Do Lawn Mower Blades Turn Clockwise or Counterclockwise?

If you wonder do lawn mower blades turn clockwise or counterclockwise, you’re not alone? Plenty of inexperienced or first-time lawn mower users wonder the same.

A lawn mower blade turns in the opposite direction of the bolt’s unscrewing direction. It’s generally rotating in a clockwise direction, but not always.

To know if a lawn mower blade turns clockwise or counterclockwise, you need to check the deck bolt.

This bolt is what keeps the blade in place and prevents it from flying off when the machine is working.

When a blade turns clockwise, the nut is tightened clockwise.

To unscrew this bolt, you need to turn it counterclockwise. If a blade turns counterclockwise, the nut will be tightened in the same direction and unscrewed in the opposite.

To check this out, you need to turn off the lawn mower and remove the spark plug. Then, put the lawn mower on the side and check the bolt which is in the middle of the blade.

Professional Caucasian Landscaper Checking on Lawn Mower Blade While Cutting Backyard Garden Grass Field.

Do Lawn Mower Blades Turn Clockwise or Counterclockwise?

Whether you need to remove the blade to sharpen it or replace it with another one, it’s pivotal to know how to do it properly.

Blades of lawn mowers usually turn clockwise.

So, the nut in the middle, which is holding the blade, is tightened in a clockwise direction. This prevents the nut from loosening as the blade turns.

The unscrewing of the bolt will happen in the opposite direction.

If the blade turns counterclockwise, the nut will be tightened in a counterclockwise direction and unscrewed clockwise.

Thanks to this mechanism, every blade rotation doesn’t loosen the nut. With this in mind, before replacing or sharpening the blade, here’s what you need to take into account:

  • If the blade rotates clockwise, unscrew the bolt in a counterclockwise direction
  • If the blade rotates counterclockwise, you can unscrew the bolt in a clockwise direction

You can also look at the discharge shoot to check the direction of the blade. If it’s on the right side, it’s a clockwise blade.

Another tell-tale sign of whether the lawn mower blades turn clockwise or counterclockwise is the grass. Check how it lays after it’s mowed.

Although it’s not the best option to mow lawns while they’re wet, it may be an easy way to see the blade direction.

When you mow wet grass, it will be flat for several years. By doing this repeatedly, the grass will be damaged and the blades of the machine will clog so doing it frequently should be avoided.

However, a short test can be done. Make several mowing moves on a small area of the grass, mowing a straight line for at least five feet.

Turn off the mower and look at the grass check which is the direction that the grass is facing and you’ll know how the blades turn. In case the grass is very short, this test may not be possible. It needs to be a bit taller.

How to Remove Lawn Mower Blades to Sharpen or Replace with New Ones?

To replace or sharpen your lawn mower blades, you need to remove them properly.

By following the steps below, you’ll have no problem DIYing your lawn mower in the comfort of your own home.

  1. Disconnect the machine

If your mower is gas powdered, disconnect it from the spark plug.

Push the wire out of the way so that you don’t accidentally step on it or damage it while working.

If it’s a cordless model, remove the battery pack. The electric ones need to be unplugged.

  1. Flip the mower on the side

As you’re going to have to flip the machine on the side, make sure there’s no gas left. If you have a cordless or electric mower, this step isn’t necessary.

If you have a gas mower, ensure the filter for air is on the top. If you flip the machine the other way, you can cause oil to go into the filter.

Put on protective gloves as the deck edges and blades can be sharp and cause injuries.

  1. Retain the blade

When you flip the mower, place some retainer so that you prevent the blade from turning while you’re unscrewing the nut.

This could be something as simple as a wood block put between the blade and the deck’s side.

  1. Loosen the nut with a wrench and socket

Most of the bolts that hold the blade in place loosen in a counterclockwise direction. Loosen the nut in the right direction.

In case it’s too tight, you may also need a breaker bar or a ratchet extension to loosen it.

  1. Remember how the blade fits

When you take off the blade, don’t forget to remember how it fits onto the mower.

Take into account the side of the blade which faces outwards and which one is toward the deck.

What’s more, consider the order of the washers.

  1. Sharpen/ attach a new blade

If you’ve done the removal to sharpen the blade, sharpen it appropriately and then get it ready for reattachment.

If you’re only replacing the blade with a new one, it’s time to attach the new one. Make sure it’s placed in the same way as the previous one.

Afterward, tighten the nut in the appropriate direction. Reconnect the wire to the plug and your lawn mower is ready for lawn work!

Is It a Rotary or a Reel Mower?

Rotary mowers and reel mowers have blades that turn vertically and horizontally. The reel mowers cut the grass with blades that spin away from the individual pushing them.

They’re mostly manual, but there are some powered reel mowers as well.

The rotary ones have blades that cut clockwise or counterclockwise. Unlike reel mowers, they’re mostly powered by electricity or gas.

There aren’t many rotary mowers that aren’t powered on the market. After checking the style of the mower, take into account that the reel ones can’t spin counterclockwise or clockwise. The rotary ones can’t spin down or up.

Final Thoughts

There are several ways to find out if lawn mower blades turn clockwise or counterclockwise. This is important so that you know which way to unscrew the bolt holding the blade if you need to replace or sharpen the blade.

Generally speaking, a blade will turn in the opposite direction of the unscrewing direction of the bolt. It mostly rotates in a clockwise direction, but not necessarily.

There are also some tests that can help you determine the direction of the blade, like mowing a small section of wet and tall grass.

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