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Zero-Turn Operation Tips


Learn how to use a zero-turn riding lawn mower

Zero-turn lawn mowers offer you the ability to navigate a medium-to-large sized yard with ease, effectively handling even though tight, hard-to-reach corners. If you're wondering how to operate a zero-turn mower and how it differs from a standard riding lawn mower, read your operator's manual and check out our tips below. We'll help you learn how to use a zero-turn riding lawn mower safely and efficiently to cut down the time and effort it takes to cut your lawn.

  • Use your operator's manual to become familiar with the proper operation of all the controls. It's important to know how to stop the machine and disengage them quickly before you begin mowing.
  • Keep bystanders, children and pets at least 75 feet from the machine while it is in operation to help avoid blade contact or a thrown object injury. Stop the machine if anyone enters the area.
  • Thoroughly inspect your lawn before mowing. Remove all stones, sticks, wire, toys and other foreign objects which could be picked up and thrown by the blade(s).
  • Avoid a discharge of material toward roads, sidewalks, bystanders and walls or obstructions as the thrown or ricocheted debris can cause damage yourself and others. Create a mowing plan that allows you to toss your discharge toward the yard instead.
  • Do not operate the mower without the discharge cover or entire grass catcher in its proper place.
  • Stop the blade(s) when crossing gravel drives, walks or roads and while not cutting grass to avoid kicking up stones and causing injury.
  • Do not put your hands or feet near rotating parts or under the cutting deck while machine is on and the blades are in motion.
  • Do not attempt to mow through unusually tall, dry grass (e.g. pasture) or piles of dry leaves. Dry grass or leaves may make contact with the engine exhaust and/or build up on the mower deck presenting a potential fire hazard.
  • Do not turn on slopes unless necessary; if you do, turn slowly uphill and use extra care.
  • Do not mow on wet grass.
  • Do not try to stabilize the machine by putting your foot on the ground.

Understand differences between how to use a zero-turn mower and a how to use a riding lawn mower

With zero-turn mowers, the front wheels can pivot on a dime giving you ultimate maneuverability in tight spaces. Plus, you can choose either lap bar or steering wheel operation, whichever makes you comfortable. If you're unfamiliar with lap bar steering, think of it like the handles on a bike, to turn left, move your left hand toward you, while pushing the right away. Zero-turn mowers are also faster than most standard riding lawn mowers so be prepared for more power when you get behind the wheel and exercise caution when turning. Consider practicing without the blades engaged when you first get your lawn mower to ensure you retain proper control.

For more tips on how to operate a zero-turn lawn mower, consult your Cub Cadet operator's manual.

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