Having a riding lawn mower or garden tractor is great for getting work done in the lawn, but unfortunately, thing can go wrong with them. If you have to fight with the mower to get work done, it can become a real hassle to use, and may end up making work harder. One of the worst problems to have to deal with is a riding mower that is constantly pulling to one side, which means you will have to fight to keep it on track while mowing. So what can be causing steering issues, and how can you fix them?
Check Your Tires
Often, a steering problem may not be rooted in the steering system itself, but in the wheels and tires. A tire that is low on air compared to the others can cause the mower to pull towards that wheel. The same goes for the hard wheels in the front on some riding mowers – one that is worn excessively may pull the steering to that side. This is easy to diagnose and correct, and can be done at home.
If you have a bagger, counterweights, or attachments, failure to center the weight can make your riding mower pull to the heavier side. Check your equipment and make sure it isn’t all heavy towards one side. Like with your tires and wheels, this is very easy to fix at home.
This is unique to zero-turn mowers that use do not use the usual rack-and-pinion steering. Zero-turn mowers can develop traction issues, where when both throttles that control the rear wheels are pushed forward with the same force, one wheel may transfer power more efficiently than the other, causing the mower to want to push towards the weaker side. You will need to consult your operators manual for specifics for your particular model. This can be a complex procedure depending on the mower, and may be better off left to a professional.
If your riding mower has disc or drum brakes, pulling to the side can be caused by one brake not releasing as cleanly as the other, or by a frozen brake caliper. This will require the removal of a tire to take a look at the brakes themselves. his sort of repair can be done at home, if you are comfortable with getting dirty.
So if your lawn mower doesn’t want to keep a straight line, and you find yourself getting weary trying to keep it in line, take a look at these areas, you may have a steering issue that can be easily fixed.