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How to Remove a Lawn Mower Wheel From a Rusted Axle

Lawnmowers practically live in wet grass. Even if the lawn is dry when it is cut, the grass itself is full of water. The clippings stay on the mower, which is then put up in dark garage that keeps the grass wet for a long time. After a few years of neglect, the wheels may become bonded to the axle with rust. If you need to take the wheel off, you first need to deal with the rust.

Checking and oiling the lawnmower wheels several times a season prevents rust.

Step 1

Examine the rusted area to find out how severe it is and where the bulk of the rust is.  Inspect to ensure the tire rotates freely and is merely stuck on the axle. Brush away as much of the rust that you can. 

Step 2

Squirt the area where the wheel and axle meet throughly with a penetrating oil or light machine oil.  Allow the oil to sit for at least 30 minutes. Very heavily rusted areas might even need to sit overnight. 

Step 3

Brush the area clean of rust with the brush.  If the rust does not come loose, thoroughly squirt it again and wait some more.

Step 4

Remove the wheel.  Each lawn mower manufacturer has a different method of attaching the wheels; consult your owner's manual. The most common method involves peeling off a C-clip, snap ring or a cotter pin next to a flat washer from the axle with a screwdriver, which releases the wheel, allowing it to slide off. 

Step 5

Tap the wheel and axle gently with the hammer if the wheel does not come off after the retaining device is removed.  Do not hit it hard because a lawnmower axle is not the sturdiest piece of machinery in the garage.

Things You Will Need

  • Penetrating or light machine oil
  • Small, brass bristled brush
  • Light hammer
  • Wrench
  • Screwdriver

Warnings

  • Heating the axle for a minute with a small butane torch may loosen it up if all else fails. However, because of the gasoline used to power the mower, this can be a very bad idea if any gas is left in the tank. It must be completely removed and the mower wiped free of any leftover gasoline and oil. Your manual should tell you how to remove the gas from your model of mower.
  • It is very easy to go just a little step too far and damage the older mower more than what it will become worth to fix. Pulling the wheel off with a mechanical puller or hitting it too hard with a hammer will probably damage the axle and wheel.

About the Author

Jack Burton started writing professionally in 1980 with articles in "Word from Jerusalem," "ICEJ Daily News" and Tagalong Garden News. He has managed radio stations, TV studios and newspapers, and was the chief fundraiser for Taltree Arboretum. Burton holds a B.S. in broadcasting from John Brown University. He is a 26-year veteran of the U.S. Navy/Navy Reserves and the Navy Seabees.

Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images