Zero-turn Mower Shuts Off When Put in Gear: Causes and Solutions

You might have encountered a lot of problems while mowing with your zero-turn mower. One common problem among them is that your zero-turn mower shuts off when put in gear. But what are the possible reasons behind this problem?

There are lots of possible reasons behind this. A worn drive deck belt, damaged blades, bad batteries, faulty safety switch and speed module, etc. are some of the most common reasons.

This article will discuss the solutions to the potential causes of a zero-turn mower that shuts off when put in gear.

Zero-turn Mower Shuts Off When Put in Gear

Possible Causes and Solutions for Zero-turn Mower that Shuts off When Put in Gear

What could be causing your zero-turn mower to turn off when you put it in gear, and how to fix it, are outlined and described below.

Possible CausesSolutions
Worn Drive Deck BeltReplace the mower deck drive belt and any broken parts.
Damaged or Dull Blades/ Electric ClutchReplace damaged blades and faulty clutch
Bad BatteriesSwap batteries, charge them, or clean the terminals.
Faulty Safety SwitchReplace the safety switch.
Faulty Speed Module   Replace the driving pulleys or tighten the cables on the mower deck if it suddenly stops working.
Wiring IssuesExamine wiring for strain spots and correct or replace them as necessary.

1. Worn Drive Deck Belt

 Worn Drive Deck Belt
 Worn Drive Deck Belt

When placed into gear, the drive belt on a zero-turn mower can cause issues with the forward motion of the machine.

If the belt is not properly connected, there is a strong possibility that the engine may stall and the mower will shut down.

The Fix

  • Belts that are too tight can be relieved by adjusting them or by switching to a longer belt. If this belt is too long, you should get one that is shorter.
  • If it’s filled with grass and leaves, take your time to clear it out.
  • The zero-turn mower will benefit from a new belt if the existing one has lost some of its integrity.

2. Damaged or Dull Blades

Damaged, dull, or obstructed blades, together with malfunctioning gear or other mechanical mower parts, might render your machine ineffective.

If your gear load seems too heavy for your yard work, it could be a blade issue, which will halt the motor to safeguard the mower’s components.

The Fix

  • Turn off your zero-turn mower and take off the battery, spark plug cover, and cord.
  • Tilt the mower to one side.
  • Add some support to the mower with a plank of wood.
  • Polish the blade.
  • Put a stop to the blade from moving.
  • Sharpen the top edge of the blade, starting on one side. Be sure to grind at a 45-degree angle away from the center.
  • Do the same thing on another side of the blade.
  • Verify that the blade is properly attached before using it.

3. Bad Batteries

Starting your zero-turn mower can be challenging if the battery isn’t fully charged and well-maintained. The mower may not have enough power to get going, and it may shut off when the gears are engaged even if it manages to start.

If the problem is the battery, you have a number of options before having to entirely replace the power supply.

The Fix

  • Put on your safety gloves and remove the seat and cover from your zero-turn mower. Unscrew and remove the battery.
  • If its terminals are corroded, brush and wipe them.
  • Check the multimeter’s voltage. Normal batteries supply 12 V power. Charge if power is low.
  • Low charging may indicate a defective battery. Checking the defective battery, connecting it to the charger, and leaving it for 10–20 minutes is easy.
  • After that, check the voltage: if it’s 12v, your turn mower battery is fine; if it’s less than 12, it’s bad and needs replacing.

4. Faulty Safety Switch

Safety Switch
Safety Switch

Most frequently, a malfunctioning seat switch is to blame for zero-turn mowers that fail to start when placed in gear.

Even when you are seated and ready to mow, the operator’s presence seat switch automatically shuts off the engine if it detects no rider.

The Fix

  • Use a pair of needle-nose pliers to pinch the tabs of the cable housing. Pull the cable housing away from the safety switch bracket to disconnect it.
  • By depressing the tab connecting the wire to the safety switch, you can detach the kill wire from the safety switch.
  • Remove the two mounting screws from the engine safety switch, followed by the switch itself.
  • Install and secure the new safety switch to the engine using screws.
  • Reinstall the kill wire into the safety switch by depressing the tab.
  • Reconnect the zone control connection and examine the engine control cable.

5. Faulty Speed Module

Zero-turn mowers are equipped with a great deal of horsepower for driving strong blades and operating PTO equipment.

This horsepower means keeping you safe or a speed-advanced module that guarantees your mower runs at a slow speed suitable for cutting grass. Failure of this essential module might render a mower inoperable upon engagement.

The Fix

Make sure the speed module is working properly. When shifting to a higher gear or starting the mower’s blades, this can happen, too.  

Checking this component if problems with the mower’s dependability arise can be beneficial.

6. Wiring Issues

In the wire weaved throughout the mower assembly, many electrical impulses and mechanical responses happen between the engine starting and the mower shifting into gear.

The mower won’t start, and you won’t be able to change into gear if any of these connections aren’t made.

The Fix

  • Turn mower wiring has two main purple and black wires. Checking wire grounding requires a multimeter. However, only voltage will show the value.
  • Start your zero-turn mower and connect the multimeter with the ground wire.
  • Check voltage with a multimeter wire. Grounding is fine if it shows 12V.
  • To fix the electrical issue, fix the grounding if the turn mower is operating but the ground wire indicates 0 volts. After fixing the aforesaid concerns, you can work smoothly.

Related Post: Scag vs. Toro Zero-Turn Mowers: 5 Key Differences

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What additional factors are involved for a zero-turn mower to shut off, except shifting into gear?

If your zero-turn mower dies for any reason other than shifting into gear, you could be looking at a dirty or clogged carburetor, old gas, dirty or damaged spark plugs, and so on.

Does going full throttle risk engine damage?

Using the engine to its full potential will increase the wear on the components built to handle the extra power. Engine wear components like bearings and piston rings will deteriorate more rapidly. 

How long does a zero-turn mower usually last?

A zero-turn mower’s durability depends on its regular use, maintenance, and overall quality. A typical zero-turn mower can last anywhere from 1,500 to 10,000 hours. A standard zero-turn mower, however, can be used anywhere from 2,500 and 3,500 hours.

Why does shifting into gear shut down the zero-turn mower?

Zero-turn mower shuts off when it is in gear if there is an issue with the drive deck belt, seat safety switch, dull blades, defective cable, etc.

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