How to Fix a Mower Deck that Scalps

What You'll Need
Owners manual
Tire pressure gauge
Air pump
Lawn roller

When you are cutting your lawn, the last thing you want is for your mower deck to scalp your lawn. You want to get through the task quickly and easily. Scalping occurs when your mower deck either comes too close to the lawn or actually hits the ground. There are a few steps you can try to remedy the problem.

Step 1 – Slow Down 

It is possible you are simply going too fast. Slow your motor speed down. 

Step 2 – Raise Mower Deck Cutting Height

Your mower deck might be set too low if it is scalping the lawn. If you remove the pin from the bracket on the frame of your lawnmower, this will allow you to move the deck up or down. It is designed to occur with very little effort on your part. See your owner’s manual for further details and safety measures. 

Step 3 – Check Your Tire Pressure 

If you are experiencing scalping, check your tire levels. For general maintenance, you’ll want to give your tires a kick now and then to see whether or not they are in need of air. If you’re experiencing problems with your mower, you can go a step further and check with a tire pressure gauge. Not only can low tire pressure cause problems like scalping, but it can also create safety issues, such as overturning. 

Step 4 – Inflate Your Tires

If it turns out your tire pressure is low, you have to inflate your tires to achieve good traction. You can use either a manual inflator, such as those used for bicycles, or an air compressor. Simply take off the tire valve stem cap, attach the air hose and hold it in place. An air compressor will do all the work, but you’ll have to fill the tires manually with the manual inflator. While inflating, keep your eye on your PSI level to ensure that you’re not overfilling the tires. Don’t forget to replace the cap. 

Step 5 – Level Your Deck 

Sometimes mower decks become warped. If your deck is not level, it might cause scalping of the lawn. Consult your owner’s manual for leveling instructions on your mower model. Following are a few hints that will help you along the way. Be sure to level your mower side to side and front and behind so that all blades are cutting at the same height (measure from the blade tip.) Check for any wear on the deck and fix anything you come up with; deterioration or weakness can cause leveling issues. 

Step 6 - Level Your Lawn 

Your lawn might not be level, which can cause the deck mower to hit the ground in certain spots. You can handle this situation by having your lawn rolled. However, there are some precautions to take when rolling your lawn. Make sure the ground is damp but not waterlogged. Make sure the roller is not too heavy; a lightweight roller is preferred. Choose the right season for lawn rolling; spring is the best time of year. It is best not to roll soil that is heavy with clay and it is unnecessary to roll your lawn yearly.