Sumo Gardener

4 Important Steps To Operating A Zero-turn Mower

Are you looking for tips on how to operate a zero turn mower? You are in luck because this article will show you simple ways you can maneuver around flower beds, trees and shrubs in your lawn. 

It’s very common to experience some frustration even as you use your zero turn mower, but practicing the steps laid out in this piece will have you cruising with it in no time.


How to Drive a Zero Turn Mower on a Hill

How to Operate a Zero Turn Mower

How to Turn On a Zero Turn Mower

In order to turn on the machine, you need to find and engage the parking brake. It is important that your drive handles are wide apart when starting the machine. 

You should push down the PTO to ensure it is in the off position. Once done, you can then turn the keys to start the engine. The next step is to pull the PTP knob up so as to connect the mower blades.

Your engine should be on neutral even while it is running. You can do this by pulling the two levers together over your thighs. 

Then disengage the brakes, push the levers forward simultaneously and the machine will start moving. Don’t push the levers very forward so that you don’t hit high speeds. Commercial ones also have a similar process.

How to Operate a Zero Turn Mower

How to Use a Zero Turn Mower

Many people complain of having some challenges when turning their ZRT. All that is needed is some patience and practice and you will become a pro at it.

You will come to find that you complete the task with speed and even get to enjoy it in the process. 

For turning while driving a zero-turn mower, assume you are riding a bike. If you pull back the right lever and push forward the left lever the machine will turn right.

If you want to turn left, pull back the left lever and push forward the right lever. It’s important that you are aware of the sensitivity of zero-turn mowers.

And take note that you can leave your lawn with a bad hole when you make 180 degrees turn. The reason for this is that the mower’s stationery wheels pivot around when you make such a turn.

If you want to slow down or to stop the mower, make sure you pull both levers backward towards your thigh and then to a neutral position. If what you want is to reverse, pull the lever towards your body while passing the neutral position.

How to Drive a Zero Turn Mower on a Hill

Knowing how to use your mower on a hill is equally as important as other ones we discussed above. And it is another challenging part for most people.

Before we go on, please note that it is not in any way advisable that you make a turn on a mower while coming down a hill. To be safe, make sure you do not at any time mow hills that their slopes are higher than 15 degrees.

Always move slowly and apply caution when moving up or coming down a hill. Don’t bother about any quick change in direction and never at any point make a sharp turn. 

You can mow the hill going up or coming down but not sideways. It is safer to mow the grass when the latter is dry. When in doubt of whether a hill is too steep for your zero-turn mower, back the hill straight up and if you can’t, it means it's too steep. 

How to Use a Zero Turn Mower

How to Slow Down and Brake with Zero Turn Mower

Another thing you may need to learn is how to slow down when using the mower. Just pull both levers towards you and backwards to slow it down (pulling it forward speeds it up). For reverse, pull the zero-turn mower past neutral. 

Now You Know How to Operate a Zero Turn Mower

If you are looking to purchase your own, check out our reviews of the best zero turn mowers for 2023. Driving a zero turn mower may seem daunting at first, but with constant practice and applying all we have laid out in this article, you’ll get a hang of it.

Always take it slow and never go off on speed until you have mastered the machine to a large extent.

About the Author Ann Katelyn

I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.

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