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After I’m done mowing with the lawn tractor, sometimes I notice that the cut seems to be uneven. We’ve installed new blades and leveled the deck with no luck. There must be something we’re overlooking.
Shane Louwerens is a John Deere Ag Tech Instructor at Northwest Mississippi Community College. He says he often hears complaints about unsightly ridges in the lawn. If deck and blades check out fine, tire pressure may be the culprit.
"The right side rear tire of their lawn mower may be 5-8 psi less than the other side, which means when you sit on it or you're on a hill or anything like that, now that side drops down more," explains Louwerens. "Which means, you're looking at a good half-inch difference of mowing deck height on that side just because your tire pressures aren't set to be the same."
The pressure could be off in either the front or the back tires and the mower won't cut evenly. Just one slightly low tire can make a difference in how the cut looks. The problem can be amplified if you're mowing uneven surfaces or rough terrain. Put your mower on a flat, paved surface and see if you notice a sag, or one side is lower than the other.
Many lawn tractor owners do their own maintenance, but tire pressure is often overlooked.
"It affects a lot of stuff, not just mileage, but if affects lawn mowers, tractors when you talk about grip on the ground, so there's a lot of benefits to adding that to your maintenance schedule," he says.
Tires that have sat for awhile, especially if the machine has been stored all winter, will lose air pressure. The first lawn cutting in the spring may be lopsided if the tires are low, and uneven pressure can also result in uneven tire wear. Grab a tire gauge, and check tires each time you plan to mow. Inflation recommendations are found in your owner's manual.