How To Start A Zero-Turn Mower

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If you’re serious about lawn care, or you work for a landscaping company and spend a lot of time around backyards, then you’ve most likely heard of zero-turn lawn mowers.

On a zero-turn lawn mower, the cutting deck is located at the front of the mower, compared to being found underneath a conventional tractor.

People who don’t necessarily consider themselves landscapers but want to take care of their lawns can benefit massively from using this type of machine.

Tractors are more difficult and time-consuming to maneuver than lawnmowers, and a ZTR is also much smaller, making it easier to use,

The steering of a ZTR mower requires some experience, but the advantages of using this type of mower are well worth the effort.

These benefits include more maneuverability, an unobstructed view of the cutting deck, higher speeds, and the mowing time being essentially halved because of how effective this machine is.

On the other hand, there is a steep learning curve that you have to face when you first get a ZTM. The first step is learning how to turn it on. Follow this step-by-step guide below to find out how to safely turn on a ZTM.

How To Start A ZTM

Before the engine can be started on a Zero Turn lawn mower, all of the safety features, including having a person sitting in the driver’s seat, need to be in the appropriate position.

Under the seat is a safety interlock switch that prevents the vehicle from starting if the switch thinks that there is not enough weight in the seat.

This feature is great as it stops little kids from driving around on the ZTM, but for lighter adults, you’ll have to make sure that this switch is off before you start.

Once this is done, follow the steps below to get your ZTM started.

How To Start A Zero-Turn Mower
  1. To activate the gasoline supply, move the fuel selector valve to either the left or the right fuel tank from its default “Off” position in the middle of the valve. Either behind the seat or close to the gasoline tank on the body of the mower is where the fuel selector will be located.
  2. To engage the parking brake, raise the parking brake lever to an upward position and then pull it until it’s vertical. The parking brake is the metal lever that is the longest on the mower and is located on the side of the operator’s seat.
  3. To disengage the blades’ rotation, move the PTO switch — which has a round handle and is found on the control panel — toward the interior of the machine.
  4. Position both of the traction levers used for steering and motion into the “Neutral” slot that’s located on each side of the mower. When the levers are pulled in the opposite direction of their rotation, they are in the neutral position.
  5. To achieve maximum speed, pull the throttle lever up. A picture of a rabbit is typically found at the top of the lever, while a picture of a turtle is usually seen at the bottom.
  6. To engage the choke when starting a cold engine, pull the button toward you until it clicks. Don’t use the choke if the mower has been used recently and is already heated.
  7. Insert the key into the ignition, and then either turn the key itself or the knob to the right of the key to start the engine. If the choke was engaged, you should gradually pull it closer to you.
  8. While sitting in the operator’s seat, let go of the parking brake, gently pull out the PTO switch to activate the blades, and then bring them horizontally toward you. To move forward, you need to pull both levers forward. You can achieve a greater speed by moving them further forward.

    To go in the opposite direction, move the leavers backward. To make a forward turn, move the lever on the side you want to turn to the neutral position. This will cause the vehicle to turn in the forward direction.

Top Tips

Start out moving a zero-turn mower at a slow speed without the blades engaged so you can get used to the controls and steering. Once you are comfortable with that, you can increase the speed.

When you mow, it’s important to practice making tight bends gently at first to avoid hitting the cutting deck on tree trunks, light posts, and other objects.

Although the controls may be found in different areas of the mower depending on the brand and model, the beginning of cutting with a zero-turn mower is always the same.

You won’t have any trouble finding any of the controls because each one is labeled with its name.

How To Drive A ZTM

Turning a ZRT for the first time can be difficult, but the more you do it, the easier it will become. Once you know how, you’ll probably have a lot of fun while you’re at it because you’ll be able to show off your skills and get the job done quickly.

When you’re getting ready to make a turn, imagine you’re riding a bike. You will turn to the right if you move the lever on the left ahead while simultaneously pulling the lever on the right back.

To do a left turn, you will need to pull the lever on the left back and push the lever on the right forward.

Caution is advised since the zero-turn steering is very sensitive, but this just means that it’s a lot easier to make sharp turns with this mower.


By using a ZTM, mowing your grass around obstacles like bushes, trees, flowerbeds, and other landscaping features will be a surprisingly easy task.

While there’s a steep learning curve when it comes to using a ZTM for the first time, once you get the hang of it you’ll find cutting your grass to be a much easier and more fun experience.

If you put in the effort to practice, you will soon be able to move around your property with ease in no time at all.

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