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Spring is here, and it is time to pull the tarp off your riding lawn mower and pull it out of winter storage. Be sure you do your start-of-season safety checks before turning on the mower so you are safe while mowing. You may find that you need to sharpen or replace the blade on your riding mower. Make sure you are safe and follow the right steps for removing and replacing the blade. 

Do this before removing the blade from your riding lawn mower

A riding lawn mower mowing grass driven by a younger person that might be in the need of removing the lawn mower blades.
Riding mower | Getty Images

After a full season of mowing last year and sitting in storage all winter, your riding lawn mower blade may be dull, according to Tractor Supply. A dull blade will make for a rather disappointing first mow of the year. Skip a step and plan to either sharpen or replace your blade now. 

You need to get the blade off your mower, but before you start, you need to check your mower’s user manual and read up on how to take the blade off. You also want to make a note of the following. 

Check the blade style. While most riding mowers have a universal blade, your mower may have its own unique style. Make a note of what kind of blade you need in case you need to replace it. 

Check the bolt size. Most lawn mower blade bolts are ½ inch, ⅝ inch, or ¾ inch. Make sure you have the right socket wrench that works with the bolt on your mower. 

Check if your bolt is a regular or reverse-threaded bolt. Most mower bolts follow the universal pattern for tightening and loosening. But, some mowers use reverse-threaded bolts. Be sure you understand which direction the bolt will go for each part of the process. 

How to remove the blades on your riding mower 

When it is time to remove the blade from your riding mower, follow these steps: 

  1. Turn off and unplug your mower: Remove the key from your mower and unplug the spark plug. You definitely do not want the mower to turn on and accidentally engage the blade while working on it. 
  2. Lower the mower deck: Set the mower deck to its lowest point. 
  3. Remove the mower deck: Disengage the blade and release the belt. Unscrew and remove all the brackets and bolts that connect the mower deck to the mower’s main body. Disengage the blade cable and the mower deck will slide out. Be sure to take a picture or take notes on how you took the deck off so you know how to put it back on. 
  4. Flip the mower deck on its side: Turning the mower deck over will allow easy access to the blade for handling. 
  5. Put on gloves: Safety first. Mower blades can be very sharp. 
  6. Loosen the retaining bolt on the blade: Using the correct socket wrench, loosen the bolt. 
  7. Put a wooden block under the blade: A wooden block will help prevent the blade from moving. 
  8. Remove the old blade: Once the bolt is removed, the blade should come right off. 

How to replace your riding lawn mower blade 

Take your riding lawn mower blade to the shop for sharpening or buy a replacement blade once you have the original blade off the mower. From here you basically want to reverse the above steps. 

Put the new blade on and make sure it is properly aligned. Check the blade for text such as “this side up” or “grass side” to ensure you have it facing in the right direction. 

Replace the retaining bolt and tighten it. Now is when you want to spend some extra time making sure it does not wobble. If there is a wobble, tighten the bolt. 

Be extra careful while replacing the blade because it is going to be very sharp. Wear your gloves now too. 

Turn the mower deck back over and replace the bolts and brackets and reconnect your mower’s main body. Raise the deck back up and replace the spark plugs. 

Put the key in the ignition and get mowing. 


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