Common Lawn Mower Repairs – Loose Wheels
It is essential that your mower is kept in optimal working order, as it is responsible for keeping your lawn at a manageable length. This is particularly important in Australia, as snakes and other potentially dangerous creatures often like to lurk in long grass. If you have noticed that your machine is difficult to maneouvre, the most common cause is a loose wheel. This is quite a simple lawn mower repair to undertake yourself, as outlined here.
Symptoms of a Loose Wheel
The good news is that a loose wheel is actually quite simple to diagnose. Push the mower along a hard surface (such as your driveway or footpath) – if the wheel is loose, it will feel wobbly and uneven (as opposed to operating smoothly). When the machine is running, you may also notice that there is more vibration than usual. It is also possible that only one wheel is loose. To determine this, turn the machine onto its back or side and try to move each wheel, one at a time, back and forth. If there is play in the wheel, it suggests that it is loose.
Causes and Future Prevention
The most common cause of loose wheels is simply the vibration of the mower over time. As the engine vibrates, the bolts holding the wheels in place are prone to loosening. Other causes include repeatedly bumping into objects and mowing uneven terrain. To avoid such a problem from arising again the future, you should avoid hitting the curb, steps, foundation, trees and garden bed edging whilst mowing. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do about engine vibration and uneven terrain other than keep an eye on it.
Removal and Repair of Wheels
Once you have pinpointed which wheel is loose, its time to undertake a quick lawn mower repair. Remove the spark plug from the engine (simply pop off the cover and unscrew it) to avoid accidental starting whilst you’re working on it. Then, turn the machine onto its side and remove the bolt that holds the offending wheel in place. Remove the wheel and carefully inspect it for signs of cracks or damage. If the wheel appears to be in good condition, replace it and secure the bolt tightly; if it has become damaged, replace it with a new one.
Serious Underlying Problems
If you have undertaken this repair but have found that the wheel still appears to be loose, there could be another more serious underlying problem at play. Damage to the axle, bolt or the wheel itself can also cause it to become wobbly, so these are the areas you should look at next. If you find that any of these components are cracked, bent or otherwise damaged, you will need to replace it before using the mower again. You should be able to take the component into a repair store to ensure you find an appropriate match.
Regardless of how long you have owned your mower – a few months or a few years – a loose wheel is a problem you are likely to encounter at some point. The good news is that this is a lawn mower repair you can easily undertake yourself – simple tighten the bolt or replace a damaged wheel with a brand new one. If you are unable to rectify the problem, however, there could be a more serious issue at play and it might be an idea to book the machine in for a service.