How to Adjust Belt Tension on Riding Lawn Mower (VIDEO Demo)?

Obviously, you can not ride a lawn mower with a loose belt. The belt plays a major role for it to work properly because it is what transfers power to the wheels from the engine.

And yes, it also helps to keep the blades moving.

Many things can cause your lawn mower belt to lose its hold on the pulley. When this happens, swing into action and tighten the belt to avoid unnecessary issues.

So, here is how to adjust belt tension on riding lawn mowers of any brand like Husqvarna, Craftsman, MTD, etc. in 8 easy steps.

How To Tighten A Lawn Mower Belt?

how to adjust belt tension on riding lawn mower

The first thing to do for your riding lawn mower drive belt slipping problems is to source a wrench to fix the problem. 

Time needed: 40 minutes

Follow these steps and boom! You will be proud to show off your troubleshooting skills.

  1. Turn On The Parking Mode

    To begin this troubleshooting process, ensure that you put your lawn mower in a parking mode. What this means is this. Plays your lawn mower on a flat surface and activates the brake to pull it to a halt.

  2. Disengage The Battery Cable

    Make sure to switch off the battery cable connected to the battery. That means you will look for the cable that has the letter NEG or the negative symbol.

    Carefully tuck the negative cable at a position that will disallow for contacting the negative terminal. The point is to avoid electrification while adjusting the belt.

  3. Locate The Belt

    To do this, position the deck and pull upward. You will find your lawn mower rubber belt in this space. Note, some decks are made of plastic, while some are steel.

  4. Pinpoint The Bracket

    Next is to detect the bracket that is used to couple the spring to the body of the lawn mower. All you have to do is loosen the bracket screw with a wrench by rotating it in an anticlockwise direction.

    Listen, removing the screws completely is not necessary when trying to adjust the drive belt.

  5. Tighten The Belt

    What you have to do is to keep pulling the bracket forth and back till you have a tightened drive belt. Keep doing it until you are sure that your belt is no longer loose.

  6. Tighten The Screws

    Once you have nailed on step 4, take up your wrench and fix back the loosed screws. Unlike the anticlockwise rotation for removing the screws, this step demands that you turn them in a clockwise direction.

    Don’t forget to confirm if the belt is still tightened when you are done fixing the screws.

  7. Return The Deck To Its Place

    Now, you are ready to return the deck to its former position. Be careful when replacing the deck to avoid accidents. Learn lawn mower deck adjustment if you need to first.

  8. Connect The Power Cable

    Finally, connect the power cable back to its source, that is the battery. Switch it on and check to see if there are no more issues.

How To Tighten Drive Belts On A Craftsman Lawn Mower?

Having such an asset as the Husqvarna riding lawn mower requires proper maintenance and adjustment when necessary.

It includes adjusting the belt when loose or replacing it when damaged, but the scary thing is that a craftsman lawn mower does not allow you to adjust the drive belt. The solution is to replace the belt when it becomes loose.

Also, if you are wondering how to tighten the belt on MTD riding mower, you can follow the same steps:

  1. Remove The Drive Belt

First, park your craftsman lawn mower on a flat surface like a garage or a driveway. Proceed to turn off the engine and detach the blades. Make use of the parking brake, and raise the deck to the highest possible level.

With a plier, disengage all the cotter pins connecting the deck to the lawn mower. You can now proceed to use a screwdriver to remove the belt keeper from the pulley.

Then, you will hit the sweet spot to slide the belt and remove it from the pulley.

  1. Install A New Drive Belt

the easy way to install a new belt in a craftsman lawn mower is to pull down the belt keeper and slide the new belt over the pulley. Replace both the belt keeper and the deck with the pulley.

What Are Loose Mower Deck Belt Symptoms?

For some people, identifying a loose mower deck belt is a cakewalk, especially if they have much experience with a lawn mower. Whether you have a lot of experience with a lawn mower or not, here is how to identify a loose mower belt.

A squealing sound: If your lawn mower never stops producing a loud squealing sound as it moves along the various pulleys, it indicates a loosed deck belt. So, make sure to check and adjust the drive belt.

Draining your power: A loosed belt cannot keep tension, and this results in a slower operation. In most cases, your lawn mower can unexpectedly slow down in the middle of an operation.

Falling off: Another symptom for you to figure out a loosed belt is the falling off symptom. It means that your lawn mower belt may fall off continuously due to the lack of sufficient tension to keep it running.

But Beware: A damaged lawn mower deck may also exhibit symptoms similar to that of a loose belt above. To differentiate between the two, check for cracks along the ribs, fade fabrics, and missing chunks.

Don’t forget that a damaged belt does not require any form of adjustment but replacement.

How Tight Should A Lawn Mower Deck Be?

riding lawn mower drive belt slipping

Like everything else, make sure that your lawn mower belt is moderate – not too light and not too loose. Let us get to the point. If your lawn mower belt is too tight, it could make your mower slap around.

So, here is the thing. While there are no standard measures for tightening a lawn mower, a good fit is at a level where your mower does not slip around when cutting.

The more you practice adjusting and tightening your lawn mower belt, the easier it is to recognize the required firmness that the belt needs.

How Adjusting Drive Belt Tension on Riding Lawn Mower Affects Your Activities?

Ever notice how too little tension or too much tension on your lawn mower belt causes chaos?

Then, adjusting belt tension on the HUSQVARNA riding lawn mower is necessary for an effective and easy mow operation. Keep reading to see the consequences of both too little belt tension and too much belt tension.

  • Too Little Belt Tension

For lawn mower belts with too little tension, early wear and tear, excess heat, and slippage are inevitable. Let us look at this in detail.

When the tension available to run sufficiently is not in place, it will cause the belt to sleep off. It is where overheating and wear fit into the equation.

  • Too much belt tension

The consequences include overloading and premature failure in other components owing to the excessive stress in the shafts, belts, and bearings. The trick is to balance the tension to avoid putting too much load on the belt. It sounds easy, and it is.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do all riding mowers have belts?

Yes, most of the riding mowers have at least 2 drive belts.

How tight should riding mower belt be?

It should be tight but not TOO tight. You should start by tightening it as tight as an alternator belt. It actually takes a little practice to get the right measurement.

Why does my belt keep slipping off my lawn mower?

When the drive belt is loose or damaged, it will keep slipping off the mower.

How do you know if your lawn mower belt is bad?

If you notice the belt is cracked, or has burned/glazed sidewall, or it’s side wall is damaged, it’s gone bad.

How often replace mower deck belt?

You should not have to replace the deck belt for at least 1 year after installing a new one.


So, it all adds up to this. The cutting blades and other components in a lawn mower may not work properly if the belt is loose. It turns out that with our step-by-step guide, how to adjust belt tension on riding lawn mowers is made easy.

So, here is our final word to you. Make it a habit to check on your lawn mower belt and adjust it when needed. Do this and appreciate us for the help we have rendered in making your mowing problem-free and less stressful.

Now, watch this video to learn how to add more belt tension to your MTD/Troy Built mower!

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1 thought on “How to Adjust Belt Tension on Riding Lawn Mower (VIDEO Demo)?”

  1. My mowers belt will get tight. When I have the belt on the highest level but loose when it’s all the way down it’s not rubbing on anything and I have a new belt and I don’t even have the engagement cable hooked up

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