Riding Mowers & Tractors: Loose steering

Mowing is difficult when you can't steer properly. If the steering wheel has too much play, check the tie rods, steering shaft and sector gear assembly. Replace any damaged parts. Problems with the wheels or the front axle can also affect the steering performance. A bent or worn wheel spindle or worn front axle won't allow you to steer the lawn tractor properly.

riding mowers & tractors

These repairs may help solve your riding mowers & tractors problem

Replace the riding mower blade engagement lever

Replace the riding mower blade engagement lever

The blade engagement lever pulls the blade clutch cable to spin the blades when you shift the lever to the engaged position. The blades won't spin-read: cut grass-if if the lever breaks. If the blades don't spin, examine the lever and replace it if it's broken.

Replace the riding mower tie rod

Replace the riding mower tie rod

This repair involves removing and replacing the tie rod. If the steering is loose or the wheels don't turn with the steering wheel, then the tie rod may need to be replaced.

Replace the riding mower steering kit

Replace the riding mower steering kit

If the steering for a riding lawn mower is loose or slips when turning the steering wheel, the complete steering kit may need to be removed and replaced.

Replace the riding mower front axle

Replace the riding mower front axle

Replace the front axle on your riding mower or lawn tractor if the front wheels point outward or the steering is loose.

Replace the riding mower wheel spindle assembly

Replace the riding mower wheel spindle assembly

A bent or damaged wheel spindle won't allow you to steer the riding mower properly. Check the wheel spindles for damage if the front wheels wobble or don't align properly. Replace a spindle if you find damage.

Symptoms common to all riding mowers & tractors

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

Main causes: worn or broken ground drive belt, bad seat switch, transaxle freewheel control engaged, transaxle failure, dirty carburetor
Main causes: dead battery, stale fuel, bad starter solenoid, ignition system problem, bad ignition interlock switch, clogged carburetor
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: punctured tire or inner tube, leaky valve stem, damaged wheel rim
Main causes: unlevel mower deck, dull or damaged cutting blades, worn mandrel pulleys, bent mower deck, engine needs tune up
Main causes: damaged tie rods, bent or worn wheel spindle, worn front axle, damaged sector gear assembly
Main causes: worn or broken blade belt, broken belt idler pulley, blade clutch cable failure, bad PTO switch, damaged mandrel pulleys
Main causes: shift lever needs adjustment, neutral control needs adjustment

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.

How to replace the starter motor on a riding lawn mower

If you hear the solenoid click but don’t hear the starter motor spin when you turn the key, follow these steps to replace it.

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

If the engine is hard to start or if the spark plug electrode is burnt or cracked, take 15 minutes to replace it.

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

If the engine of your lawn tractor surges or is hard to start, the carburetor could be the problem. Follow these steps to install a new one.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 45 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.

May 1, 2017

Riding lawn mower engine spins but won't start video

By Sears PartsDirect staff

Troubleshoot fuel, spark and compression issues.

June 1, 2016

How to mow a lawn for healthier grass

By Erin Hynes

How often and tall you mow your lawn has a big impact on its health. Check out these 3 rules.

March 1, 2016

How to change the Smart Switch Ignition password on a lawn tractor video

By Sears PartsDirect staff

See how to unlock the factory default start code so you can set your own passcode.