Is Your Lawn Mower Deck Level? Here’s How to Find Out and Fix It!

A perfectly manicured lawn is a source of pride for any homeowner. But achieving that pristine look can be challenging, especially when your lawn mower deck is out of whack. A level mower deck ensures even cutting, preventing scalping and leaving behind unsightly stripes.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of checking and leveling your lawn mower deck, covering everything from identifying the problem to the tools and techniques required for a successful fix. By the end, you’ll be equipped to tackle this common maintenance task with confidence.

A quick overview of the article:

  • Why is a level mower deck important?
  • How to tell if your mower deck is out of level
  • Tools you’ll need
  • Steps for leveling your lawn mower deck
  • Common troubleshooting tips

Why is a Level Mower Deck Important?

A level mower deck is crucial for a number of reasons:

  • Even Cutting Height: A level deck ensures that the blades cut at a consistent height across the entire lawn, preventing scalping in low spots and leaving behind an uneven finish.
  • Reduced Stress on the Engine: A properly leveled deck distributes the workload evenly, minimizing strain on the engine and extending its lifespan.
  • Improved Maneuverability: A balanced mower deck makes the machine easier to maneuver, allowing for smoother turns and precise cutting.
  • Longer Blade Life: By ensuring even cutting, a level deck prevents premature wear and tear on the blades, resulting in a longer lifespan.

How to Tell If Your Mower Deck is Out of Level

Before you jump into leveling your deck, it’s important to identify whether it needs adjustment in the first place. Here are some telltale signs of a misaligned deck:

  • Scalping: Your mower is consistently leaving bald patches in certain areas of your lawn, especially on uneven terrain.
  • Uneven Cutting Height: The grass is noticeably shorter in some areas and taller in others, despite setting a uniform cutting height.
  • Stripes: The cut grass shows distinct stripes or lines, which are often caused by an uneven blade height.
  • Mower Tilting: The mower itself seems to tilt to one side, making it difficult to maneuver and cut straight.

Tools You’ll Need

Before you begin leveling your lawn mower deck, gather the following tools:

  • Level: A standard level, preferably at least 12 inches long.
  • Wrench: A wrench that fits the adjustment bolts on your mower deck.
  • Phillips Head Screwdriver: This is often needed for removing or adjusting the blade height adjustment screw.
  • Measuring Tape: To measure the distance from the ground to the deck.

Steps for Leveling Your Lawn Mower Deck

Now that you have the necessary tools, let’s dive into the steps involved in leveling your mower deck. These steps are general guidelines; consult your owner’s manual for specific instructions for your model.

Step 1: Prepare the Mower

  1. Clean the Deck: Thoroughly clean the mower deck, removing any debris or buildup that might interfere with the leveling process.
  2. Park on a Level Surface: Place the mower on a flat, level surface. This is crucial to ensure accurate measurements.

Step 2: Check the Deck Level

  1. Position the Level: Place the level directly on top of the mower deck, ensuring it’s level and not resting on any protrusions.
  2. Read the Level: Observe the level’s bubble. If the bubble is centered, your deck is level. If it’s not, you’ll need to make adjustments.

Step 3: Adjust the Deck

  1. Identify the Adjustment Points: Locate the adjustment points on your mower deck. These are usually bolts or nuts on the deck supports, which allow you to raise or lower specific sections.
  2. Loosen the Adjustment Bolts: Use a wrench to loosen the adjustment bolts. This allows you to move the deck into the desired position.
  3. Level the Deck: Use the level as a guide and carefully adjust the bolts until the bubble is centered.
  4. Tighten the Bolts: Once the deck is level, tighten the adjustment bolts securely.

Step 4: Recheck the Level

  1. Repeat Steps 2 & 3: After adjusting the bolts, check the level again to ensure the deck is now level.
  2. Test the Mower: After successfully leveling the deck, test the mower on a small area of your lawn to confirm even cutting height.

Common Troubleshooting Tips

Here are some common challenges you might encounter while leveling your mower deck and how to address them:

  • One Side Lower Than the Other: If one side of the deck is consistently lower, focus on adjusting the bolts on that side to raise it to the correct height.
  • Deck Still Not Level: If the deck is still not level despite multiple adjustments, check for any bent or damaged deck supports. These may need replacement.
  • Difficulty Adjusting Bolts: If the adjustment bolts are seized or stuck, apply a penetrating oil and allow it to sit for several hours before attempting to loosen them.

Maintaining a Level Mower Deck

Once you’ve successfully leveled your mower deck, you’ll need to keep it that way. Here are some tips for maintaining a level mower deck:

  • Regular Inspections: Check the deck level periodically, especially after hitting obstacles or encountering rough terrain.
  • Clean the Deck: Regularly clean the deck to remove debris that can build up and affect the level.
  • Proper Storage: When not in use, store the mower on a level surface to prevent the deck from becoming misaligned.


Leveling your lawn mower deck is a simple yet crucial maintenance task that can significantly improve the quality of your lawn mowing. By following these steps and keeping in mind the troubleshooting tips, you can ensure that your deck stays level, resulting in a perfectly manicured lawn that you can be proud of. Remember, regular maintenance is key to keeping your mower operating at its best and your lawn looking its finest.


Why is it important to have a level mower deck?

A level mower deck is essential for achieving a consistent and even cut on your lawn. When the deck is out of level, it can lead to uneven mowing heights, scalping, and damage to your grass. This is because the blades will be cutting at different angles and depths, resulting in an uneven and patchy lawn.

Additionally, a level mower deck reduces stress on the engine and bearings, extending the life of your mower. It also makes it easier to maneuver the mower across your lawn, as it won’t tend to pull or tug in one direction due to an uneven cutting height.

How can I tell if my mower deck is level?

There are a few simple ways to check if your mower deck is level. One method involves using a level tool placed on the deck. If the bubble is not centered, then your deck is out of level. Another method is to observe the mowing pattern. If the cut is uneven, it could indicate an unlevel deck.

Additionally, you can check for any obvious signs of unevenness, such as a tilted deck or blades that are not spinning at the same height. If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to level your mower deck to ensure proper mowing performance and avoid damaging your lawn.

What are the tools needed to level a mower deck?

To level your mower deck, you will need a few basic tools. These include a level tool, a wrench or socket set, and a measuring tape. Some models might require specialized tools for adjusting the deck height, which you can find at your local hardware store.

The level tool will be used to check the deck’s level, while the wrench or socket set will be used to adjust the deck height. The measuring tape will be used to determine the desired mowing height and ensure that all blades are cutting at the same level. You may also need a block of wood or a piece of cardboard to help support the mower deck while you adjust it.

How do I adjust my mower deck height?

The method for adjusting your mower deck height will vary depending on the model of your mower. Most models have adjustment points located near the wheels or under the deck. These points are typically accessed with a wrench or socket set.

To adjust the height, you will need to loosen the adjustment points and then turn the deck up or down until the desired height is achieved. It’s important to ensure that all blades are cutting at the same level. Once you have adjusted the height, tighten the adjustment points to secure the deck in place.

What are some common reasons why a mower deck might become out of level?

There are a few common reasons why a mower deck might become out of level. One common cause is wear and tear on the deck’s suspension system, which can cause the deck to sag over time.

Another common reason is damage to the deck or its components, such as a bent blade or a cracked suspension arm. Additionally, if the mower has been stored incorrectly or subjected to rough terrain, it can lead to an out-of-level deck. Regular maintenance and inspection of the deck can help prevent these issues.

How often should I check my mower deck level?

It’s a good practice to check your mower deck level at least once a season, or more frequently if you notice any changes in your mowing pattern or if the mower has been subjected to rough terrain.

Checking the deck level regularly can help you catch any issues early on and prevent them from becoming more serious. It can also ensure that your mower is always cutting your lawn evenly and efficiently.

What are some additional tips for maintaining a level mower deck?

Besides checking the level regularly, you can take several steps to maintain your mower deck and prevent it from becoming out of level. These include storing the mower properly when not in use, avoiding driving over obstacles or rough terrain, and lubricating the deck’s suspension system regularly.

Additionally, it’s important to use the correct type and amount of fuel and oil for your mower, as well as to regularly clean and maintain the blades. By following these tips, you can help ensure that your mower deck stays level and provides you with a consistent and even cut for years to come.

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