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Zero-Turn Mower Not Working On One Side – Why? What To Do?

A zero-turn mower is one of the best kinds of mower you can use in your yard. But what if one side of your zero-turn mower suddenly stops working? This isn't something that should happen regularly, so troubleshooting and maintenance are key. We did the research and found out how you can fix this problem.

If your zero-turn mower drags or pulls on one side, there are a few reasons (and solutions) for the problem:

  1. Damaged spline
  2. Uneven ground
  3. Tire compression 
  4. Traction adjustment
  5. Wear and tear
  6. Brake is dragging
  7. Faulty dampers
  8. Displaced freewheeling rod
  9. Blade weight isn't balanced

Unlike other mowers, zero-turn models have two separate systems for each wheel. Because of this, either wheel can malfunction or have balancing issues that cause one of the wheels to drag.

The key to fixing your zero-turn mower is in the details! By troubleshooting each part responsible for the unbalanced wheels, you'll be able to fix it or get it fixed by a professional. The answer lies in this post, so read on.

Why Is Your Zero-Turn Mower Not Working On One Side? 

person on expansive lawn with a yellow zero-turn mower

A zero-turn mower has many benefits, which is why it stands among other mowers. It's faster than most mowers and does a neat job. But what if your mower stops working one side? 

This means that there's an internal problem. But before you head to your local equipment dealer, do some troubleshooting 

Here are the common reasons why a zero-turn mower stops working on one side, along with solutions.

1. Damaged Splines

If your zero-turn mower is dragging on one side, the problem might be caused by a  disconnect between the hub and shaft. This connection is made possible by the spline.

The hub and shaft are responsible for the speed and torque of your mower. If your mower has faulty splines, it might not work on one side. To fix this problem, you will need to replace the spindles.

2. Uneven Ground

Before you start to mow, check for any hills or bumps  that you might run into. A zero-turn may lean on one side because of an uneven ground. 

3. Problems With Tire Pressure

Tires with low pressure are also a common reason why a zero-turn mower drags on one side. This is something many owners forget to look out for.

If one of the tires on your mower isn't properly inflated, the mower may become unbalanced and drag.

To fix this, inflate the tires properly and equally. Follow the right pressure specifications for your kind of tire.

4. Traction Adjustment

You will need to change your traction track when it becomes faulty. When the throttles behind the wheels move forward simultaneously, one of them can supply more power better than the other. Because of this, the mower may be weak on one side.

Luckily, you can refer to your owner's manual to get this issue fixed. It's also good to get help from a professional.

It's important to be cautious when using your mower. There are things you can do to avoid traction adjustment. For example, don't pivot or stop suddenly when mowing on a hill. You can put larger tires on the mower if necessary. Also, do not mow damp grass.

5. Wear And Tear

Simple wear and tear can cause your zero-turn mower to lean on one side or not work at all. This can happen when you don't maintain your mower properly or if some parts are worn out.

You should check the mower's parts regularly and replace any that are worn out.

6. Brake Is Dragging

Your mower may have a dragging brake. When you drive your mower and hit the brakes, one of the two might become fixed in place. The brake caliper may not work.

The piston could also be stuck, causing the brake pads to adhere to one another.

The solution to this problem is to take off each tire and examine the brakes. You can use use a C-clamp and pull the pad to its original position. 

7. Faulty Dampers

Your zero-turn mower may drag on one side if the dampers are bad. Dampers keep your mower together by preventing heavy and unexpected loads on the pumps. They also prevent your mower from jerky drive control action.

Dampers can become faulty due to wear and tear. Fixing this issue is not a tough job. Simply replace the dampers. You could also replace the springs.

8. Displaced Freewheeling Rod

Most zero-turn mowers have a sealed hydrostatic unit. It's possible that the seal can break and cause a leak. This cause an issue on one side of your zero-turn mower and also damage both sides.

To fix this, take a look at the freewheeling rods and make sure they're not damaged or out of position. You'll recognize the rods when you see the hydraulic motors.

Also, check both of the hydraulic motors and the hydraulic tank. Check the tank's fluid and make sure it's at the proper level.

Also, check that the filter is in good condition and replace it if necessary.

9. Blade Weight Isn't Balanced

If the blades are out of balance due to a weight issue, your zero-turn mower could drag on one side. One of the blades could be weighed down, causing an imbalance in the mower.

You can address the problem by adding some weight on the weaker side until both blades are balanced.

How To Prevent Your Zero-Turn Mower From Dragging On One Side

yellow zero-turn mower parked in the middle of the green grass field, Zero-Turn Mower Not Working On One Side - Why? What To Do?

It's a good idea to take the right steps for keeping your zero-turn mower in good shape. You can do this by following these tips:

Keep Your Blades Sharp

Dull blades can cause your zero-turn mower to drag on one side. With sharp blades, you ensure that your mower runs at its peak performance.

Sharpening Lawn mower blade by holding it by two hands in outdoor

Balance Your Blades

Your mower blades may become unbalanced after regular use, so make sure that they are balanced and intact to keep your mower in good shape.

Maintenance check on lawn mover blade

Distribute Weight Properly

Since your zero-turn mower is a machine that needs to be controlled by the rider, it only make sense that you need to sit properly on the machine. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed across the machine.

Is It Dangerous To Use Zero-Turn Mower With A Weak Side?

Yes, it is dangerous to use a zero-turn mower that drags on one side. The dragging means that there is an internal problem with the mower that needs to be solved.

If left unaddressed, the problem might lead to an accident. You should fix the mower when you notice that one side isn't working properly.

How Long Do Zero-Turn Mowers Last?

Hustler has become one of the leading brands of outdoor power equipment

The lifespan of a zero-turn mower is impacted by factors like usage, maintenance, and quality. The lifespan of most zero-turn mowers may range from 1,500 to 10,000 hours. However, on average, a typical zero-turn mower can provide 2,500 to 3,500 hours of usage.

Is A Zero-Turn Mower Better Than A Lawn Tractor?

If your criteria is based on speed, then, yes, a zero-turn mower is better than a lawn tractor. If you're looking for a mower that will allow you to quickly mow your lawn, a zero-turn mower is the answer.

Some zero-turn mowers can cut at speeds between five and 10 miles per hour or more. Lawn tractors can be slower. Most cut at speeds between four and seven miles per hour.

With its higher speed, a zero-turn mower can move fast, so mowing time is quicker, and you get more mowing done.

In Conclusion

yellow zero-turn mower parked in the middle of the green grass field

Zero-turn mowers offer many advantages compared to typical lawn mowers, and having one that malfunctions can be frustrating.

The key is to troubleshoot your zero-turn mower. By following the guidelines provided in this post, you should be able to do fix the problem. 

Keep in mind that your zero-turn mower needs to be regularly examined and maintained to avoid malfunctioning. Zero-turn mowers that drag on one side are dangerous, so be sure to fix it or get it fixed!

If you have more questions regarding lawn mowers, read these posts:

How To Turn On Toro Zero Turn?

How Much Does A Riding Lawn Mower Cost?