If you are wondering how to adjust steering on zero turn mower as a beginner, we’ve got you covered. Before adjusting the steering, always adjust the wheel speeds and the tire pressure first.

How To Adjust Steering on Zero Turn Mower

In this step-by-step guide, we take you through a detailed process of adjusting steering on these mowers, whether it is the steering’s height, width, or reach. Carry on reading and find some cool tips that even seasoned zero-turn mower owners might need to learn.

How Do You Adjust Steering on Zero Turn Mower?

To adjust steering on zero turn mower, you have to first turn off the mower and adjust the tire pressure within the tires. Next, make sure that the wheel speeds are aligned before finally adjusting the steering lever’s height, width, and reach.

Before making any adjustments to the steering of a zero turn lawn mower, it is important to ensure the machine has been turned off. It is quite straightforward to align steering reach, height, and width, but sometimes the problem lies with drive wheel speeds or air pressure within the tires.

1. Turn the Mower off First

Before proceeding with any adjustments, ensure your mower is completely shut off. At any rate, take the key out after you have shut down the engine. It would help if you also disengaged the spark plug to prevent accidental engine startup and accidents.

The spark plug-in zero-turn mowers are located on the side near the back. They are usually present near where the engine is located. Get a screwdriver to unscrew and remove the protective covering on the spark plug. The plug itself needs to be gently turned counterclockwise to be turned off.

Before turning the machine off, place it on an even, flat surface. This would make adjusting the z-turn mower’s steering much more convenient.

2. Adjust the Pressure Within the Tires

The most common reason why a z-turn mower becomes misaligned and starts veering towards one side is because of uneven pressure within its tires. Whenever the tire pressure within any of the tires is above or below the recommended values, the mower will lose balance and start leaning towards one side.

Adjust the Pressure Within the Tires

Here is what you need to do in this case.

  • Carefully inspect your zero-turn mower’s front and back tires to ensure they have equal air pressure.
  • Each mower has an instruction manual specifying exactly how much air pressure the tires need to have.
  • Using a tire pressure gauge, measure the exact air pressure within all the tires and adjust each tire accordingly.
  • If a tire has more air than is recommended for it, pump the extra air out, and if the air is less than it should be, use an inflator to pump more air into the tire.
  • You should know what the maximum limit of air pressure within your tires needs to be. Stay within this limit as it harms the tires and makes maneuvering the mower a hassle.
  • Your mower’s steering will likely have adjusted simply after tire pressure adjustment. However, if the problem persists, hop on to the next step.

3. Make Sure That Wheel Speeds Are Aligned

When one or more drive wheels of the lawn mower operate at a different speed than the rest, this can also cause problems keeping the mower straight. The mower will move in the direction of the wheel that is faster. To fix this, you can either slow down the wheel that is faster or speed up the slower wheel.

  • First, jump-start the zero-turn mower and try to move it forward in a straight line while noticing the direction towards which it keeps steering.
  • Inspect the tire on the side that the mower is moving towards and remove any obstructions that might be present on it.
  • Adjusting the speed on the wheels of the mower is very simple. Push the lap bars present on the tires in an outward direction and look for bolts fastened near the foot of the tire’s lever.
  • Using a wrench, you must loosen this bolt and then readjust it. To decrease the speed of the wheel in question, turn the bolt in a clockwise direction. To increase the speed of the opposite slower wheel, turn its bolt in a counterclockwise direction.
  • Lastly, tighten the adjustment bolts using the wrench and pull the lap bars down. Start the mower again and drive it to see if it goes straight.

4. Find Out Where the Adjustment Lever Is Located

The adjustment levers for the steering are located either on the top side or the bottom side of the lap bars. For adjusting the reach of the lap bars, the lever is located on the top side, while for adjusting the height of the lap bars, it is located on the bottom of the steering. Some modern mowers have a steering column, and the lever lock is either on its sides or at its bottom.

5. Adjust the Steering Lever’s Height

Next, it’s time to check the height of the steering lever and see if it is responsible for your zero turn mower steering problems. When the steering lever height differs from your comfort level, it can be challenging to use the mower properly.

Find out where the steering lever is located in your z-turn mower first. Usually, they are present near the hand grips, but you can always refer to the instruction manual for further confirmation.

Adjust the Steering Lever’s Height

On either side of both levers will be bolts securing them to the mowers. Each lever will have bolts on either side, which must be removed first. This can be accomplished within two to three minutes using an appropriately-sized wrench.

Once the bolts are off, the steering levers can adjust however you like. Bring the steering up or down at a height level at which you are most comfortable. Secure and tighten the bolts on both sides of the lever, keeping the steering at this height. Start the mower and try mowing the grass in a straight line at this new lever height.

6. Adjust the Steering Lever Width

Sometimes, it is not the steering lever’s height but its width that keeps the zero-turn mower from going in a straight line. Do not worry because this is adjustable as well. The mounting hardware on the lower control arm of the lap bars must be removed first.

After the hardware has been removed, you will find a spacer used to change the width of the steering lever. The bolts holding the current width of the lap bar need to be loosened and removed first. Fix the width of the lap bar using the spacer according to how you feel most comfortable.

Again, put the bolts back on and screw them tightly, followed by the mounting hardware. Mount your z-turn mower and see how the new width of the steering lever affects your experience of mowing grass from now on.

7. Adjust the Steering Lever Reach

Sometimes, one takes a seat in the mower and the steering feels too far or too close together. This can make driving the machine a big headache and call for minor steering adjustments. To adjust the steering lever reach of your z-turn riding lawn mower, you need to remove the hardware attached to the lap bar’s upper arm. Grab the right-sized wrench or screwdriver and loosen all the mounting hardware bolts to the lap bar.

Adjust the Steering Lever Reach

Now, you can easily adjust the steering wheel or lap bars to your liking by moving them forward or backward. Once the steering has been adjusted to a point, you can easily control, secure it in that position, and put the bolts back on. Once the bolts are in place, it’s also time to put the mounting hardware back in its place.

How To Know When You Need To Adjust Zero Turn Mower Steering?

To know when you need to adjust the zero turn mower steering, look out for when the mower slows down, when it starts shifting to one side, when it exhibits jerky movements that weren’t present before, and when it becomes uncomfortable to drive the machine.

Whenever you purchase a new riding type of mower, adjust its steering according to your comfort level first of all. When the zero turn mower begins to veer or slow down during riding, you need to make slight adjustments to the steering.

– When the Mower Slows Down

A major advantage of z-turn mowers over other types of riding mowers is their speed. The ability to cut grass rapidly within a short time sets this type of mower apart from the rest. So when a zero turn mower starts slowing down because of steering problems, then this is something you need to fix as soon as possible.

When the Mower Slows Down

Even if something as simple as the steering or the lap bar is not 100 percent comfortable in your hands, this can considerably slow down the mower’s speed. When the mower starts steering off course during work, you will be forced to work at a much slower pace than usual.

– The Mower Starts Shifting to One Side

Zero-turn lawn mowers are supposed to drive in a straight line while cutting grass. That is why they have been designed without the ability to take turns while driving. So if these mowers start going off course, this is your sign that the steering needs slight adjustments.

The Mower Starts Shifting to One Side

You can tell that the mower keeps shifting towards the right or the left while mowing. Afterward, the pattern of cut grass appears uneven, and the grass is mowed at variable heights. A slight fixation of tire pressure or alignment of steering levers will bring the mower back to riding in a straight line.

– The Mower Exhibits Jerky Movements

The mower exhibiting jerky movements while working indicates that its steering needs a little fixing. If the mower comes to a halt or produces jerky movements right in the middle of a lawn mowing session, there is something wrong with the engine or the steering.

Ask an experienced lawn mower mechanic to take a detailed look at the machine if you need help getting to the root of the problem.

– Not Being Comfortable While Driving

The most important thing is that the mower’s lap bar or steering levers should feel comfortable and familiar while riding. If the steering is too wide or too high, you will have a harder time controlling the machine. This will slow you down while mowing grass and potentially risk your health.

Not Being Comfortable While Driving

Your back and elbow must be straight while holding the steering and sitting on the mower seat. If you have to constantly bend forward and strain your neck to move the steering, then this is going to be bad for your health in the long term. Adjusting mower steering is, in fact, the first thing you should do right after buying a z-turn mower.

Frequently Asked Question

– Why Does the Zero Turn Mower Steering Get Misaligned?

The zero turn mower steering gets misaligned because of factors like driving the machine at full speed over potholes and other hurdles within the lawn. The same thing happens in minor but repeated accidents involving the curb, roadside, fence, and even sprinkler heads.

Sometimes, a collision of the mower with another vehicle or the house’s walls can cause the steering to become misaligned as well.


As parting words, we would like to recapitulate how to adjust steering on zero turn mowers.

  • Before adjusting the steering, it is imperative to check the tire pressure and wheel speed of the zero turn lawn mower first.
  • Always double-check that the mower has been turned off and the spark plug disengaged before trying to fix the steering.
  • It is possible to adjust the length, width, and reach of the zero turn mower by removing the mounting hardware and then loosening the bolts keeping the steering in place.
  • Make sure that the steering is adjusted at a point that feels most comfortable and ergonomic to you.

In this guide, you learned not only steering adjustment on zero turn mowers but also how to keep it straight by adjusting the wheel speed and tire pressure. These things are important to know because these mowers cannot be turned around, and keeping them running straight is your only option.

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