How to Make a Riding Lawnmower Go Faster

On average, Americans spend four hours a week tending to the needs of their outdoor greens. All that time taking care of the lawn has inspired the industry to create ways to get the obligatory and rather mundane job done faster. Riding mowers make it easier physically to cut through a swath of unruly grass. Tinkering with the engine can make the tiresome job of cutting the lawn even faster. Overhauling the entire machine can make it race-ready.

Man mowing the grass on a riding mower
credit: Chemlamp/iStock/GettyImages
How to Make a Riding Lawnmower Go Faster

Built for Work

Increasing your speed by just 5 MPH on a 60-inch mower will increase your coverage by at least 2 acres an hour. Beef up the size of the mower's pulleys that are fixed on the engine's crankshaft and the rear of the machine to increase the speed. Reduce the length of the governor spring that controls the flow of fuel to the mower's engine or take it off altogether if the machine isn't up to the speed you need. Make sure your filters are clean to keep performance and speed up to snuff. No matter what modifications you consider, make sure to test the machine before taking it for a spin. Tinkering with mechanisms can create problems.

Built for Fun

A riding lawn mower is a hoot to handle. Many riders have been inspired when mowing down the lawn to a pristine and lush height to take their riding mower off the land and into racing or other non-work related occurrence. Some racing mowers can exceed 50 MPH. They take into stock the frame, steering, brakes and wheel size and intended use rather than just revving up the engine's capabilities. When ramping up your riding mower to compete or simply get a fast thrill racing down a road, you need to change out everything from the gear stock to the steering components in order for the machine to safely handle the increase in speed.

Safety Tip

Anytime you venture into tall grasses with serious machines aimed at taking out the offending weeds as fast as possible, make sure you've swept the area for large objects, such as stumps and boulders. You don't want to crack, bend or otherwise break your newly refurbished cutting contraption. Always wear protective eye wear, long pants, a long sleeve shirt and gloves to protect you from the inevitable flying debris that is bound to come your way as you quickly slice through the tall grass, such as small rocks and sharp twigs and sticks. If you have decided to build a racing riding mower, you should approach what you wear as you would when driving a motorcycle.

Kimberley McGee

Kimberley McGee

Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at