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Why Won’t My Zero Turn Mower Move – 7 Practical Causes!

A standard riding lawnmower with an almost imperceptible turning radius is known as a zero turn riding lawnmower.

The radius almost completely disappears when the two driving wheels turn against the mower’s forward motion.

One of the most common problems with these mowers is, “why won’t my zero turn mower move?” It may tug, drag, or slug at the weaker side primarily due to traction issues.

However, those aren’t the only explanations.

There are several reasons for it, and if you want to know them, please keep reading!

Let’s begin.

A person riding on lawn mower—why wont my zero turn mower move
Why won’t my zero turn mower move? – Image via Luis Negron.

Why Won’t My Zero Turn Mower Move?

Most of the causes and solutions are listed below:

1. Off the Wheel Rod

The hydrostatic unit in zero turn lawnmowers is a sealed system.

Every one of them has its power supply unit, and a leak could occur if a seal blows. Low fluid levels, however, may make this dangerous for both parties.

A partially failed freewheeling rod may cause this issue, as it operates without a hitch after being fully installed.


Here’s the solution:

  • Verify the freewheeling rods on both sides. They are, if you’re not familiar with them, the rods that you pull to disconnect the hydraulic motors. There ought to be one for each side. Verify that it wasn’t coming out as a little too weak.
  • Examine the two hydraulic motors after that.
  • The pumps are supplied by one hydraulic line.
  • Fuel for all the pumps is stored in a single hydraulic tank.
  • Check the fluid level first, then inspect the filter on the weak side.
  • Each hydraulic pump comes with its filter. It must initially be changed if there are any visible issues. The pump will then be checked.
  • Each side of the room has a pump.
  • The valve system would be trustworthy enough to prevent any problems.
  • The disengagement lever is most likely connected to this issue as well.

That said, let’s take a look at the 2nd cause.

2. Removing the Spline

Spline keys fit into grooves on wheel hubs and shafts.

Notably, they are integrated into the shaft and permit the wheel to slide down the shaft. That might be on the pulley of the zero turn lawn mower.

Since the torque and speed of a mower are crucial, these microscopic things eventually become stripped, and weak splines could exacerbate zero turn one-side problems.


Change the spindles.

  • The socket’s cover for the mower deck spindle assembly can be removed by loosening three bolts with a 1/2-inch wrench.
  • The mower deck belt ought to come out with a 1/2-inch wrench.
  • Use a socket wrench to unlock the tension pulley latch and let the belt fall.
  • Using a 1–1/8′′ wrench, an adjustable wrench, or a socket, remove the nut from the top spline of the spindle.

Other than that, it might be because of…

3. A Poor Damper

Why won’t my zero turn mower move, you say? The dampeners work to prevent jerky drive control and abrupt loads on the pumps.

Often, springs are used to retract the control arms in units that return to a neutral position. If the dampers are damaged, your mower will jerk to one side when moving forward.

It might even cause a side pull.


Replacing the dampers is a simple, one-step solution.

The springs might also need to be changed. Because occasionally, the new dampers do not immediately push the steering arms back.

Related article: 7 of The Best Zero Turn Mower Reviews for The Perfect Lawn!

4. Changes to Traction

One wheel may transfer power more effectively than the other if the two throttles that manage the back wheels are pushed forward simultaneously.

The mower then starts to sag toward the side with less support.


Depending on the type of mower, this could be a complicated process that is best left to a professional.

  • You might experiment with reducing tire pressure to improve traction in the future.
  • Use larger tires to avoid making sudden turns and stops when driving on a slope.
  • Mowing wet grass is another error.
  • Mowing slopes that are steeper than 15 degrees is not suggested, though.

Moving on to the next point.

5. Drag Brake

If your riding lawn mower has disc brakes or drum brakes, one brake may not release entirely as the other, which could cause pulling to one side.

Alternatively, the problem can be a frozen brake caliper.

The caliper piston may become stuck, which could cause incompatible brake pads to seize. Slide pins in single-piston calipers are prone to jamming.


As a solution:

  • A tire must be removed to inspect the brakes.
  • A particular tool is provided to exert pressure and retract the pad for jammed sliding pins or caliper pistons.
  • The most used clamp is a basic C-clamp.
  • A stuck caliper piston can be released using the hydraulic pressure of the existing brake system.
  • A jammed brake may re-seize even after you release it.
  • The device could still be stuck due to corrosion, and it won’t be long before it gets stuck again.
  • Rebuilding the brake is better in this scenario because it costs less money.

The next cause might be:

6. Asymmetries in Tire Compression

If the tires are underinflated, your zero turn lawn mower may lean to one side. The mower is legitimately tilted to one side for this reason.


Ensure your zero turn mower’s tires are inflated to the correct pressure to prevent weak sides.

Pay close attention to the recommended tire pressure for your equipment—tires must be properly inflated.

7. Slippery or Defective Lawn Mower Drive Belt

A drive belt is an essential part of both push and ride-on mowers.

A benefit of rod lawnmowers is that the motor is attached to the axles of the back wheels. In essence, it makes the process of turning horsepower into motion simpler.

The mower drive belt slipping is one of the primary factors in certain riding mowers’ inability to move forward or backward. These belts link the driving wheels’ axles to the motor’s output power.

Drive belts that are too old, worn out, or broken may slip rather than deliver the required energy.

Naturally, the mower’s mobility would be reduced if the drive belt’s integrity were affected.

Unfortunately, this is precisely what happens to these crucial components over time owing to cumulative wear.

When the belt is completely worn out or ground, the axle loses its connection to the engine, rendering the mower stationary. This is typical for mowers that have been in use for a while without a new belt.

With new mowers, this problem won’t come up for a while unless extraordinary circumstances exist.

Regular inspections are necessary to ensure that no failure or exterior wear has occurred.


The integrity of the drive belt would undoubtedly be compromised, reducing the mower’s mobility.

  • These essential components are impacted by the regrettable accumulated wear over time.
  • When the belt is worn out or touches the ground due to the axle no longer connected to the engine, the mower comes to a complete halt.
  • Typically, lawnmowers with worn-out belts experience this problem.
  • If weird things don’t happen, this issue won’t arise with new mowers for a while.

However, regular checks are required to make sure that no failure or exterior deterioration has occurred.

That was all about, why won’t my zero turn mower move?

Here is a video for you as well:

Why won’t my zero turn mower move? | Lawn Mower won’t move forward or backward – YouTube

That would be all for today!


In a nutshell, due to their gearing and weight for traction, zero-turn mowers may generate more power than a four-wheeler without suffering any damage.

If you usually work in flat but intricate terrain, need speed, or desire the best blades and a precise cut, it is typical to choose a zero-turn mower, so you don’t end up wondering, “why won’t my zero turn mower move?”.

With that said, let’s conclude the talk.