How to Pack and Move a Lawn Mower (or Tractor)

You’d been dreaming about that shiny John Deere zero-turn mower in the showroom window for years. Tempted by unparalleled lawn care and ease, you made the purchase. It wasn’t cheap, but it made your ratty lawn look like the fourth fairway at Pebble Beach.

Now you’re planning a move, and that investment could be a huge hassle on moving day.

Moving a small push mower or lawn equipment to a new home across town can be easy, but safe transportation of garden and lawn tractors is more challenging.

If you plan to do it yourself, you’ll need a suitable moving truck or trailer, heavy-duty ramps, extra help, a little know-how, and safety precautions.

As they say… What could possibly go wrong?

Actually, everything if you’re not careful.

This is why we always recommend hiring a professional moving company after many years of experience in the moving industry. Professional movers know what they’re doing and can save you the chance of hurting yourself or your things by doing the heavy lifting for you.

Read on to learn more about how to safely move a lawnmower. Once you’re ready to make the move, be sure to check out our cost calculator to determine the pricing of your move.


Not sure if you’re capable of moving a lawn mower yourself? Get help from the professionals with a free moving quote.

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How to safely move a lawn mower

Moving can be difficult, stressful, and dangerous, although it is actually just a few simple steps.

When moving heavy items, twisted ankles, banged shins, and smashed fingers are common.

Throw electric and gas-powered machines with spinning steel blades into the mix, and things can get downright deadly.

Hence, the first thing you’ll need to do is – DISCONNECT BATTERIES AND/OR SPARK PLUG WIRES.

Even after draining gasoline from a mower, vapors will be left in the gas tank and lines. One little spark at the worst possible moment, and the engine could turn over.

And you guessed it, that rotating blade could easily remove some very important body parts.

Thankfully, this awful scenario is 100% avoidable by removing spark plug wires and battery cables. These wires are usually clearly visible on small motors.

Consult your user’s manual or owner’s manual if unsure where/what they are.

Better yet, call a professional to service and move your mower for you for safety and peace of mind.

If you can disconnect the battery and/or spark plug wires yourself –

  • Cover them with nonconductive material like rubber or electrical tape
  • Secure them away from their contact points with zip ties

How to prepare a lawn mower for moving

Here’s the scenario –

Your new home is just a few miles away. You have a small 5-horsepower push mower. Chances are you can move it in your car’s trunk or your pickup truck’s bed.

You’ll need a helper to lift it, but first, you’ll need to –

  • Disconnect the spark plug wire
  • Make sure the oil tank drain plug is screwed in tightly

If you’d rather not drain the gas from the tank, you can cover the cap with a plastic bag and/or rag and secure them with rubber bands.

This will prevent gas from sloshing out during transit.

Remember, vented gas caps have holes to allow vapors to escape to relieve pressure.

These noxious gas fumes can permeate your car’s interior, even on short trips.

To prevent this –

  • Make sure the mower is level and situated crosswise (perpendicular to the car or truck)
  • Keep windows open
  • Drive slowly
  • Avoid potholes and speed bumps whenever possible

Here’s how to move a lawnmower in 5 easy steps.

1. Drain all liquids from the lawn mower

Draining your lawn mower engine’s oil and gas is necessary when –

  • Moving long distance
  • Hiring professional movers
  • Using rented equipment

Remember – professional movers won’t service your mower for you or move it if the fluids haven’t been drained.

They’ll expect you to have these items taken care of before they arrive.

To drain your mower’s oil:

  • Lift and set it on wood, cinder blocks, or saw horses (you’ll need a helper)
  • Make sure it’s stable and high enough for you to work underneath it
  • Place an appropriate container under the drain to collect the oil
  • Slowly unscrew the plug with a wrench or pliers

Gas may be siphoned from the tank without removing it.

Once empty, leave the cap off and put the mower in a well-ventilated area to help the fumes evaporate.

Gas and oil are hazardous materials, so you must check local regulations and dispose of or recycle them accordingly for safety reasons.

Options include:

  • Calling your local refuse hauling company and asking for suggestions
  • Calling the county government or checking their website for disposal instructions
  • Giving them to a neighbor with a mower
  • Asking your local auto mechanic if they’ll dispose of them for you

Did You Know?

Oil and gas spilling onto the floor of a rental truck may mean hefty additional charges when you return it.

2. Remove the blade only when necessary

You don’t necessarily need to remove the mower blades on a push lawnmower before moving it.

There’s no reason to remove the blade if the oil and gas have been drained, and the spark plug wire is disconnected and secured.

3. Remove attachments

Most push mowers don’t have many attachments.

Usually, it’s just a matter of removing and cleaning the collection bag and unscrewing and folding the handle to make lifting and loading easier.

4. Clean your lawn mower thoroughly

Lawnmowers are like magnets to oil, dirt, and grass cuttings or clippings.

Using a damp sponge or an old rag and warm, sudsy water, give your mower a quick wipe down before loading it onto the truck.

It’ll keep the moving blankets, truck, and other household items clean, so it’s worth the effort.

Did You Know?

To clean the underside of the mowing deck, you may need a scraper, steel brush, and/or a power washer.

5. Pack the parts and load your mower

Once the aforementioned preparations are complete, it’ll be time to pack and load your mower.

Thankfully it’s relatively easy.


  • Place hardware like screws and bolts in a plastic bag
  • Wrap removed attachments in a moving pad, bubble wrap or pack them into a large box and label it clearly
  • Roll your mower up the loading ramps onto the truck or trailer, or lift it into the bed of your pickup truck or car’s trunk
  • Make sure the wheels are perpendicular to the sides of the moving vehicle to prevent it from rolling forward and backward
  • Use tie-down straps or load other items around it to make sure it doesn’t shift during transit
  • Drape a moving pad, protective covers, or old comforter over the mower

How to move a ride-on lawn mower


Most riding lawnmowers (often called yard tractors or garden tractors):

  • Have cutting widths between 42 and 52 inches
  • Have engines that produce between 17 to 22 horsepower
  • Weigh between 425 and 550 pounds

Ramping mowers cannot be lifted, unlike push mowers, so you’ll need ramps.

The best way to move them is on a trailer, not in a rental van like a U-Haul.

Trucks usually have much higher beds than trailers, so the ramp incline is much steeper.

Conversely, low trailers allow for more shallow ramp angles, making loading and unloading easier and safer.

Insider’s Tip

When possible, pushing the tractor up the ramp with human power is safer than driving it up under its own power.

1. Get a trailer (or truck) with a low deck and long ramps

The best combination for loading a tractor is a low deck and long split ramps that anchor into the vehicle’s deck.

Resting one end of the ramps onto the truck or trailer bed is dangerous.

If the vehicle and ramps don’t have holes and steel pins, secure them in place with heavy-duty nylon logistics straps.

If the angle of the ramps is still too steep, bundle up a pad or two and place them under the bottom lip to make the angle shallower.

2. Remove the cutting deck

Tractors with cutting decks have minimal ground clearance, so they’ll need to be removed.

Once you’ve disconnected the battery and spark plug wire, place two 4 x 4s under the deck before removing the cotter pins.

Use thick gloves to protect your hands, and place protective covers over the blades.

Old cardboard or sturdy rags work well for this if you don’t have the original protective covers.

Just be sure to secure them with twine or zip ties.

Wrap the deck in a moving blanket or old comforter, and pack the cotter pins, belts and other hardware in a box and label it – MOWER PARTS.

3. Load your riding mower

Due to their high centers of gravity, it’s best to load and unload riding mowers with the engine on the low side.

This will reduce the risk of tipping and roll-over.

Just remember, a heavy person in the driver’s seat will raise the center of gravity even more.

For this reason, it’s best to get four or five helpers and push it up the ramp with the transmission in neutral.

This many strong helpers should be able to control it easily if the ramps aren’t too steep.

Insider’s Tip

Never have anyone pushing directly behind and below the tractor. Inform everyone that if it starts rolling backward, it’s best to step aside and let it go. Better a damaged tractor than a broken leg – or worse.

4. Secure your tractor inside the truck or on the trailer

Once you’ve loaded the riding mower into the truck, set the parking brake and use tie-downs to secure it for transport.

If it’ll be mixed in with a full load of household goods, using straps may not be possible or necessary.

If so, make sure that –

  • The transmission is in low gear
  • The tractor is against a truck wall and/or bulkhead
  • It’s surrounded by heavy items that’ll help keep it in place
  • It’s wheels are perpendicular (at right angles to) the wheels of the truck

Move just about anything

If you have more questions, visit our blog at moveBuddha where there’s a lot of information regarding moving……anything. If you feel you can’t move an item yourself — say a heavy piano, an antique, or something else — turn to professional movers. They have the skills and expertise to move anything you can think of, saving you time, hassle, and logistical headaches.

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