Riding Mowers & Tractors: Why does my riding mower creep in neutral?

A lawn tractor with an automatic transmission that moves when you have the motion control lever in the neutral position is dangerous. Adjust the shift lever to eliminate creeping.

A zero-turn riding mower shouldn't move when both drive levers are in the neutral position. Adjust the neutral control so the zero-turn riding mower doesn't creep forward or backward with the drive levers in neutral.

riding mowers & tractors

THESE REPAIRS MAY HELP SOLVE YOUR RIDING MOWERS & TRACTORS PROBLEM

JC-RM-Adjust-the-neutral-control-on-a-zero-turn-riding-mower

Adjust the neutral control on a zero-turn riding mower

If your zero-turn riding mower creeps forward or backward when you have both drive levers in the neutral position, pull off the back wheels and adjust the neutral control to eliminate movement. Check for movement in neutral after each adjustment. Continue to adjust the neutral control until the riding mower stays still in neutral.

Adjust the neutral control on a zero-turn riding mower

Find the required part specific to your product.

RG-RM-Adjust-a-Zero-Turn-Riding-Mower-Neutral-Control-Intro-Image
January 1, 2015By Lyle Weischwill

How to adjust the neutral control on a zero-turn riding mower

If your zero-turn riding lawn mower creeps forward or backward even when in neutral, adjusting the neutral control should fix it. Follow the steps in this DIY repair guide and video.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 45 minutes or less
JC-RM-Adjust-the-motion-control-lever-neutral-position

Adjust the riding mower motion control lever neutral position

On lawn tractors with automatic transmissions, the tractor shouldn't move when you have the motion control lever in the neutral position. If the tractor creeps forward or backward in neutral, adjust the motion control lever's neutral position. Loosen the lever adjustment bolt and move the motion control lever until the tractor stays still then tighten the adjustment bolt firmly. Refer to the owner's manual for your lawn tractor to adjust the neutral position if this procedure doesn't match your tractor's drive system.

Adjust the riding mower motion control lever neutral position

Find the required part specific to your product.

Symptoms common to all riding mowers & tractors

Choose a symptom to see related riding mower and lawn tractor repairs.

Main causes: punctured tire or inner tube, leaky valve stem, damaged wheel rim
Main causes: worn or broken ground drive belt, bad seat switch, transaxle freewheel control engaged, transaxle failure, dirty carburetor
Main causes: shift lever needs adjustment, neutral control needs adjustment
Main causes: worn or broken blade belt, broken belt idler pulley, blade clutch cable failure, bad PTO switch, damaged mandrel pulleys
Main causes: damaged cutting blade, worn deck pulley, damaged mandrel pulley, loose fasteners on mower deck components
Main causes: engine overfilled with oil, leaky head gasket or sump gasket, damaged carburetor seals, cracked fuel pump, broken fuel line
Main causes: clogged carburetor, damaged flywheel key, dirty spark plug, stale fuel, improper valve lash, engine needs a tune up
Main causes: faulty battery, bad alternator
Main causes: unlevel mower deck, dull or damaged cutting blades, worn mandrel pulleys, bent mower deck, engine needs tune up

Repair guides common to all riding mowers & tractors

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

January 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a riding lawn mower rear tire

Your mower can’t run on a damaged rear tire. Here’s how to install a new one.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 60 minutes or less
January 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a riding lawn mower blade

If a blade on your mower is dull or bent, replace it following the steps in this repair guide.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
January 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a riding lawn mower fuel filter

Help your mower run better by replacing the fuel filter during your riding mower's annual tune-up.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less

Articles and videos common to all riding mowers & tractors

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your riding mower or lawn tractor.

August 6, 2020

How to remove a lawn mower blade using a removal tool

By Sears PartsDirect staff

Learn how a blade removal tool makes replacing the blade easier and safer

April 9, 2019

Riding mower parts and supplies to stock up on video

By Sears PartsDirect staff

Keep these 6 things on hand to keep the mower season running smoothly.

January 1, 1970

How to tell if a fuse is blown

By Lyle Weischwill

Learn how to tell whether a fuse is blown