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How to fix steering on a riding lawnmower? Try these troubleshooting steps

Handling and steering are one of the key mechanisms in riding lawnmowers. Perfect handling allows you to make accurate turns in your garden, thus improving the overall turf finish. It makes mowing comfortable and enjoyable. If your steering wheel drifts by itself towards the right or left or has excessive vibrations and a play in it, then you may need to troubleshoot your steering mechanism. For this purpose, this blog post provides you with all the knowledge and expertise needed to fix the steering on a riding lawnmower.

How to fix steering on a riding lawnmower? Try these troubleshooting steps:

  • Step 1: Prep the lawnmower for repair by parking it on a flat surface and turning the ignition off.
  • Step 2: Check the tire pressure. If it seems too low, fill the tires with air.
  • Step 3: Check the steering gear by opening the steering support bolts.
  • Step 4: Replace the damaged bushings
  • Step 5: Replace damaged bearings, shafts, and washers that are a part of the steering assembly.
  • Step 6: Check the drag linkage that connects the tie rod with the gear sector.
  • Step 7: After the fixes have been made, test the lawnmower for performance.

Steering problems can be caused due to various issues. If the tire pressure in the mower is too low, you might face difficulty in making turns. The steering shaft or the steering support assembly might have been worn out, resulting in problems. Furthermore, the mower’s drag linkage might have become loose, contributing to play and vibrations in the steering wheel. Luckily, the steering adjustment is not a tedious task and can be performed by yourself, provided you follow the steps correctly.

We recommend going through the entire article to understand better the repair procedure needed to fix the steering wheel on a riding lawnmower.

Fixing the Steering on a Riding Lawnmower, Step-by-Step:

Please follow the procedure mentioned below to fix the steering mechanism on a riding lawnmower.

● Step 1: Perform initial measures:

To start, you need to prepare the lawnmower by performing some initial preparations.

  • Park your mower: For this, you need to find a flat surface and park your mower there.
  • Remove the spark plug cable: Disengage the mower blades by pulling the lever. Also, take the ignition key off. Disconnect mowers spark plug cable as well. This is a safety measure to ensure that the mower can not unintentionally start.
  • Set the wheels straight: After that, adjust the mower’s wheels. Adjust the steering wheel so that the wheels are pointing forward. The steering wheel should be at its default center position.

● Step 2: Checking tire pressure:

It can be challenging to steer if the tire pressure is not correct. If the pressure in tires is low, it will be tough to navigate the riding lawnmower correctly. Check the tire pressure on all wheels. Use your mower’s operator’s manual to check the tire pressure.

Use a pressure gauge to check the pressure as well. The reading in the tires should be as mentioned in the manual. Fill them up or release air from the tires until they match the amount of pressure in psi as suggested in the manual.

● Step 3: Checking steering gear:

The steering gear is one of the essential things that allow us to steer. If it is damaged or broken, then you will face issues in steering. The whole steering system is controlled by steering gear. The steering gear can dislodge if you hit a tree, rock, or brick while mowing.

A bolt holds this steering gear. You need to loosen that bolt and then turn the steering wheel entirely to the left. The equipment will produce a popping sound on returning to its original position. After hearing that sound, tighten the bolt back. It indicates that the gear is broken and you need to replace it with a new one.

● Step 4: Replacing the damaged bushings:

The bushings are present underneath the steering gear and are used to hold the bolts in place. Damaged bushings might lead to vibrations in the gear shaft.

To replace it, you need to remove the nut that holds the gear sector. Take the gear sector off the machine and then remove the bushings. After inserting the new one, reattach the gear sector and tighten the nut back as well.

● Step 5: Replacing damaged lawnmower bearings, shafts, and washers:

Bearings, rods, and washers are not huge. Still, they play a vital role as structural members in the steering mechanism of a lawnmower. If they seem damaged or worn, you might face steering issues.

– Lawnmower Bearings:

Bearings allow the wheels to turn on the shafts by providing ample lubrication. The shaft might oscillate eccentrically if the bearings are damaged.

  • Step 1: First of all, to replace it, remove the dust cap and snap the ring that is holding the wheel.
  • Step 2: Remove the wheels and take the bearings out from the axle.
  • Step 3: The bearings use grease to run smoothly. Grease them from both inside and outside. Also, use the lubricant on the inside of the wheel.
  • Step 4: Reinstall the wheel after you are done.

– Lawnower Shafts:

The shafts provide rotatory motion from the steering wheel to the gearbox. If these are damaged, you need to replace them as well.

  • Step 1: First of all, remove the mower deck, steering wheel, sprocket, and gas tank.
  • Step 2: Using pliers, remove the steering shaft’s spring clip by lifting the mower’s front end.
  • Step 3: Remove the post holding bolts, slide the washers, and remove the old shaft.
  • Step 4: Check the washers as well. If they are broken, then you need to replace them.
  • Step 5: After replacing the shaft and washers, reinstall the bolts and slide the shaft up through the bushing.
  • Step 6: After lowering the mower down and inserting spring clips, reinstall the fuel tank.
  • Step 7: Finally, reattach the steering wheel and tighten it correctly.

Check the following links for some guidance:

● Step 6: Checking the lawnmower linkages:

Linkages are rods that are attached to the steering box. They are connected in different ways depending upon the mower’s model. To replace them, you need first to check the model of your lawnmower. Any damage to these linkages affects your mower’s steering. So they need an immediate replacement. For this, you need to find the mounting points of connection. There are bolts present at each end. Remove these bolts and install a new linkage.

● Step 7: Testing the lawnmower:

After you have wholly followed the step-by-step process now, you need to test drive your mower. Start your mower as usual. Start moving your mower around. Check the steering of the lawnmower and see if it is fixed. The problem should be gone if you have followed the steps mentioned above.

Some Precautionary Measures:

While repairing or inspecting a lawnmower, you should always take care of safety precautions. It keeps you safe from any incident. Some of the precautionary steps that you should follow are given below:

  • Use safety gloves throughout the procedure when you are dealing with sharp parts
  • Turn off the ignition and disconnect the spark plug cable as mentioned earlier.
  • Use sturdy shoes.
  • Use lubricants to loosen screws and bolts.

Frequently asked questions:

1. The Lawnmower steering wheel is a bit loose; what to do?

If your steering wheel is a bit loose, then you need to replace some essential things. If the steering is loose and the wheel is not moving, then you need to replace the tie rod. Follow the video below if you need any help.

2. What should be the correct tire pressure for my lawnmower?

Correct tire pressure is important for steering. If the tire pressure is not accurate, it will affect the wheels’ traction and thus make it harder for them to complete turns. The Tire pressure of lawnmowers is generally measured in pounds per square inch (PSI). The factory setting for a standard riding lawnmower is 10 PSI for the rear and 14 PSI for front tires. Please check the owner’s manual to get a better grasp of the acceptable pressure values. 2-3 PSI difference is also acceptable.

3. The Front-wheel of my lawnmower is angled out. What to do?

If you notice that your riding lawnmower’s front wheels are angled out a bit, you need to fix them quickly because it can cause steering issues as well. It may be loose, so you need to repair it. Firstly, disconnect the spark plug to prevent accidents. Now, check the wheel’s mounting bolt. If it is loose, tighten it by using a wrench or replace it if it is broken.

However, if the wheel is broken, you need to replace it with a new one. Buy a new wheel from any hardware shop suitable for your lawnmower and replace it with the older one.

Final Remarks:

Steering is one of the most crucial mechanisms of a riding lawnmower. Fixing it is not as easy as fixing some other mower components. The parts and linkages associated with it are quite high in number. Hence, it is always tough to figure out which part is malfunctioning and hence, needs replacement. To avoid such problems with your lawnmower, always be sure that you drive it carefully and don’t bump into rocks and other obstacles, as this can loosen and damage certain components.