10 Common Craftsman Zero Turn Mower Problems and Solutions

Craftsman Zero Turn Mower Problems

Craftsman Zero Turn mowers are very easy to use and it is powered by the Briggs and Stratton engine which makes them very powerful to handle medium to large lawns. Also, this model can be used for large yard jobs because of its 24-horsepower gas engine with ReadyStart technology.

However, although it has some amazing features you might face some problems with it after using it for some time. But do not worry because, in this article, we are going to talk about the common problems you might face with the Craftsman Zero Turn mower and their solutions.

Common Craftsman Zero Turn Mower Problems

  • Starting problem
  • Does not move forward and reverse
  • Carburetor problems
  • Electric problems
  • Weak hydrostatic transmission
  • Vibrating problem
  • Cuts Unevenly
  • Steering problem
  • Loss of power or the mower dies while mowing
  • Craftsman begins smoking

Problems and solutions of Craftsman Zero Turn Mower

Do not let the problems scare you. Every mower has problems after some time of usage. And when you know the reasons behind the problems it becomes easier to solve.

So, the problems and solutions of Craftsman zero turn lawn mower are given below:

1. Starting problem

Starting problem is the most common problem of any mower. But it can happen for a lot of reasons. For example- not enough gas in the fuel tank, expired fuel, faulty spark plugs, blocked fuel filter, clogged air filter, bad fuel pump, dirty carburetor, bad battery, etc. can be the culprit for your mower not starting. You need to troubleshoot and find out the real reason behind this issue.


First, make sure there is enough fuel or expired fuel causing the problem. Refill the fuel if there is no fuel. And replace the oil if it is bad or expired.

For the parts that can be clogged or blocked with debris and other dirt, park the lawn mower, disconnect the batteries and fuel pump fuse. Clean the parts with a good cleaner. And for a damaged fuel filter, damaged carburetor, faulty air, and fuel filter, or for a bad battery, you should just replace the parts.

2. Does not move forward and reverse

If your Craftsman mower does not move forward or reverse, there could be a broken drive belt, a worn tensioner pulley, or a split idler spring. Craftsman riding mowers may have a missing key and may have the drive release lever positioned incorrectly.


If the drive belt is broken, repair or replace it. Also, make sure the drive release lever is in the correct operating position. If it still does not work then check for the axle key, idler arm spring, and tensioner pulley. Replace them if needed.

3. Carburetor problems

If your Craftsman mower starts but stalls then it might be because there is something wrong with the carburetor. When you do not clean your mower’s carburetor for a long time, then debris and another sort of dirt take over and make it clogged.


To fix the carburetor problem, you need to clean it properly. There’s no need to take out the carburetor in most cases to do this. You can easily clean your carburetor inside and out by purchasing some commercial lawn mower carburetor cleaner and then putting it in a spray can and spraying the carburetor. 

4. Electric problems

If your lawn mower battery dies when the electric clutch PTO switch is engaged that means your lawn mower has some electrical issues. There might be torn spark plugs or faulty switches that are not working.


Maybe the spark plug replacement or the safety switch needs replacement. If you are not an expert or highly experienced in this field, then you should seek help from a professional or an expert to solve the problem to avoid any kind of unwanted accident.

5. Weak hydrostatic transmission

A bad tensioner pulley and bad drive belt can lead to poor and weak transmission. To be affirmative that your mower has transmission problems you need to observe it while the engine is running. A faulty transmission will have a spinning pulley, but no wheels turning.


To solve the problem you need to use grease on the transmission. Then try changing the belt or pulley. If that does not work then you might need to take your mower to the local Craftsman service store to solve it.

6. Vibrating problem

You might experience sudden vibrating from your lawn mower at an excessive level. Consequently, Craftsman lawn mowers can start vibrating as a result of loose, damaged or worn parts and components, including bearings and mower blades. Your mower can also vibrate due to debris located under the pulleys.


Replace the clutch, pulleys, deck blades, bearing etc to solve the vibrating problem. You should also check for any small pebbles or rocks stuck into your mower or not which might cause vibration.

7. Cuts Unevenly

Lawn mower blades cutting unevenly is a major problem for lawn mowers. It might happen  because of dull blades or wrongly installed blades. Also if you drive at a low speed, still the mower blades will not be able to cut properly.


Check the tire pressure and mower deck level. Repair them if they are not up to mark. sharpen the deck blades if they are dull. And if the deck is too damaged due to a bent blade spindle, then replace the blades with help from an expert if you are not experienced.

8. Steering problem

There are several things that can affect the steering of your Craftsman mower, including, worn steering components, incorrect tire pressure, and bad dampers.


Make sure all the tires have the same pressure. If not, adjust them accordingly. Replace the dampers or the steering compartment if they are too damaged. If that does not solve the problem, then change the rotation speed of the tires by adjusting the speed adjustment bolt.

9. Loss of power or the mower dies while mowing

Dirty and clogged filters can do more harm than you think. Because even when your lawn mower dies suddenly when mowing, it can be the fault of dirt and clogged filters, pumps, and carburetors.


Remove the parts like a filter, pump, and fins where there could be debris and dirt stuck. Clean them all properly. And if that does not fix this problem, the parts might need replacement. You can clear the fuel line clog with carb cleaner and compressed air. Make sure all the carburetor components are clean as well. If necessary, replace them.

10. Mower begins smoking

It is usually oil from the engine that causes a Craftsman lawn mower to smoke. If oil leaks out of the engine or is forced into the compression cylinder, this can happen. It is also possible that water in your fuel system caused your lawn mower to smoke.


Keep the fuel filter clean. You should also drain engine oil until it reaches the level suggested by the manufacturer. However, if this does not solve your problem, then you might need to take your lawn mower for proper maintenance.

Frequently asked questions

What company makes Craftsman zero turn mowers?

The heavy machinery company Bobcat builds all of the Craftsman zero turn tractors. And as they are making Craftsman Zero turn mowers, they are doing a good job because Craftsman zero turn lawn mowers are one of the best lawn mowers in the market.

Are Craftsman engines any good?

Craftsman’s zero turn lawn mower is an exceptionally reliable performer for nearly any type of homeowner when it comes to overall cutting power. No matter how often or how long you cut, the motor is excellent at maintaining blade speed.

Why does my Craftsman lawn mower keep shutting off?

Leaving fuel in the lawn mower for a long time is the most common cause of clogged carburetors. The fuel may become thicker and stickier after some of its ingredients disappear. It can cause the engine to stall if the carburetor becomes clogged with the sticky fuel.

Final words

Every lawn mower can have problems, no matter which one you buy. However, with proper knowledge and guidelines you can easily solve the problems as well. Hope, this article has helped you to identify the problems with your Craftsman zero turn lawn mower and work accordingly.

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