How to Remove a Lawn Mower Blade Safely
Maintenance is crucial to making sure your lawn mower does its job and runs efficiently over the long haul. One of the most important maintenance steps is making sure the blade stays sharp. When it's time to sharpen or replace your lawn mower blade, you'll need to know how to remove it safely.
- Read the owner's manual before you begin to ensure you have the tools and skills required.
- Make sure the engine is turned off and the parking brake is engaged before starting any maintenance or repairs. Remove the ignition key, spark plug and battery.
- Wear the necessary protective clothing and equipment, such as safety goggles and heavy-duty gloves.
- Work on a hard, flat surface in a well-ventilated area.
- Follow all safety precautions before operating.
Sharpen or Replace?
If it is seriously damaged, your lawn mower blade may need to be completely replaced, but in many cases, it will merely need to be sharpened. In either case, it will be necessary to remove the lawn mower blade from the mower deck.
Look at your lawn after mowing to determine if your mower blade needs attention. The grass will appear frayed and ragged, and the individual blades will have torn edges that turn brown or white. Your lawn mower blade should be about as sharp as a butter knife to be effective – razor sharpness is not necessary – and it should be replaced if it is bent, or has serious dings or dents.
Prepare Your Lawn Mower
The most important first step before working on your lawn mower blade is disconnecting the spark plug. This will eliminate any potential risk of the lawn mower starting accidentally while you are working on it. Next, you will need to make the blade accessible.
With walk-behind mowers, this is relatively simple. Drain the gas tank, and then flip the mower over onto its side with the air filter facing up to access the blade. If you are removing the lawn mower blade from a lawn tractor or zero-turn lawn mower, refer to your owner's manual for instructions on removing the deck to access the blade.
Secure the Blade
To prevent the blade from turning while you are removing it, use a wooden block or similar hard object to wedge between the blade and the lawn mower deck. Test the blade to make sure it does not turn before attempting to remove it, and be sure to wear a pair of thick work gloves to reduce the risk of injury while handling the blade.
Before removing the blade, mark it with paint or tape so that you can identify the downward-facing side. This will make it easier to return the blade to the shaft facing in the correct direction after sharpening – the blade won't cut the grass if you put it back on upside-down!
Remove the Blade
Determine the right size wrench or socket wrench to remove the nut (or bolt) that secures the lawn mower blade to the drive shaft. Turn the wrench in a counterclockwise motion to loosen and remove the nut, holding the blade in a gloved hand as you do so to keep it from falling free.
Once the nut has been removed, set it aside and slide the blade off the shaft. Inspect the blade to determine if it needs to be sharpened or replaced. If you need a new blade, take the old blade with you to the hardware store or your nearest Hustler retailer to match it with the new blade you will install.
Reinstalling the Blade
Slide the new or sharpened lawn mower blade back onto the drive shaft with the cutting edge facing to the right. Place your wood block back under the blade to prevent it from turning, and use your wrench or socket wrench to replace the nut or bolt on the drive shaft. Turn the nut clockwise to tighten it, and make sure it is as tight as possible to keep the blade from coming loose while mowing.
Once you've re-attached the blade, remove the wood block and either re-attach the lawn mower deck and/or flip the lawn mower back onto its wheels. Re-connect the spark plug, refill the fuel tank and start your mower. Listen for noise from the mower deck, and then mow a small amount of grass to make sure the blade is cutting properly.
To learn more about lawn mower maintenance, or to talk to an expert who can help you remove your lawn mower blade, contact us today to locate a Hustler retailer near you. Our team of lawn maintenance experts is here to help every step of the way.