One thing no one ever tells you is that mowing the lawn has a learning curve. It’s not only learning about how to add fuel to your mower or how to turn. It’s also a matter of learning how to adjust your deck wheels and how to tell if you’re mowing properly.
A common mistake among people who are new to lawncare is believing that mower deck wheels should touch the ground. This is just not true. Wheels that touch the ground might not be properly inflated or could end up cutting grass too short.
Learning the proper height for your mower’s deck wheels is crucial to getting that healthy, crisp lawn trim you want without stressing your mower. Here’s what you need to know about your wheel deck’s height.
Why Shouldn’t Mower Deck Wheels Touch The Ground?
The biggest issue with your wheels touching the ground is that it’s a sign of deflated tires or poor maintenance. This can cause your mower to become difficult to push, steer, or drive. It also can put stress on rider mowers’ engines.
However, touching the ground isn’t just a matter of bad tires. If your wheels touch the ground, your riding mower also could potentially scalp your lawn if it hits uneven territory. The end result is a botched lawn.
What Are Deck Wheels For?
Deck wheels aren’t the same as the wheels you see on the ground. These are wheels that help ensure that your mower doesn’t scalp your lawn. So, if you see them touching the ground, chances are high that you could end up with a seriously short lawn…or ugly bald patches.
Could Ground-Touching Deck Wheels Harm Your Lawn Mower?
Potentially, yes. Though it’s rare, having deck wheels that touch the ground could place your mower’s blades close enough to sharp rocks. Should a blade hit a rock that’s jutting out of the ground, you might end up having some serious lawn mower damage.
How Far Off The Ground Should Wheels Be?
Experts agree that the bottom of your mower’s tires should be anywhere from ⅛ to ½ inch off the ground at all times. How high you keep your mower deck wheels will depend on the height you want your grass to be cut.
If you have a mower tractor, though, things get a little more advanced. Tractor-using professionals should adjust their deck wheels to around 1 inch off the ground at all times.
It’s also worth noting that riding mowers also have multiple angled decks, which means that you should check to ensure that front deck is slightly lower (like ⅜ inch) than the back deck. This helps further prevent lawn scalping.
How To Adjust Deck Wheel Height On Your Mower
The best way to find out how to adjust your mower’s deck wheel height is to refer to your mower’s manual. That said, most mowers have a general process you can expect to follow:
- First, make sure your tires are inflated to the right level. Most of the time, this is all you need to keep your deck wheels at the right height if they came pre-adjusted.
- Raise your mower deck to the highest height setting available. Once you have your height up, carefully adjust your cutting height to a lower setting as you see fit.
- Lower the deck into a mowing position. You should notice your deck wheels no longer touching the ground.
- Park your machine, pull the gauge wheel release rod, and place the rod in the right hole. This locks your wheels into place.
Deck Wheel Height Adjustment Tips
When adjusting your deck wheel’s height, it’s important to keep safety in mind. These tips will help you make it work:
- Always make sure that your lawn mower is shut off before you adjust your wheel heights. This is just common sense. Safety matters.
- Wear protective gloves. You never know what might happen when you’re adjusting those deck wheels.
- Keep an eye out for measuring marks on your mower. Most mower models will have a guide that tells you how high up you’re adjusting it.
- When in doubt, refer to your manual. Most mowers have their manuals available online if you don’t have it on hand.
Our Final Take
If you are wondering whether your deck wheels are supposed to touch the ground, the answer is a plain and simple no. Having deck wheels touching the ground is a sign that you’re probably going to have a scalped ground sooner rather than later.
If you notice your deck wheels hitting the ground, you will need to readjust your deck wheels’ height. Thankfully, the entire procedure only takes a couple of minutes and can be done by almost anyone.