March 1, 2016

How to replace a lawn mower drive belt

By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a lawn mower drive belt

This lawn mower repair guide has step-by-step instructions on how to replace a lawn mower drive belt. The mower won't move with a broken or worn drive belt. Replace the drive belt with a manufacturer-approved replacement part if it's worn or broken.

This drive belt replacement procedure works for common Craftsman, Toro, Troybilt, MTD, Husqvarna, Poulan, Murray and Ariens front-wheel drive walk-behind lawn mowers.

A drive belt problem is just one reason the wheels of a lawn mower won't drive forward. To learn how to diagnose a lawn mower drive problem, see Lawn Mower Won't Move Troubleshooting Video: Motion Drive Failure.

Quick links
Tools required
Nut driver set
Socket wrench set
Torque wrench
Plastic sandwich bag
Bungee cord
Block of wood
Work gloves
Repair difficulty
Time required
60 minutes or less
Repair difficulty
Time required
60 minutes or less
Replacing a drive belt on a walk-behind lawn mower

This video explains how to replace the drive belt on a walk-behind lawn mower.

Instructions

  1. 01.

    Disconnect the spark plug wire

    Disconnect the spark plug wire from the spark plug.

    Disconnect the spark plug.

    Disconnect the spark plug.

  2. 02.

    Remove the blade

    Remove the fuel tank cap.

    Place a plastic bag over the fuel tank opening and reinstall the fuel tank cap to prevent gasoline from leaking out through the fuel tank cap vent.

    Tilt the mower back to lift the front wheels then secure the mower handle to your worktable to hold the mower steady. Remove the bottom drive cover mounting screws.

    Wedge a block of wood between the mower blade and the deck to keep the blade from turning when you loosen the blade nut.

    Loosen and unthread the blade nut while holding the cutting blade to keep the blade from falling.

    Pull the blade, blade support and blade nut off the crankshaft.

    Remove the debris shield mounting screws and pull off the debris shield.

    Roll the drive belt off the crankshaft pulley.

    Pull the crankshaft pulley off and free the belt from the crankshaft.

    Release the clamp from the mower handle and lower the mower to the upright position.

    Remove the top drive cover mounting screws.

    Release the height adjuster lever and pull the drive cover off.

    Pull off the belt keeper from the top of the transmission.

    Release the drive belt from the transmission pulley and remove the drive belt.

    Tip: If you have the mower on the ground instead of a worktable, tilt the lawn mower on its side with the air filter up to access the mower blade.
    Remove the blade.

    Remove the blade.

  3. 03.

    Remove the drive belt

    Remove the bottom drive cover mounting screws.

    Remove the debris shield mounting bolts and pull off the debris shield.

    Roll the drive belt off the crankshaft pulley.

    Pull the crankshaft pulley off and free the belt from the crankshaft.

    Release the mower handle and lower the mower to the upright position.

    Remove the top drive cover mounting screws.

    Release the height adjuster lever and pull the drive cover off.

    Pull off the belt keeper from the top of the transmission.

    Release the drive belt from the transmission pulley and remove the drive belt.

    Pull the drive belt off of the pulley.

    Pull the drive belt off of the pulley.

  4. 04.

    Install the new drive belt

    Push the drive belt through the deck opening and install the new drive belt on the transmission pulley.

    Reinstall the belt keeper on the transmission.

    Insert the drive cover tab into the deck slot by the engine and position the drive cover on the deck tray.

    Reconnect the height adjuster lever to the drive cover.

    Reinstall the top drive cover mounting screws.

    Tilt the mower back to lift the front wheels, then clamp the mower handle to your worktable to hold the mower steady.

    Route the drive belt over the crankshaft.

    Align the crankshaft pulley shaft indentions with the crankshaft slot and slide the pulley onto the crankshaft.

    Roll the drive belt onto the crankshaft pulley.

    Push the debris shield tab through the deck opening and reinstall the debris shield.

    Reinstall the debris shield mounting bolts.

    Reinstall the bottom drive cover mounting screws.

    Install the belt on the transmission pulley.

    Install the belt on the transmission pulley.

  5. 05.

    Reinstall the blade

    Position the blade, blade support and blade bolt on the crankshaft and hand-tighten the blade bolt on the crankshaft. 

    Wedge a block of wood between the mower blade and the deck to keep the blade from turning when you tighten the blade bolt. 

    Tighten the blade bolt to 500 in.-lbs. using a torque wrench. 

    Remove the wood block. 

    Release the mower handle from the worktable and lower the mower to the upright position. 

    Remove the plastic bag from the fuel tank opening and reinstall the fuel tank cap.

    Reinstall the lawn mower blade.

    Reinstall the lawn mower blade.

  6. 06.

    Reconnect the spark plug wire

    Push the spark plug wire back onto the spark plug.

Warning: Undertaking repairs to appliances can be hazardous. Use the proper tools and safety equipment noted in the guide and follow all instructions. Do not proceed until you are confident that you understand all of the steps and are capable of completing the repair. Some repairs should only be performed by a qualified technician.

Symptoms for gas walk-behind mowers

Choose a symptom to see related walk-behind mower repairs.

Main causes: drive control cable failure, worn or broken drive belt, bad transmission, broken drive wheel
Main causes: uneven wheel height settings, damaged wheel, dull or damaged cutting blade
Main causes: stale gas, engine needs tune up, bad spark plug, dead battery, bad recoil starter, faulty safety switch, bad ignition coil
Main causes: dirty carburetor, bad spark plug, clogged air filter, engine choke problems, clogged gas cap vent
Main causes: damaged cutting blade, loose cutting blade, damaged flywheel key, engine needs tune up
Main causes: engine needs tune up, dirty or clogged carburetor, damaged flywheel key

Repair guides for gas walk-behind mowers

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your walk-behind lawn mower.

March 1, 2016
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a lawn mower drive cable

The drive cable engages the transmission to spin the drive wheels and move the mower across the grass. Replace the drive cable if it's broken or frozen up inside the sheath.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 60 minutes or less
April 1, 2013
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a lawn mower wheel

Learn how replace a damaged wheel on a walk-behind lawn mower—it's a quick, easy fix.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
April 1, 2013
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a lawn mower safety switch

The safety switch stops the engine when you release the lever on the handle. This repair guide explains how to replace it if it's not working correctly.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less

Articles and videos common to all walk-behind mowers

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your walk-behind lawn mower.

October 1, 2019

Types of walk-behind mower blades video

By Sears PartsDirect staff

Learn about the different kinds of mower blades and how to maintain them.