How to drive a zero turn

How to Drive a Zero Turn: Beginners 101

Posted August 20, 2014 by 4 Comments

Can you push a shopping cart? Yes? You can drive a zero turn! Once you get the hang of it, the intimidation factor of maneuvering one of these mowers will be gone.

Learn the beginner basics on how to drive a zero turn.

How a Zero Turn Operates

Zero turns use independent drive systems to engage each rear wheel separately.
Therefore, one wheel can turn in reverse while the other turns forward, causing the mower to spin in place, instead of needing a large turning radius. Two control levers, one on the left — one on the right, allow the operator to control the left and right wheels.

Move Forward & Backwards

Zero Turn Move

Forward – Push

1. Move the levers to the center neutral position.
2. Slowly push the control levers forward. The more you push, the faster you go.
3. To go straight, apply the same pressure to both control levers.

Backward – Pull

1. Move the levers to the center neutral position.
2. Look behind you and slowly pull the control levers back towards you.


Turn Left & Right

Turning a Zero Turn

Turn Left

1. Release pressure on the left control lever.
2. Push the right control lever forward.

Turn Right

1. Release pressure on the right control lever.
2. Push the left control lever forward.


Performing a Zero Radius Turn

Zero Turn Turning Radius

To turn in place, push one control lever forward and pull the other lever back. One wheel will move forward while the other wheel will rotate backwards. The machine will make a complete turn with zero turning radius, unlike most lawn tractors which need a 12″ – 18″ turning radius to turn around for the next pass.


Stop & Park

Zero Turn Stop and Park

1. Move the control levers to the center neutral position.
2. Push the levers outward to the park position.
3. Disengage the blade control switch and turn the ignition key to OFF. *Remove the ignition key after use.

Before you Drive – Read Your Owner’s Manual

The above information is not a complete guide to operating a zero turn. For your own safety and ultimate enjoyment of your zero turn, read your owner’s manual first to see detailed operating instructions and precautions.

Shop for a new zero turn at MowersAtJacks.com »

4 Comments

  1. Bill
    on August 21, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Get a Cub Cadet RZT s 42 with zero turn and a steering wheel you don’t have to adjust to a thing…the machine does it for you.

    Reply to this Comment

  2. John Ferrone
    on August 21, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    I would like to use a Zero turn, but I am told that they do poorly on slops.
    I mow 4 A/C with serious slops. I have used a very old Gravely for a very long time and I need to replace it. What do you recommend for a replacement.

    Thank you.

    Reply to this Comment

    • JT Tunnicliff
      on August 22, 2014 at 11:59 am

      If you have a serious hill I would NOT recommend a zero turn. The only way I would begin to reconsider that recommendation is if the hill is very smooth and you can go up and down, NEVER sideways!!!

      I was told I would be ok and I am not. I was told to avoid residential grade zero turns for any hill because they are so light. I have a 2013 Ferris 700Z. Hate mowing the back lawn with it. Love mowing the rest of the yard with it but not the hill.

      I have what I would call a small hill, moderately steep in one area and I have to go side ways and it can get scary. If the grass is the least bit wet, I will be sliding all over. Even when dry, I still find myself sliding sideways and I don’t mean just a little. The hill is full of tire tracks from sliding sideways and trying to save it.

      Don’t do it!!!!!

      Reply to this Comment

    • william west
      on August 27, 2014 at 9:42 pm

      buy another gravely only way to go

      Reply to this Comment

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