[Fixed] John Deere Riding Mower Won’t Go Forward Or Reverse

One day, you get on your riding mower to deck out your lawn and find it’s not moving. It’s the cutting season, and the mower isn’t running! You feel panicky and do not understand What might be the issue? Can it be fixed?

John Deere is a top manufacturer of riding mowers. Despite this, customers of John Deere mowers have complained about this equivalent issue. The John Deere riding mower isn’t going forward or backward.

Now, this problem can happen due to several factors, including:

  • Old Hydraulic Fluid
  • Brake Problems
  • Faulty Drive Belt
  • Carburetor Malfunctioning
  • Hydraulic Fuel Leakage
  • Lack of Proper Maintenance

However, no matter what might be the cause, it isn’t so terrible. It just needs a few simple fixes!

Apart from the standard maintenance of the cutter, you need to learn a few other things that will help the mower to work feasibly.

This article will discuss all the possible reasons why your John Deere mower won’t move forward or reverse and also point out the solutions for each issue.

What are the Reasons of john Deere’s Steering Problems and Their Solutions?

What are the Reasons of john Deere’s Steering Problems and Their Solutions

All riding mowers have a particular life expectancy, after which they can malfunction or stop working. However, with proper maintenance, every mower can operate effectively for many years.

John Deere mowers have an average lifespan of ten years. However, they can get stuck – neither moving forward nor backward. Here we will learn about the primary causes and how to solve them.

Knowing where or what to check will help your mower move again easily. So let’s get started!

Old Hydraulic Fluid

The old hydraulic fluid is one of the key reasons why the hydrostatic John Deere lawn mower isn’t moving.

Other possible reasons include a worn drive belt or air in the lines. In addition, the hydraulic fluid helps in driving the transmission. Now, this fluid can sit for a long time, like in the cold season, failing in transmission.

If you encounter such an issue, you have to drain the old hydraulic oil from the engine and refill it with new oil.

You can go through the user’s manual to know the right mixture and do it yourself. Otherwise, take professional help to change the old hydraulic oil.

Brake Problems

Your John Deere mower might be emitting a smell like a belt is burning, not moving forward or backward. Furthermore, the wheels are rotating in opposite directions.

One possible reason is that the brake is getting stuck due to the pins in it. And the brake is located on the transmission’s side.

Remove the brake from the mower and clean it up.

Before putting it back, you are recommended to do a light brass brushing.

Faulty Drive Belt

The engine crankshaft is connected to the transaxle pulley and the rear wheels via a ground drive belt. The John Deere mower moves forward with the help of this drive belt.

So how to ensure that this drive belt is functioning properly in your mower?

  • A worn-out drive belt will produce a squealing sound when the mower moves.
  • The drive belt slips on the pulley, causing the mower to move slowly.
  • And, if the belt has broken, the mower will stop moving.

You have to change the belt to fix this problem. To do this –

  • Unfasten the spark plug: Lift your mower’s hood and detach the spark plug wire.
  • Pull out the mower deck: Detach the cutting blades, the right suspension arm, and the right rear deck bracket. Then, take off the deck from beneath the frame.
  • Disconnect the ground drive belt: After detaching the engine pulley bolt, take the engine pulley off the crankshaft. Then, disconnect the drive belt from the belt guides and idler pulleys.
  • Put out the battery: Unfasten the bolts connecting the cables and batteries. After that, lift the battery out of the battery box.
  • Pull out the ground drive belt: Now disconnect the drive belt from the transaxle pulley and remove the dive belt.
  • Set the new ground drive belt: Coil the belt over the transaxle pulley, set every bolt in place, and connect the cables. After that, set the engine pulley bolt and washer.
  • Reinstall everything: After pushing the deck beneath the tractor frame, fasten all the connections again, including the deck bracket and right suspension arm. Assess everything, rejoin the spark plug wire and close the mower hood. 

Carburetor Malfunctioning

Air and fuel blend in the carburetor to form an explosive mixture to drive the engine. Customers have reported the carburetor failure that prevented their mower from starting.

Well, carburetors can fail to function due to clogging and gummed-up gasoline, making it hard to move the engine.

You have to either clean the carburetor or change the carburetor, and to do this; you need to –

  • Switch off the ignition button and detach the key. Then, leave the engine for some time to cool.
  • Detach the bolt joining the battery and the negative cable by lifting the seat. The battery even gets disconnected.
  • Now, lift the hood, detach the air duct screws, and put out the air duct along with the air filter cover.
  • After taking off the air filter, remove the blower housing. Then, unfasten the fuel line and clear any spilled fuel.
  • Detach the air intake nuts, the wire from the fuel solenoid, and finally, the throttle spring.
  • Disconnect the choke rod and take off the carburetor.
  • After cleaning the gasket, clean the carburetor set the new carburetor.
  • Redo all the above processes
  • Reconnect the fuel line and set up the engine blower housing again
  • Before reconnecting the battery, set the air duct and air filter.

Hydraulic Fuel Leakage

Customers even complained about oil leakage that prevented the mower from mowing. Look into the following signs to know if the lines are leaking oil –

Burning smell – it will indicate line leakage.

Jerky or sluggish movement – Line leakage won’t produce optimum pressure to move the mower smoothly.

If you want to fix this issue, you have to spot the leakage source to fix it. So the sources can be –

  • Crankcase Gaskets: The crankcase can break or get cracked due to immense pressure. Thus, replace the cap if it is broken.
  • Gasket Seals: Oil can leak from the seal if the rubber parts are cracked or worn. Thus, replace it quickly.

Lack Of Proper Maintenance

If your mower isn’t properly tuned up, the engine can suffer. The air filter can get clogged with debris that further prevents the mixing of air and fuel in the carburetor for combustion. As a result, the mower stops moving forward or backward.

You can boost the engine’s efficiency by replacing the engine oil, air, oil, and other filters. However, replacing the air filter will take a maximum of 15 minutes; simply follow the below steps –

  • Unfasten the spark plug
  • Rotate the air filter’s knobs anticlockwise to remove the old air filter.
  • Now put a new air filter with the cover. By rotating the knobs clockwise, you will secure the cover.
  • Connect the spark plug again.

Final Verdict

Like the John Deere, all mowers have some issues. But proper and regular servicing of these machines can keep them functioning for more than their average life span.

All the possible reasons behind your John Deere mower not moving forward or backward have been discussed. However, if the mower still needs to be fixed, you will need the help of professionals.

About Jennifer Igra

Growing up in Brooklyn, New York City known for it’s green gardens. Jennifer, a 30 year old gardener and green living fanatic started Igra World to share her gardening journey and increase gardening awareness among masses. Follow Igra World to improve your gardening skills.

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