Common problems with zero turn mowers

Our team independently selects, reviews, and identifies the best products. We may earn affiliate commissions on purchases made from links on this page. Read about our links here. This post was updated on January 12, 2022

To quote Winston Churchill, nothing is perfect on the human stage. Not even the much-praised zero turn mowers.

Here are some common problems with zero turn mowers and some of the reasons why they are yet to win over everyone.

Common problems with zero turn mowers:

These problems are typical in most zero turns, the brand name notwithstanding.

1.     Zero turn hydrostatic transmission problems

A major cause of concern is the hydrostatic transmission found in plenty of zero turn mowers (they are favored since they provide greater acceleration than geared versions).

In general, this type of transmission system is susceptible to unique troubles and will require you to frequently undertake maintenance procedures like changing the hydro fluid lest it eventually fails.

For instance, if it gets a leak, the reservoir will at some point dry up and air might get in slowing it down and making it stop at long last.

Besides, hydro-drives numerous mechanical components mean there are more possible points of failure and thus a higher risk for your zero turn to suddenly jam.

Learn how to get more speed out of hydrostatic transmission.

2.     Risky to ride on wet ground

This is probably the single biggest problem facing owners.

You see, in spite of their fast turning, zero turn’s front wheels occasionally lose traction meaning that they carry a real danger of slipping and subsequently losing control of the machine when mowing damp grass.

The rapid turning can also be bad news for your grass when you slip- it sometimes damages your lawn.

Adjusting steering on zero turn mower guide.

3.     The issue of overturning

Now, zero turns are extremely heavy machines and this can again be problematic on certain grounds.

Specifically, the machine can easily roll over within a blink of an eye if you’re mowing areas sloping more than 10 – 15 degrees because of the elevated weight.

Things can go tragically wrong here and terrible injuries and even deaths have been reported.

4.     The question of pollution

The elephant in the room for many is that zero turn mowers are not exactly environmentally-safe.

The thing is this category of lawn mowers results in raised pollution levels due to glaring weakness such as lacking catalytic converters (older units).

Indeed, a standard gasoline zero turn mower generates the same amount of harmful emissions as those emitted from driving an average car for about 200 miles.

The introduction of electric zero turns is thus fantastic news though the prices are largely prohibitive.

5.     Steeper learning curve

Your first day on the zero turn mower is likely to be spent learning how to operate the machine, now that zero turns are a bit unconventional.

Neither a steering wheel nor the usual operating pedals (gas and clutch) are present and you’ll instead have to master how to control the mower using the twin steering levers.

6.     Reduced versatility

Truth be told, more and more attachments are continually being released for these mowers resulting in increased functionality.

But you’ll still find the traditional mow more flexible because of the existence of ready-made tow-behind attachments including snowplows and fertilizer spreaders.

Best snow plows for polaris rangers.

How to remedy some of the Common problems with zero turn mowers

All is not lost and there are things you can do to mitigate the challenges of zero turning radius lawn mowers.

Here is what you to do to get the most out of your investment (if you’ll be buying one).

·         Hydraulic problems and related transmission difficulties

This has no shortcuts and you should observe the maintenance routine recommended by your manufacturer.

You’ll find all the tricks in your owner’s manual and even basic troubleshooting steps to help your mower last and perform. 

Durable zero turn mower

·         Slipping and traction challenges

Take these precautions when mowing in sloppy land or wet conditions.

  • Drive over grass in a relaxed manner and at a gentle speed.
  • Watch out for troublesome spots like an old tree stump.  
  • Push the mower over extremely sloppy zones.
  • Add some weight to the tires (chains can do an awesome job).
  • Check that the tire air pressure is at the recommended PSI value.
  • Consider waiting for the land to dry if it’s too wet or muddy.
  • Never ride directly down or up steep inclines. You should rather always mow sideways in such conditions.

Above all, adhere to all the manufacturer’s safety mowing guidelines including wearing protection for your face and head.

·         Gouging out grass

To overcome the risk of cutting unevenly and the possibility of plucking out the grass, make a couple of practice runs and adjust the blade accordingly before proceeding to mow the whole yard.

Additionally, avoid making exceedingly sharp turns since this may tear out a large chunk of your grass.

zero turn snow blower

·         Unwelcome learning curve

A lot of owners become pro operators with practice and this shouldn’t bother you for long.

Nevertheless, you can ask for help from an experienced operator if you’re struggling to learn the multitude of controls.

·         The emission problem

You can cut down on the emissions from mowing by implementing these hacks:

  • Selecting the latest models- these have features that lower smog.
  • Mow at reduced speed (This might significantly decrease emissions).
  • Ensure that your mower is in tiptop condition.

How to remove the mower cutting blades

Final thoughts

The above zero turn mower problems explain why some yard owners still sit on the fence when it comes to this special type of lawn mower.

Despite all, ZTRs mow faster than other riding mowers and will importantly cut closer to obstacles like trees and fences because of the upgraded maneuverability.

Be sure to weigh these pros versus the listed disadvantages of zero turn mowers as you ponder whether a zero-turn mower might be worth it.

can you tow with a zero turn mower

Leave a Comment