5 Common Kubota Zero Turn Mower Problems (And Quick Fixes)

One of the main reasons people purchase a Kubota zero turn mower is because of the manufacturer’s reputation for quality and durability.

However, even the best machines sometimes experience problems. 

In this article, we will discuss some of the most common Kubota zero turn mower problems and provide tips on how to troubleshoot and fix them.

Problem 1: Wheel and Belt Tension

There is no tension on belts and my wheels are squealing when I drive my Kubota ZT282.

Solution

Adjusting belt tension is necessary after 100hrs or 3 months of use depending on what comes first.

To do this you must raise the deck off the ground, remove any bolts holding the transmission cover in place and slide it back slightly. 

You can now see your idler pulley, make sure your belts aren’t too tight or too loose by pulling them through the idler pulley and tightening the bolts holding the idler pulley.

Problem 2: Poor Cut Quality

My Kubota ZT272 is leaving brown spots where it has been mowed.

Solution

If you have sufficient knowledge about how to care for your lawn, simply adjust the height of the cut with all 4 wheels in position 1 or 2 until the desired cut height is achieved. 

If you are not experienced enough with maintaining your lawn, call a professional to help set the height of the cut correctly.       

Problem 3: Machine Won’t Start When Warm

I try starting my Kubota Z482 after it’s been running but the engine only sputters.

Solution

This can be caused by multiple reasons, most likely you need to drain your fuel tank and refill it with fresh non-ethanol gas. 

This should solve the problem as ethanol gas corrodes small carburetor orifices causing engine hard start after sitting for a few hours.

The second reason could be you have low oil pressure, if this is the case you can see your manual on how to check the oil level, if it’s low top off and re-start the machine.

The third reason which isn’t as common but could cause starting problems even after replacing parts is having a faulty ignition coil or due to wiring from turning on the kill switch without shutting off the engine completely by engaging the parking brake first. 

In both scenarios, there’s no easy fix that doesn’t require professional help.      

Problem 4: Blade Dragging

I try to move my Kubota ZT22 but it feels like something is holding the blade down.

Solution

This could be due to a couple of things, you can check and see if your parking brake is engaged properly and also if the belt tensioner pulley has enough tension to hold the blades in place while mowing. 

If there’s still not enough tension on belts or the parking brake is set correctly, you might need to tighten all four idler pulleys until there’s proper tension on belts after shifting the transmission into the drive gear.

The second reason could be you have low oil pressure, if this is the case you can see your manual on how to check the oil level, if it’s low top off and re-start the machine.

The third reason which isn’t as common but could cause starting problems even after replacing parts is having a faulty ignition coil or due to wiring from turning on the kill switch without shutting off the engine completely by engaging the parking brake first. 

In both scenarios, there’s no easy fix that doesn’t require professional help.    

Problem 5: The Cutting Height Adjustment Knob Won’t Turn When Trying To Change The Height Of Cut

I try adjusting my Kubota Z482 cutting height with a height adjustment knob but it feels like something is stuck inside preventing me from rotating it.

Solution

A faulty height limit switch can be the culprit if this is the case you need to replace the height limit switch for the height adjustment knob to rotate and change the height of the cut.

The second possibility is that you have a stripped gear, if this is the case you need to replace the height adjustment knob.    

The third reason which isn’t as common but could cause starting problems even after replacing parts is having a faulty ignition coil or due to wiring from turning on the kill switch without shutting off the engine completely by engaging the parking brake first. 

In both scenarios, there’s no easy fix that doesn’t require professional help.

The fourth and final possibility is that your height adjustment knob is just seized up, in which case you’ll need to apply some lubricant such as WD-40 around the shaft and try rotating it again. If it’s still stuck, then you’ll need to replace the height adjustment knob.    

Problem 6: Transmission Slips In Gear

I’m trying to mow my lawn with my Kubota ZT22 but the transmission slips when I try to go faster than a slow walk.

Solution

This is likely because you have too much grass or debris caught in the deck or under the mower, which is causing blades to stop spinning and torque converter from transferring power to the wheels. 

To fix this you need to clean off any excess build-up on top of the deck and also use a putty knife or screwdriver to clear out any debris that’s caught underneath.            

The second possibility is that one or more of your belts are worn out and need to be replaced,

The third possibility which isn’t as common but could cause starting problems even after replacing parts is having a faulty ignition coil or due to wiring from turning on the kill switch without shutting off the engine completely by engaging the parking brake first. 

In both scenarios, there’s no easy fix that doesn’t require professional help.    

The fourth possibility is that the torque converter has seized up due to lack of proper lubrication, in which case you’ll need to remove the rear engine cover and add some multi-purpose synthetic power steering fluid into the reservoir until it reaches the minimum level indicated with a red line or maximum level indicated with a white line. 

You will also need to check for leakages around the torque converter drain plug and replace them if necessary.    

Problem 7: Mower Deck Won’t Raise All The Way

I’m trying to engage the mower deck lift lever to raise it but it just goes back down.

Solution

This is likely because you have a broken or disconnected lift cable, which can be caused by several things such as hitting an object with a deck or simply wearing out. 

To fix this you’ll need to remove the mower deck and locate the lift cable on the right side of the machine, then check for any damage and replace it if necessary.    

The second possibility is that you have a faulty height limit switch, if this is the case you need to replace the height limit switch for the deck to raise all the way.

The third reason which isn’t as common but could cause starting problems even after replacing parts is having a faulty ignition coil or due to wiring from turning on the kill switch without shutting off the engine completely by engaging the parking brake first. 

In both scenarios, there’s no easy fix that doesn’t require professional help.

The fourth reason which isn’t as common but could cause starting problems even after replacing parts is having a faulty solenoid that won’t allow mower blades to engage.    

The fifth possibility standing between the height adjustment knob and height limit switch is having a damaged transmission cable. 

If this is the case you’ll need to remove the rear engine cover and locate the cable inside of the machine, then check for any damage and replace it if necessary.    

Problem 8: Mower Stalls Immediately After Started

I press the “Engine Start Button” on my Kubota ZT22 but it just clicks instead of starting.

Solution

This is likely because you have a faulty throttle/choke control cable on the handle, which can be caused by several things such as hitting an object with a deck or simply wearing out.

To fix this you’ll need to remove the mower deck and locate the throttle/choke control cable on the right side of the machine, then check for any damage and replace it if necessary.    

The second possibility is that you have a faulty kill switch or wiring problem. The kill switch is located underneath the seat and the wiring is behind the front panel just below the engine compartment, in either case, replacing both parts will fix the problem.     

The third reason standing between transmission and throttle/choke control cables is having faulty transmission solenoid which won’t allow mower blades to engage. 

If this is the case you’ll need to remove the rear engine cover and locate the solenoid inside of the machine, then check for any damage and replace it if necessary.    

The fourth possibility is that your battery is not charging, which can be caused by several things such as a broken alternator or bad wiring. 

To test this you can remove battery cables and measure voltage with a multimeter, if it’s below 12 volts you’ll need to replace the battery.    

The fifth reason your mower won’t start or stalls immediately after starting could be due to a clogged fuel filter, if this is the case you’ll need to remove the fuel cap and clear any debris from the fuel filter before replacing it.

The sixth possibility is that you have an issue with your carburetor which can be resolved by removing the air filter on side of the engine and replacing it with a new one, then starting the mower without the mower deck engaged. 

If it starts but dies immediately after you’ll need to remove the fuel cap and clear debris from inside, if this doesn’t fix the problem you’ll need to replace the carburetor.    

The seventh reason could be that your mower is not getting enough gas before starting due to a faulty primer bulb or clogged fuel line.

If this is the case you’ll need to check for any leaks around the primer bulb or damage at the tank neck where the hose connects. Fix all parts needed to fix the problem.    

Problem 9: Mower Blades Won’t Engage

I press “Blade Engage Button” on my Kubota ZT22 but nothing happens.

Solution

This likely means that your transmission cable, kill switch, or throttle/choke control cable needs to be replaced. 

To test this simply remove the spark plug and push the blade to engage the button with the power cord, if it engages you’ll need to replace the transmission solenoid – try replacing both parts together just in case they’re worn out simultaneously. 

If it still doesn’t work you’ll need to check for any damage or faulty wiring of the kill switch underneath the seat or behind the front panel just below the engine compartment, also make sure throttle/choke control cables are not damaged and seated correctly in their base.    

Problem 10: Mower Won’t Stop

I press “Blade Engage Button” on my Kubota ZT22 and it just keeps going.

Solution

This is likely because you have a faulty kill switch or wiring problem, which can be caused by several things such as hitting an object with a deck or simply wearing out. 

To fix this you’ll need to remove the mower deck and locate the kill switch underneath the seat, then check for any damage and replace it if necessary. 

If the wiring is damaged you’ll need to replace it behind the front panel just below the engine compartment.    

Another possibility is that your throttle/choke control cable is not properly seated in its base, which can also cause the blades to keep running even when you release the blade engage button. 

This is easily fixed by ensuring that the cable is properly seated and not damaged. If it still doesn’t work you’ll need to replace the throttle/choke control cable.   

Conclusion

Through the process of elimination, you should be able to figure out what is wrong with your Kubota zero turn mower.

If you are still unsure after checking the steps above, contact a certified Kubota dealer for advice on how to proceed.

Many common problems may occur with your Kubota ZTR mower, but not all of them can be fixed at home or by an average person. 

Some issues will require the help of professional technicians who have experience working on this machine and certainly, some situations cannot be resolved without being accompanied by a qualified technician.