MTD: For a Growing World.
You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video.

Lawn Mower Basics from MTD: Lawn Mower Maintenance for Rider Mowers

Length of Clip:  02:37

Lawn Mower Basics: Get to Know Your Riding Lawn Mower

If you've just purchased a new riding lawn mower and you aren't sure where to start, here are some lawn mower basics to get you started, along with helpful lawn mower maintenance tips to keep running strong.  Before beginning, be sure your mower is on a flat, level surface.

Step 1: Connect the battery cables

Remove the red battery terminal cover from the red terminal.  Attach the red battery cable to the positive terminal.  Then, remove the black battery terminal cover from the black terminal.  Attach the black battery cable to the negative terminal.  Once both cables are attached, place the red cap on the positive terminal. Lawn mower basics: Do not allow the wrench to come in contact with any metal.

Step 2: Check the oil 

Check your engine's oil level with the dip stick before every use since too little or too much oil can damage your engine. Lawn mower maintenance tip: Change the oil at the end of each season to promote superior performance the following summer.

Step 3: Add Fuel

Fill the fuel tank. You don't want to run out of gas half-way through the yard, as you'll need to wait for the engine to cool before you can fill up again.  Lawn mower maintenance tip: Fuel only lasts for 30 days unless a stabilizer is added.


Step 4: Don't forget fuel stabilizer


Fuel stabilizer helps your fuel last an additional 30 days.  Lawn mower maintenance tip: You may want to add it to the gas can you keep to refill your mower, rather than the gas tank as it will keep more of your fuel from breaking down.  It's also important for proper winter mower storage.


Step 5: Check your air filter


Before each mowing, check your air filter for dirty, loose or damaged parts.  Lawn mower maintenance tip: It is highly recommended that the air filter, spark plugs, oil filter and any other damaged riding lawn mower parts are replaced every year when you prepare your mower for off-season storage.

Step 6: Sit properly in the seat

To start the mower, be sure you are seated back in the seat.  If you are too far forward, the mower may not start. Lawn mower basics: Never mow with children on your lap.

Step 7: Engage the parking brake

Check to be sure the PTO lever is in the off position and activate the choke.

Step 8: Start the mower

Turn the key to the start position.  Once the mower has started, release the key and allow it to return to the on position.  Now move the throttle to the rabbit position. Lawn mower basics: Start your riding lawn mower outside or in a well-ventilated garage to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

Step 9: Drive your mower

To begin driving your mower, make sure you have a clear path and press the brake pedal to release the parking brake.  Move the shift lever forward and then press the drive pedal to increase your speed.

Step 10: Engage the blades

To engage the blades, first, be sure that your throttle/choke lever is in the rabbit position.  Then, push the PTO/Blade engage lever forward into the on position.

Step 11:Make the most of your mower

There are many attachments, riding lawn mower parts and accessories available to help keep a beautiful lawn.  Bagging is a highly recommended method of helping maintain a healthy lawn by reducing thatch build-up. You can then add the cuttings to your compost which will add nitrogen to the soil when they break down.  Spreading the compost throughout the summer will encourage grass to grow in the bare areas of your yard.


Part Finder

Don't know your model number?

You can use the Part Finder to help find your model and the right part for your machine.

Find Matching Models