Lawn Mower Won’t Go Forward or Reverse

If you’re in a situation where your lawn mower won’t go forward or reverse, that can be as frustrating as it is problematic. The mower needs to move if you’re going to mow, after all. So here are some things that you can check to troubleshoot what you need to do to make your mower go.

Is Your Lawnmower Stuck in the Mud?

Lawn Mower Won’t Go Forward or Reverse

This is probably one of the more obvious causes of a mower being unable to move, and odds are good that you can already see if that’s the case. But sometimes mud can be insidious and not as easy to notice. 

Double check and make sure you are level with hard ground. Press your foot against the earth and make sure it doesn’t sink. This can also be true of snow or sand.

If your lawnmower is stuck and sunk into the mud, you can free it by putting something with better traction underneath. A sheet of plywood, for example, is an easy way to leverage your mower free of whatever it’s trapped in. 

Is Your Drive Belt Slipping or Damaged?

Lawn Mower Won’t Go Forward or Reverse

This is one of the most common reasons a riding mower won’t move. The drive belt loops around the front and back mechanisms and contributes to the lawn mower’s ability to go both forward and backward. You need to ensure that the drive belt is positioned where it is supposed to be and that it also fits snugly over the areas where it’s supposed to go.

If your drive belt has slipped, putting it back on track can often fix the problem of a mower not wanting to move. If the drive belt is damaged, try replacing it. Hardware stores, and online retailers such as Amazon, carry plenty of drive belts, so you’ll be able to find the one you need. 

Do You Need to Change Your Hydraulic Fluid?

Lawn Mower Won’t Go Forward or Reverse

Hydraulic fluid facilitates smooth gear changes and most of the mower’s internal mechanisms. Hydraulic fluid doesn’t last forever, and factors such as cold weather can make it go bad easier and faster. As a general rule, you should be changing your hydraulic fluid every 1200 service hours.

Try changing your hydraulic fluid and see if that fixes the problem. You may want to skip this step if you know you’ve done it recently, but even if you haven’t and it turns out not to be the problem, you can at least start keeping track of how long it’s been since you changed it out.

Is Your Lawnmower Stuck in Gear?

Although not every lawnmower can shift gears, it is still possible for yours to have gotten stuck in one. If you’ve tried everything else and your lawnmower still isn’t working, check to see if it’s stuck between gears. 

This is one of the issues that doesn’t have a quick at-home fix to it, and you’re going to be better off calling a professional to take a look. There is so much inside your lawnmower that could be unaligned, and the fix can be anything from a simple adjustment to needing to replace whole mechanisms inside the mower.

Lawn Mower Won’t Go Forward or Reverse: Final Thoughts

If you’re having trouble getting your mower to go forward or in reverse or if it’s losing power when cutting, numerous problems could be going on. Be patient and check on each of them and odds are good that you’ll eventually find the problem at hand.