Gas Walk-Behind Mower: Won't move

Check the drive control cable when your lawn mower won't move because the drive cable can stretch over time. Replace the control cable if it's damaged. A worn or broken drive belt will also prevent the mower from moving so check the belt next. Adjust the drive belt or replace it if it's broken.

A failed transmission, broken front deck tray or broken wheel can also cause drive system problems. If your lawn mower won't move, watch our motion drive troubleshooting video to figure out the problem with your mower's drive system.

gas walk-behind mower

These repairs may help solve your gas walk-behind mower problem

Replace a lawn mower drive control cable

Replace a lawn mower drive control cable

If the mower moves forward slower than usual, it could be that the drive control cable has stretched out over time. You won't be able to move the drive lever if the cable is too corroded to slide inside its sheath. If the cable is cut, the mower won't move. Replace the cable if you find it damaged or cut.

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

If your self-propelled lawn mower won't move when you squeeze the drive control bar, the drive cable could be locked up or broken. You can replace the drive cable yourself, following the steps in this DIY repair guide and video.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 60 minutes or less
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Replace a lawn mower drive belt

Replace a lawn mower drive belt

Your lawn mower won't move with a broken or worn drive belt. Mower drives have a very short mechanical adjustment range for tightening belts, so you can only adjust the belt slightly to tighten the belt. If you adjust a worn belt and it continues to slip, replace the drive belt. Also inspect the drive belt periodically and replace it if it's cracked or the plies are separating; a damaged or worn belt can break and fly off the mower.

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

Self-propelled lawn mower won't move forward? The problem could a broken mower belt. This DIY repair guide and video show how to replace the lawn mower drive belt in 6 steps.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 60 minutes or less
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Replace a lawn mower transmission

Replace a lawn mower transmission

The transmission rotates the axle to drive the wheels and move the lawn mower forward. The drive cable pushes the transmission against the drive belt, causing the transmission pulley to spin. Gears inside the transmission rotate the axle when the transmission pulley spins. The mower won't move when the transmission fails. Replace the transmission if it locks up or doesn't rotate the axle to move the lawn mower.

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

When a self-propelled lawn mower won't move, the mower transmission pulley might be locked or the mower transmission gear might be stripped. In either case, the mower needs a new transmission, and this step-by-step repair guide and video explain how to install it.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 60 minutes or less
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Replace a lawn mower front deck tray

Replace a lawn mower front deck tray

The front deck tray attaches to the front of the mower deck and supports the front wheel axles. On front-wheel drive, self-propelled mowers, the front deck tray holds the transmission. On some self-propelled mowers, the front deck tray anchors the end of the drive control cable. The lawn mower won't move if that cable anchor breaks. Replace the front deck tray if it's damaged or if the cable anchor breaks.

March 1, 2016
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a lawn mower front deck tray

If a self-propelled lawn mower doesn't move when you pull in the drive control bar, the front deck tray could be broken. This DIY repair guide and video explain how to replace the front deck tray on a walk-behind mower.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 60 minutes or less
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Replace a lawn mower wheel

Replace a lawn mower wheel

The lawn mower won't move with a broken wheel. A damaged wheel can cause uneven grass cuts. If the wheel on a walk-behind mower is damaged, replace it with one that matches the size on the opposite side of the mower.

April 1, 2013
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a lawn mower wheel

A worn or damaged lawn mower wheel can wobble. This step-by-step repair guide shows how to replace a lawn mower wheel in 5 quick steps.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
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Adjust a lawn mower drive belt

Adjust a lawn mower drive belt

If the mower won't move when you engage the drive lever, you may need to adjust the drive belt. Clear debris from the engine pulley and transmission pulley so the belt grips both pulleys firmly when you engage the drive lever. Check the belt guides for correct clearance from the belt when the blade engagement lever is engaged. Adjust the belt guides so the belt properly engages the engine pulley and transmission pulley without belt guide interference.

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

Self-propelled lawn mower won't move forward? The problem could a broken mower belt. This DIY repair guide and video show how to replace the lawn mower drive belt in 6 steps.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 60 minutes or less
Read more
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: damaged cutting blade, loose cutting blade, damaged flywheel key, engine needs tune up
Main causes: dirty carburetor, bad spark plug, clogged air filter, engine choke problems, clogged gas cap vent
Main causes: stale gas, engine needs tune up, bad spark plug, dead battery, bad recoil starter, faulty safety switch, bad ignition coil
Main causes: engine needs tune up, dirty or clogged carburetor, damaged flywheel key
Main causes: uneven wheel height settings, damaged wheel, dull or damaged cutting blade
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.

How to replace a lawn mower ignition coil on an OHV engine

Replace the ignition coil if it isn't sending electric current to the spark plug when you pull the recoil starter rope.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
How to replace a lawn mower flywheel key on an OHV engine

The flywheel key couples the flywheel to the engine crankshaft. Replace the flywheel key if it's broken.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 60 minutes or less
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
Articles and videos for gas walk-behind mowers

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

May 31, 2019
How to tune up a lawn mower video
By Sears PartsDirect staff

See how to tune up your mower once a year to keep it running well.

February 1, 2016
6 weeks to a better lawn
By Erin Hynes

Do these 5 things this spring for a lawn that's healthier all summer.

April 1, 2015
How to keep grass clippings from sticking to a mower deck
By Sears PartsDirect staff

Prevent your mower deck from rusting by following our advice for keeping grass clippings from sticking.