Zero turn lawn mowers are very efficient pieces of machinery that can get the job done in half the time it would take a traditional lawn tractor. However, many people feel that they do not know how to operate a zero turn mower. This is because the machine does not have your conventional steering wheel. It also has a propulsion system that is very foreign to many people. So, how do you drive a zero turn lawn mower?
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Operating the ZTR
Zero-turn riding mowers or ZTR mowers come with two opposing handlebars or levers. These work like a pair of paddles on a boat. In fact, its basic operation is pretty much like operating a boat. ZTR mowers have their engines mounted at the back of the seat. Traditional lawn tractors have the engine mounted up front, like a car. It is important to keep this in mind when learning how to drive a zero turn mower.
Start by engaging the parking brake. Shift the gear in the mow or start position. Put the levers in their starting position. They should be wide apart on each side of the ZTR. Now, turn the key to start the engine. Pull both levers or handlebars over your lap. This will put the ZTR’s engine in neutral. Disengage the brake.
Right after disengaging the brake, you can now move forward. You do this by pushing both levers forward at the same time. The experience is like pushing a grocery pushcart. That is how simple it is. If you push the levers all the way, you will go up to 9 MPH. The fastest lawn tractor can only register a top speed of 7 to 8 MPH. This makes ZTR mowers a lot faster than your conventional lawn tractor.
Turning the ZTR mower is like turning a boat. If you want to go left, you will need to push the right handlebar or lever forward. To turn right, it is the left lever that you need to push forward. This is how to use a zero turn mower. It is like riding your bicycle. With this ability, it is possible to turn the ZTR mower on a dime. You cannot do that with a conventional lawn tractor.
One thing you have to understand about these machines is that they have very sensitive steering. If you push one lever to turn in the other direction, then you have to do it slowly. Do not make any sharp movements. Otherwise, you will end up damaging the lawn that you are working on.
Slowing Down and Braking
Slowing down is also easy. All you need is to pull the levers toward you. Remember, pushing the levers forward speeds up the mower. Pulling the levers backward will slow it down. If you pull the levers past neutral, this will put the ZTR mower in reverse.
Learning how to drive a zero turn mower is as easy as riding a bike or rowing a boat. For most people, it is as easy as pushing a cart in the grocery.