How Fast Can A Riding Lawn Mower Go? (+7 Tips To Ride Faster)

A riding lawnmower is one of the perfect machines for mowing larger lawns. It is a type of normal lawnmower, but it also includes a seat that helps you to control and cover the whole garden quickly and save a lot of time. 

But how fast can a riding lawnmower go?

Generally, the speed of a riding lawnmower ranges from 4-8 mph, depending on the model and type of mower you choose. While a tractor-style mower will have a maximum speed of 4 mph, a zero-turn lawn mower can go up to 7-8 mph. But on average most riding lawn mower runs at a speed of 5.5 mph.

In this article, we will discuss how fast a riding lawnmower can ride along with some methods which can make a riding lawnmower faster. 

Riding Lawn mower 1

How fast will a riding lawnmower go?

A riding lawnmower is the most efficient method to manage larger lawns. 

It’s even better when you want to get quality work but also want to save time. 

A tractor-type riding lawnmower’s maximum speed is up to 4 mph, and zero turn riding lawnmower’s maximum speed is up to 7-8 mph. 

But if you want to choose a good model, then speed is not everything you should consider. 

While mowing faster, you will get the task done much quicker, but you may not be satisfied with the results. 

Mowing speed must adjust according to the grass’s quality and condition. 

For example, if the lawn is damp or the grass is thin, you should reduce the speed to avoid mess and missing areas. 

How fast should you ride your lawnmower?

The most common question is how fast you should ride your lawnmower. 

You should decide by considering 3 types:-

  • Wet lawn: Mowing wet grass is never good for your lawn. But even if you do it, you should slow down the riding lawnmower. Cutting the wet grass roughly at high speed can choke the mower’s engine.

While mowing, keep in mind that the clippings are perfectly going through the mower.  

  • Thin grass: If the grass in your lawn is thinner, you should slow down the speed. This is because you can tear up the grass incorrectly instead of giving it a clean and even cut. When the grass gets torn abnormally, the lawn will eventually turn brown because of damage.
  • Specification: Mowing speed also depends on the different specifications of your mower. If you have a dual-range riding lawnmower, you should ride to L3 speed but not higher than that. But if the ground is flat, you can ride up to H1 speed. 

But if you are dealing with a riding lawnmower with a power take-off shaft (PTO), you can take the speed up to 540 rpm. 

Cutting higher than the average speed can damage the deck belt, so you should never go overboard with speed. 

Why riding mower is running slow?

riding Lawn mower 4

Riding lawnmowers are usually built to cut grass efficiently and quickly. 

But sometimes, these machines don’t work properly and become difficult to operate. 

A few reasons can slow down the riding mower’s speed. Let’s discuss the following:-

Clogging in several areas

Generally, riding mowers are generated by a combustion engine that is charged with fuel. 

Clogging is the most vital reason which can slow or shuts down the mower’s performance. 

Clogging can occur in many areas, such as the gas cap, fuel line, carburetor (needle and seat), and air filter. 

You should clean all the dirt frequently. 

Turn off the engine before performing any maintenance task on the mower. 

Then examine each blockage and clean the areas. 

If the air filter is clogged, you can either change it or clean it with compressed air. 

Gas caps such as needles and seats are better replaced with new ones. 

Fuel blend

Each mower requires a different fuel for functioning. 

But people often make mistakes by using gasoline blended with ethanol to reduce the environmental impact and cost.

If you are using the wrong fuel in riding mowers, it can reduce their performance and even decrease the engine’s life span. 

Thus, a fuel blend is not recommended for your riding mower. 

Also read: Where To Get Gas For Lawn Mower?

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Damaged or old spark plug

Lawn mower spark plug fix

If the spark plug in your riding mower is old or damaged, then it might be the reason your engine is running slow. 

If the spark plug brings out an ignition spark, then the engine will never run at a proper speed. 

A spark plug can get old, clogged up, or burnt out. You should always check frequently and see whether it is damaged or not. 

Bad quality fuel

Fuel is one of the major reasons why your riding mower is running slow. 

When the fuel is left unsafe for too long and has not been changed over time, it can degrade its quality. 

As the fuel loses all combustibility, it no longer works as before and can become extremely slow. 

Change the gas immediately when you find out it has become discolored.

Also read: Will Mixed Gas Hurt A Lawn Mower? (5 Mistakes People Make)

How to make your lawnmower ride faster?

Sometimes, mowing the lawn is very time-consuming. 

Generally, it’s better to mow the lawn slowly. 

But if you are in a hurry or your riding mower has become extremely slow, then there are some ways in which you can make the lawnmower faster. 

Let’s discuss some methods to increase the speed and some modifications for cutting the grass more efficiently.

1. Change the lawnmower’s air filter often.

Changing the air filter is the first trick to make your riding lawnmower faster. 

When time passes, the air filter gets blocked by dirt which doesn’t allow the air to enter your engine. 

It causes start-up problems and damages the entire engine over time. 

A blocked filter prevents the engine from receiving sufficient oxygen flow, causing the engine to run inefficiently and slowly.

A clean air filter increases the lawnmower’s speed, especially when used for a long time. 

You can find any fresh and new air filter from the hardware store or online site. 

2. Check and change the oil.

Lawn mower gas

You should check the oil quantity and quality frequently. 

It is one of the necessary things to keep the lawnmower’s engine smooth with maximum efficiency. 

Oil in the gas tank always degrades over time; if not checked on time, it can damage the whole engine. 

You should change the oil for a riding mower every season or after 100 hours of use. 

You should also change the stock oil of your mower with a higher quality oil every 5 hours of use. 

3. Maintain sharp blades

You should always maintain the blades to increase the speed of your riding lawnmower. 

You can either sharpen the blade if it is not damaged completely or replace the entire blade with a new one. 

People often make mistakes by not sharpening or changing the blades on time, decreasing the mower’s performance, and tearing up the grass incorrectly. 

A sharp blade cuts the grass with less resistance, causing less friction, and keeps the grass build-up away from the blades if you mow for longer.

Also read: 9 Ways To Sharpen A Lawnmower Blade Without Removing It (+Mistakes To Avoid)

4. Keep bigger tires

One of the common tricks to increase the speed is to set bigger tires. 

With the help of bigger tires, it will cover more area per wheel rotation, contributing directly to the mower’s speed. 

Make sure the tires have the same size and width. 

This will help the mower to respond more quickly and smoothly. 

5. Remove the hood

You can remove the hood from the riding lawnmower to regulate good airflow. 

A Hood is a cover made up of sheet metal and scrap angle iron. 

Removing the hood will increase the airflow to the engine drastically, and it will also reduce the weight of the machine. 

This will help the lawnmower to go much faster than a normal speed rate. 

After mowing, always replace the hood in the lawnmower to keep the engine covered.

6. Keep the tank full

Lawn mower gas refill

One of the most common things to remember is to keep the engine smooth and fast. 

If the fuel tank is not full, the riding mower may not operate at a maximum speed. 

That’s why you should always keep the fuel tank filled up with oil.

Keeping the tank full is important because, when the tank becomes empty over time, the amount of air will keep on increasing, due to which the fuel fumes will evaporate in the air. 

This decreases fuel efficiency. 

But remember not to overfill the tank with oil.

You can also use high-octane fuel to increase the engine’s compression ratio. 

Before using the new fuel, always empty the gas tank properly. 

7. Change the length of the governor’s spring.

The Governor spring is a tiny spring that controls fuel flow to the engine. 

Changing the length of the governor spring also helps the riding mower to run faster. 

Increasing the governor spring’s length will provide more fuel to the engine, making it run faster. 

Similarly, removing the spring will drastically increase the riding lawnmower’s horsepower. 

To adjust the governor spring, you must remove the flywheel housing and starter insert. 

Once the spring is completely removed, the machine will start to operate at a fluent and faster speed. 

But stay safe while using the machine like this. 

Also, don’t forget to replace the spring on the riding mower. 

Can a bigger pulley increase the speed of riding a lawnmower?

Yes, you can increase the speed of the riding mower by changing the pulley size. 

The speed can increase rapidly if you change the pulley with a bigger one.

But this is the most complicated process. 

If you plan to attempt this process, you should read the instructions properly. 

Also, you should be prepared with a wide collection of tools in your hand.

One pulley is attached to the engine, and the other is attached behind it. 

If you set up a bigger pulley, it will increase the mower’s speed drastically. 

But it is quite risky to modify your riding mower like that because it doesn’t include any warranty. 

It is a safety process, but it doesn’t give you the machine’s guarantee. 

When to select a riding mower?

Riding Lawn mower 3

The use of riding lawnmowers has increased over the past few decades. 

It is one of the most comfortable processes to mow the lawn and provides a good-quality cut. 

But let’s discuss when you should choose a riding mower:

Vast, open areas

Riding a lawnmower can cover the maximum ground in one go compared to a push lawnmower. 

Also, it cuts the grass width much greater, which helps to mow the lawn much faster. 

A normal push lawnmower is usually 21 inches while riding lawnmowers includes cutting decks more than 3 times as wide. 

If you want to mow lots of grass at once and save a couple of hours, then riding a lawnmower is much preferable. 

Flat surface and gentle slopes

Riding lawnmowers works best on a flat surface and gentle slopes. 

Mowing on a flat surface reduces the risk of getting knocked. Also, you will see an uneven and unclean cut in those areas.

However, only professionals can perfectly operate the riding mowers on mountaineers and uneven surfaces.

A normal push lawnmower is highly recommended on uneven hills and rocky surfaces. 

Damp and thick grass

If your lawn has thick grass, riding lawnmowers is perfect for them.

A riding lawnmower is for cutting thick and wet grass, especially during rainfall or morning dew. 

It is better to avoid mowing the grass in a damp condition, but even if you do, riding a mower is best. 

On the other hand, a push lawnmower can easily get blocked by the damp, making the machine heavy and difficult to push. 

Is riding a lawnmower faster than a push mower?

riding Lawn mower 2

You might be wondering which lawnmower runs faster. 

But if you compare a riding mower vs. a push mower, they both have certain benefits on their own. 

The mower’s performance depends on the ground’s size, terrain (space, slopes, uneven patches, damp conditions), and budget. 

Both riding and push mower benefits in terms of money, time, and outcome.

However, people often choose zero-turn riding mowers because they are fast, can mow up to 36 hp, and offer wide cutting paths up to 72 inches. 

Riding lawnmowers is preferable for cutting wide areas, wet grass, and flat slopes. 

While on the other hand, push mowers to have good flexibility because they can insert through gates when openings are not big enough for riding mowers. 

Push mowers are mostly preferred when the ground has lots of landscape beds. 

It also provides proper twists and turns in the yard and works best when the ground has steep slopes.

Final words

If you are wondering how fast a riding lawnmower will go, it depends on several factors, such as the engine condition, specifications, terrain, and lawn wetness. 

But keep in mind that speed is not everything you should consider while mowing the lawn. 

Doing this gradually with patience will give you more satisfactory results than running the machine fast. 

To achieve a great result, you should slow down the riding mower in some situations, like damp areas, thin grass, and uneven patches. 

Reference: Lawn Mower Technology, Lawn Mower SafetyLawn MowingLawn CareMowing your lawn.


Hello everyone, My name is Richa and I am here to make you a better gardener by creating an in-depth and helpful resource for all the fellow gardeners out there. If I could help even a few people understand their plants better then I call it a success for my efforts.

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