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How-To Operate A Zero Turn Mower

How-To Operate A Zero Turn Mower

Whether you’re a homeowner with some money to spare on a fancy new lawnmower, or a landscaping businessman trying to get into the industry, you can appreciate the power and efficiency of a zero-turn mower. They’re very effective when in the right hands, and can be the perfect mowing companion for your lawn for years to come. Unlike your typical lawn mower, however, there’s a little more difficulty involved in using them. Here’s a quick rundown on how to use a zero-turn mower.

The Controls

The controls of a zero-turn lawn mower vary greatly from model to model, with some being made with electronic controls, others with more analog switches and levers, and the like. In general, though, you can find similarities among all of them. These are just some:

Control Arms

Control arms are the steering wheel of zero-turn lawn mowers that operate in a unique fashion, with two arms that can be pushed or pulled by one or two arms at a time. Pushing the left arm turns the mower to the left, and vice versa. Pushing both arms forward propels the mower forward, and pulling both arms backward propels the mower backward. You can also do the special zero-turn, which we’ll get into later.


The ignition is where you insert the ignition key to start the mower up. Note that there are safety mechanisms installed in most mowers to prevent you from moving by accident, so don’t be surprised if your engine suddenly shuts down because of it.


Brakes function like typical vehicle brakes, and the design of the brake varies from model to model. They can only be used when the mower isn’t moving.

Blade Engagement

Blade engagement is what’s used to actually do the mowing. You engage and disengage the blades while you mow the lawn.


The throttle controls the speed of the mower’s engine. Experts recommend leaving it at half throttle or medium throttle when engaging and disengaging the blades to keep them in good condition.

Starting Up Your Mower

To start up your mower, you have to first get in the zero-turn mower. Once in, you start ignition, release the brakes, and pull in the control arms, readying them for use. Only then will you be able to use the mower and drive it around. Note that the directional controls may take some time to get used to, especially if you’re only familiar with the steering wheel.

The Zero Turn

Now for the special bit - the zero-turn. To perform this maneuver, you simply need to push one control arm forward and pull the other control arm backward. The counteracting directions will cause the mower to turn in place, completing the zero-turn. It is worth noting that you can change the direction in which the mower turns - if the left control arm is pushed forward, then you’ll turn clockwise, and if the right control arm is pushed forward, you’ll turn counter-clockwise. As mentioned earlier, this may take a while to get used to, but you’ll get the hang of it after a while.

Once you’re familiar with the zero-turn, you can start performing more complex maneuvers to make mowing your lawn much easier. One such maneuver is the K-turn, a turn that involves turning to one side and performing a zero-turn. This allows you to turn around at a new lane with minimum effort, a maneuver only possible on zero-turn mowers.


Zero-turn mowers have huge potential, and they can be an invaluable mowing tool in the right hands. Knowing how to effectively use these mowers will make mowing much more fun and rewarding than you think.

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