Whether you mow your lawn yourself, or another family member does it, it's essential the lawn mower is in perfect working order. A loose front wheel creates a potentially dangerous situation by making the mower difficult to maneuver and poses a risk of the wheel falling off. It's simple to fix a loose wheel and you can quickly restore your mower to working order.
Symptoms and Sensations
A loose front wheel on a lawn mower is simple to diagnose. Push the lawn mower along a hard surface, like a driveway or sidewalk. If the wheel is loose, the mower will feel wobbly and uneven, rather than smooth and level. You may also notice more vibration while the mower is running due to the loose wheel. It's possible more than one wheel is loose. Turn the mower off, tilt the mower back or onto its side, grasp one wheel at a time and move it back and forth. Play in the wheel indicates that it's loose.
Causes and Concerns
When a front lawn mower wheel comes loose, it's often caused by the vibration of the mower over time. As the mower vibrates, the bolt that holds the wheel in place may loosen. Bumping into objects repeatedly can also cause wheels to loosen. Avoid hitting curbs, steps, foundations, trees and garden bed edging when mowing. Mowing terrain that's uneven can also jostle the wheels, causing them to loosen over time.
Removal and Repair
Once you know which wheel is loose, it's time to make a quick repair. Remove the spark plug from the mower by popping off the cover and unscrewing the spark plug. Lay the spark plug aside in a safe spot. Turn the lawn mower on its side and remove the bolt that holds the wheel in place. Remove the wheel and examine it for cracks or damage. Use a stiff-bristled brush to scrub away any accumulated grass or debris that is lodged in the wheel or around the axle. Place the wheel back on the axle, screw the bolt into place and tighten it well.
Parts and Pieces
Damage to the lawn mower wheel, axle or bolt can also cause a wobbly front wheel. If you find any of these are damaged, cracked or bent, replace the part before you use the mower again. Take the original part to the lawn mower repair shop or hardware store to find a match. If you can't find the part locally, contact the manufacturer and order the parts you need.