How Often Should You Grease Lawn Mower Spindles?
Lawnmowers are complicated machines, which means that they require continuous maintenance and care. Unfortunately, many owners don’t pay enough attention to the various components inside a lawnmower engine, so many of them get neglected. One element that needs extra care is the lawnmower spindle. It’s important to grease the spindles regularly so that they stay in good condition.
You should grease your lawnmower spindles at least twice per season for residential operations. On the other hand, for commercial operations, you should grease your lawnmower spindles every single day. You can either do this on your own or bring it to a shop if you are not familiar with the process.
Overall, the more care and attention you pay to your mower, the longer it will last and the better it will perform. In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of lawnmower spindles and how to grease them regularly.
What are Mower Spindles?
Everything within your lawnmower’s motor is designed to help the blades rotate to cut grass. If you have a riding mower, you will also have an engine to drive the machine around the yard. Lawnmower spindles are attached to the cutting deck, and they make the blades spin. The spindle connects to a pulley system, which connects to a clutch, which connects to the motor. Since these pieces undergo a lot of wear and tear, greasing them is crucial to extend their lifespan.
If a spindle isn’t appropriately greased, it will wear down faster and break. When that happens, the blades will either wobble or get stuck in place. A broken spindle can cripple your lawnmower, which is why they are so essential.
How Often Should I Grease My Mower Spindles?
Ideally, these pieces should be greased at least once or twice a season. However, the frequency will depend on the size of your lawn and the frequency of your mowing. For example, if you use your lawnmower only a few times a season, one greasing should suffice. If you mow once or twice a week, two is better.
Commercial lawnmowers should be greased daily since they undergo such heavy usage. Otherwise, you will have to pay a lot more for repair and maintenance when the spindles break and fail.
Tools Needed to Grease Mower Spindles
- Socket wrench
- Work Gloves
- Grease Gun
- All-purpose grease
- Shop rags
Step by Step Guide to Greasing Mower Spindles
Step One: Run the Mower for a Few Minutes
As grease heats up, it becomes more viscous and easier to handle. So, to make sure that you can work faster, you should run the mower for a few minutes to heat the engine. Doing this will also warm up any remaining grease inside the spindle already.
Step Two: Park the Mower on a Flat Surface
You shouldn’t have to put the lawnmower on a raised platform, since the spindle assembly is on top. However, it can be easier to put it on a work table or two workbenches. No matter how you set the mower, be sure to lock the wheels in place. You can do this with wooden blocks or wheel chucks.
Step Three: Lower the Cutting Deck
To make it easier to access the spindles, you should lower your blades all the way down.
Step Four: Remove the Spindle Assembly Cover(s)
Most push lawnmowers have a single blade, but some models may have multiple. Each one has its own spindle, so you will have to grease them all. Each assembly has a cover that can be removed with a wrench or screwdriver, depending on the types of fasteners used.
Step Five: Load the Grease Gun
You will need to know how to work a grease gun before starting on this project. Load the gun with a new cylinder and lock it into place. You may want to do a test squeeze to make sure that liquid is coming out. If necessary, you may want to spray some machine oil on the grease fittings so that it will work more smoothly.
Step Six: Grease the Spindle Assembly
If you grease your mower spindles regularly, three pumps on the grease gun should be okay. However, if it has been a year or more, we recommend six pumps. Keep filling each spindle until grease starts to come out. It shouldn’t take long for this to happen.
Step Seven: Wipe Away Excess Grease
Using a shop rag, clean up any extra grease. Doing this will not only make your mower cleaner, but it will prevent oil from getting on the blades. If that happens, they won’t cut as effectively since the edges will be slick.
Step Eight: Replace the Assembly Cover
Once the spindles are clean, put back the covering and screw it into place.
Step Nine: Test the Mower
After greasing the spindles, you want to be sure that they are working properly. Run the lawnmower for a few minutes to check. In some cases, excess grease may burn off and create white smoke, but that is rare.
Tips and Tricks for Greasing Mower Spindles
Since these pieces are so essential for your lawnmower, you must be careful when working with them. Here are some ways to make this job even easier and smoother.
- Read the Manual First – It’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with your mower’s engine and layout. Some mowers have different configurations, so you want to make sure that you know what you’re doing before you begin.
- Clean the Spindles and Mower Blades – If you’re like most lawnmower owners, you probably don’t clean your machine as much as you should. Since you’re already working on the spindles, take the time to clean your cutting deck and other components. Doing this will also extend the life of your mower.
- Set a Maintenance Schedule – Rather than waiting for something to go wrong, it’s better to focus on preventative maintenance. Now that the spindles are greased, set a date in the future to do this again. Realistically, you should do it at the end of the season.
- Clean and Reset the Grease Gun – If you don’t clean the gun and remove the cartridge, you likely won’t be able to reuse any leftover grease. Be sure to get the gun back in working condition after each use.
Signs of Damaged Mower Spindles
If you don’t grease these parts regularly, they will start to wear down faster. Over time, the friction will cause problems, such as:
- High-Pitched Squeals – Since the spindle moves at a high rpm, it will make a lot of noise if it’s not working correctly.
- Uneven Cutting – If the spindle isn’t spinning well, your mower blade won’t do its job effectively. You’ll notice rough and patchy grass after mowing.
- Excessive Vibration – Another side effect of a broken spindle is that it may be spinning off-center. If that happens, it will cause a lot of vibrations in the mower. It may also create a loud buzzing noise.
- Stuck Blades – In extreme cases, the spindle may not spin at all. If this happens, the blades won’t turn. This problem can also put a lot of stress on the motor and pulley system, leading to further damage.
How long do mower spindles last?
If you grease them regularly, these components can last up to five years. However, it also depends on how often you mow and how long each session lasts. The more wear and tear you put on the spindles, the shorter their lifespan. In many cases, they will need replacing within two or three years.
Do I have to use proprietary grease, or will any product work?
Before beginning this project, be sure to double-check if the manufacturer recommends a specific type of grease. Usually, all-purpose lawnmower grease should work well, but some brands are better than others. Also, keep in mind that using OEM parts on your mower may void any warranty on the machine.
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