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My Self-Propelled Mower Won’t Work…Help!!

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My Self-Propelled Mower Won’t Work…Help!!

“My push mower’s engine is running, but my wheels are not turning”

It happens to the best of us. 

So, what happens when the wheels on your self-propelled don’t turn or the mower won’t go anymore?

It's simple, here are 6 troubleshooting steps that you can use to get your lawn mower back on track! 

Whether your push mower is a Honda, a Craftsman, Husqvarna, Cub Cadet, or any of the best push mowers of 2020

You will likely find the information you need to fix your self driving push mower in this article. 

WARNINGBefore performing any of the actions below, please make sure to disconnect the spark plug.

Step One: Inspect the v-belt. 

Here's the deal, the v-belt connects to the pulleys. This in turn drives the lawn mower wheels. 

From time to time, the belt may wear out and needs to be replaced. Simply put, if that belt is worn out or broken, the wheels won’t turn. 

Below is a helpful video on how to replace the v-belt.


Step Two: Check the drive pulley. 

The next step is to check the drive pulley. The drive pulley connects to the crankshaft and is turned by the v-belt. If that drive pulley is defective, the transmission will not be able to engage the wheel assembly and turn the wheels. 

So how do you fix it?

It's easy, with a few tools in the garage, the drive pulley can be replaced if defective. Start by removing the lawn mower blade. From there it should be pretty easy to remove the belt if it needs to be replaced.


Step Three: Check the self-propel cable. 

This cable runs from the handle of the lawn mower to the transmission. The location and high use of this cable make it susceptible to breaking. It can be checked by seeing if the control cable moves freely. If it doesn’t, some WD40 should be used to lubricate it a little. 

But, if that doesn’t work, it may need to be replaced.

To Check the Self-drive Cable:

  1. Inspect the line for kinks
  2. Check both connections of the line
  3. Check for loose parts or cracking plastic
  4. Make sure that the cable moves freely

If you have ever folded your lawn mower handles down and your self-propel feature stopped working. There is a good chance you kinked the cable and need to replace it.


Step Four: Check the transmission. 

The transmission is powered by the drive belt that connects to the crankshaft. When working properly, the drive belt powers the transmission, and the wheels turn. 

To check the transmission, carefully watch the transmission when the engine is running. If the pulley is spinning, and the wheels aren’t turning, the transmission is bad. 

Unfortunately, if this is broken, it may be time to buy a new mower because this part is generally unreplaceable.

Fortunately, the transmission will often get clogged up with grass. Often times, you can remove the grass from around the transmission gears to get the self drive mechanism working again.

Step Five: Check gear box and wheels. 

If the mower is lifted off the ground, and the other gears work... The wheels have to be taken off to make sure that the toothed gear is engaging with the toothed wheel

The problem could be that a clip slipped along with the washer or that either the gear or the shifting keys are broken or worn out causing the gears to slip. 

For more information on checking the gearbox see the video below.

“My self-propelled mower only works in 1st gear”

Step Six: Check tension on v-belt. 

Yep another belt issue! The v-belt tension should be tight. If it’s not, it could be slipping and only turning the wheels in first gear, or not at all. 

Having the belt too loose can also cause long term engine damage. 

In order to tighten the v-belt, refer to this video below.

A Note on The Design of the Modern Lawn Mower

Lawnmowers and guns. These two items do not normally go hand in hand, but thanks to Edward Beard Budding, an English Engineer, they share a connection. 

In 1827, Budding was working in the cotton mills and noticed blades sheering excess fibers from the surface of cloth and adapted the principle to the world’s first lawnmower. 

Then in 1830, Budding designed a pistol more technically advanced than Sam Colt’s revolver of 1835, but it never saw full scale production.

Since Budding’s inventions, the lawnmower has been a ubiquitous marvel that keeps getting more efficient, easier to use, and cheaper to obtain. Mass production by companies like Murray and Honda have made mowers available to virtually every homeowner as well.

Although the lawn mower has gotten more complex throughout the history of the lawn mower. it has always improved.

The Bottom Line: Repairing your Own Self-Driving Push Mower

Most homeowners prefer the chore of mowing their lawn just for the exercise and to save money; any disruption of this can be a significant inconvenience and can even lead to fines by the city if not mowed in ample time.

In addition, regular mower maintenance can help in prolonging its life. For example, changing oil and sharpening blades regularly. 

Additionally, using gasoline without any ethanol may also help to reduce build up in the engine, ensuring the mower will run smoothly for years to come. 

Hope these tips have answered the call for help!

However, if none of these tips work, hiring a landscaping professional may be an option.


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