Proper maintenance is essential for any lawn mower, especially if you use it frequently to upkeep your yard, and one of the most overlooked maintenance tasks for mowers is balancing their blades. It’s easy to assume that as long as a mower’s blades are sharp, the machine will continue to work effectively, but there are plenty of reasons why balancing them is just as important.
Why should you balance lawn mower blades? Balancing your lawn mower’s blades will avoid wear and tear damage to its other components. An unbalanced lawn mower blade can lead to a significant amount of vibration while the mower is operating, which can slowly damage the entire structure and all other parts over time.
You may be wondering how a small piece of sharp steel can become a severe threat to your lawn mower even if it is off by just a little. In the remainder of this article, we I’ll address this as well as how you can balance lawn mower blades to prevent any future damage.
How Does an Unbalanced Blade Damage Lawn Mowers?
Blades can be unbalanced as a result of time or how they are sharpened—or in more unlikely scenarios, how they are manufactured—with more steel on one side than the other. The difference in mass may not be visibly noticeable, but something you feel as you use your mower.
When the lawn mower is being used, the blade will spin at a set velocity, no matter the weight of the blade. If you know the formula for force—which is mass times velocity—then having more mass equals more force. With an unbalanced blade, it ends up outputting more energy on one side than the other.
This can cause small collisions with other mower components or the ground, leading to heavy vibrations and eventually, wear and tear.
If this problem is not fixed, then your lawn mower will lose its effectiveness over time.
Importance of Balancing Lawn Mower Blades
An unbalanced blade is somewhat of a silent killer—not so much in the sense that it will not make a sound because you will most likely feel the vibration it causes, but more that it might be the last thing you think about checking when you believe something might be wrong with your lawn mower.
Balancing the blade of your lawn mower is just as crucial as not beating it with a hammer on the daily. This may sound ridiculous, but both scenarios can have similar results on your lawn mower. Balancing the blade is a matter of maintenance and keeping your lawn mower as efficient as possible.
If you do not balance your blade, you put your lawn mower at risk of being damaged and losing certain parts such as the shaft or even the engine. At this point, it will become costly to repair your lawn mower, and it might also be best to purchase a brand new machine.
However, the most practical option that will save you headache and money is balancing your blade regularly, to begin with.
How to Balance Your Lawn Mower Blades
Fixing and balancing your lawn mower’s blades is actually pretty easy and can be done without help from a professional; it is a simple process that only requires some extra tools. However, the most critical part of this process is to make sure you get it right the first time you attempt to balance the blades.
Sharpening the Blades
Blade sharpening is the process of taking off some steel from your blade to make the angle of the edge sharper. Lawn mower blades need to be sharpened after heavy usage because cutting too much grass over time will eventually dull their edges.
It sounds quite incredible that a thin little piece of grass could have such an effect on steel and completely reshape it. However, it is the many blades of grass that you cut over time that slowly and microscopically start eroding more and more of your mower’s blade.
Over time, this change will become prominent, and your mower will not work as efficiently as it did before.
To sharpen the blade, you are going to need a grinder, preferably an angle grinder. If you don’t own one of these already, you can buy one from Amazon. The Avid Power Angle Grinder is perfect for this task.
Alternatively, if you have a Dremel rotary tool you can buy the sharpening toolkit (Amazon).
For an angle grinder, you will need clamps or a vice to hold your blade firmly, and in a position you can work with.
- First, you will need to remove the blade from your lawn mower by using a wrench.
- Next, you will need to balance it on a point to see which side the excess steel is on. (You don’t need any special tools for balancing a blade; you can just use anything that will do the trick. It can be something as mundane as a nail on the wall.) If the blade leans to one side, that’s the one you’re aiming for.
- Then, you will need to grind or sharpen the blade on the side that was more weighed down. When grinding the blade, remember this: you can take away, but you can’t put back; this means that it is always best to sharpen the edge too little than to go over and have to grind your blade away on both sides even more.
- Keep balancing your blade and then grind a little more on the side it leans towards. Eventually, your blade should be able to balance.
Check out this video if you want to see how it’s done:
If this process seems too tricky or bothersome for you, then you can always take the blade to a shop for a professional to inspect and balance it for you.
Is There Any Way to Avoid an Unbalanced Blade?
Sadly, there is no real way to avoid having an unbalanced blade. As you keep using your lawn mower, your blade will slowly wear out, and the edge will become dull. Chances are, it will not dull evenly, so an unbalanced blade is somewhat of an inherent problem that comes with owning and maintaining a lawn mower.
However, balancing and sharpening your blade from time to time is definitely a way to avoid severe damage being done to your lawn mower. It will also significantly extend the product life of your mower.
Balancing and sharpening your lawn mower is not necessarily a cumbersome ordeal that you have to do every week. You can do it about once a month or whenever you notice that your mower is vibrating or that it is not cutting grass as efficiently as it used to.
However, keep in mind that the longer that you go without sharpening your blade, the more work it will require when it comes time to do it.
An unbalanced lawn mower blade is a problem that can seem insignificant but can have significant negative results. A blade often becomes unbalanced when the mower has been used frequently and the edge of the blade begins to dull unevenly from the other side.
Balancing and sharpening your blade is important in order to avoid wear and tear damage on any components of your lawn mower and extending its product life and efficiency. If you do not balance your blade at least once a month, you are putting it at severe risk of having its components being damaged, which will only end in more costs and complications.
The lesson to be learned from all this that if you take care of your lawn mower, it will take care of you (or rather your lawn). Always check for any issues around your mower’s blade first if something seems off, and do not hesitate to take it to the shop in order for it to be checked. Happy mowing!