The biggest advantage of a 3 blade mower deck is a wider cutting path than their 2 blade rivals resulting in a significant reduction in the time you take to mow massive lawns.
But the under deck design of the 3 blade mower comprises of more moving parts than in a 2 or 1 blade system meaning that there are more points where things can go wrong.
Below we look at the most common 3 blade mower deck problems to help you make an educated decision when shopping for your next mower.
3 blade mower deck problems
I shall first concentrate on the most notorious problems.
· Maintenance difficulties
It’s an open secret that decks with 3 blades are noticeably larger (and heavier) and you might struggle to lift it when undertaking regular maintenance procedures like remove and sharpening of the blades.
Plus, you obviously have more components to replace/maintain (think bearings, blades, spindles, and such) in this type of deck construction translating to higher expenditure on mower servicing.
· May hurt the yard when mowing uneven areas
Another issue that users often raise is the scalping of the lawn in bumpy spots – the deck is again wider and it’s likely to put a blemish on the grass due to the lack of good blade balance symmetry on rough and hilly grounds.
They also occasionally leave patches of uncut grass.
Suffice to say that it is rare to encounter such problems in high-end 3-blade brands and it seems to affect cheaper models (could be caused by poor engineering to cut production cost).
Having said that, it is impossible to cut crisp manicured lines even if you buy the priciest mower (with a very good 3 blade cutting deck) if the deck is not properly leveled and blades incorrectly sharpened.
The other key factor is to run at full throttle.
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· Possible bagging problems
You might also dislike 3 blade mowers when you want to bag and that’s because the center blade somewhat impedes the smooth discharge of the clippings into the bagger tube.
Some bagger systems, however, work just OK with these mower setups and are sold together with premium 3 blade units.
The alternative is ordering an after-market lawn mower bagger attachment for your unit or a power flow setup.
Other 3 blade mower deck problems
Here are now are a few other concerns to have in mind if you’re considering going for a mower with a 3 blade deck…
- More storage space requirement: If your garage or garden shed is limited, a smaller deck would be more ideal (you surely are aware that three blades fit on enlarged deck sizes).
- Pain to maneuver tight spots: You require a huge turning radius than in the smaller two blade decks and you have to be extra mindful and travel slower when mowing near obstacles and corners to obtain a quality cut.
A word on 3 blade mower deck timing
Technological advancements in mower building engineering have led to the invention of belt-pulley drive systems that make deck timing non-essential for healthy turf cutting.
Indeed, for the most part, decks are today built such that the spindles are staggered in a design that allows blades to overlap (they don’t overlap that much though) no matter how you orient them.
As such, the blades cannot remain in tune and they will go out of sync even before you cut your first strand of grass so there is no point worrying much about deck timing or 3 blade mower orientation.
I should add that you may time and again need to carry out timing adjustments if you have bought an older mower.
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3 blade mower deck problems: Frequently asked questions
Q. Why is my 3 blade mower leaving strips?
Your 3 blade lawnmower could be leaving strips of untouched grass in the center because of the blades being unbalanced.
Additionally, one or more blades could be mounted upside down making it impossible to get a well-manicured lawn.
Still, streaks of uncut grass might appear when the mower blades are too short for your mower (wrong size blades).
To get rid of the issue, confirm that your 3 mower blades are mounted and tightened correctly and that they are all perfectly balanced.
Lastly, check that the blades are not badly worn out or dull and that you’re using the blade size recommended in the owner’s manual.
Q. How do I fix my uneven mower deck?
Of course, there is a chance of your 3 blade mower deck to cut grass unevenly bringing unsightly looks on your yard if it’s not completely leveled.
The solution is to level the mower blades as originally intended by the manufacturer to have it trim grass like the champion it is.
The steps have differing levels of difficulty but are generally straightforward for the most popular riding mower models and its best to visit your operator’s manual.
As usual, obey safety procedures such as wearing heavy-duty leather gloves when carrying out the detailed instructions.
Wrapping it up
3 blade mower decks have their crowd of backers as well as detractors and you have seen why.
Whether it’s the best for you primarily comes down to your mowing needs now and in the future.
Overall, you should meticulously weigh the above downsides and upsides like shortened cutting time versus those of decks with fewer (2 or 1 blades) or more blades before coming to a decision.