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