Changing a riding mower or garden tractor tire is similar to changing your car's tire. Some mowers have a series of lug nuts that attach the wheel to the machine, while others only have one bolt. Check your mower to find out which type it is, and use the correct tool for the job.
Tools you'll need to change your mower's tire:
- A ratchet wrench with the correct size socket, or lug wrench
- A floor jack
- A jack stand or several lengths of 2x6 boards
- Several bricks or wood blocks
- Turn your riding lawn mower off and put it in park, if possible.
- Place a block or brick in front and behind one of the tires on the mower.
- Use a socket or lug wrench to slightly loosen the bolt or nuts – not too much, just enough to get them started so it'll be easier to remove them when the wheel is in the air. Watch your knuckles!
- Position a floor jack on a solid part of the frame underneath the mower and use it to lift the mower until the wheel clears the ground. Warning: Never put your arms or legs under the mower while it is raised off the ground – amputations are no fun!
- Place a block or several bricks under the edge of the mower and lower the jack so the mower is settled firmly on the block or bricks.
- Loosen the bolt or nuts the rest of the way and remove the wheel.
- If your mower uses a solid tire, carefully measure the length of the hub, take note if the hub is offset or centered, and measure the bearing size. Read this article for more information about measuring solid tires.
- Take the flat tire to your local tire store and have the tire repaired or the new tire installed. We do not suggest attempting to repair a lawn mower tire at home unless you are just going to plug it – read our article about plugging tires here. Most people do not have the proper equipment to repair a tire at home, and could easily hurt themselves without the required training. Warning: Don't injure yourself trying to save a couple of bucks – emergency rooms are expensive!
- Put the repaired or new tire and wheel on the mower and start to tighten the nut.
- Jack the mower up above the blocks or jack stand and remove them.
- Let the mower down so it is resting on the ground.
- Use the socket or lug wrench to firmly tighten the nut holding the wheel on the mower. Watch those knuckles and if you hurt them, don't swear in front of the kids.
- Remove the bricks or blocks in front of and behind the tires.
- Congratulations! Your lawn mower is back in business. Now, you're going to have to find another excuse for why you haven't mowed in a couple of weeks!