How do I remove the rear wheel of a riding lawn mower that is not held by 4 bolts?

Updated February 21, 2017

Whether you need to replace a riding mower's tire or do some other routine maintenance around the transmission area, the eventual removal of a riding mower's rear wheel is inevitable. The two methods commonly used to attach rear wheels to lawnmowers are bolted hubs or a snap ring retainer. The latter consists of the rear wheel fitted directly onto the drive axles and held in place with a snap ring. If bolts are not visible on the exterior of the wheel, a snap ring and flat washer holds the wheel in place.

Park the mower on a sidewalk or driveway. This provides a hard surface for jacking and blocking the rear of the mower to assist in removing the wheel.

Set the parking brake on the mower and place the transmission in reverse. Set a brick or square 4 x 4 block against the front wheels to prevent the mower from rolling while jacking the mower up.

Jack up the rear of the mower with a car jack. With the rear tire slightly off the ground, place a stack of bricks or boards under the rear transmission to hold the mower in position.

Remove the plastic dust cover from the centre of the rear wheel. Use a small flathead screwdriver to pry the dust cover off to expose the snap ring and washer.

Remove the snap ring attached to the axle. Position a large regular screwdriver into one of the two gaps between the inside diameter of the snap ring and the circumference of the axle. Twist the screwdriver in either direction to lift the snap ring out of its groove. Set the snap ring in the dust cover for safekeeping.

Remove the flat washer from around the axle by hand and set it into the dust cover.

Grasp the wheel with both hands and pull it off the axle. Wiggle the wheel slightly back and forth to work the wheel from the axle. A square key between the wheel and axle holds the wheel in place--keep track of it for reinstalling the wheel later.


Spray light oil around the wheel and axle to help loosen stubborn wheels.

Things You'll Need

  • Bricks or wooden blocks
  • Small flathead screwdriver
  • Large flathead screwdriver
  • Light oil
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About the Author

Damon Hildebrand is a retired U.S. Navy veteran. He has more than 15 years within the oil and gas industry in both technical and managerial positions. Hildebrand has been a technical writer and communicator for the last four years. He is a certified specialists in lubrication and tribology, as well as a certified maintenance and reliability professional.