As much as racing lawn mowers looks like awesome fun, this article isn’t about that.

Here, we’re going to discuss the things you can do to improve your mowing time. And while 50mph plus might be cool, it wouldn’t actually be that much use for your lawn!

Instead, we’ll focus on tips and tricks for how to make a lawn mower faster for quicker yard work.

lawn mower
Less time mowing means more time relaxing.

By the end of this post, you should have several things you can try to improve the speed of your mowing. We’ll discuss the components of a mower that affect speed, the maintenance you can do to ensure they are running optimally, and we’ll look at a couple of modifications that will improve the speed of your mower.

Optimal maintenance is the first and easiest thing you can do to improve the speed of your lawn work.

Lawn Mower Maintenance

If your mower has lost speed over time, the chances are some good maintenance will help. There are a number of components on your mower that will start to affect speed. Proper and regular maintenance will keep your mower in optimal condition and running at its manufacturer’s intended performance.

Here, we’ll discuss the major components that you can maintain to keep your mower’s speed up:

Air Filter

To run at top speed, your mower needs a good supply of air. If your air filter is clogged the engine is not getting that supply. Less air means less power. It also means your engine is having to work harder which can reduce its lifespan and lead to more serious problems.

Cleaning or replacing the air filter is a simple job:

  1. You’ll find the air filter housing on the side of the engine near the carburetor. The housing will be secured with clips or screws.
  2. Remove the housing carefully to avoid damaging the gasket.
  3. Take out the filter and inspect it. If it’s been a few years, then replace it with a new one. They are inexpensive and it’s worth it. If it is relatively new, a good clean will do. Be careful of using heavy detergents that can damage the filter. It’s best just to rinse it and let it dry thoroughly.
  4. Re-install the filter and put on the housing. Again, taking care not to damage the gasket.

Carburetor

If you have an issue with your carburetor, it’ll affect your mower’s performance. The carburetor mixes the fuel and air in the right proportions before injecting it into the engine cylinder. If this mix is off, you will not get optimal combustion in the engine and it can have a big effect on performance.

Cleaning the carburetor regularly is a worthwhile maintenance task. Not just for speed but for the general wellbeing of your engine.

Engine Oil

Dirty oil means the engine has to work harder. As well as affecting speed, dirty oil can seriously reduce the lifespan of your engine. Making sure you regularly shift the oil and keep it clean is something you should prioritize.

male pouring oil into lawn mower
Making sure to regularly change oil is something you should prioritize.

It’s also a good idea to use a premium brand oil. Although they cost a bit more, there is a big difference in their lubricating abilities and how kind they are to your engine. The extra cost is more than regained in keeping your mower running happily for a lot longer.

Spark Plug

A dirty spark plug can affect the speed of your mower. If your plug is dirty, degraded or damaged, it will affect the performance of your engine. Because the plug is not firing optimally. But you will probably notice it first when starting the engine. If the engine is hard to start or it stalls, check the plug and see if it needs cleaning or replacing. (Note: it is often best to replace a plug. They cost very little.)

Drive Belt

The drive belt is what transfers your engine’s radial torque to make the mower work. An old, worn or brittle belt can slip. Meaning less engine power is being transferred. Checking your belt for damage and wear is important for speed. But also, a broken belt can damage your engine. So, it’s important to make sure your belt is in good condition.

The exact procedure for changing a drive belt depends on the type of mower. Here is a good example of a drive belt procedure.

Mower Blade

A dull mower blade means more rotations to cut the same grass. This will obviously affect the speed of your yard work. Sharpening your blade regularly will ensure your best speed. And it will also keep your grass healthier. A dull blade tears at the grass rather than cutting it, which can make your lawn more vulnerable to disease.

Can You Modify A Lawn Mower?

Now you’ve got some tips for maintenance tasks that can help with the speed of your mower, we can move on to the more drastic measures. If you’re looking for speed increases over and above what the manufacturer intended, you’re going to have to modify your mower.

But are you allowed? And the short answer is—yes… but.

Yes, there is nothing to stop you modifying your mower. Just keep in mind that you will void the warranty if you do. Also remember, you are solely responsible for any modifications you make. Your safety and the safety of others are at risk if you do something to your mower the manufacturer didn’t intend.

With that said, here are a couple of tricks to get more out of your mower.

Lawn Mower Modifications

Engine pulley

On belt driven mowers, changing the size of the pulleys can have a significant effect on your speed. There are two pulleys in the system. One on the engine side and one on the mower side.

A good starting option can be to swap these two around. If you do that, you won’t have to worry about your drive belt being the wrong size. But if you’re not satisfied with the result, you can try swapping out one with a different size.

Governor

The governor does exactly what it says on the tin. It governs the fuel flow. Modifying the governor to allow more fuel to flow will increase your mower speed. In fact, removing the governor spring is one of the first modifications people perform on mower’s they wish to race.

For your yard work, removing the spring altogether isn’t a great idea. But shortening the spring will increase fuel flow and speed up your mower. Some mowers even have pre-drilled holes at different intervals so you can shorten the spring length. If not, you need to find a shorter spring that will fit.

Mower Blade

The observant amongst you will have noticed I have put mower blade in both maintenance and modifications. The reason it’s here is that this is about replacing the mower blade with a different one. And yes, it won’t make your mower faster, but it will make your mowing faster.

A lot of the standard mower blades only have a sharp cutting edge on the outer few inches. If you replace your blade with one that has a cutting edge that extends much further along the edge of the blade, you’ll cut more grass quicker.

Change your mowing technique

Finally, there is another option that might help improve the speed of your mowing: changing your mowing pattern. Have you analyzed how you ‘re mowing? Is your technique for cutting the grass the fastest option? By examining and testing different patterns and techniques for cutting, you can significantly reduce the time it takes to cut your lawn.

Depending on your particular lawn, cutting around obstacles first could reduce your time. But most importantly, think about the number of turns you ‘re doing. Is there a way to reduce them? Turning your mower is the slow part. Cutting down on the number of turns can really help reduce the time it takes to mow.

Final thoughts

I hope you’ve found our tips and tricks for how to make a lawn mower drive faster for quicker yard work helpful.

We’ve covered maintenance that can improve your mower’s speed and a couple of modification options if you ‘re feeling adventurous. With these suggestions, you should be able to accelerate your yard work and have more time to admire the lawn.

Now, it’s time give your mower the once over and analyze your mowing patterns. Happy mowing!