Whether there’s something wrong with your riding mower’s spark plug, fuse, or something else, and you need to check and repair it, the first step is to lift the beast up. But with riding lawnmowers, you obviously can’t lift them without a jack. However, is that all you need to know? No, there’s more!
Have you used a jack before? Do you know what to do and what NOT to do while lifting such heavy machines with a jack? Don’t worry if you don’t know. Since this is all that we are going to discuss today.
So make sure you read till the end before trying to lift and jack up a riding lawn mower for maintenance because one mistake can make things go very wrong.
How Do You Jack Up a Riding Lawn Mower?
Before we dive right into how we will jack up your riding lawn mower, let’s take a quick check if we have all the necessary things handy or not.
- A hydraulic jack
- Jack stand
- Working gloves, steel-toe boots, and safety glasses
Step 1: Drive your mower to a place that is leveled and has a hard surface but not something slippery. Your driveway would be a perfect place to do it. Once you park your mower, make sure you pull the brakes.
Then slide your working gloves on, take a wooden block, and place it underneath your mower’s front and back tires to stop it from rolling or moving.
Step 2: If you don’t have a hard surface like a concrete driveway, you can take a large plywood board and position the mower at the center of it.
This will provide the jack with a solid base. If you try to do it on lawn soil and grass, chances are that the jack will pierce through the soil and will ultimately dig a hole through the ground rather than lifting the mower up.
So whatever you do, make sure that the mower and the jack are placed on a solid surface that won’t get squished.
Step 3: Now you take the jack and carefully place it under the mower. Place it on the side that you want to lift. For example, if you’re going to lift the front part, place the jack near the center of the front axle. Similarly, if you want to raise the rare, put it on the rare side.
If your riding mower has no drawbar frame, don’t panic, it’s pretty standard. In that case, place it at the transaxle center, and you are good to go!
Step 4: Now that everything is placed in the correct position, start twisting the jack handle clockwise and pumping it up and down, and you will be lifting the riding mower. Keep pumping until the lift is at your desired height.
A Tip: When you see that the wheel is rolling freely, that’s the height you should stop since you won’t need to lift it more than that. So no point in wasting energy on pumping the jack.
Besides, lifting the machine too high from one side can cause damage to the frame, which we surely want to avoid. Once it is at your desired height, you can place wooden blocks for additional support though it is not necessary as your jack should be able to hold it sturdy.
Step 5: Now to lock the height of the jack, you need to turn the floor jack handle anti-clockwise, and that’s it! Do not unlock it until you want to lower the jack and bring the machine down.
Safety Precautions To Consider
Before you grab that jack and start lifting your mower, here are some precautionary things you should do to ensure you don’t end up in a mishap.
1. Understand The Jack
If you have never used a jack before, then planning to lift a heavy riding mower first thing is a bad idea. So before you actually use it for lifting the mower, understand how it works. , In fact, try lifting something else with it first so you know you are on the right track.
2. Use The Correct Type of Jack
There are different types of jacks that are made for lifting up to a specific weight limit. So ensure you are using the jack that has the range of picking a riding lawnmower or car.
3. Check The Sturdiness of Your Tools
If you already have a jack in the house that has been used previously for lifting the mower, but has been kept in the garage for long, do not use it right away. Inspect the jack stands and ensure other parts are in good condition.
Look for rust, damage, and other such signs that can impact its performance.
4. Wear Your Safety Gear
No matter how confident you are, you never know what might happen, so always put on your safety gear while dealing with such stuff. Protect your hands with gloves and wear steel-toe boots.
5. Have Your Safety Plan Ready
It is always better to have an action plan of what you would do if things go south rather than coming up with a plan impromptu. So before you start the lifting, chalk out how you are going to save yourself if the jack breaks or slips and the mower falls.
6. Have a Partner
If you can, always have a partner with you while dealing with such work. Have someone else present while you are lifting or fixing the mower. So that in case of emergency, they can support you and the damage is minimized.
What Shouldn’t I Do When Lifting a Mower?
Safety should be your utmost priority while working with such lifting equipment. So here are some mistakes you should strictly avoid while trying to lift a riding mower with a jack.
1. Not Using a Sturdy Platform:
If you just choose to place your jack in the yard, be prepared for it to trip. As mentioned earlier, it is a MUST that you place the jack and the mower on a solid surface, something like your driveway. But if you don’t have it, you can use a sturdy piece of ply.
2. Surpassing The Jack’s Limit
If you try to use a smaller jack that doesn’t have the capacity to lift a riding mower, it will have a high chance of collapsing mid-way. And we don’t want that! It can damage your mower, get you hurt, or both.
3. Not Using The Jack Stand
No matter if you are using a new jack that has the capacity to lift your mower, it is always better to be cautious. So make sure you are using the jack stand, especially if you’ll be working underneath the machine. In that case, if the jack collapses, you’d have the stand catch the mower.
If you need a stand, look for wooden blocks or something that can provide that support.
4. Not Securing The Mower
Always secure the mower before you start lifting it. Make Sure its brakes are on and it is appropriately parked. Then place wooden blocks under the wheels to prevent the mower from rolling away.
5. Working On A Slope
It is so essential, yet some people forget this. You should never do any lifting work like these on a slope or slanting surface. Even a slight incline can cause the mower to roll or the jack to tip. So, always find a flat area to lift the mower.
6. Lifting The Mower Too High
You should only lift the mower as high as necessary to perform your maintenance or repair work. Lifting it too high increases the chance of it becoming unstable and falling.
If you are doing minor things like changing a tire or something that takes only a few minutes, you can use a car jack, but otherwise, it is NOT recommended to use a car jack for lifting a riding lawn mower. Riding lawn mower jacks are different and have different builds.
Most of the mower jacks have the capacity to lift 400 to 500 lbs. So if your riding mower is heavier than that, you’d need a heavy-duty lift with higher capacity.
No, you can not just use any list kits since lawn mower maintenance lifts are designed differently and lift the mower, especially from the front wheel section. Plus, they come with additional parts like wheel pads and locking pins.
That’s all you need to know to safely lift and jack up a riding mower for maintenance. Now for the sake of your pricy riding mower and pricier life of yours, make sure you are following all the precautions and guidelines that we have given above.
Using the above guide will keep you and your mower both safe and make the maintenance process hazard free. So follow them all and stay safe!