Fix Self Propelled Lawn Mower Wheels Won’t Turn?

A self-propelled lawnmower is a machine that uses an engine to move forward on its own. This makes it ideal for larger lawns and hilly slopes. When you use a self-propelled lawnmower, all you have to do is guide it from behind. That is why these machines are also called walk-behind lawnmowers. Some of the basics about self-propelled lawn mowers are covered below.

Walk-Behind Mowers

The walk-behind mower is the most common in American yards (or sheds/garages), and they come in a few varieties, and Using Self Propelled Mowers is much Easy.

Push Mowers

Push mowers are usually manual, with no motorized capacity to drive them over your lawn. Common push mower varieties include:

  • The reel mower,
  • Motorized (gas-powered) push mowers, or
  • Electric motors.
  • Let’s talk briefly about each of these types of push mowers, what’s good about them, and who they may be best for.

Reel Mowers

Reel mowers have a horizontal cylinder of blades attached to (and spun by) the wheels. They are quiet and cleanly cut grass with a scissor-like action. You may be familiar with this type of push lawnmower from “the old days” when gas-powered mowers were too expensive for many families. Reel mowers tend to be the least expensive models, due to their simplicity of design. They’re a great choice for smaller yards, fit homeowners, and yards with uniform, high-quality grass. If you have a larger yard, or your lot has hills or a bumpy lawn, a reel mower may not be a great choice for you.

Self Propelled Lawn Mower Wheels Won’t Turn?

Most mowers are rear-wheel drive, which means the power goes to the rear wheels. But some mowers like Craftsman are front, and some higher spec models are four-wheel drive. The first job, know which wheels do the driving. With that figured out, run the mower with drive engaged while the driving wheels are off the ground. If the wheels turn, even slowly, it indicates that the drive system itself is likely OK. It may just need to drive cable adjustment. I wrote a post on adjusting a drive cable here (Internal link). If the wheels still don’t move, we’ll have to go deeper. With all wheels on the ground again and the mower engine off.

Apply the drive lever, and pull the mower back ways. If the driven wheels (usually rear) lock up, it indicates that your drive cable is in place, however, it could still need adjustment, so check out my adjusting a drive cable post here (internal link) or there is a problem with the drive belt. To inspect the belt we’ll need to disable the mower and turn it over. If the rear wheels don’t lock up, it likely indicates that the drive cable is out of adjustment, detached or broken. The mower will need to be disabled, turned over and the cable inspected.

To disable your mower, remove the plug wire and turn off the gas if you have a gas tap. Always turn your mower over with the carburetor side facing up, this prevents gas from flooding the air filter, engine, and your work area.