Common Cub Cadet Zero-Turn Mower Problems + Troubleshooting Tips

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Cub Cadet zero-turn mowers undoubtedly shine as remarkable lawn-care companions. However, just like any machinery, they aren’t immune to occasional hiccups. Over time, wear and tear can take its toll on various mower components, leading to operational issues. The key lies in recognizing these problems and knowing how to address them effectively.

In this comprehensive guide, let me resolve some of the most prevalent problems that you might encounter with your Cub Cadet zero-turn mower to keep it running smoothly and your lawn looking its best!

Top Cub Cadet Zero Turn Mower Issues + Fixes

Issues with your lawnmower may range from sudden power loss to weak hydrostatic transmission. Fortunately, these problems can be fixed conveniently. Some issues can be fixed in the comfort of your home as outlined here:

1. Mower Won't Start

So many reasons can prevent your mower from starting. A damaged spark plug, Cub Cadet belt keeps coming off, poor connection, and clogged fuel filter can cause such an issue. Old fuel in the tank, no gas in the tank, and a dirty carburetor can also be responsible.

cub cade xt2

If you discover a bad spark plug or dirty carburetor, you can either clean the deposits or replace them to resolve your Cub Cadet starting issues. For clogged fuel and air filters, you should replace them to permit fuel flow. 

2. Mower Suddenly Stops

Lawnmowers like the John Deere riding mower machines suddenly stop if there’s a power loss. This can be caused by compromised air systems, lack of fuel/bad fuel, and clogged air/fuel lines. 

If it’s bad fuel, you should drain the tank and replace it was the fresh one. Bad fuel leaves debris and gummy deposits in the tank, which clogs the fuel filter and the carburetor. For the filters and lines, you should remove the clogs or replace them if they are in bad condition.

3. Mower Producing Smoke

A mower may produce smoke if oil passes into the cylinder from the crankcase and starts to burn off. Another possible cause could be low oil capacity, leading to components burning due to friction.

cub cadet mower producing smoke

The issue can be fixed by reducing the oil level in the crankcase to the recommended level. If the problem persists, you can take it to the repair shop. 

4. Weak Hydrostatic Transmission

If the hydraulic is low or the drive belt is worn out, the mower may experience a weak hydrostatic transmission. You can fix the issue by replacing the drive belt and changing the hydraulics according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

5. Mower Won't Steer Straight or Correctly

Several things, such as worn steering parts, unequal tire pressure, and bad dampers, can cause your Cub Cadet Zero-Turn mower to go off track and steer in the wrong direction. Check the tire pressure first and ensure they are filled adequately. 

cub cade cutting deck

Worn steering components and damper should be replaced. If one tire moves faster than the other, adjust the speed bolt. You can refer to the manual to do this or contact repair services. 

6. Mower Not Moving

The belt drive alongside the tensioner pulley is two core components of a mower. If they are damaged, your mower may not be able to move. In addition, if the release lever or the bypass rod on the hydrostatic is wrongly positioned, the mower may not move. 

You can fix the lever issue by rightfully positioning it. For the drive belt and tensioner pulley, replacing would do. Ensure you inspect other components for notable defects.

7. Mower Vibrating

Vibration is a major Cub Cadet zero-turn mower problem caused by loose components, failing bearings and pulleys, and unbalanced blades [1]. These issues can be addressed by adjusting the parts. You should also replace damaged components. 

cub cadet transmission repair

8. Uneven Cut

If your Cub Cadet riding lawn mower cuts unevenly, you should inspect the tires, blade, and mower deck. Damaged or dull blades and uneven tires can make the mower cut unevenly. If the mower deck is unlevel, the cuts won’t be smooth. 

You can sharpen the blade for better cuts if not damaged. The tires should be of the ideal pressure, and the deck should be level. 

9. Gas Leaking

Gas leaks occur if the carburetor gasket is damaged. However, it shouldn’t stop you from investigating other possible causes. All you need to do is replace the gasket and remove excess gas from the tank

10. Mower Difficult to Start

Difficult starts are common problems of Cub Cadet zero-turn mowers. Some of the causes of this include the dirty carburetor and old fuel. The solutions are taking the carburetor out for a deep clean if you’re capable and draining the old fuel. 

Also Read: John Deere 125R Problems and Fixes 


What would make a Cub Cadet not start?

A Cub Cadet may not start due to a damaged spark plug, clogged fuel/air filters, faulty battery, bad fuel, clogged fuel pump and carburetor, and corroded components.

How do I know if my Cub Cadet solenoid is bad?

You would know if your Cub Cadet solenoid is faulty if it gets hot and smells. 


In my experience, no Cub Cadet zero-turn mower is immune to occasional issues. As time goes by, it’s natural for these machines to encounter the problems. Fortunately, the solutions can be applied by you at your convenience, giving you the power to get your mower back in top shape. 

However, if these issues persist despite your best efforts, it’s advisable not to delay and seek professional assistance at a repair shop. Your mower’s optimal performance is just a step away with the right troubleshooting and maintenance.

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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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