How to Drive a Zero-Turn Mower
5/4/2023 7:50:35 AM
That said, the additional power and complexity comes at a slight cost to ease-of-use. Compared to walk-behind mowers, zero-turns can take some practice to operate and maintain. Their 360-degree turn radius can be highly useful when mastered.
If you’re looking to get started with a zero-turn mower, we’re here to help.
First things first, let’s get your mower started. While your model may have a different starting procedure, here are some of the basics you’re likely to see when starting up your mower.
* Be sure to check your user manual and familiarize yourself with your own model’s starter functions.
1. Make sure the PTO switch is “off” before attempting to start the engine.
2. Place steering levers in the neutral position.
3. If your machine has a parking brake, make sure it’s engaged. With some modern-day zero-turn mowers, the steering levers also act as a parking brake. If that applies to your machine, place the levers in the parked position.
4. Pull the choke lever out if your engine is cold. (Note: DO NOT USE if engine is already warm or has been running recently.)
5. Check to make sure the throttle is turned down to low speed before starting the lawn mower.
6. Insert key and turn, holding for up to 10 seconds (Note: If engine does not start, wait 60 seconds before trying again to prevent oil flooding the engine.)
7. Once started, wait a few seconds, and then turn the choke switch to the “off” position.
8. Disengage the parking brake.
9. Turn the throttle up to a higher speed.
10. Turn PTO switch on to power your mower blades and start your mow!
Now that you’ve got your mower running, we have some tips for you.
5 Tips for Using a Zero Turn Mower
Start SlowZero-turn lawnmowers can be powerful machines, so it's important to start slow and get used to how your mower handles. Get a feel for the throttle and turning mechanisms before you start mowing.
PracticeYou may also want to start mowing in an open, flat area before moving onto more complex terrain. Zero-turn lawnmowers are also designed to make very sharp turns. Their 360-degree turn radius gives them unmatched maneuverability, but tight turns at high-speed can end badly. Practice making turns in an open area to get comfortable with how the mower handles. Slowly experiment with safe speeds for different turns and practice decelerating to the right speed.
Wear Protective GearZero-turn mowers’ powerful motors can kick up more substantial dust and debris. Even though you’re not walking behind the mower, their blades can still kick up stones and pieces of wood that can cause injury. Always wear protective gear such as sturdy shoes, long pants, and safety goggles to protect yourself from flying debris.
Pay Attention to SurroundingsAlways be aware of your surroundings when mowing, especially if you're mowing near trees, bushes, or other obstacles. Watch out for inclines that may shift the mower off balance, avoiding hills that might cause the machine to tilt over. If you can, avoid passing over mulch or wood chips as this can kick up a lot of debris.
Maintain the MowerRegularly maintain your mower by sharpening the blades, changing the oil, and keeping it clean. This will help ensure that it runs smoothly and lasts longer. It’ll also make the machine easier and safer to operate.
Now that you’re a master zero-turn operator, it’s time to mow!
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