Cub Cadet Brakes Not Working – Why And What To Do?

Cub Cadet riding lawn mowers have a solid reputation for being reliable and for trimming lawns beautifully. But sometimes their brakes may fail, such that they won’t stop or engage. What do you do in such a scenario? We've done research to help you solve your problem.

The reason the brakes in your Cub Cadet may have stopped working is because one or more of the following parts has malfunctioned:

  • Caliper pins
  • Brake spring
  • Brake cable
  • Brake blades
  • Brake pads

Keep reading to learn why your Cub Cadet brakes are not working and how to carry out the necessary repairs. Included are related costs and why you need to adjust the brakes from time to time.

Accelerator pad and brake pedal on a lawn mover, Cub Cadet Brakes Not Working - Why And What To Do?

Reasons Your Cub Cadet's Brakes Don't Work And What To Do

Cub Cadets are efficient mowers that help you to keep your lawn neat and tidy. But sometimes the brakes can malfunction. The reason this can happen is due to at least one of the following components not working:

Caliper Pins

Car mechanic applying high temp brake grease on the brake caliper slide pins

The caliper pins are responsible for moving the caliper assembly by applying pressure to the brake hub to stop the mower. These pins can rust or become dirty, preventing the brakes from moving freely. To find out if the pins are the problem, you need to examine them.

Check in your manual if the caliper is on the left or right side of the rear wheels. Afterward, remove the cotter pin, washers, and the bolts holding down the caliper, and gently pull out the caliper sliders.

After examining them, you may decide to clean or replace them, though a mechanic is better able to advise you. To clean them, use a wire brush or sandpaper.

To replace them, ensure you have the correct part, remove the old pins, and install the new ones. Finally, reassemble the bolts, washers, and put back the rear wheel.

Brake Spring

Steel spring pull back

The brake spring is responsible for applying pressure to the brakes when you press down the pedal. The spring can wear out and become weak or even break. Therefore, you’ll need to check the spring and replace it if it's faulty.

You can find these brake springs for your cub cadet mower on Amazon.

Lawn mowers are very similar However, check your manual to locate the necessary components on your Cub Cadet. The steps below will guide you on how to replace the brake spring:

  1. Switch off the ignition, remove the key, and disengage the brake.
  2. Use a floor jack to lift and remove the rear wheels, as this will make it easier to access the spring.
  3. Remove the dust cap and use a large flat-head screwdriver to pry out the e-clip.
  4. Remove the washers and pull the wheel out.
  5. With a pair of needle-nose pliers like the ones shown below, unhook the brake spring from the mounting bolt and pull it out.
  6. Take your new spring and hook the end that’s smaller to the brake lever. Next, hook the end that’s bigger onto the mounting bolt.
  7. Put the key and spacers back, and ensure they are correctly inserted on the axle.
  8. Slide the wheel onto the axle, place the washers back, secure the e-clip, and return the dust cap.
  9. Lower the rear wheels to the ground using the floor jack, and you are ready to use your mower again.

Check out this pair of needle nose pliers on Amazon.

Below is a video of how to replace a brake spring in a mower:

Brake Cable

The brake cable connects the brake lever to the brake pedal. When you depress the brake lever, the brake caliper moves. This cable can stretch or break causing the brakes not to function well. To inspect the cable, you need to get it out.

Check out this brake control cable that is compatible with a Cub Cadet on Amazon.

If the cable has stretched, is worn or broken, then you’ll need to replace it with a new one. This job is a little complex and can take you around 30 minutes to complete.

Below are steps for replacing the brake cable of an MZ Magnum mower, to give you an overview of how you can change the cable in your Cub Cadet mower:

Remove The Bracket

  1. Disengage the brake.
  2. Unscrew the brake handle knob and lift the seat to access the bracket.
  3. Using a 1/8-inch Allen wrench and 3/8-inch open end wrench, loosen the nuts and screws to remove the bracket.
  4. Cut the zip tie that’s near the battery.

Remove The Damaged Cable

  1. Unscrew the bolt and nut holding to loosen the cable from the brake plate using a 7/16-inch open-end wrench and socket driver. The cable will loosen from the brake plate. 
  2. Next, use two ½-inch open-end wrenches to loosen the two nuts holding the cable in place to the frame. 
  3. Slip the damaged cable out of the frame and seat.

Install The New Cable

  1. Before installing the new cable, replace the zip tie and remove the brake knob from the cable.
  2. To install the cable, slip the cable and bracket through the opening where the steering arm is.
  3. Slide the bracket into place, next to the seat and tighten the bolts and nuts by hand.
  4. Push the cable through the front and zip tie. Run the cable back through the top of the frame and slide it into the slot at the back of the frame and the frame notch. Tighten the two 1/2-inch nuts by hand. 
  5. Install the bolts and nuts on the brake plate.
  6. Finish by tightening all the nuts and bolts. Do not forget to adjust the two ½-inch jam nuts so that the brake cable can engage and disengage without a problem. 

This video explains the steps above in detail:

Brake Blades

If you stop your mower but the brake blades continue rotating, then there is something wrong with the brakes. This is actually a potential hazard and may require the blades to be replaced. 

Removing the blades is an easy job. But before you begin, unhook the battery or the wires connected to the starter. It will prevent the motor from starting or the blades from spinning as you work on your mower.

Two bolts hold up the brake blades. To remove them, use a wrench to loosen the nuts. Replace them with new ones and put the nuts back.

The video below provides an overview of how to go about changing your brake blades:

Brake Pads

When the brake pads wear out, the brakes in your mower will not function optimally. You'll need to replace the pads.

These brake pads compatible with a Cub Cadet are available on Amazon.

The steps to replace the brake pads of your mower include:

  1. Switch off the ignition and remove the key.
  2. Lift the rear wheels using a floor jack.
  3. Remove the dust cap from the rear wheel that’s on the left.
  4. Remove the e-clip using a large flat-head screwdriver.
  5. Remove the washers.
  6. Pull out the wheel.
  7. Using a suitable socket wrench, remove the mounting bolts that hold together the brake assembly.
  8. Access the brake pads and remove them.
  9. Replace with new ones that are compliant with your Cub Cadet mower.
  10. Return the brake assembly to the transmission housing and replace the bolts to securely hold it in place. 

This below will give you a detailed explanation of the steps provided above on how to replace the brake pads in a mower:

How To Adjust The Brakes In Your Mower

With time, the brake cable can become loose, decreasing the efficiency of the brakes. As a result, they may take too long to respond, or you will have to grasp more tightly for the brakes to engage. Due to this, you may not achieve an evenly trimmed lawn.

If after applying the brakes, you move further than six feet to stop while riding at high speed, then your brakes need to be adjusted.

First, park your mower on ground that is flat and even, and put the engine on neutral. At the rear wheel, find the brake cable and operating arm connected by a spring.

An accelerator pad and brake pedal on a lawn mover

Measure the distance between the adjusting nut and the threads on the operating arm. If it is more than 1.5 inches, adjust the brakes by tightening the adjustable nut. Keep measuring as you tighten the nut, and stop when the distance between the operating arm and brake cable spring is 1.5 inches or lower.

Afterward, test your mower to check if it rides a shorter distance when you apply the brakes.

This hardware kit is available on Amazon.

Cost Of Brake Repairs For Your Mower

What does it cost text written in the notebook

It costs between $80 and $100 to repair a lawn mower. This cost is determined by the complexity of the repair, the cost of the parts, and the time it takes to complete the job. Also, the location where the repairs are done can determine the cost of repairs. 

Cub Cadet lawn mowers can last between 500 and 1000 hours if maintained well. Thus, hiring a professional technician to carry out the necessary repairs can help to extend the lifespan of your mower.

On average, a technician will charge you between $45 and $100 per hour. However, a technician coming over to your home may be cheaper than you taking the mower to the repair shop.

In Closing

Cadet riding tractors on display


To find out what is wrong if the brakes of your Cub Cadet aren't working, you will need to inspect the components in the braking system for any faults. Check each, one by one, until you find one or more that have malfunctioned. 

Learn more about lawn mowers by clicking on the links below:

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