If you have a Toro TimeCutter Zero-Turn riding lawn mower, you probably appreciate its extraordinary performance and reliability. But, to keep your machine running at its best, it’ll require routine, proactive engine maintenance. This involves changing the oil at regular intervals, as well as a few other actions over time. Let’s explore some of the best tips you can follow to maintain your zero turn lawn mower engine.
Zero Turn Lawn Mower Engine Maintenance
Tip #1: Change the Engine Oil
Changing the oil in your Toro zero turn lawn mower is the single most important part of its engine maintenance. Oil protects the engine from potentially catastrophic friction, lubricating essential moving components.
However, engine oil tends to capture a significant amount of contaminants and combustion byproducts, making it thick and dirty over time. That’s why it’s crucial to change out the oil in zero turn lawn mowers — or any other gasoline engines — removing contaminants and introducing fresh lubrication back into the machine.
For Toro zero turn lawn mowers, it’s recommended to change the oil after the first five hours of operation, and then once every year or 100 mowing hours after that. Toro advises using a quality 10w30 full synthetic oil. Genuine Toro engine oil is ideal, as it’s designed for easier starts and is refined specifically for Toro air-cooled engines.
Tip #2: Change Your Oil Filter
Each time you change the oil in your zero turn lawn mower you should also replace the oil filter. Your oil filter captures particles and contaminants, helping to remove them from the oil. But, as the oil filter does its job collecting debris, it will start to clog over time. This can reduce the amount of oil that passes through to your engine, ultimately compromising its lubrication. That’s why it’s important to start fresh with a new oil filter each time you change your oil.
Not just any oil filter will do, however — you’ve got to find the right model for your specific engine. It’s recommended that you use genuine Toro oil filters for optimal performance and protection. Check your owner’s manual for the specific oil filter your mower requires, or head to an authorized Toro dealer.
Need more guidance? Learn basic step-by-step instructions on how to change oil and oil filters in Toro zero turn lawn mowers.
Tip #3: Maintain the Air Filter
Your air filter has an important job: it prevents dirt, dust and other particles in the air from entering the combustion chamber of your engine. But, as is the case with other kinds of filters, the captured contaminants will eventually start to clog the air filter.
Dirty, clogged air filters reduce the amount of air supplied to the engine, causing an incomplete combustion that can coat crucial engine components with soot residue. Changing your air filter allows an ample supply of fresh, clean air to promote a more complete fuel combustion.
There are two parts to your air filter: the outer foam, which keeps out larger debris, and the inner paper filter, which keeps out the small particles.
The Outer Foam Element needs to be cleaned every couple of months, or after every twenty-five hours of operation. Replace it every year, or after every 100 hours of operation — even more frequently if it’s dusty or dirty in your area.
The Inner Paper Filter needs to be replaced after every 200 hours of operation. At the 100 hour mark, it should be cleaned and inspected. If your paper filter is able to be rejuvenated, it can last another 100 hours. If not, it will need to be replaced early. Oftentimes, the lifespan of paper filters will be cut short by using a bagger.
Tip #4: Replace the Fuel Filter
Another helpful zero turn lawn mower maintenance tip? Replace the fuel filter after every 200 hours of operation.
The fuel filter keeps impurities, sediment, contaminants and rust from entering the engine through the fuel line. As your fuel filter collects debris, it can begin to clog, lowering the fuel pressure. This can cause a number of problems for your engine, including misfires and a rough idle.
Tip #5: Replace Spark Plugs
Your spark plugs should also be replaced after every 200 hours of operation. Spark plugs ignite the combustion needed to start your engine, so they’re an essential component of your mower. Over time, spark plugs tend to wear out, making it difficult for your mower to start up. Bad spark plugs can also cause sluggish engine performance, poor fuel economy, and a slew of other issues.
Helpful tip: when replacing your spark plugs, it’s important to check the new ones with a gap tool before installation. This will allow you to achieve the exact measurement recommended for your engine.
Tip #6: Check Out Toro Maintenance Kits
With a handful of different parts to service over time, it might seem complicated to maintain your zero turn lawn mower engine. Luckily, Toro offers specially designed Maintenance Kits for a quick and convenient way to tackle all of your zero turn lawn mower maintenance needs. These kits include all the components mentioned in this article, along with Toro’s fuel treatment — a fuel stabilizer that keeps gas fresh, slows down evaporation and cleans untreated fuel residue from the engine while you mow.
Since these kits were carefully developed by Toro engineers, you can be confident these Toro genuine parts are all designed to protect, fit and condition your Toro engine better than anything else on the market.
Maintain Your Toro Zero Turn Lawn Mower With Confidence
Now that you understand the scheduled engine maintenance on your Toro zero turn lawn mower, you’re ready to protect your investment for countless hours of smooth, hassle-free operation.
For more lawn mower tips, information and helpful videos, head to the Toro Help Center.