The overall performance, efficiency, and service life of a mower depend upon the mower belt which means the more you pay attention to this component, the more you can get out of this gardening tool. Generally, a quality mower belt can last for three to four years conveniently despite the daily wear and tear.
However, you also need to remember that it’s not enough to only purchase a good quality belt but you also have to inspect it after some time to monitor its state. If you find out that the belt has started to tear from several points, it’s a most prominent telltale sign that it needs a quick replacement.
Otherwise, a damaged belt will not only damage the machine but also damage your lawn’s curb appeal. Thus, in this article, we’ll discuss the signs depicting an urgent replacement. Also, we’d discuss some tips which can increase the service life of your mower belt so you won’t have to undergo hefty and costly replacements over and over again.
Telltale signs that your mower belt needs replacement
There’s no rocket science to spot a tearing belt which means you don’t have to carry your mower to an expert mechanic for inspection after every few months. If you know the basic signs of a wearing belt, a quick visual inspection will be sufficient.
Another advantage of knowing about these wearing signs is that it saves you from the hassle of sudden belt breakages due to which you’d have to stop in between trimming your lawn so you can call a professional for replacement.Cracks
If you’d see that the mower belt has become quite thin or somewhat brittle by moving around the pulley for so long, it means it needs to be replaced as soon as possible. And if you don’t know what a brittle belt looks like, search for the cracks – even the subtle ones. Remember that if small cracks have started to appear on the belt, they will turn into huge ones, sooner or later.Damaged edges
The edges of a perfectly fine mower belt are even and smooth from all sides. As time goes by, these edges start to wear out by being rubbed around the pulley and deck. Also, the edges sometimes get burnt which makes them brittle. The burnt belt can also get loose over time and when it won’t find enough tension to stick around the deck, it might fall out.
If you find that the edges are getting worn out, rough, burnt, or glazed, it means that the damage will transfer towards the inner part of the belt as well. And once it happens, the belt will snap out immediately. So, damaged edges are a prominent sign of an immediate replacement.Reduced power
Another sign that your mower belt has started to get damaged is the reduced power of your lawn equipment. As the belt loosens or gets brittle, the mower will get slower and its cutting capabilities will also dwindle. Resultantly, you won’t be able to cut the vegetation appropriately. Thus, as soon as you observe reduced efficiency or lower power output, check the belt to figure out whether it needs a replacement or not.Screeching sounds
The worn-out components of your mower belt may cause screeching sounds while running across the pulley. And as much as you’d use the mower to trim your lawn, you’d notice that the squealing sounds are getting louder and more intense.
Another thing that’s worth mentioning here is that the screeching sounds are alarmingly dangerous for the durability of your machine and if you don’t replace the belt on time, the frayings of the damaged belt may cause unnecessary wear and stress on different parts of the mower, including the engine. So, you better replace the belt immediately before you’d end up with costly repairs.
Tips to extend the service life of mower belt
Some preventative care and simple maintenance can extend the overall service life of your mower belt greatly. What are those preventative measures and maintenance hacks, let’s find out!Proper tensioning
Make sure that the belt is driving across the pulley system without getting loosened or slipped over it. And for this purpose, you need to utilise the most correct tensioning method. Also, look for the minimal initial elongation (MIE) a belt undergoes after some use. Generally, the MIE ratio for polyamide belts is 0.5% while that for a polyester belt is 0.3%.Install the belt correctly
While installing a new belt to the mower, make sure all the components of the machine are free of dirt and grease. Also, while installing, ascertain that the entire belt is kink-free or is not twisted from any part so it won’t get loosened afterwards.Clean the belt
As stated before, you need to make sure that all the parts of your mower and the belt should be free of dirt, grease, rust, moisture, etc. Otherwise, you’d have to face problems regarding the machine’s operation and performance. Similarly, to clean debris deposits, clean the belt using a soft cloth. If the dirt is stubborn, you can even damp the cloth slightly with warm or cold water.
On the other hand, to remove oily greasing, use a non-abrasive soap or hot water. And if there are heavy soil build-ups around your belt, clean it by scrubbing with a soapy water solution. You can also use a mild solvent with a wet rag to scrub the belt.Store properly
Last but not least, you should store your belt in the original packaging since these packaging are made to resist environmental and weather damages. Even when the mower is in use, you should also keep the belt protected against contamination, damage, UV light, temperature extremes, and moisture. It is best to store the device in a dark room and if you can’t arrange one, you can wrap the machine in an opaque material. On following these maintenance and storage tips, the average life of a mower belt will certainly extend to 4-6 years.