When you have a riding mower, it’s not only an efficient and enjoyable way to cut the grass; it can be converted into a useful towing vehicle when necessary. Most riding mowers, like trucks and tractors, come ready to have a ball hitch attached.
It’s usually a simple process, but details will vary according to the kind of mower you own and the brand of ball hitch you use.
Will Towing Wear Down My Lawnmower Engine?
Using your riding mower as a trailer will put hours on the machine, although how often you use it in that way will determine whether or not it’s a damaging amount. Light use of a few times a year won’t put as much wear on the mower as it would for someone who regularly uses it as a trailer.
The amount of weight you’re carrying will also contribute to the amount of wear that might be put on the mower’s engine. Be sure not to overload or overexert the mower. For models that are designed to act as trailers from time to time, the manual should say the mower’s tow weight limit.
The towing capacity of a lawnmower is usually between 300 and 500 pounds, and you should subtract 50 to 100 pounds from the limit for leeway, to be sure. Remember, the heavier the load, the more exertion the engine has to put out.
Selecting the Right Hitch
Ball hitches come in various sizes. For riding mowers, you’ll probably need a smaller size, but consulting your mower’s manual should help you identify the correct size hitch that will fit the particular model.
If you can’t find that information in the manual, you can review the measurements of different sizes of hitches and compare them to the measurements of your mower’s attachment design.
Getting Ready to Attach Your Ball Hitch
It shouldn’t take too much time to attach the hitch to your mower when you have chosen the right match for your size and model. Check the riding mower hitch kit to see what the manufacturer includes – it may or may not include the flat washer and lug nut needed to secure the ball’s post in place. The ball itself may also be sold separately from the hitch plate or mount.
Make sure you have all of the required tools and materials before you start. This includes:
- Any unincluded hardware
Installing the ball hitch usually doesn’t take much effort, and the directions on the ball hitch that you purchase should also have a list of requirements and directions for the brand’s specific model.
After gathering all the tools and materials necessary, make sure that your mower is turned off. Disconnecting the battery cable from the engine is smart since you want it to remain off while working on it.
Installing The Ball Mount
Attaching a ball hitch to your mower starts with putting the hitch body onto the mower’s mount on the back of the machine. Most newer mowers come ready for this attachment, but if you have a model without one and you’re good with a drill and torch, you may be able to adapt your mower to receive a ball hitch.
Always do your research to be sure a home-performed modification won’t damage the mower’s body or interfere with its power system. A mower not made for towing may or may not be able to handle the weight of an attached load. If you’re drilling and/or welding, be sure to wear gloves and eye protection.
Once the hitch body is attached, it’s as simple as putting the ball post into the ball mount and fastening it. The ball post is the pivot that allows a secure connection of the trailer or other equipment and allows for smooth turns.
How Tight Should a Hitch Ball Be?
Tightening the screw on a ball hitch’s post is vital to keeping the connection in place. Bouncing around is sure to happen during use, so a strong, tight fit is important. Since your mower won’t be connected to a trailer regularly, you’ll have to make sure you give it a firm tightening each time you set it up.
You should still check the tightness of the screw and washer now and then throughout the day of use, based on the length of your project and the amount of towing involved.
Detaching a Ball Hitch
When you’re finished using the mower attachment, rinse it off and dry it to be sure no buildup is left for your next use. Keep the materials and manuals together for reference next time; you never know when you may have to replace a piece mid-use.
Why Attach a Ball Hitch to a Lawnmower?
There are several reasons you might need to use your mower as a tractor in your front or back yard. Seasonal maintenance sometimes requires heavy lifting and transporting, as can one-time projects.
Spring is a time when lots of yard projects are done, like planting grass, vegetables, and flowers. Summer has its own maintenance requirements, like cutting the grass and trimming trees.
Fall is the best time to plant trees, but it’s also a time when dying plants and hibernating trees create lots of yard debris. In any case, transporting tools, materials, soil, and plants may require a trailer or another piece of equipment.
For one-off and annual projects, like installing a path, replenishing gravel or mulch, or replanting a lawn, being able to attach a tiller or grader to your riding mower can be a convenient alternative to renting a tractor or trying to use your own vehicle.