How to Maneuver a Zero Turn Mower Like a Pro.

To drive a zero turn mower, sit on the seat, adjust the controls according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and use the levers to move the mower in the desired direction. Zero turn mowers provide a more efficient and maneuverable way to mow lawns than traditional riding mowers.

These mowers have two steering levers instead of a wheel, allowing the driver to make precise and quick turns. The mower’s cutting speed can be adjusted, and the deck height can be altered to give the desired lawn length. Additionally, zero turn mowers can be used for more than just mowing lawns; they can also be equipped with attachments for snow removal, plowing, and leaf collection.

In this article, we will discuss how to drive a zero turn mower, some safety tips to follow, and things to keep in mind while operating the mower.

How to Maneuver a Zero Turn Mower Like a Pro.


Preparing For Use

Driving a zero-turn mower can be a daunting task for those inexperienced in handling these machines. However, with careful preparation and adherence to safety measures, mowing your lawn using a zero-turn mower can be done with ease.

Pre-Inspection Checklist

Before operating a zero-turn mower, it is important to go through a pre-inspection checklist to ensure that the machine is in good working condition.

  • Check the oil level and quality.
  • Inspect the fuel level and make sure it is not stale.
  • Check the air filter and replace it if necessary.
  • Inspect the drive belts and ensure they are not loose, damaged, or worn out.
  • Make sure the blades are sharp and rotated freely.
  • Check the battery terminals for corrosion and ensure they are tight.
  • Inspect the tires and ensure they have the right pressure and are not worn out.

Safety Measures

Safety should always be a top priority when operating a zero-turn mower.

  • Wear appropriate clothing, including sturdy work shoes, long pants, and eye protection.
  • Keep your hands, feet, and clothing away from the mower’s moving parts.
  • Never allow passengers on the mower.
  • Keep children and pets away from the mowing area.
  • Avoid mowing on steep inclines or wet terrain.
  • Never leave the mower unattended while the engine is running.

Understanding The Controls And Levers

Before you start operating a zero-turn mower, it is important to understand the controls and levers.

  • The throttle lever controls the engine speed.
  • The steering levers control the direction of the mower.
  • The parking brake lever allows you to start and stop the engine.
  • The deck lift lever adjusts the cutting height of the blades.
  • The blade engagement lever controls the blades’ rotation.
You May Also Like:  How to Safely Tow a Zero Turn Mower: A Comprehensive Guide

By following these steps and understanding the controls and levers, driving a zero-turn mower can be done safely and efficiently. Remember to always prioritize safety and take proper precautions before starting the machine.

Starting And Driving The Mower

How To Drive A Zero Turn Mower?

If you have a lawn full of obstacles like trees, garden beds, and other landscaping, then zero turn mowers are an excellent option for you. Not only do they allow you to make clean, crisp turns, but they also help cut grass even in the most challenging or difficult-to-reach areas.

Here, we will be focusing on the starting and driving of a zero turn mower.

Starting And Stopping The Engine

The engine is the powerhouse of a zero turn mower.

  • Check if you have enough fuel in the fuel tank
  • Put the throttle at the slowest setting
  • Check if the parking brake is engaged
  • Rotate the key to the “on” position
  • Turn the choke on
  • Turn the key to start the engine
  • Turn the choke off after the engine starts

To stop or turn off the engine:

  • Turn the throttle to the slowest position
  • Turn the key to the “off” position
  • Get off the mower

Setting The Speed

Once you’ve started the engine, it’s time to set your desired speed.

  • Release the parking brake
  • Engage the throttle control and set your preferred speed
  • Adjust the speed if necessary

Operating The Steering Controls

The steering controls vary with different zero turn mowers.

  • Dual-lever steering: Push the left lever forward to turn left, and move the right lever forward to turn right.
  • Steering wheel: If your mower has a steering wheel, turn it in the direction you want to go.

Maneuvering Around Obstacles

Zero turn mowers are meant for maneuvering around obstacles and tight spots.

  • Keep your eyes on the obstacle that you’re trying to avoid
  • Use the steering control to turn in the opposite direction
  • Control the speed of the mower while turning

Using The Reverse Function

It’s important to use the reverse function properly to avoid accidents.

  • Bring your mower to a complete stop
  • If you have a steering wheel, rotate it in the opposite direction to the turn
  • Use the dual-lever steering to turn in the opposite direction
  • Engage the reverse gear
  • Look behind before you start moving

Driving a zero turn mower is all about following the basic principles and understanding how to use the engine, steering controls, and speed settings. With time and practice, anyone can master the art of zero turn mowing.

Advanced Techniques

Driving a zero-turn mower isn’t just about mowing the lawn in a straight line. Advanced techniques can help you get the most out of your machine. In this section, we’ll cover some tips to help you maximize speed and efficiency, create precise turns, mow hills and inclines, and deal with wet or uneven terrain.

You May Also Like:  What Grass Stays Green in Winter? Top 8 Varieties to Transform Your Lawn

Maximizing Speed And Efficiency

If you want to finish your lawn mowing job quickly, you need to know how to maximize speed and efficiency.

  • Know your machine: Familiarize yourself with the controls and features of your zero-turn mower before you start mowing.
  • Plan your route: Plan your mowing route in advance to avoid overlapping and covering the same areas twice.
  • Adjust your mower height: Adjust the mower height to ensure that you’re cutting at the correct level for your lawn’s specific needs.
  • Avoid sharp turns: Make gradual turns when mowing, as sharp turns can slow you down and strain your mower’s engine.

Creating Precise Turns

Creating precise turns is essential when mowing around obstacles or making tight turns.

  • Slow down: Slow down before making a turn to prevent your zero-turn mower from tipping over.
  • Use the levers: Use the handles to control the mower’s speed and direction when turning.
  • Turn with the inside wheel: Turn with the inside wheel, not the outside one, to help maintain your momentum.
  • Practice makes perfect: Practice turning your zero-turn mower in open spaces before you tackle more challenging turns.

Mowing Hills And Inclines

Mowing hills and inclines can be tricky, but these tips will help you get the job done safely and effectively:

  • Know your slope: Determine the slope of your lawn before mowing to understand the terrain.
  • Mow across the slope: Mow across a slope, rather than up and down, to maintain stability.
  • Use caution: Use caution when mowing on hills, as zero-turn mowers can tip over more easily on uneven terrain.
  • Adjust your speed: Slow down when mowing on hills to maintain traction and prevent your mower from sliding.

Dealing With Wet Or Uneven Terrain

Wet or uneven terrain can make mowing challenging, but these tips can help you navigate these conditions with ease:

  • Adjust your speed: Slow your zero-turn mower down when mowing on wet or uneven terrain to maintain control.
  • Mow in a pattern: Mow in a checkerboard pattern on uneven terrain to prevent scalping or leaving uneven patches.
  • Raise your deck on high spots: Raise your mower deck on high spots to level the cut across your lawn.
  • Avoid mowing in the rain: Avoid mowing in the rain to prevent damage to your mower and turf.

Maintenance And Care

Maintaining and caring for a zero turn mower is an essential task that should be performed regularly. Proper maintenance can prevent premature wear and tear and keep the mower running smoothly. In this section, we’ll look at some routine maintenance procedures, cleaning techniques, proper storage and winterization, and troubleshooting common problems you may encounter while using your zero turn mower.

You May Also Like:  How to Easily Start Your Ryobi Electric Lawn Mower: Quick Tips!

Routine Maintenance Procedures

Performing routine maintenance on your zero turn mower should be a top priority.

  • Check the engine oil dipstick before each use to ensure proper oil levels.
  • Replace the oil filter and oil every 50 hours of use.
  • Inspect the air filter before each use and replace it every 100 hours of use.
  • Check the spark plugs every 100 hours of use and replace them if necessary.
  • Lubricate the mower’s moving parts, such as the steering mechanism and wheels, every 25 hours of use.

Cleaning The Mower

Keeping your zero turn mower clean is another key factor in maintaining its longevity.

  • After each use, remove any debris or grass clippings from the mower deck, blades, and undercarriage.
  • Use a brush or compressed air to remove any debris from the air vents and cooling fins.
  • Clean the mower’s exterior with warm, soapy water and rinse with a garden hose.
  • Dry your mower with a clean towel or let it air dry.

Proper Storage And Winterization Techniques

Storage and winterization are crucial to protecting your zero turn mower from damage during periods of inactivity.

  • Park the mower on a level surface in a dry, well-ventilated area.
  • Remove the battery and store it in a cool, dry place.
  • Cover the mower with a tarp or cover to protect it from the elements.
  • Use a fuel stabilizer to prevent ethanol-based fuels from deteriorating during storage.
  • Before storing for winter, change the oil and run the engine for a few minutes to circulate the new oil.

Troubleshooting Common Problems

Despite your best efforts, you may still encounter some issues while using your mower.

  • If the blades aren’t cutting properly, check for dull blades or debris buildup.
  • If the mower won’t start, check the fuel level, spark plugs, and battery.
  • If the mower is vibrating excessively, check for bent blades or worn bearings.
  • If the mower is overheating, check for debris buildup on the air intakes or damaged cooling fins.

By following these routine maintenance procedures, cleaning techniques, proper storage and winterization techniques, and troubleshooting tips, you’ll be ready to tackle any project with your zero turn mower. Don’t forget to perform regular maintenance and keep your machine in excellent condition!


Now that you’ve read this guide, driving a zero turn mower should be a cinch. Remember to have your safety gear on, adjust the controls according to your comfort level, and take time to practice before tackling a large yard.

Keep your speed in check and maintain focus to prevent accidents. Stick to a regular maintenance schedule to keep your mower working efficiently throughout the season. Lastly, always refer to the manufacturer’s manual for specifics and heed any warnings or cautions.

Zero turn mowers are designed for maximum efficiency and maneuverability, making lawn care faster, easier and more enjoyable. So, get out there, practice, and enjoy a well-maintained lawn!