Toro lawn mowers are one of the top lawn mower brands on the market today. They are known for their performance and great mower cut. That is probably a big reason why you purchased a Toro lawn mower over the other brands. Like any other mower, a Toro lawn mower can develop a problem where it is not cutting your lawn evenly.
A Toro lawn mower may cut uneven when the mower blades are dull or damaged; the pulleys or deck belt are worn; the tire pressures are not correct; the deck is plugged with grass; the ground speed is too fast; or the engine speed is too low.
It can get frustrating when your lawn mower no longer gives you a good cut. You may be wondering if it’s just time to buy a new mower. Most of the time, you will be able to fix your Toro’s uneven cut without a big expense. I’ll share with you what you need to look at to fix an uneven cut.
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Follow all safety instructions provided in your equipment operator’s manual prior to diagnosing, repairing or operating. Consult a professional if you don’t have the skills, knowledge or are not in the condition to perform the repair safely.
12 Reasons Your Toro Cuts Uneven
|Cause for Uneven Toro Cut||Solution for Uneven Toro Cut|
|Mower blade is dull or worn||Sharpen blade. Replace with new blade when needed.|
|Incorrect tire pressures||Check tire pressures and bring to the correct level|
|Blade is bent or damaged||Replace mower blade|
|Blade is incorrectly installed||Remove and install with the blade sail point upward|
|Deck is packed with grass||Scrape the deck|
|Deck is not level||Level the deck from side-to-side & front-to-back|
|Damage to spindle or spindle housing||Replace damaged spindle or housing|
|Bad deck belt or pulleys||Replace worn belts and pulleys|
|Engine speed is too low||Run your mower at full throttle|
|Ground speed is too fast||Mow at correct speeds for your mowing conditions|
|Incorrect overlapping of paths||Overlap paths so strips of uncut grass are not left|
|Damaged mower deck shell||Repair or replace your mower deck shell|
Toro Mower Blade is Worn or Dull
Mowing your lawn with worn blades can leave you with strips of uncut grass in your lawn. When your blades are very worn, the blades become thin. I’ve seen blades so worn they started to curl on the end. Blades in this condition will beat up your grass and not cut it. You may have noticed the tips of your grass turn brown a couple of days after you mow. This is most likely due to your blades bruising the tops of your grass and actually tearing the grass off instead of precisely cutting it with a sharp mower blade.
Read more about how to know when you should replace or sharpen your mower blades in my article here. I’ll also share different methods you can use to sharpen your mower blades at home in this article.
Toro Tire Pressures are Not Correct
The bad cut from your mower isn’t always caused by a problem in your mower deck. Something as simple as a low tire can make one side of your mower deck sit lower than the other. This can cause your Toro cutting to be uneven and give you a stair step kind of cut.
It’s a good idea to check your tire pressures before measuring for a leveled deck or bent blade. If you skip checking your tires, you could start making adjustments to your mower that will create more work for you. You may have to reverse all of these adjustments once you determine a low tire is the origin of your cutting problem.
Fill your tires with air to the level recommended by your manufacturer. The tires on both sides of your mower must have equal tire pressures so your mower does not sit uneven.
Toro Mower Blade is Bent
You may have hit something with your mower that caused your mower blade to bend. It could have been a significant impact and the bend is very obvious. The impact could have been very minimal that you didn’t even notice it when you were mowing. Sometimes it’s hard to tell you have a bent blade.
Even a slightly bent blade can cause your Toro cut to be uneven. There are a couple of ways you can check for a bent blade. Don’t forget to remove the key and disconnect the spark plug wire(s) for safety reasons before working under your deck.
Method 1: Remove the blade and lay it on top of a new Toro blade. This is a good way to verify whether or not your blade is bent, but you will have to take the time to remove your mower blade. If you prefer not to remove your blade or don’t have a new blade on hand to match your old blade up to, you can try the next method.
Method 2: Park your Toro mower on a flat level surface. Measure one side of the blade from the ground to the blade tip. Record the measurement. Next, rotate the blade 180 degrees and measure the other side of the blade from the ground to the blade tip. If the measurements are greater than an 1/8” difference, you need to replace your mower blade.
You can find steps to replace your mower blades here…Before removing your mower blade, I like to check for spindle housing damage that can occur when your blade impacts a hard object. Put on a pair of work gloves to protect your hands from your sharp blades.
Grab a hold of each side of the blade and rock the blade up and down. You are checking for any movement or a knocking sound. If you experience either of these things, you need to remove your spindle housing and check for a damaged spindle or bearing.
Never attempt to straighten a bent mower blade to reuse it. When you do this, the metal is compromised and becomes weakened. It is possible for the weakened area to break off and fly out of your mower deck at high speeds. This could cause injury or damage to people, pets or objects in the area.
Toro Mower Blades are Installed Incorrectly
Every Toro mower blade has a sail which is the high side of the blade. The blade must always be installed with the sail pointed toward the deck. Your mower blade may actually have the word “BOTTOM” or other term stamped in it to help you determine which side of the blade faces up and which side faces down toward the ground. If you can’t find a marking, just remember “Sail Up”. Installing your blades upside down will beat up your grass and can cause damage to your spindle housings.
It’s important to make sure your blades are balanced before installing them. What this means is the weight of the blade must be the same on each end of the mower blade. When one end of the blade weighs more than the other, the blades can cause such an aggressive vibration, you can feel it in your seat. Metal needs to be shaved off the end of the blade that is heavier until the blade is of equal weight on each end.
The most accurate way to check your blades is by using a blade balancer. They are relatively in expensive. It’s definitely worth the investment because an unbalanced blade and cause a bad cut and potential spindle housing damage.
Another method to check a balanced blade is by hanging the blade on a nail that is mounted to your wall with the nail head sticking out of the wall about an 3/4″ to an 1″. You will need to remove metal from the end of the blade that is hanging lower until the blade sits level.
Toro Mower Deck is Plugged with Grass
There is no way to keep all grass and dirt from building up underneath your mower deck, but there are ways to minimize it so you can achieve a good quality cut from your Toro mower.
- Don’t cut your grass while it is wet. Wet grass clumps and collects in your deck.
- Use a silicone type spray to coat the underside of your mower deck. While this does help reduce the amount of grass collecting under your deck, it will not prevent all grass. The nice thing about using a coating on your deck is the need to scrape your deck is less frequent.
Grass collecting under your deck will give you a bad cut. The air movement under the deck required to give you that great Toro cut is not possible when you have a bunch of debris stuck under it. Your Toro Deck can no longer get sufficient air movement to create a suction under the deck to lift the grass blades for a precise cut so your grass may not cut evenly.
Toro Mower Deck is Not Level
A mower deck that doesn’t sit level can give you that uneven cut in your yard. You’ll want to have your owner’s manual available to verify the specifications for your deck level and how to perform the adjustments. Deck leveling procedures can vary by Toro models.
To get your initial measurement, park your Toro mower on a level surface. Measure each corner of the mower deck from the ground to the bottom of your deck. Record each measurement.
Refer to your owner’s manual to get deck specifications to verify your deck is level from side-to-side and front-to-back. You’ll need to also make sure your deck has the correct pitch where the front of the deck sits slightly lower in the front than the back of the deck for best cutting performance.
Toro Blade Spindle is Bent
Check for a bent spindle or a failed bearing in your spindle housing that may be causing your bad cut. With a pair of heavy gloves on, grab a hold of each side of the blade and rock it up and down. Listen for a knocking noise and feel for any movement in the blade. You will need to remove the spindle housing and inspect it for damage if you hear knocking or feel movement. Your spindle bearing is most likely bad.
Bad Mower Deck Belt or Pulleys on Your Toro
When your mower belt fails to move around the pulleys at high speeds, your Toro can give you a bad cut. Inspect your pulleys and deck belt to make sure there is no damage or wearing. To check your pulleys, slowly rotate each pulley. A bad pulley is one where you feel resistance or hear noise when turning the pulley. Replace any pulleys you find bad.
A bad or failing belt is one that has a glazed or shiny worn look to it. It may also be frayed or cracked. Replace a bad mower deck belt.
Your Toro Engine Speed is Too Low or Ground Speed is Too Fast
You must be running your mower at full throttle to give your mower enough power to keep your blades spinning at their top speeds. If you notice your running at full throttle, but your engine no longer sounds or feels like it’s providing the power it once did, you should bring your mower to your local Toro dealership or a small engine repair shop to be checked over.
Another item that can cause your Toro mower to have an uneven or bad cut is your ground speed. This is how fast you are moving your lawn mower through the grass you are cutting. You need to adjust your ground speed to your mowing conditions.
For example, you need to move slower through heavy, thick or wet grass than you do light dry grass for best results. Moving too fast through your lawn can result in pushing over some of your grass and not allow your mower efficiently cut your grass.
Incorrect Overlapping Path with Your Toro
Making fewer passes with your lawn mower will allow you to complete your mowing quickly, but you may leave strips of uncut grass if you don’t properly overlap your cuts. If your mower is new to you, it may take a little time to experiment with your mowing paths to make sure you are properly overlapping your cuts without overlapping too much and making your mowing job last longer.
Toro Mower Deck Shell is Damaged
A damaged mower deck can cause your mower to give you a bad or uneven cut. You could have accidentally hit an obstruction when you got moving a little too fast. Believe me, I’ve had that happen and felt quite stupid. My urgency to get my mowing done faster ended up making my wallet a little lighter.
Sometimes you are able to repair your deck shell or you might have to replace it. If you are having your Toro dealership replace your deck shell, you may want them to quote a complete deck assembly as well. Depending on the age of your mower deck and the amount of labor required to swap all of your components over to the new deck shell, it might be worth it to just buy a brand new mower deck.
Your Lawn is Uneven
If you are like me and have a lawn that is not perfectly level, you may run into areas where your mower deck is scalping your yard. This can happen when you have a high spot in your yard. Another area where I see a lot of scalping is in shallow ditches. A wide format mower deck can’t adjust with a bend or dip in the yard and therefore scalps the yard or creates an uneven cut. When mowing ditches, it is best to use a smaller format deck like those on a push mower.