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Poulan Pro Lawnmower Drive & Cutting Problems: Troubleshooting with fixes

With time, problems related to the drive and cutting mechanism can arise in all kinds of lawnmowers, even with a Poulan Pro Lawnmower. It is really helpful to get the know-how about some of these common issues so that you can fix them conveniently if they appear in your Poulan Pro lawnmower.

Poulan Pro Lawnmower Drive & Cutting Problems. Troubleshooting with Fixes

Your Poulan Pro lawnmower may fail to cut grass in straight patterns due to blunt or loosely installed blades or a poorly adjusted mowing deck. The drive belt and the pulleys could be loose or worn out if it fails to move forward. Other than that, some common issues that may come up in your Poulan Pro lawnmower include excessive vibrations, loose steering, uneven cut patterns, flat tires, etc.

To fix these problems on your lawnmower, I will provide a step-by-step method that can be easily followed and done with minimal equipment.

Poulan Pro Lawnmowers: Troubleshooting Cutting Problems

Typically, lawnmowers can undergo three types of cutting problems. Either the lawnmower doesn’t cut straight or produces uneven cut patterns, or the lawnmower isn’t cutting grass at all.

1) Lawnmower doesn’t cut straight?

One reason your Poulan Pro lawn mower isn’t cutting straight could be a damaged or poorly leveled mower deck. Hitting debris or bumps and changing the blades can disturb the horizontal level of the mower deck, which results in uneven cuts.

Another reason is deflated tires or unequal pressure in all the tires. This causes the deck to raise lightly from one side and lower on the other side where the tire pressure is low.

Sometimes, your mowing speed can also be why the grass isn’t cutting straight. For instance, when there is too much and too dense grass to be cut, and the mowing speed is high, many grass blades may be left uncut or improperly cut. Hence, you could notice that the cut wasn’t straight.


Follow these steps to fix problems causing a non-straight cut:

  • Mower Deck: Check the height of the mower. You can refer to the manual to see the ideal height of the mower deck. If it looks misaligned, too low, or too high, readjust it using the leveling screws or the height lever.
  • Tire: You should check all the tires for air pressure. Inflate all the tires equally. Make sure you do not over or under-inflate them. Refer to the owner’s manual for correct tire pressure.
  • Mowing speed: Check your mowing speed, which shouldn’t be too fast. If the lawnmower is not cutting straight, try cutting it at a lower speed.

2) Lawnmower cuts uneven grass patterns?

Accumulation of debris and grass clippings can clog up the mower deck from underneath. As a result, the blades do not contact the grass evenly, and this causes uneven patterns.

Similarly, damaged or blunt blades will also cut the grass unevenly. When it comes to the blades, their edges must be sharpened to ensure a cut. Otherwise, they will glide over grass without properly cutting it.

Another less likely reason could be issues within the mowing deck itself. When the pulley that engages the blade shaft gets damaged or loose, it can result in vibrations in the mowing deck. These vibrations may disrupt the cutting operation, thus resulting in strange grass patterns.


Here’s how you can fix this problem:

  • Blade: First, you should inspect the blades. Check to see if they appear damaged or blunt. If the blades are damaged, bent, or cracked, I recommend replacing them. If the blade is blunt, sharpen them.
  • Mower deck: Inspect the mower deck from underneath and see if any grass clippings are stuck. Make sure all this debris is adequately cleaned.
  • Deck Pulleys: You will need to tilt the lawnmower and disassemble the mowing deck to inspect the deck pulleys and see if they aren’t loose. Check for missing parts in the deck pulley or damaged cables. Whenever you tilt the lawnmower, the air filter should point upwards, so you will not get oil in the engine.
  • Cutting height: Check the mower’s cutting height and compare it to the height mentioned in the owner’s manual. If there’s a mismatch, adjust the height accordingly.

3) Lawnmower doesn’t cut at all?

A lawn mower that doesn’t cut at all check if there are no belt problems. If a belt is damaged or loose, it may result in the mower not cutting.

Another more common reason is a clogged mower deck. Excessive debris in the mower deck reduces the airflow needed to raise the grass blades, so the mower blades cut them.

Additionally, uneven tire pressure can also be the root of the problem. If the tires appear unbalanced, they have unequal tire pressure, which causes the mower to rest unevenly on them. As such, it may be unable to cut or even reach the grass properly.

Finally, dull mower blades are one of the more common causes if the lawn mower isn’t cutting at all. Dull blades will cross over the grass without or only partly cutting it.


  • Mower Deck: Inspect the mower deck for debris. Perform a thorough cleaning to remove all debris and make this a routine to prevent future issues.
  • Tire Pressure: You should visually inspect the tires. They could have unequal tire pressure if they appear to be at an unequal height. Reinflate them all to attain the same pressure and height.
  • Blades: Tilt the lawnmower to check the blades. You may want to replace them if they are significantly worn out. If they are blunt at some edges, sharpen them.

Riding Lawnmowers: Troubleshooting Drive Problems

Apart from cutting issues, specific drive problems can also arise with frequent usage over time. Here’s what they are and how you can deal with them:

1. Riding Lawnmower doesn’t move forward?

A dead battery could be why the lawnmower won’t move forward. This is a common issue when the battery fails to hold a sufficient charge and provide enough power to ignite the lawn mower engine and cause it to move forward.

Another reason could be a human error when you have forgotten to disengage the parking brake. This added safety feature prevents anyone from accidentally starting up the lawnmower.

A clogged fuel line or carburetor can also be the cause. A clogged fuel line will fail to supply oil from the tank to the engine. So, the mower won’t start.


  • Parking brake: Ensure to disengage the brake before moving the mower.
  • Dead Battery: Check the battery to see if it is working fine. Charge it if it looks empty. If the condition is bad I recommend replacing it. If you have an older type, you can refill its electrolyte and charge it to see if it helps.
  • Clogged Fuel Line/Carburetor: Inspect the fuel system and ensure your fuel is not too old. Gas can go bad after a few months. And stale fuel can produce sticky remnants that can choke up the carburetor and the fuel lines. Disassemble the carburetor to clean it with some proper cleaner. It is also possible to clean it without removing it.
  • Transmission Oil: In riding lawnmowers with hydrostatic drive, the hydraulic oil powers the steering mechanism. If the oil has run out, the lawnmower may not propel forward. Check and add oil if needed.

2. Riding Lawnmower vibrates excessively?

If your Poulan Pro Lawnmower shakes uncontrollably, the problem is often uneven blades. This can occur if you have recently worked on your blades, changed them, sharpened them, and reinstalled them. Improper installation can cause them to vibrate and, in turn, result in a vibrating lawnmower.

A damaged crankshaft can also cause excessive vibrations. The crankshaft is connected to the blade shaft so that damage can cause loose blades and vibrations.

Another possible problem is that the engine mounts could be causing the vibrations. The engine of the lawnmower is mounted on a frame held in place by fasteners, which, if become loose, can cause excessive vibrations and even cause the entire lawnmower to shake.

How to Fix?

To fix the vibrations in your lawnmower, please follow the steps below:

  • Blades: You should inspect the lawnmower blades for looseness or misalignment. Ensure that the blades are tightened and do not wobble at the hub.
  • Crankshaft: A bent crankshaft due to prolonged rough usage may also generate vibrations. Since this involves disassembling the engine, I recommend contacting a professional if you do not know how to do this.
  • Mounting Bolts: Check whether the engine or housing’s mounting bolts are loose or even missing. Tighten or replace them if necessary.

3. Riding Lawnmower has loose steering?

Typically, improper wheel alignment causes the wheels to wobble and is a common cause of loose steering. Also, if the steering system isn’t properly lubricated, it can also affect the steering function.

The tie rods are another reason for loose steering. If the ends are worn out or not lubricated, it affects the handling of your Poulan Pro lawnmower.

Finally, the steering linkage, which connects several steering components, can become damaged. As a result, it may cause loose steering. 

How to Fix

  • Steering system: The hydrostatic drive mechanism typically powers the steering system in riding lawnmowers. The system must be lubricated timely with a recommended grade of hydraulic oil for smooth power transfer.
  • Wheel alignment: The wheels should not wobble. Check each wheel individually to check for any play between the axle and the wheel. Tighten the wheel when needed. If the problem isn’t solved, I recommend consulting a professional.
  • Steering linkage: The tie rod ends, and the connecting rods of the steering mechanism should all be adequately cleaned and lubricated. Disassembly can be tricky. Hence I recommend asking a professional to help with this.

 4. Riding Lawnmower has a flat tire?

The tires of your lawnmower undergo significant wear due to frequent use. Sharp objects can damage or puncture tires and result in a flat tire.

I always recommend replacing the tire when it is in bad condition.

How to Fix a Flat Tire?

  • Inspect: If the tire is flat, locate the site of leakage or puncture. This can be done by adding air to the tire and placing it in water. Removing the tire makes this a lot easier. If the tire were punctured, bubbles would appear at the puncture site.
  • Fix the puncture: You will need a puncture repair kit to apply the patch and fix the damaged tire. After applying the patch, apply constant pressure on the patch and leave it to so it can dry.
  • Inflate and check: Use an air compressor to inflate the tire. Check the manual for the correct pressure. After pumping, apply a soap-water solution at the puncture location. If bubbles are formed, you will need to repeat the above steps.

 5. Lawnmower is leaking oil?

If the lawnmower leaks oil, it is likely due to worn-out engine gaskets. Particular engines that are running hot, are more prone to wear and tear; hence, oil leakages can appear as a result. 

An overfilled oil reservoir can also cause an oil leak. Another reason could be tipping the lawnmower in the wrong direction, with the carburetor facing down. This can cause oil to seep out of the crankcase from the cylinder head gaskets.

How to Fix Oil Leaks?

  • Avoid overfilling: Never overfill the oil reservoir. Use a dipstick to check the oil level and fill it to 3/4th of the maximum.
  • Fix faulty plugs: If oil leaks from underneath the engine, the drain plug could be damaged or wrongly fixed. Check and replace when needed. Before you do this, collect the remaining oil in a container.
  • Replace gaskets: If the oil leak occurs from the cylinder head, it’s probably due to a faulty gasket. Replacing the gasket might be tricky as this involves disassembling the engine. Consult a professional to help if you do not have any experience with this.

Self-Propelled Lawnmowers: Troubleshooting Drive Problems

Self-propelled lawnmowers can experience drive problems. These can include a lawnmower failing to go forward or a faulty throttle. Here’s what causes these issues and how you can fix them:

1. Self-Propelled Lawnmower doesn’t go forward?

A drive belt connects the engine’s crankshaft to the wheels’ drive pulley. If the belt becomes damaged, your lawn mower will not move forward. Check also the tires, as a flat tire will also be unable to carry the mower forward.

Another potential reason can be a damaged drive control cable. Improper tension in the cable or other damages can prevent the mower from moving forward.


  • Drive belt: Check the drive belt for damage or if it is loose. Tighten or replace the drive belt if it’s damaged. You must tilt your lawnmower and disassemble the mower deck to access the cable. The air filter should point upwards whenever you tilt the lawnmower, so the oil cannot reach the engine.
  • Drive control cable: Adjust the cable tension and tighten it. You can refer to the manual for guidance. If the cable is beyond repair, you should replace it.
  • Flat tire: Check for tire issues. If the tire has been punctured, repair and inflate it to the desired level.

 2. Self-Propelled Lawnmower throttle not working?

The throttle function stops working when the throttle cable becomes stuck or damaged. Here’s how you can fix this problem:


Inspect the throttle cable and see if it’s stuck. Try to move the throttle and readjust it when needed. If you cannot, or only slightly move it, slight lubrication will do the job. If you see excessive wear and tear, replace the throttle cable.

Sometimes, a carburetor with fuel deposits can also affect the throttle function. Since the carburetor jets aren’t free, the quantity of air and fuel flow rate to the engine gets reduced, which ultimately reduces the power output from the engine.

To fix this problem, the carburetor needs to be cleaned, as discussed earlier in this article.