There’s nothing more frustrating than wanting to mow the lawn but the mower won’t move at all. If that happens, you’re likely suffering from a stuck lawn mower wheel.
As frustrating as this problem can be, it is not something to throw the towel for. You can always fix your mower and get on with the mowing in a few minutes.
But a stuck mower wheel can happen for many reasons, so we’re going to show you a few different ways to fix the stuck wheel accordingly.
Method 1: Penetrating Oil & Mallet
The first method is about using penetrating oil to release any type of debris and/or gum in the wheel. Then hit it with a mallet for the wheel to come off, so you can remove it freely.
Things to Consider:
- First of all, be sure the engine is entirely off. You don’t want any spark and/or engine turning on during this.
- Also, take the ignition key off and turn the ignition switch off. The mower should have no chance of turning on.
- If you want to go a little further, then you can always remove the spark plug.
- Cleaning the wheel with a hose at high pressure always helps. This will remove any excess of dirt or debris that may be helping the wheel to get stuck.
- Do not exert too much pressure or force when trying to pull the wheel off the machine. You may end up damaging parts of the mower, or damaging yourself.
Tools You’ll Need:
- A hydraulic jack
- A socket wrench
- A flat-head screwdriver
- A pair of pliers
- Penetrating oil
- Rubber mallet
- Jack stands / Woodblocks
Once you have these tools ready, then you can proceed with the nitty-gritty.
1. Prepare the Mower
Start by preparing yourself and the mower for the job. We recommend putting on the gloves right away.
Then, place the mower in a flat and even area. It should be completely flat, so you can work more comfortably and prevent any issue when working with it.
Proceed to disconnect the spark plug as an extra safety measure. And then you’re ready to start working on it.
2. Lift It Up
Now you can lift up the mower. This will help you have better access to its wheel mechanism.
- Use the hydraulic jack below the mower to lift it up. If you’re unsticking a rear wheel, then lift the rear part, and if it is a front-wheel, proceed accordingly.
- Once you lift up the mower, you can place a wooden block or jack stand just below the wheel axles. This will keep the mower up without the bulky design of a hydraulic jack. Be sure to place the stands/blocks well enough, so the machine doesn’t fall off to the floor when you get the jack out.
- Now lower the hydraulic jack until the weight of the mower rests entirely on the stands or blocks.
You will end up with the mower lifted and ready to get unstuck.
3. Remove the Hub Caps
The first step into removing the wheels will be to get the hub caps off the wheel. Here’s how:
- Grab the flat-head screwdriver and place it on the crevice between the hub cap and the rim. Then carefully but firmly move the hub cap up to remove it.
- If the flat-head screwdriver doesn’t work, you can always use the pliers. Loosen the cap off and remove it by hand.
- Now you have free access to the bolt, so you can get it off the rim using the socket wrench.
This will unlock the wheel so you can eventually get it off more easily.
4. Spray the Oil
The oil is what will loosen up the wheel from the axle and shaft. So you’ll have to spray it in every place that could be dirty and/or built-up.
- Spray the internal and external parts of the wheel as well as the driveshaft with the penetrating oil. You may also need to spray on the bolt or center part of the rim, which often gets stuck.
- Now let the oil do its job for at least 2 hours. It will loosen up any debris and/or gum.
This will loosen up whatever may be causing the wheel to get stuck.
5. Hit the Wheel with Mallet
Once you’ve loosened up the wheel with the lubricating oil, then you can proceed to hit it with a mallet.
- Hit the metal rim with a rubber mallet. Be sure to hit it soft first and see if it loosens up. Then hit it a little harder if it doesn’t.
- We recommend tapping the rim all across its circumference, so the wheel loosens up wherever it was stuck.
- You should keep hitting until the wheel moves. Once it moves, you should rotate it all the way to see if it is one area or the entire wheel.
- It may move just a bit in the first few tries. That’s why you should have the lubricating oil close so you can apply more in the axle or shaft as needed. Wait 5 minutes and keep hitting it.
The combination of mallet and lubricating oil should get it off the stuck state in no time.
6. Take it Out
If the wheel got unstuck after hitting it with a mallet, then you’re ready to take it out.
- Grab the tire by both sides. Then pull it off the axle.
- We recommend rocking the wheel to the sides and pulling fast and hard.
- If it doesn’t move out of the axle, then you may want to apply some more oil.
- You can always ask for help to pull off the wheel. It should come off with more strength.
Generally, the wheel should come right off after the oil and mallet hits.
But if you’re looking at a slightly more problematic issue, then you may want to go directly to method 2.
Method 2: Wax & Heat
If using lubricating oil and wax doesn’t work for you – then you can use wax and a propane torch. This should soften up whatever was getting the wheel stuck, so you can remove it more easily.
Things to Consider:
- Before you start, you can repeat processes 1, 2, 3 of the previous method. If the mower is already lifted up and the hub caps removed – then leave it like that.
- Unlike oil, wax needs to be applied from your hand. So we recommend putting some latex gloves before starting.
- While most light waxes are usually not flammable, they could still ignite. So use protective gear like rubber gloves, long sleeve shirts, boots, and goggles to protect yourself. Also, bring a fire extinguisher just in case.
- For the heat torch, you can use anything from a propane torch to a small lighter. The sole purpose is to heat up the wax.
Tool You’ll Need:
- Light wax
- A heat torch (or any fire-making tool)
- A mallet
- A fire extinguisher
Once you have the necessary items, you can proceed to remove the stuck lawn mower wheel. This is the process to follow:
1. Spread the Wax
First and foremost, you should spread the light wax on the rim and axle of the wheel.
- Use your latex gloves to do this so the wax doesn’t get stuck on your fingers.
- Cover every piece of metal that could have something to do with the movement of the wheel.
Now you’re ready to heat up the metal and wax.
2. Heat up the Rim & Axle
Heating up should allow the wax to penetrate the metal better and get the wheel unstuck. Similarly, this affects the metal directly, which could also have a positive effect.
- Grab the propane torch or whatever you want to use and light it up. You don’t need a large flame for the job. A small heat level that melts the wax should suffice.
- Direct the heat of the torch directly into wherever you applied the wax. Let it heat for a few seconds. The middle of the rim and the internal parts are critical to heat up.
- Get the torch as far away from the tire as you can. Only focus on the axle/shaft and rim.
- Once you see any part of the wheel mechanism starts getting red, then it’s time to take the torch off. A smell of burnt oil should also tell you it’s time to get the torch off.
At this moment, the metal should start to decompress, unsticking the wheel from whatever was blocking its movement.
3. Let the Wax Penetrate
The wax should start melting while you heat up the wheel mechanism. Don’t move it right away, let it penetrate everything.
We recommend waiting for about 3 to 5 minutes, so the wax does its job. But don’t let it move too much as it will dry off and may eventually get even more stuck.
4. Hit the Wheel
You will have to hit the wheel once again with the mallet. This should unlock the wheel.
- Place the torch in a safe location. Then grab the rubber mallet and hit the wheel softly.
- Tapping the circumference of the wheel is a wise choice. Do it softly at first and see if it moves or comes off. Otherwise, hit it a little harder.
By now, the wheel should be almost out of the machine. In some cases, it will come right off after hitting it with the mallet. In other cases, you will have to remove it by hand.
5. Remove the Wheel
To remove the wheel, you should just try to pull it off.
- Grab the wheel by both sides and then pull off. Rocking the wheel from the sides should help to get it off.
- Be sure to place your hands and feet in a safe place while pulling the wheel off. It shouldn’t take too much strength to do so.
If the wheel comes off, then you’ve successfully removed a stuck wheel from a lawnmower.
For a more visual guide, you can follow this video:
Remove the Stuck Lawn Mower Wheel Now!
Getting that stuck lawn mower wheel out won’t be a piece of cake. But it doesn’t have to be a titanic deed either.
If you follow every step to the letter, you may be able to get that wheel off faster than you think. But it is essential to put the effort and time.
So don’t waste any and start removing that stuck mower wheel now. It’s time to mow that lawn off!