Dangers of zero-turn mowers on hills include the risk of a mower toppling sideways or getting completely out of hand. These mower types are one of the best we have for lawn care on flat surfaces, however, these mowers might not be your best option when you mow the grass on a hill.

Prevent Dangers of Zero Turn Mowers on Hills

Find out some of the dangers of using this mower on steep surfaces and how to prevent them in this guide.

What Are The Dangers of Zero Turn Mowers on Hills?

The main danger of zero-turn mowers is that they might overturn and tip over while you are taking a turn. It is also possible that they might get out of control when working on a hill steeper than 15 degrees. 

– The Lawn Mower Might Overturn

When working on a hill, a zero-turn mower is always at risk of overturning to the side or tipping its back. This danger becomes particularly pronounced when you try to turn this mower around on such a hill.

Overturning Lawn Mower on Hills

This is because the rear wheels of a zero-turn mower are faster and stronger than the front wheels. Its engine is also located towards the back. Most of the weight of these riding mowers is concentrated towards their back. What’s more, they mostly rely on the back brakes, which are more efficient than the front brakes.

Your mower might tip over whenever you encounter a pothole or similar obstruction. When going up a hill steeper than 15 degrees, it is at risk of tipping backward under its weight.

– The Mower Might Slide Out of Control

Most of the accidents that occur with zero-turn lawn mowers happen when they get out of control and end up crashing someplace or someone. 

That is why these mowers are best suited for flat surfaces. When mowing on a hill, ensure it isn’t steeper than 15 degrees. 

At any rate, while mowing on a hill, avoid taking turns until you are back on the flat surface.

– Mow Slowly on Hills

No matter how fast your ride-on mower has the ability to go, it’s best to keep that in check while on a slope. This mower type already has the worst traction and might lose even that when sped up more.

It will do you well to remember that the majority of the weight of the mower is concentrated towards its rear end. Its rear end will skid across the lawn under that weight and tear it up when going uphill at high speed.

If the hill is too steep, the mower might tip over on its back, and you might injure yourself or anyone else nearby. 

The same advice goes for accelerating while on a hill. No matter how busy you might be, go as slowly and steadily as possible and never make the mistake of making a turn at high speeds.

– Mow Only When The Grass is Dry

Adding wet grass to the equation will worsen things for a riding lawn mower with poor traction. You will have to ensure that it is as dry as you can keep it before mowing any hill.

Dry Grass on the Hills 

And we are not just talking about rain here. It would be best to allow early morning dewdrops on the grass blades to dry to stay on the safe side.

There are several other advantages of mowing only when the grass is thoroughly dry. First, it is much easier to cut and takes less effort from the mower. The result will be neater as compared to wet grass.

Lastly, the cleanup after mowing dry grass is also easier because dry grass clippings can easily be picked up and collected. Wet clippings tend to stick together in clumps that become a headache to remove properly from the hill.

– Don’t Go Near Dangerous Areas

Zero-turn mowers were not manufactured for steep hills with more than 15 degrees slopes. It is impossible, and if you somehow make your way there, don’t make a turn.

You will also need to keep away from nearby water bodies or walls. At any rate, move along the side of the wall rather than towards it because you will not be able to take a turn and might end up crashing into it.

Steer well clear of muddy, rough terrains or unstable areas of the hill. If your mower gets stuck in the mud, it will be difficult for you to take it out without external help. You might end up overturning the mower to its side during the effort.

– Turn Very Carefully

It would be best never to make sharp and quick turns when mowing on hills. Start turning the mower from a reasonable distance and take a very slow, deliberate, and wide turn.

Turning Mower Carefully on Hill

Even if you seem to leave several inches of lawn unmowed, don’t worry. 

– Avoid Mowing With People Around

There is a real danger of a zero-turn mower getting out of control and hurting someone in the way. We always suggest you ensure the kids and the pets are safe inside the house while you mow away on hilly terrain.

Keep in mind that these mowers do not have the ability to take turns sideways safely if something or someone suddenly pops up in front of them. Because of their massive weight and rear-placed brakes, pulling emergency brakes at the last minute might lead to tipping the zero-turn mowers in a forward direction. 

Stay alert to your surroundings while going up and down a hill with such mowers. Take the necessary precautions if you see someone, even if they are at a distance. Make sure to avoid them beforehand without having to turn or brake last minute.

– Use Premium Quality Tires

Suppose your zero-turn mower has the best quality tires attached to it, especially the back tires. This will help ensure it mows grass properly and provides better traction on hills and steep terrains.

First of all, buy tires of the best quality from a trusted seller. These might be a tad more expensive than ordinary tires but trust us, they will be worth all your money. 

The wider the back tires of a lawn riding mower, the safer it is to ride. These tires create all the power a mower generates and are the major source of support on the grass. The wider they are, the more surface area of the mower stays in contact with the land. Naturally, this provides much more stability and safety to your mower while working up and down steep slopes.


– Have a Rollover Protection System Installed

A rollover protection system (RPS) is a safety system meant to protect the rider from serious injuries in case of an accidental rollover or overturn of lawn mowers. Most new models of mowers come with this system pre-attached to them. 

If you have yet to buy a zero-turn mower for yourself, look specifically for those with an installed RPS system. They do cost more than the average mower, but this is an investment you need to make for your safety. 

If you own a mower that does not have this feature, ask the manufacturer if they can install one on your machine. Many manufacturers are willing to charge only a small amount to install a pretty effective rollover protection system on old mowers that do not have this feature.

– Only Mow From Side to Side

No, going up and down the hill using a zero-turn mower is not a good idea. Most of the accidents while mowing slopes occur when the riders go either up or down and then lose their machine’s balance.

Mowing Grass From Side to Side

We agree that going side to side on a hill is not going to be easy. You will not be able to mow in neat and straight lines. Unfortunately, you don’t have any other option while mowing slopes.

While going up, you risk accelerating inadvertently and lifting the front of the mower. At any rate, the back end of the mower will end up damaging the grass

While going down, you run the risk of losing control and either not being able to brake or just tumbling down the hill unimpeded.

– Start From the Bottom of the Hill Upwards

Of course, it matters where you start when mowing a hill using a zero-turn mower. We suggest you start from a stable, flat surface at the bottom and then slowly move upwards.

This gives you more control and stability while mowing. The cutting deck at the back will also come in close contact with the grass, cutting it more efficiently.

If, for some reason, you must mow from the top of the hill downwards, then do it in reverse. Trust us, this will help prevent skidding, and you will be able to control the mower should any need arise.

– Keep Away From Skids

Don’t push the power accelerator if you lose balance while mowing a hill with a zero-turn mower. Skidding the mower, in this case, is a bad idea through and through.

Mower Can be Skids on Hills

If there is a flat surface at the bottom of the hill, it’s just best to let the mower run down and halt by itself. 

Suppose you try to pull the brakes or push down on the power button, then you risk suddenly tipping the mower over. The cutting deck will also skid along the grass and tear it off along with the skidding mower.

Frequently Asked Questions

– What Is Better, a Lawn Tractor or Zero Turn Mower?

For steep surfaces and hills, lawn tractors are undoubtedly a better option. They are powdered by their front wheels and are easier to control while mowing up and down a hill. These properties also make these mowers safer on hills.

When it comes to a large lawn with curved edges, a zero-turn mower is much better. Lawn tractors have a wide radius of turning, always leaving a large patch of grass untouched at the edges. You will then have to return to that patch again. On the other hand, mowers are very efficient at turning on flat surfaces and don’t miss any spots.

– What Are the Disadvantages of Zero Turn Lawn Mowers?

One main disadvantage of a zero-turn mower is that it is not easy to operate. You will have to practice regularly to get the hang of how it works and how to control it.

Moreover, these mower types are quite pricey and need a lot of expensive maintenance, especially compared to push mower types. 

No proper brake pedal is a major disadvantage on slopes and hills. Most of these are gas-powered and are not environmentally friendly. 

– How Long Will a Zero-Turn Mower Last?

On average, a zero-turn mower will last about two thousand hours without giving you any major problems. This means that if your lawn takes about one hour to mow, you get to mow it a whopping two thousand times before it wears out.

Of course, this calculation depends on the quality of your zero-turn mower and whether you opted for a reputable manufacturer. It also depends on how well you take care of the mower and the condition of your lawn. Mowers that are ridden on rocky terrain understandably wear out much faster.


While zero-turn mowers work on flat and stable surfaces, they can be dangerous when mowing hills. You risk toppling over the mower or getting it out of control if you aren’t careful.

In this guide, you not only learn the dangers associated with using such a mower on a steep surface but also the various ways you can avoid these dangers. We hope you will follow these safety precautions the next time to take your mower out to cut down the grass on the hill.

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