Change Your Riding Lawn Mower Tires

Looking at the tires of a riding lawn mower.
  • 2-3 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 50-500
What You'll Need
Lawn mower
Lawn mower valve core
Floor jack
Pliers (slip-joint and needle-nose)
Flathead screwdriver
Tire iron
Tire lube or penetrating lubricant
Ratchet strap
Air hose

Whether you have picked up a nail or opened your shed after a long winter to find a rotted tire, you will need to know how to change a bad tire. Riding lawn mower repair and maintenance is a bit more in-depth than that of a push mower. However, this process is still relatively simple, so follow these quick steps to ensure that you can get your mower up and running again.

Step 1 - Get it On Lock-down

Put the mower in gear and put on the parking brake to prevent it from rolling and to keep the tire in place as you work with it. Try to leave the rim on the axle, as doing so will allow you all the leverage needed for the job and will cut down dramatically on the amount of time needed to complete it.

Step 2 – Get it Off the Ground

Just like your car, be sure to get the floor jack under a cross member or frame rail to avoid damage. Crank the jack to raise the tire off of the ground. For your own safety and the safety of your nice lawn mower, do this on level ground, preferably stone or cement. Then, engage the safety latch on your jack.

Step 3 - Before You Remove the Tire

Mowers can vary, so your front tires may be on spindles. If this is the case, you will need to remove the black rubber boot that covers the end of the spindle. Using a pair of pliers, grab the entire boot and slowly pull it off. Take care as not to tear it.

At this point, you will see that the tire is held on with a small metal C-clip. Use a flathead screwdriver to it pry off. At this point, the C-clip tends to fly off and is easy to lose, so take care.

Some rear tires will have a key to hold the rim and the axle together, which needs to be removed before you make repairs. First, you’ll need to take the hubcab or axle cover off with a pair of slip-joint pliers. Pulling and twisting together should work it off without too much complication.

Take hold of the retaining ring with a pair of needle-nose pliers, and remove it, followed by the washers which you can just take off with your hands. This will give you access to the key, which you can then just pull out with your pliers to remove the wheel.

Step 4 - Breaking the Beads

Now you will have access to the valve core. Carefully release the air from the tire by unscrewing the valve core and replace afterward.

Next, break both the inside and outside beads using a tire iron. Be careful not to hit the rim. Then, remove the inner tube if your mower has one. Work the outside bead over the outside of the rim, doing the same with the inside bead next.

Step 5 - Getting the New Tire On

Lubricate both beads of the new tire with a penetrating lubricant or tire lube. Then, set the tire onto the rim at about a 45-degree angle and force the rim inside of the tire as much as possible. Use the tire iron again to work the bead around the rim. This is the time to insert the inner-tube if you have one. Finally, use a ratchet strap to secure the tire's beads.

Once the tire is back on the rim, reverse the process you used to take it off to secure it back on the axle.

Step 6 - Pump it Up

Attach the air hose to fill the tire and you're done!

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