How To Read Cub Cadet Hour Meter & Its Benefits

Cub Cadet has been making outdoor power equipment, including utility vehicles, since 1961. However, their machines don’t come with an odometer like cars. Instead, Cub Cadet mowers have an hour meter to track their operating time.

So then, how do you read the Cub Cadet hour meter? Reading a Cub Cadet hour meter is simple based on whether it is a dial or an LCD type. You check the yellow and red hands with the dial hour meter to determine the machine’s running time. Meanwhile, the running time for the LCD hour meter is displayed from 0 to 999,999 or 0 to 99,999.9 hours.

But why read the hour meter in the first place? Stay here to find out how to read Cub Cadet hour meter and its benefits. 

What Is a Cub Cadet Hour Meter and How Does It Work?

An hour meter is a gauge or instrument used to track or record the running time of your Cub Cadet machine. It shows the actual hours of the Cub Cadet’s engine operation. Basically, it is like an odometer that tracks a car’s travel distance in miles. 

Typically, the hour meter is on the instrument or dash panel and attached to the machine’s electrical system. Therefore, it only runs when the Cub Cadet is in use. In other words, the meter usually starts tracking the running time of the mower once you start the engine.

However, not all Cub Cadet mowers have an hour meter as a standard feature. You buy the meter separately for some models like the Ultima ZT1 50 and Ultima ZT-1 Zero-Turn. 

How To Read Cub Cadet Hour Meter

The correct way to read a Cub Cadet hour meter depends on the type of meter your machine has. Some Cub Cadets use a dial hour meter, while others use the LCD hour meter. Below is how to read these meters.

Method 1: How To Read Cub Cadet Dial Hour Meter

The dial hour meter is the most common, especially with the older Cub Cadet models. Following are instructions on how to read this type of meter and a video:

Step 1: Understand the Meaning of Each Dial

Generally, the dial hour meter has three dials in different colors, including red, yellow, and white. The red dial shows the number of hours from zero to 60, while the white dial signifies the meter is working.

Meanwhile, the yellow dial stipulates the total operation hours up to 600. And for each revolution of the red dial, the yellow dial usually moves 1/10 of a revolution.

Step 2: Check the Yellow Hand

Turn your Cub Cadet’s engine on. Then, check which number the yellow hand is pointing to. If the dial is between two numbers, say 540 and 600, you take the lower and not the higher number.

However, if the dial exceeds the 600 hours mark and points between 60 and 120, you take the lower number, 60. Then, add it to 600 to get 660 hours.

Step 3: Check the Red Dial

Next, check which number the red hand is pointing at. It could point at 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, or even 60.

Step 4: Add the Numbers

If the red dial points at 30, add 30 to 540. Therefore, the total operating hours for your Cub Cadet will be 570 hours or 690 hours after adding 660 to 30. 

Method 2: How To Read Cub Cadet Digital LCD Hour Meter

A digital LCD hour meter is easier to read than a dial hour meter. Here is how to read the meter.

Step 1: Start the Cub Cadet

Turn your Cub Cadet’s ignition key to the “ON” position. When you start the machine, the meter briefly displays the battery voltage before displaying accumulated hours.

Step 2: Check the Display

Next, check the numbers on the meter’s display. If you just installed the gauge, it will read “00” hours. This is because it is designed to read from 0 to 999,999 or 0 to 99,999.9 hours.

Step 3: Read the Numbers

On display, read the numbers from left to right to determine the running time of your Cub Cadet.

If your meter has a decimal point, ignore the numbers after the decimal. However, if there is no decimal point, read all the numbers, including the zeros.

Step 4: Track Service Intervals

After every 50 hours, this digital LCD hour meter will display the letters “CHG.” This will be followed by the word OIL, SOON, and then the meter’s accumulated time.

It should appear as follows; CHG/OIL/SOON/TIME for about 7 minutes. This means you should change the engine oil.

Step 5: Check the Oil Pressure

This feature is only available if your Cub Cadet’s engine has an oil pressure switch. The meter will display “LO/OIL/PRESS/TIME” letters to warn you that your Cub Cadet has low oil pressure.

Step 6: Check Other Readings

If the battery voltage is below 11.5 volts, the hour meter will display “LO/BATT/TIME.” In addition, you can get letters like “CLN/AIR/FILT/TIME” to remind you of an air filter service after every 25 hours of runtime.

Why Read Cub Cadet Hour Meter

If you are wondering why you need to read your Cub Cadet hour meter, keep reading to find out.

  • Track the Machine’s Service Life

Servicing your Cub Cadet machine regularly and at the right time will ensure its long-lasting performance. An hour meter helps you know when to perform different services, including oil and filter changes. Some hour meters, like the digital LCD, even display the service information on the meter.

  • Determine Resale Value

When considering reselling your Cub Cadet, you can determine its resale value based on its runtime. A machine with lesser running time on the hour meter will likely sell at a higher price. This is compared to one with more hours of running time.

  • Keep Tabs On the Warranty

Cub Cadet offers a limited warranty on all of their products. For some products, the limited warranty is 4-year long or 500 cumulative hours of operation, whichever comes first. An hour meter helps track the hours of operation, making it easier to know if the machine is within or out of warranty.

  • Calculate the Cost of Renting Out

If you buy a Cub Cadet for commercial use, you may have to rent it to other lawn maintenance personnel. The best way to rent out your Cub Cadet is at an hourly rate. In this case, an hour meter will come in handy.


An hour meter is a crucial device to install on your Cub Cadet machine if it does not come as a standard feature. It makes it effortless to track and record how long your machine has been in operation since the initial purchase. 

Another benefit of reading the meter is that it helps track the service life intervals for the machine. You can also use the information on the hour meter to determine the machine’s resale value. However, how you read a Cub Cadet dial hour meter differs from a digital LCD hour meter. But overall, the latter is easier to read than the former. 

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