How to Drive a Zero-turn Lawn Mower?

There is no doubt a zero-turn lawn mower is as fast as the conventional lawn tractor. When it comes to speed efficiency, it is better than the lawn tractor. It is also ideal for the mowing of large lawns. However, the seeming problem with a zero-turn lawn mower is that many people don’t understand how to drive it since it doesn’t have a conventional steering wheel like the tractor mower. It also comes with a propulsive system that is very alien to many. So how do you get to drive it? This is what we are going to explain in this article.

Firstly, read the manual

After purchasing a zero-turn mower, the very first thing to do is to read the manual step by step. It gives you an idea of how the manufacturer wants you to handle the machine. However, you need more than a manual to drive a zero-turn mower. 

Get familiar with the controls of the mower

Familiarizing yourself with all the controls of the mower will give you a headstart. There is an ignition switch for the cranking of the mower. The clutch is meant to engage the mowing blades. The steering arms are the replacement of the steering wheel. The deck height change helps to raise the blade. Before starting the mower, it makes sense to check the oil, fuel, belts, blades and the tyres to be sure they are all in good shape.

Operating the tool

Many think driving a zero-turn mower is difficult, but that is not true. Practice, they say lead to perfection. So, constant practice is the key point. Many of the zero-turn lawn mowers have two opposing levers or handlebars just like the paddles of a boat. Moving those levers forward will make it to move forward in a straight line. Moving the levers backwards will also make it to move in a reverse position. By moving just one lever, the wheel of that side of the lever of the machine will either move forward or backwards.

Making a turn

The zero-turn mower can only turn 180 degrees without moving forward or backwards. However, this causes a gouge on the turf because, at that point, the mower is pivoting around non-moving wheels. So what you have to do at this point is to make a three-point turn. A three-point turn involves bringing the mower to a grinding halt before the turn. This means moving the levers into reverse, and making the turn immediately the wheels are moving backwards. Using this technique will prevent the creation of a gouge on the turf and with more practice; you can perfect the technique over time with just a little backward movement.

Making a turn down the hill

Making a turn down the hill with a zero-turn mower is considered a dangerous manoeuvre. As a piece of general advice, avoid the mowing of any hill that has a slope that is more than 15 degrees. You should also move slowly when you are mowing a sloppy terrain. Avoid a sudden change of direction and don’t make any sharp turns. Do the mowing when the grass is dry so that the machine can have some traction.

Breaking and speed

One of the greatest advantages of a zero-turn lawn mower is that it mows at a faster speed than the conventional tractor mower. This fast speed can pose a great challenge for beginners. Moving at a faster speed means you have to react quickly when you need to stop and should know that the braking mechanism is not the same as the conventional tractor mower. Most of the zero-turn lawn mowers don’t have a brake pedal. So the option left is to move the two steering levers to the neutral position. The absence of a brake pedal makes it difficult for new operators who are used to the conventional way of applying a brake. Again, it takes constant practice to master this braking technique. 

You can see the best zero turn lawn mower list.

Advantages of a zero-turn mower

A zero-turn mower is an excellent machine for personal use. Its maintenance is also easy. There are a lot of advantages that come with using a zero-turn mower. Here are some of them:

  • Easy maneuverability – The zero-turn mower has two handles on both sides for the easy control of the machine. The direction of the machine can be controlled pretty fast and it can turn 180 degrees with ease.
  • Speed efficiency – With the zero-turn mower, you can get the job done within a short time. A wider area can also be mowed with this machine. This helps to save a lot of time.
  • Increased efficiency – Most of the latest models of the zero-turn mower come with a range of 5 to 30 horsepower. They cut the grass with high speed allowing you to mow the lawn with high efficiency.  
  • Less strenuous – If you have mastered how to drive a zero-turn mower, it becomes easier to operate. It is less strenuous when compared to driving a tractor mower. There is no issue of muscle strains. It allows you to cover more areas with less effort.
  • Comfortable to drive – A zero-turn mower brings a lot of comfort to the user. One of the features is the power steering. With the power steering, there is no struggle with the steering. It also comes with a comfortable seat.
  • Effective – The zero-turn mower is effective when mowing grass. It gives you a well-cut grass that is perfectly manicured. With its excellent turning ability and manoeuvrability, you can mow closer to obstacles such as trees and fences. It does better landscaping than the tractor mower. This is not to negate the usefulness of a trimmer.

Final Thoughts

From this article, we have learnt how to drive a zero-turn mower. It is clear like broad-day light that it is super easy to drive a zero-turn mower. If you are a new operator, you should be careful when driving the machine on sloppy terrain. For the small and medium-sized yard, the zero-turn mower is the best recommendation.  

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