7 Most Common John Deere X380 Problems & Troubleshooting

The John Deere X380 is an excellent garden tractor that many users love for its overall quality, design, and durability.

This is a small lawn mower subject to its size limits, but it could be a good investment despite a few flaws with the engine.

Many users complain about a variety of issues with the Kawasaki engine of this model.

We compiled a list of the main issues related to this John Deere mower so that you can make an informed decision about your future purchase.

The Most Common Problems with John Deere X380

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This lawn tractor from John Deere is loved immensely among its users; however, this line of utility vehicles has quite a few issues.

The X590 from John Deere presents similar issues, despite remaining great value for money.

The X380 mounts a Kawasaki engine, which is the root cause of most issues with this lawn tractor.

This riding mower has difficulty starting and has various issues while running.

Many of these issues may be related to its maintenance, but sometimes it’s worth it to give a call to your John Deere dealer.

1. Engine hard to start

If your engine is cranking but not starting, the issue is probably related to the spark plug or the air filter.

When the spark plug is faulty, the ignition doesn’t take place, so your mower makes strange sounds but usually cannot start properly.

Replacing a spark plug is easy, but you can take it out and check if the spark element is clean and in good condition.

Ensure the spark plug wire is connected to the end of the plug and that the rubber cover is adjusted correctly over the plug.

clogged air filter doesn’t let enough airflow into the motor, preventing proper combustion and thus the starting of the engine.

Air filters are subjected to frequent accumulation of dirt, grass, and debris, so you should replace them every three months.

2. Engine not starting

When the engine is not starting, and the mower seems dead, the issue may differ from what we described in the first paragraph.

You probably have a problem with the fuel system, where either the gas tank is empty, the fuel is the wrong type or has grown stale, or the fuel filter is clogged.

Mind that if you don’t use your riding lawn mower that often, you should replace the fuel almost every use because it grows stale very fast.

Let’s say you use your mower once a month – in this case, you should empty and refill the tank every time you take it out of the garage.

On the other hand, if you use this John Deere model very often, you might consume more fuel than you think, so keep an eye on the gas tank to ensure it’s not depleted.

The fuel filter removes debris from the fluid, which gets clogged often because of its very nature.

To keep your mower up and running, you should replace the fuel filter yearly or after around 200 hours of work.

3. Engine losing power

The problems described above are genuine also in the case of your John Deere lawn mower losing power while cutting.

Clogged filters, stale fuel, and damaged spark plugs are reasons your mower is losing power.

Other common reasons include:

  • the wrong level of engine oil
  • dull blades
  • clogged carburetor
  • clogged mower deck

As for the oil, its level shouldn’t be too low or too high.

Blades should be sharpened regularly, depending on how often you use the mower. Usually, every 2-3 weeks works well for most users.

A bad carburetor restricts the flowing of air and fuel into the engine, so not only will you have a mower that doesn’t work to its full potential, but it might stop working altogether.

The carburetor needs regular cleaning. You can first spray some carb cleaner into it and see if that solves the issue. If it doesn’t, you need to take the carburetor out and deep clean it.

Lastly, mowing can easily cause a clog in your deck, so this is something that you should regularly check to prevent more severe issues.

4. Engine overheating

Before exploring the causes of  John Deere lawn tractor overheating, remember that you should wait at least 30 minutes before working on your mower

Any mower, but especially an overheating one, can get very hot, up and over 250°F. So be careful.

The overheating issue is mainly related to clogged filters, possibly due to wrong cutting settings or loose blades.

When you set your cutting height too low, you’re demanding a lot from your mower, and it ends up overheating quickly.

When blades are loose, they will be “wobbly,” On top of not doing a proper job cutting grass, they will also change the cutting height back and forth, hence the cutting height problem again.

When all filters are correctly cleaned or replaced, blades are sharp and set, and your cutting height is adjusted correctly, you will most likely see a significant improvement in the performance of the mower deck.

5. Engine stopping uphill

mower losing power or stopping going uphill on uneven ground isn’t that uncommon, but it shouldn’t be a recurring issue.

Sure, this John Deere model isn’t designed for mountain climbing, but if you struggle to make it do anything other than cutting grass on a flat surface, you probably have a problem with the filters or a built-up somewhere in the engine.

Given the nature of a mower, it’s bound to have an accumulation of grass, debris, and mud under the blades, which could slow down the machine.

Also, you might have a clogged muffler, the part of the vehicle where burned gas and other vapors are expelled.

You can easily spot a clogged muffler by paying attention to the exhaust smoke. If your mower produces colored smoke and you have problems running on uneven ground, you probably have a clogged muffler.

6. Engine backfiring

Many people believe that engine backfiring happens when you try to start your lawn mower. Still, it can occur anytime, starting, running, or turning off your utility vehicle.

When backfiring, the mower releases a loud bang from gas igniting outside its usual location in the combustion chamber.

Here are some common reasons behind this issue:

  • carburetor running too rich/too lean
  • damaged flywheel
  • high ethanol content in the gas
  • faulty spark plug

If none of these issues apply to your lawn mower, it could be that you’re decelerating too quickly before turning off the mower.

7. Engine knocking

When you hear a knocking sound coming from the engine, the first thing to check before moving on to more severe troubleshooting&fixing is the oil level.

Low engine oil level is the most common cause behind engine knocking, but it’s far from the only one.

Another widespread cause of this problem is the blade. If you have a wobbly, loose, or damaged blade, that’s where the sound comes from.

misfiring spark plug is another reason behind engine knocking because the engine is not firing in sync. Contact your John Deere dealer to replace the spark plug.

John Deere X380 problems: are they a deal-breaker?

In most of these cases, you see common issues that many lawnmowers start having after being left without maintenance for a while.

The John Deere X380 is generally considered a great lawn mower, and many users are enthusiastic about it. We agree that this is a John Deere model you can buy with your eyes closed.

However, if you want your lawn mower to have a long life, you must practice regular maintenance, or you will start having recurring and expensive problems soon enough.

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( Farming Equipment Expert )

Marvin is an expert in farming equipment with a strong background in agricultural engineering. He graduated from Kansas State College of Agriculture, where he received a degree in Agricultural Engineering and specialized in farm equipment design and maintenance.