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No steering wheel? No problem

4/11/2019 5:00:00 AM

By: Helen Dearing, Content & Digital Marketing Manager,


If you’re looking at a zero-turn mower to cut your grass but the absence of a steering wheel is making you nervous. Don’t be! Driving a zero-turn lawn mower is easier than most think and is a lot like driving a shopping trolley. Read our handy hints below.

How to drive a zero-turn​​

Each control lever operates the wheel on that side of the mower. For example, pushing the steering lever forward on the right side of the unit makes the right wheel move forward. Pushing the steering lever forward on the left side of the unit makes the left wheel move forward. Same rules apply to operating the mower in reverse.



To drive a zero-turn in a straight line while mowing, operators simply keep each steering lever aligned with each other while pushed forward. The further forward the levers, the faster the mower drives. As the steering levers are moved closer to the operator and the “neutral position,” the slower the mower drives. When returned to the neutral position, the mower stops moving.

How to turn a zero-turn

It's important to understand that the left and right wheels (controlled by their left and right steering levers) each have an independent motor. So, it’s possible to make the left wheel turn in reverse and the right wheel turn forward, or vice versa. That’s how a zero-turn mower makes its turn. One wheel moving at a different rate, or in the opposite direction, of the other wheel makes a zero-turn lawn mower turn.


Making both gentle and aggressive turns with a zero-turn mower is easy. To make a gentle curve, simply push one steering lever slightly further forward than the other while driving forward. For example, to make a gentle turn to the right, keep the left steering lever further forward than the right lever. To turn left, keep the right steering lever further forward than the left lever. The further apart the steering levers are from each other, the sharper the turn.

To make a 180-degree turn with a zero-turn lawn mower, pull one steering lever back while pushing the other steering lever forward. So, to turn on a six-pence to the left, pull the left steering lever back and push the right steering lever forward. To turn on a six- pence to the right, pull the right steering lever back and push the left steering lever forward. The greater the distance between the two steering levers, the faster the mower will make that turn.

Zero-turns cut grass quicker than garden tractors due to their ability to turn on themselves eliminating the need to make multiple point turns and going over cut grass. Practice makes perfect and you’ll be owning the lawn in no time.


    1. To go forward: Push the handles forward.
    1. To reverse: Pull the handles back.
    1. Turn right: Push the left handle forward.
    1. Turn left: Push the right handle forward.
    1. Stop: Bring the handles back to neutral

Watch our short video!

Find an Ariens dealer near you with our Ariens dealer locator. If you’re not sure which zero turn lawn mower is right for you, visit our zero-turn product page to find which model matches your grass, cutting area, budget and more.