While lawn mower tires are often underappreciated next to the more intricate inner workings of riding lawn mowers, the tyre your lawn tractor is using could have a huge impact both on your cutting experience as well as on your results. It’s vital that you maintain these properly, and that you ensure you are using the right type of lawn mower tire if you want to get good results from your expensive purchase.
The world of mower tyres, however, can be a confusing one and it can be difficult to know which to choose. Firstly, you are generally better off staying with the branded tyres of your specific riding lawn mower make if you’re not sure what you’re doing with them. This ensures a smooth and quick change, safe operation and spares you a considerable degree of confusion and wasted time.
Tyre maintenance is critical. Tyres can pick up punctures or even rot away, and they present a severe safety hazard when not running at their best. Riding lawn mower maintenance can be done at home, for all its a little more complicated then maintenance on push mowers, but if you’re really not sure what you’re doing you can also use an authorised service centre’s help.
What to do if you’re changing your riding lawn mower tires yourself.
Firstly, make sure the mower is in gear and has the parking brake on to prevent it rolling. If you can, leave the rim on the axle for the best leverage and quickest change. Like a car, the mower will need to be [safely] jacked on level ground that’s firm. If you have a spindled tyre, you will need to remove the black rubber boot, and then the C-clip, release the tyre air via the valve core, take out the inner tube [if present] and break the inside and outside beads without damaging the rim. Work them both off the rim. Lubricate the beads on the new tyre, set it on the rim at 45 degrees and force it inside the tyre. A tyre iron will help considerably. Replace the inner tube once you’re sure the jobs done. You’ll then want to use a ratchet strap to secure the beads, fill and test the tyre, and then pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Remember, you can pay to have this done if it’s overwhelming.
Tyre tips and tricks.
Remember that the whole reason riding lawn mowers have ‘real’ air tyres is that no air tyres would leave ruts in the lawn. If you don’t keep the air topped up, you’ll ruin your lawn whether or not you use anti-scalp tyres. There is a ‘run flat’ style of tyre, but it doesn’t provide as smooth a ride. Do remember that, like any other tyre, you can safely plug and repair small punctures on your tyres, although a worn tyre means time for a change.
Types of lawn mower tires
The tyres you want to use on your riding lawn mower have to be carefully correlated with your garden and surroundings. For example, so called ‘lug’ tyres- the ones with heavy notched groves- are best designed for wet, soft or swampy areas where you need high traction for safe operation. They’re also the best for slopes, but can cause lawn damage. Smooth tyres allow the ultimate in turf damage prevention- they’re the choice of putting greens and bowling greens everywhere- but come at the expense of safety and should be used with extreme care on anything other than a perfectly level surface. By far the best for the average garden are turf tyres, which balance tread with the need not to damage the underlying turf. There’s several different track types available, from ones designed specifically to aid front wheel guidance to those providing more traction then average. Do a little research into the tread type you need for your machine to get the best match possible. And remember that most riding lawn mowers actually will opt to use a different type of tyre at front and back to maximise operation- usually a combination of guidance tread of anti-scalping tyre at the front to minimise damage, and higher traction tyres at the back for safety.
So, once you know what tyre you need, what size you need and which tread you’d prefer, what are the best brands out there? Below, we look at some of the highest rated after-market riding lawn mower tires there are out there.
Any 2 second Amazon search will show you that Carlisle are an enduring favourite with almost everyone. Their lug tyres provide enormous traction and are a favourite among gardeners who have to place safety first, with their turfsaver tread tyres coming in a very close second in the popularity stakes. They also provide a range of smooth tyres too, so can truly be called the market leader in after-market tyre sales. Overall, Carlisle provide high quality, affordable after-market riding lawn mower tires that are not only fit for purpose but also provided pleasing aesthetics for users. They’re a top quality brand consistently voted the favourite across the board by reviewers.
Original Sears, Craftsman and Husqvarna Tires
Narrower than the average tyre, users of these machines can often have a hard time finding after-market tyres to suit their machines. Fortunately, thank in the main to very efficient customer service from Sears, these models are not hard to find tyres for as original spares, and the pricing is not prohibitive enough to make chasing sometimes non-existent after-market parts worthwhile. They score high Amazon ratings for efficient service and ease of use as well as quality production.
Sutong China Tyres
It’s hardly surprising that the Chinese market has gotten into the tyre market. Although they score slightly lower in customer admiration then Carlisle they still score a thoroughly credible 4.5 star rating. These are mostly tubeless tyres, with good offerings in the tread department but limited on smooth and lug tyres.
Overall, maintaining the health of your riding lawn mower tires is a critical piece of ensuring that they serve you well and safely, and that you get the precision results you want from your mower.