Craftsman Riding Lawn Mower Maintenance Tips

by Renee Miller

Craftsman is a brand of products from Sears Brands LLC, which makes a range of tools and lawn equipment. While there are several Craftsman riding lawn mower models, basic maintenance is typically the same and includes tasks that must be done annually or after a certain number of operating hours. Proper maintenance of your Craftsman riding mower ensures a long service life and efficient operation.

1. Keep the Air Flowing

Dirt in your riding mower air filter can block airflow, so clean or replace the air filter at least once each year. Remove the air filter cover and then remove the filter cartridge and the foam pre-cleaner that are installed beneath. The foam pre-cleaner should be cleaned after every 25 hours of operation or once a year, whichever comes first. Wash the foam pre-cleaner in soapy water and pat it dry with a paper towel or a clean rag. Replace your filter if it is ripped or there is damage to the rubber seal. If it is not damaged, tap it on a hard, flat surface to remove loose dirt and replace it in the mower.

2. Clean Blades to Avoid Rust

To get the best cutting action from your Craftsman riding mower, periodically clean grass, dirt and other debris from the blades to prevent rust. Replace worn, bent or damaged blades, using only those replacement blades approved by the manufacturer. Using parts not approved by the manufacturer may damage your riding mower and voids the warranty.

3. Battery Care for Long Life

Craftsman riding lawnmowers use a battery that requires almost no maintenance, but check the battery periodically to ensure the battery and terminals are clean and the bolts are tight. Never try to open or remove battery caps or covers. When cleaning the battery, disconnect the black battery cable first and then the red cable, and remove the battery from the mower. Wipe the surface with damp rag and pat dry. Use a wire brush to clean the terminals and battery cable ends, and coat the terminals with grease or petroleum jelly.

4. Change the Oil Regularly

Change the oil after every 50 hours of operation or at least once each year. Always check the oil level before starting your Craftsman riding mower or after every eight hours of operation. Top up as needed to prevent damage to the engine caused by low oil levels. Oil should be at the “Full” line on the dipstick, but not higher than this.

5. Before You Put it Away

Do not store your Craftsman riding lawn mower for long periods with gasoline in the tank. Clean the mower thoroughly if it will not be used for several weeks and fully charge the battery. You may have to recharge the battery if the riding mower is stored for long periods. Disconnect battery cables to prevent corrosion and clean the battery thoroughly. If you remove the battery entirely for storage, do not place it directly on concrete or damp surfaces.

6. A Few More Bits and Pieces

After each use, wipe down the exterior of your Craftsman riding mower, including the steering plate, seat, battery and engine, with a damp rag to prevent damage to the finish and the mower parts. Clean the tires as well to remove gasoline, oil and other chemicals that may damage the rubber. Do not use a garden hose or pressure washer to clean your Craftsman riding mower, because these can lead to moisture in the engine or transmission, which may reduce the service life of the mower. You should also inspect the muffler and spark arrester annually and replace these parts if there is corrosion or damage. At the beginning of every mowing season or after every 100 hours of operation, replace the spark plugs.

About the Author

Renee Miller began writing professionally in 2008, contributing to websites and the "Community Press" newspaper. She is co-founder of On Fiction Writing, a website for writers. Miller holds a diploma in social services from Clarke College in Belleville, Ontario.