13 Most Common Problems With Husqvarna Riding Mowers & Zero Turn

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Handling expansive lawns is quite the challenge, and through the years, I’ve consistently relied on Husqvarna riding lawn mowers to get the job done. While they’re notably dependable, like all machines, they can occasionally hiccup, halting your mowing process.

If you’re new to troubleshooting Husqvarna mowers, rest assured. I’ve tackled a range of mower dilemmas over time, and I’m here to guide you through potential fixes to ensure your mowing experience remains uninterrupted.

Issue #1: Mower Won’t Start

When Husqvarna riding mowers refuse to start their engines, natural maintenance issues are often the culprit. But there’s no need to panic just yet. All you need to do is check certain components to solve this issue. 

Husqvarna Z254F 26HP Kohler Zero Turn Mower

First, you need to check if the freewheel control is in the “Engaged” option. The attachment clutch must also be disengaged as how you will check a Toro lawn mower failing to start. You should keep the control lever in a neutral position before attempting to start the riding mower. 

Not Enough/Bad Oil

In my many years tending to lawns, it’s often the simplest oversights that catch you off guard. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to remind myself to first check the fuel tank level.

If you notice it’s running low, don’t hesitate to top it off with fresh fuel. And a word to the wise—old or stale gas can do a number on your mower’s engine and fuel system. I always make sure to use fresh fuel for the best results.

Defective Spark Plugs

Besides that, this issue often occurs when Husqvarna mowers operate with dirty or faulty spark plugs. You may not know, but a spark plug is responsible for igniting fuel in your engine. 

Loose spark plug wires may result in a bad connection and eventually lead to your mower not starting. This will also cause your mower to stop forwarding and reversing once you navigate it through your lawn.  

husqvarna spark plug replacement

Before deciding to replace the old spark plug, it’s essential to check for any defective connectors. To do this, use a spark plug tester, which will indicate whether the spark plugs genuinely require replacement or not.

Dirty Fuel Filter

If your Husqvarna mower has a clogged fuel filter, it will restrict flow in the fuel lines and block your mower from starting. Unfortunately, the best solution is to get a new fuel filter for your riding mower. 

Similar to this, a dirty air filter could also hinder your mower’s start-up. When there’s dirt and grass residue in the air filter, it will restrict airflow inside the unit. Should you find the air filter undamaged, taking it out and cleaning it is the quickest solution. However, air filter replacement is your best shot if it’s in a bad state. 

husqvarna fuel filter

You might not think about it much, but a faulty gas cap can actually prevent your Husqvarna mower from starting. If the vent’s clogged, it’ll restrict fuel flow. 

I’ve found that a simple piece of wire can often do the trick to clear out any clogs. If that doesn’t solve the problem, then your next best move is to replace the gas cap.

Dirty/Clogged Parts

Other causes that may call for cleaning and replacement are a defective fuel pump, clogged fuel line, uncleaned carburetor, and broken recoil. For a broken ignition or mower safety switch, you may need to test them first before proceeding to replace them. 

If your Husqvarna mower suffers from a faulty charging system that causes this issue, it’s time to take it to an authorized repair shop. 

Issue #2: Mower Stops/Dies While Mowing

One of the common problems with Husqvarna riding mowers is their sudden power loss. Drawing from my hands-on encounters, this issue can arise from various sources—be it bad gas in the tank, a blocked air filter, damaged cooling pins, grimy carburetors, or even obstructed fuel lines.

Husqvarna Mz54F

If stale gas has been sitting in Husqvarna riding lawn mowers, the fuel tank needs to be drained. Also, a stabilizer can be used to clean the fuel system. 

Meanwhile, problems in the gas lines and cooling fins may also require you to clean out dirt, engine oil, and grass blocking airflow and fuel inside your riding mower. 

The same scenario applies to air filters and carburetors. Although cleaning these components can help make your Husqvarna mower work, remember that damaged ones may need immediate replacements, or it will ultimately cause other internal engine damage.

Issue #3: Mower Blades Won’t Engage

If the engine belts and riding mower blades refuse to engage amid cutting operations, it can signify damage. You may be tempted to replace your engine belts right away, but our team says checking if it’s worn out or not can be a better option to consider. 

You may not know, but damaged engine belts can greatly affect the performance of your mower blades. 

husqvarna blade replacement

Replacing a damaged belt is a no-brainer. However, you can’t expect an engagement when the drive belt is not mounted correctly. From my experience in handling Husqvarna lawn mower units, this issue has been mostly seen in model Z242F.  

If you want to know how to mount the drive belt in your Husqvarna mower properly, we recommend reading the user service manual. 

Issue #4: Mower Smoking

When smoke comes out from your Husqvarna zero-turn mowers like the Husqvarna Z242F lawn mower, there are many factors to consider.

Generally, this occurrence could mean that the excess oil burns [1] slightly more than the air flowing inside the engine. If you’re not aware, your mower consumes more gas because of engine compression. 

If you want to stop excessive fuel consumption, the clearances and valve timing must be set accordingly when the mower has low-level cylinder compression pressure. Too much oil could lead to engine pressure build-up and loss of crankcase vacuum, causing internal damage and defective engine breather assembly. 

husqvarna engine smoking problem

Engine cranks can also be lost due to an improperly seated dipstick, tube, or a damaged valve cover. Replacing any damaged components often restores the crankcase vacuum pressure and solves the issue of the riding mower smoking.

I also recommend assessing the overall state of your Husqvarna riding mowers before deciding to fix this issue by yourself. In some cases, a low-quality spark plug could hinder the motor and result in smoking. 

But if you’re in doubt, it’s always best to bring the unit to an authorized repair shop or technician. 

Issue #5: Weak Hydrostatic Transmission

It’s not a secret that most Husqvarna riding mowers run with hydrostatic transmission. You may experience problems with this feature when operating the mower with low oil levels or old gas causing your riding mower failing to pull properly

If that’s the case, I recommend following Husqvarna’s recommendation to have more fuel change intervals to keep the hydraulic system strong. 

husqvarna hydrostatic transmission repair

On top of that, you might want to check if the deck belt is in good condition. Newbie lawnmower users like you wouldn’t know, but the deck belt is responsible for the pump to work efficiently. 

Should you see any sign of damage, it’s a good idea to get a new deck belt component. The same advice applies to worn-out tensioner pulleys. 

Issue #6: Mower Won’t Go Straight or Steer in the Correct Direction

Husqvarna zero-turn mowers are known for their great maneuverability, but that doesn’t mean you won’t encounter steering problems. You might bump into this issue when the tire pressure is not balanced. Remember that all mowers need to adhere to the manufacturer’s tire pressure specification. 

Bad dampers could also be why the cutting deck is steering in the wrong direction, so it’s best to replace them if you notice anything wrong with them. 

It’s crucial to inspect components like bushings, gears, and washers. Because if these are worn out, your Husqvarna lawn mower will continue to experience steering problems. 

Issue #7: Mower Won't Move Forward or Reverse

If you manage to get your Husqvarna riding mower started but find it won’t move or go in reverse, it’s likely an issue with the drive belt and tensioner being worn out or damaged. 

I’ve seen this happen before, and usually, tightening the belt’s grip on the pulley can make a significant difference.

Husqvarna TS 348XD

However, there will be cases where it’s too damaged and may need replacement. You can also consider this solution for worn-out pulleys. Besides that, replacing springs and axle keys could also solve these problems with the Husqvarna mower deck. 

Issue #8: Mower Shakes or Vibrates

If you’re using a Husqvarna riding mower, you’d know that mowing over rocks, sewer lids, and other large materials leads to defective parts and damages that eventually cause vibration. 

Observing this issue in your mower deck can be distracting, so I would suggest tightening loose engine bolts. If you notice some of them missing, that can be the reason for the shaking. 

George Hull, owner of Septic Tank Cleaning Langley BC, emphasizes, ‘Ensure your sewer and septic covers are flush with the ground to prevent mower damage and protect your septic system. If covers are raised or loose, seek professional help promptly. Additionally, be aware that uneven covers can pose a tripping hazard, adding another layer of risk to your property.’

Check if the mower blades are mounted properly and if it doesn’t have any damage. It’s tricky, but unbalanced blades could make your mower vibrate while in operation. Debris in the mower and spindle could also cause this issue, so be sure to clean the unit thoroughly. Replace any damaged component, especially belts, blades, and bearings.

Issue #9: Uneven Cutting

It may surprise you, but some mowers would produce uneven cuts sometimes. When this specific problem happens, you should assess the situation by asking questions like, is the engine speed too slow? 

uneven cut grass

If you find bent spindles, bearings, or blades, it’s best to replace them straight away to avoid further issues. Also, it’s crucial to check that the tires are level and the blades are correctly installed. Trust me, taking care of these things upfront can save you a lot of hassle down the road.

Issue #10: Gas Leak

When using a Husqvarna riding mower, handling an oil leak is an urgent matter to take care of. It’s hard to notice it right away, but if you smell it from the place of storage, that could be a huge indication. 

Sometimes, all it takes is replacing the gas cap to prevent any fuel leakage. However, the issue could arise from damaged components like fuel pumps, fuel filters, fuel tank, shut-off valves, carburetor, and many more that gets fuel supply. 

The best you can do is inspect it all, drain excess oil from the mower tank and replace anything with cracks or leaks.  

Issue #11: Battery Dies Abruptly or Drains Quickly

It can be quite perplexing when a mower starts smoothly only to suddenly stop working. I’ve encountered this situation many times, and more often than not, a dirty spark plug is the culprit. 

Spark plugs play a crucial role in igniting the engine, so if they malfunction, it’s definitely a hassle. Usually, cleaning or replacing the plugs can solve this issue.

husqvarna battery

Sudden engine shutdown could also stem from a bad charging system or a problem with the battery itself. If it’s the latter, you can easily replace it. However, if it’s the charging system, you may need to have it serviced by a professional technician.  

Issue #12: Disposing and Bagging Issues

If you’re having problems with your mower’s bagging, disposal, and mulching functions, make sure that these functions are executed at full throttle through the starter rope. 

Because of that, it’s necessary to inspect if the engine is running fine. 

Issue #13: Mower Moving Slow

It may seem like a major issue, but your Husqvarna moving so slow could only be an indication that you have clogged components. I recommend cleaning the carburetor, fuel caps and lines, and air filters if you want to fix this right away.  


How many hours is a Husqvarna riding mower good for?

A Husqvarna riding mower is good for four hundred to eight hundred hours. If you use it sparingly and run it through regular maintenance, some riding mowers could even last up to fifteen years. If not properly maintained, expect these mowers to last half of their life span. 

Why does my Husqvarna mower stall when I engage the blades?

Your Husqvarna mower may stall when engaging the blades because the grass box isn’t tightly closed. Besides that, this issue may arise when the said box is not in the right alignment or if its sensor connections are loose or damaged. 

Faulty safety switches can also hinder your blades from engaging. 


Common problems involving Husqvarna riding mowers aren’t always intimidating or hard to handle. However, when you encounter internal engine issues that you’re unfamiliar with, I suggest consulting the user manual or sending the unit to a repair shop altogether. After all, maintaining equipment is not as easy as others think, and safety should be your top priority.  

When you need to make repairs, especially under the equipment, make sure to use the best lawn mower lift to do this safely. 

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Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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