A Quick Guide to Fixing a Flat Tire on a Riding Lawn Mower
Your lawn mower, just like your car, can get a flat tire from time to time. With a few supplies and a proper work area, you should be able to repair the flat tire on your riding lawn mower pretty quickly.
Park Your Riding Lawn Mower On a Flat, Level Work Surface
When the tire on your lawn mower goes flat, as soon as you notice it, you need to drive it to a flat, level work surface. You should not continue to mow your lawn. If you continue to mow your lawn with a flat tire, you risk bending the rim of the tire. If that happens, you'll have an even bigger problem on your hands, which is why you should stop what you are doing and park your lawn mower somewhere secure as soon as it stops working properly.
Jack It Up
You will need a floor jack in order to repair the tire on your riding lawn mower. You'll want to place the floor jack under either the rear or front end of the frame; the end depends on where the flat tire is. If the tire is flat in the front, the jack needs to go in the front, likewise if the flat is in the rear of your lawn mower.
You'll want to raise your lawn mower up enough so that you can work with and remove the tire. You probably only need to raise it up about half a foot or so; you want the lawn mower to be stable and you also want to make sure that you have enough room to work with.
After you raise your lawn mower up with your jack, place jack stands on either side of your jack. You may then need to lower the jack a bit so that your lawn mower firmly rests on the jack stands.
Look for Puncture Objects
Once your mower is raised and secure, its time to inspect the tire. Turn it around and look carefully for a puncture. If you find an object loaded in the tire, take out a pair of pliers and slowly pull it out. You don't want the object to break, so take your time.
If you can't see the puncture, you'll want to brush soapy water over the tire. Then, you'll want to add some air to the tire and listen for a hissing sound. You should see soapy bubbles at the location of the leak.
Get Out the Repair Kit & Use the Reamer Tool
Once you have found the hole, get out the repair kit and remove the reamer tool. This tool looks like a circular file with a handle. You'll insert the reamer in and out of the hole a couple of times; this will widen the hole and make it more uniform. This process should also remove any stray rubber.
Insert the Tar Strip
Next, take a piece of tar strip out of the repair kit. The strip is long and circular and is about as wide as a pencil. The entire strip should be covered with a backing since the strip is sticky on all sides. Remove the protective stripping on the tar strip.
Next, get out the threading tool. The threading tool looks like the large eye of a needle attached to a handle and should be included in your repair kit. Take the tar strip and thread it through the hole on the threading tool, just like you would with a piece of thread through the eye of the needle. The tar strip should be centered on the threading tool, with half coming out through the hole on both sides. To further ensure that the strip will stick, coat it with rubber cement on all sides.
Once the tar strip is on the threading tool, use the threading tool to insert the tar strip into the tire at the location of the puncture that you just worked on with the reamer tool in the previous step. Push it into the tire so only about a third of the tar strip is left sticking out.
The tar strip should stick to the inside of your tire as you push it into place. Once only a third of the strip is left sticking out, pull the threading tool straight out. There is a slit in the eye of the threading tool so that that tar strip will not get pulled out as well, and the tool will just glide up and off the rope.
You should have two ends sticking out of the hole, and the remaining bit of the tar strip should be looped inside of the tire. Use scissors to cut the remaining tar rope that is stick out as close to the tire as possible.
Refill the Tire
Once the patch is in place, fill the tire back up with air using the recommended air pressure guidelines on the sidewall of the tires. Make sure that the patch holds. Once you are sure the patch is holding and no air is leaking out, you can remove the jack stands and lower your lawn mower using the jack.
You'll find that repairing a flat tire on your riding lawn mower is very similar to repairing a flat tire on your car; it's just a smaller tire. However, if you find this task a bit overwhelming, consider contacting a local specialist, such as Terpstra's Sales Service & Rentals, to repair your tire.