Riding Mowers & Tractors: Won't move

Replace the ground drive belt if you find it worn or broken when the riding lawn mower won't move. If the engine dies when you release the brake, then the seat switch may be unplugged or broken. Our troubleshooting video riding lawn mower engine dies when you release the brake shows how to check the seat switch. Replace the seat if it's damaged and won't activate the seat switch.

Check the transaxle freewheel control to see if the drive is disengaged. Shift the freewheel control to engage the transaxle if you find the control in the freewheel position. Purge air from the transaxle before using the riding mower the first time and after any transaxle repair. Tune up the mower engine if it sputters and then stalls when engaging the drive system. Rebuild or replace the carburetor if it's clogged and not providing the engine with fuel to stay running when driving the riding mower.

riding mowers & tractors

These repairs may help solve your riding mowers & tractors problem

Replace the riding mower drive belt

Replace the riding mower drive belt

If your riding lawn mower won't drive forward or slows down when you go uphill, check the drive belt. Reinstall the lawn tractor or riding mower drive belt if it's slipped out of place. Replace it if it's damaged or broken.

How to replace the ground drive belt on a zero-turn riding mower

If your zero-turn riding mower won't move forward, the ground drive belt could be broken. This DIY repair guide and video give step-by-step instructions on how to replace the ground drive belt on a zero-turn riding lawn mower.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 90 minutes or less
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How to replace a ground drive belt on a riding lawn mower

If your riding lawn mower won’t move, the problem could be a broken ground drive belt. If the riding mower is slow and sluggish, the ground drive belt could be so worn that it slips. Either way, follow the steps in this repair guide and video to replace the ground drive belt on your lawn tractor.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 45 minutes or less
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Replace the riding mower carburetor assembly

Replace the riding mower carburetor assembly

The carburetor mixes gas with air before the fuel goes into the cylinder. If the gas/air mix isn't balanced, the engine won't start or the engine will run rough and stall when you try to drive the riding mower. A damaged carburetor may also leak gas. Replace the carburetor if it causes any of these symptoms.

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

When a lawn tractor engine surges or is hard to start, the problem could be a clogged or damaged carburetor. This DIY repair guide and video show how you can replace the carburetor yourself.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 45 minutes or less
Read more
Rebuild the riding mower engine carburetor

Rebuild the riding mower engine carburetor

The carburetor mixes fuel with air to create a combustible mixture that enters the engine cylinder and ignites to drive the piston. Impurities in gasoline can clog the carburetor, preventing the engine from starting. Carburetor clogs can also cause the engine to run rough and the engine may stall when you try to drive the riding mower. Seals and gaskets in the carburetor eventually wear out and can leak gas. Use a carburetor rebuild kit to refurbish a clogged or leaking carburetor.

January 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to rebuild a riding lawn mower carburetor

Does your riding lawn mower engine run rough or misfire? The carburetor might be clogged or worn. This DIY repair guide and video show how to rebuild the carburetor in a riding lawn mower in about an hour.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 60 minutes or less
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Tune up the riding mower engine

Tune up the riding mower engine

The engine tune-up includes routine maintenance for a riding lawn mower or tractor. Engine performance suffers if you don't regularly tune up the engine. A poor-running engine may stall when you try to drive the mower. You may notice uneven cuts if the engine doesn't run smoothly when you're mowing grass. Routinely tune up the engine by replacing the engine oil, oil filter, air filter, fuel filter and spark plug. The tune-up also includes checking the ignition, carburetor, battery, throttle and choke controls, as well as cleaning the engine cooling fins.

January 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a riding lawn mower fuel filter

If your riding lawn mower’s engine runs rough or won't run, the fuel filter could be dirty. This repair guide and video show how to easily replace the fuel filter on your riding lawn mower in 15 minutes.

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

If your riding lawn mower engine runs rough or is hard to start, it might be because the spark plug is damaged. This DIY repair guide and video show how to replace the spark plug on a riding mower in 15 minutes or less.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
Read more
How to replace the air filter on a riding lawn mower

If your riding lawn mower runs rough or stalls after starting, the air filter could be dirty. This DIY repair guide and video show how to replace a clogged riding mower air filter in less than 15 minutes.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
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Replace the riding mower seat

Replace the riding mower seat

The seat keeps your body stable as you drive the riding mower and engages the seat switch to keep the engine running while you're sitting on the seat. A worn or broken seat may not engage the seat switch, causing the engine to shut off when you release the brake. Replace the seat if it's damaged or worn.

March 1, 2017
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace the seat on a riding lawn mower

If the engine on your riding lawn mower shuts off when you release the brake, a cracked seat or missing cushioning foam could be the problem; both can keep the safety switch in the seat from engaging when you’re sitting on the mower. Replace the seat, following the steps in this repair guide and video.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
Read more
Replace the riding mower seat switch

Replace the riding mower seat switch

The seat switch kills the engine if the switch doesn't detect you in the seat when you release the brake. To prevent tampering, the seat switch also stops the engine if you unplug its wire harness. When the engine dies as you release the brake pedal, check the seat switch wire harness to make sure it's plugged in. Replace the seat switch if you find it plugged in but not recognizing your presence on the seat.

How to replace the seat switch on a riding lawn mower

If your riding mower shuts off when you release the brake while sitting on the mower, the seat switch might not be working right. The step-by-step instructions in our repair guide and video explain how to replace the seat switch in your riding lawn mower.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
Read more
Symptoms common to all riding mowers & tractors

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

Main causes: dead battery, stale fuel, bad starter solenoid, ignition system problem, bad ignition interlock switch, clogged carburetor
Main causes: punctured tire or inner tube, leaky valve stem, damaged wheel rim
Main causes: damaged tie rods, bent or worn wheel spindle, worn front axle, damaged sector gear assembly
Main causes: faulty battery, bad alternator
Main causes: engine overfilled with oil, leaky head gasket or sump gasket, damaged carburetor seals, cracked fuel pump, broken fuel line
Main causes: damaged cutting blade, worn deck pulley, damaged mandrel pulley, loose fasteners on mower deck components
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: 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.

How to replace a mandrel assembly on a riding lawn mower

Replace the mandrel assembly if the blade shaft vibrates or doesn't spin.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
How to replace the air filter on a riding lawn mower

Get your mower running smoothly again by replacing the air filter—it's a quick job you can do yourself, following these steps.

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

Get your mower started again by replacing the ignition switch—it's a quick job you can do by following these steps.

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.

May 1, 2017
Troubleshooting a riding lawn mower blown fuse video
By Sears PartsDirect staff

Test the ignition switch and wire harnesses to find the short.

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 level a riding lawn mower deck for an even cut video
By Sears PartsDirect staff

Mower not cutting the grass evenly? Your mower deck might be the problem.