There may come a time when you need to move your lawn mower manually without the aid of the hydrostatic drives and the engine’s power. Luckily zero turn mowers come equipped with the ability to disengage the drives and freespin the wheels, similar to putting an automobile in neutral. So, if you find yourself stuck out on the lawn with a problem and need the mower out of drive, it’s good to know there’s an easy way to do it.
Why You Might Need to Manually Push Your Zero Turn
There are a few reasons you might want to manually push a zero turn mower. I’ve put together some everyday situations I have faced in the past that would have been a real problem if I couldn’t disengage the drives.
The Lawn Mower Has Broken Down
If your zero turn mower breaks down at some point, you will need to move it out of danger or back to the garage. In this situation, manually moving your zero turn mower is the only option.
Out of Gasoline
Running out of gas can happen to the best of us. Disengaging the drives and pushing the mower back to the garage could be the only quick solution if you don’t have any spare gasoline.
Servicing The Mower
If you happen to be servicing your mower, it may not be a good time to start the engine. For example, if you’re servicing the carburetor, the mower is unusable. Being able to manually move a zero turn mower is a great help.
Not that this happens very often, but if you find your mower has a dead battery and needs to be moved, say it’s blocking something in the garage, then quickly disengaging the drive is going to let you move the mower without any problem.
How to Manually Push a Zero Turn Mower (Step By Step)
Disengaging the drives on a zero turn mower is an easy process that can be done in a few seconds. Different mowers have different ways to disengage their drives, but they all follow the same principle. For example, Gravely mowers have a pull lever, and Exmark mowers have a twist lever. So, let’s take a closer look at what steps you’ll need to follow to disengage the drives and how you can push a zero turn mower.
Turn Off the Zero Turn Mower
First, you want to make sure the zero turn mower is switched off. Different manufacturers state it should be off, and some say it’s ok for it to be on. I personally like to make sure the mower is off just to be safe.
Locate the Disengagement Levers
Next, take a look under the rear of the zero turn mower. Attached to the wheels are the two separate hydrostatic motors. Each of the motors needs to be disengaged separately. So, connected to each drive is going to be a lever you push/pull or a lever you twist.
Disengage the Drives
After you have located your disengagement levers, either push/pull them or give them a twist. Once you have moved the levers to the disengaged location, the motors will allow the wheels to free spin.
Push the Zero Turn Mower
To test that you have disengaged the drive, you just need to give the mower a push. If you have successfully disengaged the drives, the mower will push without any resistance.
Putting the Zero Turn Back Into Drive
Once you no longer need the zero turn’s drive to be disengaged, say you have finished working on the mower, then all you need to do is push/pull or twist the disengagement lever in the opposite direction. This will put the lever back in the position that it was in before you disengaged the drives.
Tips and Tricks to Ensure Your Safety When Manually Moving a Zero Turn
The first thing you need to do is make sure that it is safe for you to disengage the drives. There are a couple of items that you need to watch out for to avoid running into any problems.
Before you disengage the drives, check to see if you are on level ground. If you’re not, then you need to be aware that the mower will roll down the slope unless the parking brake is applied.
Using the Parking Brake
If you are on a slope, then you may need to get some help. You can use the brake to control the speed the mower will roll down the slope by engaging and disengaging the parking brake.
Additionally, you’ll need to ask your helper to steer the mower if you have to sit on the mower to control the brake because the drives are what provide the steering on a zero turn mower.
Finally, before you reach under the mower, be aware that it may be hot if you have been using it. The exhaust pipe is usually located in the same area as the disengagement levers. So, if you have been using the mower, then the exhaust is going to be very hot, and it would be safest to let the mower cool down first.