John Deere Zero Turn Steering Problems and Solutions

To make the John Deere zero turn mowers more maneuverable than other types, the manufacturers use hydraulic control for each side.

But some reasons can cause steering problems like damaged steering gear, missing bolts, debris, and then it will be tough to maneuver the mower.

However, there are possible solutions too, like fixing and replacing the steering wheels, bearings, bolts, and other parts. 

So, to get to know more about the John Deere zero turn steering problems and solutions, scroll down and go through the article.

Characteristics Of Problems With John Deere Zero Turn Mower Steering 

There are some significant causes by which you can easily identify when your John Deere zero turn lawn mower needs proper inspection and repairing or replacement regarding the steering. 

So, let’s learn more about those reasons for the steering issues –

Increase/Decrease Drive Wheel Speeds

Sometimes the mower could be veering towards one direction because the drive wheel on one side is turning slower than its other.

Undercarriage and deck

Sometimes the mower gets stuck on the ground if you are going for a slope higher than the recommended. Thus your mower will show steering problems and won’t go forward and back. 

Incorrect Tire Pressure 

The tire problem is one of the major causes when it comes to a steering problem. Some had encountered over or under-inflated tires which caused steering issues. 

Slipped Steering Gear

Once a customer stated that he hit his zero turn john deere mower with a brick wall. And this incident had dislodged the gear. This gear controls the steering system. So, he was facing some steering issues. 

Wheel Bearings Issue

A customer complained that the previous owner of his mower didn’t take care of its wheel bearings. They flopped side to side. 

Over time, the john deere lawn tractor became difficult to steer. This is because the bolts can get loosened, or the bushings can get worn. This may prevent the gear engagement required for easy steering. 


Lack of regular maintenance or sticking of the debris to the parts is one of the main causes of the steering problems.

Foreign materials like string or long weeds can get wrapped around your blade shaft. It can hinder the steering. Check the other parts if debris can get stuck. 

What To Do When You Detect John Deere Zero Turn Mower Steering Problems?

Whenever you encounter any reasons stated above, make sure to follow the below instructions in order to fix the problem-

Fixing the wheel speeds

If your john deere mower is turning to one side when you push both steering levers forward, you need to either slow down the faster wheel or speed up the sluggish wheel.

To do this, you need to follow some steps –

  1. Determine the way your mower turns (left/right).
  2. Loosen the nut on the unit’s adjustment bolt.
  3. Adjust the speed by either turning the adjustment bolt clockwise to decrease the steering lever travel or turning the adjustment bolt counterclockwise to increase the steering lever travel.
  4. Retighten the nut.

Reducing the Wobble

Sometimes steering is wobbly. This can happen for the tie rod. The rod is running in between the left-hand lever and the left rear wheel hydrostatic drive.

This helps push the short lever further forward to create more balance. You may need to replace it.

Your steering may also be suffering due to a destroyed or bent wheel spindle. You may also need to replace the wheel spindle.

Align Steering Levers

To avoid awkward steering, you need to loosen the two arms. And then align them to an ideal position.

To do this –


1. Adjust the height of the steering lever –

  • Disassemble the hardware which is securing the handlebar to the upper control arm.
  • Move the handlebar up/down to align the mounting holes with the preferred adjusting holes.
  • Reinstall and retighten the hardware.

2. Adjust the steering lever width –

  • Look at the lower control arm and start by loosening the hardware located at its base.
  • Locate the eccentric spacer and loosen the nut on the hex bolt supporting the eccentric spacer.
  • Adjust the spacer appropriately for both arms.
  • Tighten the hardware.

3. Adjust the steering lever reach (Forward or Backward)-

  1. Loosen the hardware securing the steering control to the upper control arm.
  2. Rotate the steering lever either forward/backwards to your comfort.
  3. Tighten the bolts.

Adjusting the Speed Nut

When moving your steering arms, you’ll see a bolt that prevents the arm from moving forward. Sometimes the arm needs to get tightened or loosened to allow for a greater range of movement. 

Use a wrench to loosen the nut and turn the bolt itself. Moving the bolt to the right to decrease your speed as the bolt comes out. Turning it to the left will increase your speed since it will go further into its housing.

Fixing the tire pressure

To solve the issue, you need to check the mower’s operator manual to ensure the correct amount of tire pressure. Then examine each tire by using a tire gauge.

If you see that the psi of the tire is off, release or inflate air from the tires until you get the correct amount of psi mentioned in the manual.

Adjusting the steering levers 

Sometimes the steering will lean to one side. It will affect the mowing experience. To erase this issue –

  • Adjust the height of the handle
  • Adjust the axis of the lever

Bolts fixing 

Engine bolts are used to reduce the vibration of the mower while steering or running the engine. But sometimes the bolts get loosened. Secure engine bolts and replace any missing bolts. 


To lessen the problem and enhance the lifespan, you need to remove all debris and items wrapped around the blade shaft. 

Additionally, you should avoid sloppy terrains. First of all, you need to examine the area. Then, you have to fix the height according to your need. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How often will I have to adjust the steering?

The nuts and bolts can come loose through vibration. And you will have to correct steering issues relatively often. However, you’ll have to do this once or twice a season.

How can I prevent steering problems before they occur?

You need to check the bolts, bearings, tie rod, etc., to see if they are wearing down. If they are damaged, you can replace these components before they create any issues.

What are the benefits of wider decks?

Wider decks can cut larger paths on each pass, take less time to cut your lawn and cut straight paths quickly.

How zero turn mower works?

The zero turn ride-on machine has front caster wheels that pivot at sharper angles. So, it is easy to take turns and trim around obstacles in your lawn. 


After knowing the john deere zero turn steering problems and solutions, it is your duty to take care of the issues and check the parts before it gets late.

If your lawn is on the small side, a john deere zero-turn mower might not be worth the investment. But if you have a lot of ground to cover, literally, then it could be worth the cost.

Clean the mower after each use to help ensure reliable service. Replace the plugs, filters, and oil at least once per cutting season.

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