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9 John Deere Mower Problems (John Deere Troubleshooting)

by Jack Grover
multiple mower standing during snow fall
Reading time: 17 min Prefer to listen?

So, you’ve got a John Deere Mower, and it’s presenting some issues that are standing in the way of you getting your lawn just right. Whether you’re dealing with problems starting up, unusual smoke production, uneven cuts, or any other predicament, we understand how frustrating these challenges can be.

A well-functioning mower is essential for maintaining your grounds, and when it doesn’t perform as expected, it can throw off your entire routine.

In this article, we’ll dive into some of the most common John Deere Mower problems and provide comprehensive troubleshooting advice to get your equipment back in top shape. We’ll cover everything from unresponsive starters to leaking gas issues.

Remember – while these machines are robustly designed for longevity and performance, they’re not immune to occasional hiccups.

So let’s get down to business and figure out what might be going wrong with your trusty John Deere Mower.

Key Takeaways

  • If your John Deere Mower doesn’t start, it could be due to issues such as a clogged fuel system, faulty battery or charging system, or malfunctioning safety switches.
  • The mower dying after starting is often due to fuel and air system restrictions or overheating. Regular maintenance and proper oil levels can prevent this.
  • Black smoke indicates an excessive amount of fuel in comparison to air, while blue or white smoke usually suggests that oil is burning off within the system.
  • If your mower isn’t driving correctly, check the tires for equal pressure, ensure the tracking is correct, and inspect the mower deck.
  • Excessive vibration can be caused by debris stuck in the unit, loose hardware, missing engine mounting bolts, damaged or unbalanced mower blades, faulty components on the deck, or bad bearings.
  • Uneven cuts can be due to uneven tire pressures, a worn or bent mower blade, an unleveled mower deck, a badly installed blade, worn deck pulleys or belts, or a clogged mower deck.
  • Gas leaks can occur due to cracks in the fuel line, overflow or malfunction in the carburetor, holes in the gas tank, or tears in the primer bulb.
  • Blades not spinning can result from a power take-off (PTO) not engaging properly due to worn deck components, a faulty safety switch, a weak battery, an ineffective clutch, a worn deck belt, a worn tensioner spring, or bad pulley bearing.
  • Overheating is most commonly caused by a lack of proper airflow from dirty air filters or cooling fins. Low oil levels or incorrect oil viscosity can also contribute to overheating.

Your John Deere Mower Doesn’t Start

If your John Deere mower isn’t starting, it’s likely due to issues such as a clogged fuel system, faulty battery or charging system, or malfunctioning safety switches.

A clogged fuel system generally results from the buildup of sticky substances that occur when you run old fuel in your mower. This can restrict both air and fuel flow to essential parts like the carburetor, leading to ignition problems.

Your mower’s fuel lines and filter are susceptible, too, with these components often getting blocked by accumulated residue over time. To prevent this issue, ensure that you’re using fresh gas in your John Deere and regularly perform maintenance on your fuel components.

On the other hand, if the issue lies within your battery or charging system, it means that there’s insufficient power to start your mower. The charging system is designed to keep your battery powered up – any failure here will result in an inadequate charge for initiating combustion in the engine.

Some of the other issues that might prevent the mower from starting are:

Broken spark plugReplace the spark plug, secure connections, and ensure it is gapped properly
Plugged air filterRemove the filter and clean it. Replace the filter if it is excessively clogged.
Plugged fuel filterChange the fuel filter
Damaged fuel pumpChange the fuel pump

It’s vital that you inspect these systems thoroughly while troubleshooting for solutions.

Your John Deere Mower Dies After Starting

Experiencing the frustration of your lawn machine dying just after starting it up? The culprit could be a variety of issues, ranging from fuel and air system restrictions to overheating.

If your John Deere mower isn’t getting the right mix of fuel and air, it may run sluggishly and even shut down. So, inspect every part of these systems for any possible blockages that might prevent an efficient flow. Clogged filters or blocked carburetors can restrict this essential blend, causing your mower to starve for what it needs to keep running.

Overheating is another common issue that can cause your mower to die after starting. This can occur if you’re not using the correct engine oil or if the oil levels are too low. Remember, using the right oil and maintaining proper levels is critical for optimal performance and preventing overheating.

Additionally, make sure you clean out your engine cooling fins regularly and clear any debris around the engine area so air can flow freely to keep things cool. A hot engine is not a happy one – excessive heat build-up will eventually lead to power loss or complete shutdowns.

Moreover, don’t overlook potential problems with your electrical system or a clogged mower deck; these, too, can stop your John Deere in its tracks after getting underway.

woman riding mower

Your John Deere Mower Makes Smoke

Seeing your lawn mower belch out smoke can be quite a fright, but don’t fret – it’s often due to easily fixable issues.

If your John Deere mower is releasing black smoke, this typically indicates that the engine is running rich, meaning it has an excessive amount of fuel in comparison to air. This can occur if the air filter is clogged or dirty, preventing sufficient oxygen from reaching the combustion chamber and leading to incomplete combustion of fuel. In such cases, cleaning or replacing your air filter can solve the problem.

Alternatively, if you notice blue or white smoke coming from your mower, this usually suggests that oil is burning off somewhere within the system. It could be due to oil present in the cylinder or even an oil leak onto a hot muffler.

To fix this issue, you’ll need to identify and address any potential leaks in the seals or gaskets and ensure proper oil levels are maintained. Remember that too much oil can lead to excess being drawn into the cylinder, where it gets burned along with fuel causing smoke emission.

As with any mechanical device, regular maintenance checks on your John Deere mower can help prevent such problems from arising in the future.

Your John Deere Mower Won’t Drive Correctly

Feeling like your lawn machine has a mind of its own, veering left or right? Don’t stress, it’s most likely that some minor adjustments need to be made. If your John Deere mower isn’t driving correctly, there are several factors you can check to ensure everything is working as it should.

It’s frustrating when you constantly have to correct the course of your mower because it doesn’t follow a straight path. However, this issue generally arises due to uneven tire pressure, improperly adjusted tracking, or issues with the mower deck.

First and foremost, make sure all tires have equal pressure; having unequal tire pressure can cause the machine to pull toward one side. Here’s what else you need to look into:

  • Tracking adjustment: If your mower still veers off after ensuring balanced tire pressure, check for the tracking adjustment next. The operator manual contains detailed instructions on how to adjust tracking.
  • Mower deck: Another factor affecting straight-line movement could be an unlevelled or improperly installed mower deck.
  • Steering levers: Lastly, inspect if both steering levers are returning fully in the neutral position when released; any discrepancies might result in improper movement.

These steps should help rectify any issues hampering the performance and direction of your John Deere mower – keeping these points checked will ensure that mowing becomes less of a chore and more enjoyable as you won’t constantly be wrestling with a wayward machine!

Your John Deere Mower Vibrates

Got a case of the shakes while mowing your lawn? It could be that a tiny intruder, like a pebble or an acorn, has found its way into your mower, causing it to vibrate excessively. Even debris stuck in the unit can create such problems.

Additionally, loose hardware and missing engine mounting bolts could be culprits too. If these issues are not addressed, they could lead to severe damage over time. And let’s not forget about the clutch – if it’s bad, it can definitely contribute to your John Deere shaking.

Remember to give your mower deck a thorough check when investigating vibrations. Damaged or unbalanced mower blades can cause an uneven movement that results in vibration. Similarly, faulty components on your deck might disrupt the smooth operation of your machinery.

Bad bearings are another common cause for concern, as they can generate excessive vibration if they’re worn out or damaged. With careful inspection and maintenance, you’ll have smoother rides with your John Deere mower and avoid major mechanical problems down the line.

Your John Deere Mower Cuts Unevenly

If you’re noticing a less-than-perfect finish after mowing, your machine might be cutting unevenly. This is a common issue that can stem from various causes.

Some of the potential causes of this predicament (and the resulting outcomes) are:

Uneven tire pressuresWorn mower blade
Unleveled mower deckBent mower blade
Bent blade spindle or spindle bearingBadly installed blade
Worn deck pulleys or beltClogged mower deck
man riding green mower

Your John Deere Mower Leaks Gas

While uneven cutting can be a major hurdle to achieving that perfect lawn, another equally concerning issue could be your John Deere mower leaking gas.

This problem is arguably more serious, as it not only impacts the performance of your mower but poses potential safety risks too.

Gas leaks may not always leave apparent signs like big wet spots, so you’ll need to do a bit of investigative work.

Here are some things you should check if you suspect your John Deere mower is leaking gas:

  • Inspect the fuel line: The fuel line connects the gas tank and carburetor. A leak or crack in this conduit could lead to gas leakage. Check for any visible cracks or wear and tear.
  • Examine the carburetor: An overflow or malfunction in the carburetor might also cause a gas leak. Ensure it’s properly adjusted and isn’t overflowing.
  • Check the gas tank: If there’s a hole in your mower’s gas tank, it will certainly cause a leak. Carefully inspect it for any punctures or damage.
  • Look at the primer bulb: If your model has a primer bulb, it could be another source of potential leaks. Look out for any tears or holes in this component.

Remember, dealing with gasoline requires extreme care due to its flammable nature. Always ensure you’re working in an open area away from flames or sparks when examining these parts on your John Deere mower for possible leaks.

Your John Deere Mower Blades Won’t Spin

Ever found yourself ready to tackle that unruly lawn only to discover that your mower’s blades won’t spin? This can be a frustrating setback, especially when you’re already set to get the job done.

There could be various reasons for this problem with your John Deere Mower. For instance, the power take-off (PTO) might not be engaging properly due to worn deck components, a faulty safety switch, a weak battery, or even an ineffective clutch.

Some of the other reasons for having blades that won’t spin are:

Worn deck beltA worn belt won’t grip the pulleys to turn the blades.
Worn tensioner springThe spring holds the idler pulleys in line. The spring can wear or fall off the mower.
Bad pulley bearingA bad bearing can cause a pulley to seize, or it can cause it to wobble, causing the belt to roll off the pulley.

The Engine Experiences Overheating

Don’t you just hate it when your engine starts feeling like a hot summer day in Arizona? If your John Deere mower’s engine is overheating, it could be due to several underlying issues.

The most common cause is usually a lack of proper airflow, which can result from a dirty air filter or cooling fins. A clogged cooling system will prevent the motor from shedding heat effectively, causing the temperature to rise precipitously.

Additionally, low oil levels or incorrect oil viscosity can also lead to an overheated engine as they impair the lubrication and cooling functions of the oil.

In order to avoid damaging your mower’s engine, you must stop running it immediately when you notice that it smells hot or if there are other signs of overheating, such as power loss or unusual noises. After allowing the machine to cool down completely, inspect and clean the air filter and cooling fins if necessary.

Check the oil level as well; add more if needed but ensure you’re using the correct type for your model.

If all else fails, consider consulting with a professional technician if these steps don’t solve the problem – continuous operation in an overheated state may cause serious damage that might require costly repairs or even lead to total engine failure.

man riding deere mower


While John Deere Mowers are designed for durability and high performance, they may occasionally encounter problems – just like any other mechanical device. From starting issues to unwanted smoke production and even gas leaks, these problems can throw a wrench into your lawn maintenance routine.

However, with the right troubleshooting knowledge, many of these common issues can be resolved effectively. Remember that regular maintenance checks and timely interventions are key to keeping your mower running smoothly. If you’re ever in doubt or facing a particularly challenging issue, don’t hesitate to consult with a professional.

With this comprehensive guide at your disposal, we hope you’ll feel better equipped to tackle any hiccups your John Deere Mower might throw your way and enjoy many more seasons of seamless lawn care! Good luck!

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