Your John Deere zero turn rider takes care of your lawn all summer long, and you need to take care of your machine in return. Over time, normal wear and tear occurs and things don’t run or function like they used to. Regular maintenance is the key. With regular maintenance, your John Deere will have a long, healthy life so use these tips to keep your zero turn rider running like new.
Before performing any maintenance on your zero turn, refer to your operator’s manual as it lists the required maintenance, safety information, and instructions for your machine. Maintenance instructions vary by model, so depending on your zero turn rider model number our instructions may vary slightly.
Make sure you engage the parking brake, stop the engine and allow the engine to cool before performing any maintenance on your John Deere zero turn rider.
Air filter maintenance
Wipe away any debris from around the air cleaner area and open the cover. Remove the air filter and gently tap it to dislodge any dirt and debris. Never use compressed air to blow an air filter out because it will open the pours of the paper and let dirt into the engine.
Inspect the air filter and if dirt is deeply embedded in the pleats or there is obvious wear and tear, it’s time to replace the filter. Before reinstalling or replacing the air filter, clean the area around the air cleaner base.
Engine oil maintenance
Change the oil in your John Deere zero turn rider after the first 5 hours of mowing, and then every year or 100 mowing hours after that. To drain the oil, run your engine for 5 minutes or more to warm the oil. Warm oil drains easier. Park your mower so the drain side is slightly lower than the other side to help make sure the oil drains completely. Drain the oil into a drain pan.
Wipe around the dipstick to get rid of any dirt that may fall into the filler hole. Remove the dipstick and add oil. Refer to your owner’s manual for the proper oil to put in your machine. Pour about 80% of the oil into the filler tube and check the oil level with the dipstick, and then add more oil as necessary.
Oil filter maintenance
Change the oil filter in your John Deere zero turn rider every time you change your oil. Remove the old filter by hand or with a filter wrench. Use a drain pan to catch oil spilling from the old filter. Wipe excess oil off the engine opening with a rag.
Apply a thin layer of clean oil to the new oil filter’s gasket and screw the filter on. Turn the filter until the gasket contacts the engine and then tighten it an additional three-quarters of a turn. Be sure not to over tighten it.
Spark plug maintenance
Clean around the base of the plug before removing the spark plug to prevent dirt and debris from contaminating the engine. To replace the spark plug, remove the ignition wire and use a deep well socket to remove the plug and metal washer.
Inspect the condition of the spark plug and the washer. If you see light brown or gray on the insulator, the engine is working properly. Check the gap between the center and side electrodes with a feeler gauge. If there is a black coating on the insulator the air cleaner is dirty and the spark plug needs to be replaced. Install and tighten the new spark plug with the socket wrench and reconnect the ignition wire.
Perform maintenance on your John Deere zero turn rider regularly to improve performance and keep the machine running smoothly.