13 Most Common John Deere Zero Turn Steering Problems

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By Marvin Tucker

Farming Equipment

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For generations, John Deere has been the go-to name for lawn care, and their zero-turn mowers are some of the best on the market.

John Deere is known for manufacturing high-quality lawnmowers that are built to last. However, even the best lawnmowers can experience steering issues from time to time.

John Deere zero-turn steering problems can be a real hassle. If your tractor is experiencing issues with its steering, you’re not alone!

Many people have had to deal with this problem, and below are a few methods you can use to alleviate the problem.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the most prevalent steering problems with John Deere zero-turn mowers —and how to solve them.

Whether you’re a veteran Lawn care pro or a first-time user, this blog post will help you get your mower back up and running in no time. 

The Most Common Steering Problems with John Deere Zero Turn

John Deere is a trusted name in lawn care; however, even the best brands can have issues.

Let’s look at the potential causes of John Deere’s zero-turn steering problems and possible solutions. Keep reading for more information.

1. Loose or Worn Steering Cable(s) 

Many common steering issues with John Deere zero-turn lawnmowers are loose or worn steering cables.

Over time, the cables can become stretched or frayed, which can cause them to slip out of place or break entirely.

If you suspect that your steering cables are loose or worn, to begin with, you should look for any visible damage.

If you find any, you’ll need to replace the affected cable(s). 

2. Worn out Tie Rods 

 Another common source of steering problems is worn-out tie rods. Tie rods are the pieces that connect the wheel to the frame and control its movement.

If these become worn or loose, it can cause your wheel to veer off in a specific direction or make it difficult for you to turn. 

If this is the source of your steering problems, inspect your tie rods for any signs of wear or damage.

You’ll need to replace them if they’re worn out. Most people can do this relatively easy repair with basic mechanical skills. 

3.  Faulty Spindle Assembly  

The spindle assembly is responsible for controlling the movement of the wheels. If it becomes damaged or worn out, it can cause your wheel to turn erratically or not at all.

To diagnose a faulty spindle assembly, you’ll need to remove the mower deck and inspect the assembly for any signs of damage.

If you find any, you’ll need to replace them. 

4. Worn-out Steering Rack 

The steering rack is responsible for translating the motion of your steering wheel into action that moves the wheels.

If this becomes worn out, it can cause issues with your mower’s ability to turn correctly.

To diagnose a worn-out steering rack, you’ll need to inspect it for any visible wear or tear.

If you find any, you’ll need to replace them. This complex repair should be done by someone with experience repairing John Deere zero-turn mowers.

Knowing the causes and solutions of John Deere’s zero-turn steering problems can help ensure your mower runs smoothly for years to come.

If you’re experiencing any of the abovementioned issues, take action quickly to avoid further damage and costly repairs.

5. Broken Steering Gear 

Another common steering problem with John Deere zero-turn lawnmowers is broken steering gear. The steering gear is responsible for turning the lawn mower’s wheels in response to input from the steering wheel.

If it breaks, the wheels will no longer turn correctly – and, in some cases, may not turn. To fix this problem, you’ll need to replace the broken steering gear with a new one. 

6. Bent or Broken Steering Shaft 

The steering shaft is another critical component of the lawn mower’s steering system. It’s responsible for connecting the steering wheel to the steering gears.

If it becomes bent or broken, it can prevent the wheels from turning correctly – or cause them to turn in unintended directions.

As with broken steering gear, The most effective way to fix this problem is to replace the damaged part with a new one. 

Again, this is a fairly involved repair that a qualified technician should do. 

7. Power steering fluid low 

The final common cause of John Deere zero-turn steering issues is low power steering fluid. Power steering fluid helps lubricate the system and ensure that it operates smoothly.

If the fluid levels are too low, this can cause various steering problems, including delayed response or difficulty turning in one direction.

If it’s low, topping it off should solve the problem. If the power steering fluid is leaked, you might need to flush out the system.

Most people can do this fairly simple repair on their own. 

Knowing what causes John Deere zero-turn steering problems and how to fix them is essential for keeping your lawn mower running smoothly.

8. Seized power steering pump 

Another issue that can cause John Deere zero-turn steering problems is a seized power steering pump.

A seized power steering pump will prevent the wheels from turning in response to input from the steering wheel.

This problem can be hard to diagnose, as it often shows no visible signs of damage.

If you suspect this is the issue, you’ll need to replace the power steering pump. 

Again, this is a complex repair that should only be attempted by someone with experience in repairing John Deere zero-turn mowers.

9. Faulty Power Steering Control Unit 

Another issue that can cause John Deere zero-turn steering problems is a faulty power steering control unit.

This unit acts as the “brain” of the power steering system, controlling the flow of fluid and relaying signals from the steering wheel to the other components.

If it fails, it won’t be able to properly control fluid flow, which can cause all sorts of steering problems.

To fix this issue, you’ll need to replace the faulty power steering control unit with a new one.

This is an involved repair that should be done by someone experienced in repairing John Deere zero-turn mowers. 

10. Difficulty turning

A frequent steering issue John Deere zero-turn mowers have is difficulty turning.

Several factors, including low tire pressure, uneven terrain, or misalignment of the mower deck, can cause this.

If you’re having difficulty turning your John Deere zero-turn mower, check the tire pressure first. If that doesn’t solve the problem, try moving to more level ground.

If all else fails, take your mower to a professional for a tune-up. 

11. Slipping out of gear.

Another common issue is “slipping out of gear.Worn-out or damaged belts typically cause this problem.

With only a few tools, you can replace the belts at home in no time.

However, if you’re not confident in replacing the belts, take it to a professional. 

12. Unresponsive steering wheels

Unresponsive steering wheels are another issue with John Deere zero-turn mowers.

This problem is usually caused by a loose connection between the steering wheel and column—a problem that is easily fixed with a simple tightening of a few screws.

However, if the steering wheel is still unresponsive after tightening the screws, you may need to replace the steering column. 

13. Air in Power Steering Lines 

Finally, there may be air trapped in the power steering lines. This can cause the wheels of your mower to jerk or turn erratically.

To fix this problem, you’ll need to flush out any air trapped in the system and refill it with fresh power steering fluid. 

If you encounter any issues with your mower’s steering system, it’s essential to take action quickly to avoid further damage and costly repairs.

John Deere Zero Turn Steering Problems: Are they a deal breaker?

There you have it – the most common steering problems with John Deere zero turn lawn mowers – and how to fix them.

While John Deere zero-turn mowers are built to last, they’re not immune to steering problems.

Common issues are difficulty turningslipping out of gear, and unresponsive steering wheels.

Of course, these are just a few of the many potential problems that can occur with your lawn mower’s steering system.

Thankfully, these problems have relatively simple solutions that can be completed at home with just a few tools.

If you’re experiencing problems that aren’t covered in this blog post, or if you’re unsure how to diagnose and repair your particular issue properly, we recommend seeking professional help from a qualified technician—better safe than sorry!

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