watering the damaged areas for a week or two.
However, if the damage is too extensive, the area will need to be dug up and replanted. Along with these fixes, the pets will need to be kept away from the lawn’s damaged areas. Also, to avoid further damaging the grass, keep pets in a specific area of the yard.
How do I sharpen the mower blade?
Wear protective gear and use a two-by-four piece of wood to brace the blade. Remove the nut holding the blade on and remove the blade. Remove any debris with a wire brush and use a file to sharpen the blade. If the mower is not very old, it may not need to be sharpened.
It’s important that your mower deck is the right height when you’re mowing your lawn. If it’s too low, you will need to adjust it to keep the blades from damaging your soil and grass and for your blades to stop sustaining the damage. It’s not a challenging process to raise your mower deck. However, if you’re having an issue, you can call a friend or a family member for help. You also have the option of bringing your mower into a professional.
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