John Deere Riding Mower Won’t Go Forward Or Reverse: Reason & Fix

There are various reasons that describe why John Deere riding mower won’t go forward or reverse. And it can be a nightmare! It’s the mowing season but it’s not working!

You are not alone. Apparently, lots of John Deere’s owners face this same issue. But it’s not that bad and there are some easy fixes!

So, in this article, I will talk about those problems and what to do about them. Sure, regular maintenance of the mower can help it to work effectively, but there are other things to learn!

Why John Deere Riding Mowers Will Not Move Forward Or Reverse?

john deere won't move forward or reverse

Every riding mower has a significant life span, after which it either stops working or does not work efficiently. Proper maintenance is required for every mower to make it work effectively.

John Deere riding mowers can become stuck and not move forward or reverse due to three main reasons.

  • Clogged Fuel or Air Filters

The fuel and air filters of the riding mowers may become clogged and negatively impact the mower’s performance.

When a fuel filter is blocked, it keeps away the gasoline from flowing to the mower’s engine in enough supply.

This results in the lawn mower stop working. A clogged or damaged air filter causes the engine to overheat quickly.

This can also prevent a lawn mower from moving forward or reverse.

Your mower engine may get damaged permanently if the fuel and air filters are not changed or cleaned regularly.

  • Some Issues In The Battery Or Carburetor

When the battery in your mower dies or fails, the mower tends to stop working. A weak battery may start the mower, but it may not have enough power to drive it.

Therefore, the John Deere mower may start but shut down soon once the power demand on the engine increases.

Riding mowers that use carburetors, gasoline to air mixtures may become damaged permanently if the filters are not changed regularly.

  • Transmission Failure

Problems related to the transmission of your mower can lead to an inability to shift gears. This, in turn, may prevent the mower from moving forward or reverse.

There is also a possibility of the mower getting stuck in one gear for transmission failure or damage. Shifting problems may also occur due to leaks in the transmission lines or fluid reservoirs.

If not repaired on time, the problem may cascade to the engine components like sticking valves and pistons.

Are you still wondering why won’t your riding mower go forward or reverse? The above are all the possible reasons.

Apart from the above issues, you may face other John Deere mower problems in the future!

What are those?

Common John Deere Riding Mowers Problems

John Deere has an excellent reputation for producing high-quality commercial-grade mowers and is also considered one of the top lawn mowers’ manufacturers.

But even top-quality items come with some problems.

The John Deere mowers come with a hefty price tag and experience difficulty while climbing hills. However, it is expected that manufacturers will be able to reduce such problems soon.

Here is a list of some problems that are associated with John Deere riding mowers.

  • Price- Along with their high-quality products, they are also responsible for setting a hefty price tag. Competitors sell mowers at the price of $1500 or under, whereas John Deere mowers start from $3000. This is a massive drawback for the market of John Deere mowers.
  • Safety- John Deere also had a fair share of safety recalls, just like most huge companies. Consumers reported that when the brake was applied to the mowers, it veered left, creating a significant safety hazard. Hence, it is recommended that before purchasing any mower, you must check the US Consumer Product Safety Commission website for any recalls.
  • Difficulty while climbing hills- Some consumers complained that their John Deere riding mowers face difficulty in climbing hills. Though some hills are too steep to ride a mower, some consumers have reported that their John Deere mowers cannot climb the small hills.

How To Repair The John Deere Riding Mower?

john deere zero turn won't reverse or move forward

John Deere riding mower may stop moving forward or reverse due to clogged fuel or air filters, transmission failure, or battery/carburetor problem.

Here are some repairs that may help you solve the problems you face while driving your John Deere mowers.

  • Replace the drive belt- When your lawn mower does not move or slows down while climbing the hills, you must reinstall the driving belt if you find it has slipped out of place. If it is damaged, try replacing it.
  • Replace the carburetor assembly- It is necessary to replace the carburetor if you notice that the engine is not starting or the engine is running rough. This proves that the gas or air mix is not balanced.
  • Rebuild the engine carburetor- Seals and gaskets in the carburetor wear out and leaks gas. Hence, you may use a carburetor rebuild kit to renovate a clogged or leaking carburetor.
  • Tune-up the engine of your riding mower- When you witness uneven cuts while mowing the lawn, tune-up the engine of your mower. Replace the engine oil, air filter, oil filter, spark plug, and fuel filter.
  • Replace the seat and the seat switch- A mower seat engages the seat switch to keep the engine running when you sit on the seat. Replace a broken or damaged seat as it may not engage the seat switch. As a result, it can cause the engine to shut off when you release the brake. Also, replace the seat switch if you notice it is plugged in but not recognizing your presence on the seat.

Following the above steps, you will be able to restart your riding mower again and drive it as well. Now, watch this video to move your lawnmower again!

John Deere L110 Won’t Move

john deere l110 mower

Well, there could be many reasons behind it.

But if the motor starts okay and the Transaxle Fan & drive belt is new but it won’t move, then you have a real problem.

It’s frustrating when you have everything new and yet it won’t move forward or reverse. You don’t even smell any burning smell.

Let me tell you something, it happens sometimes. You are not alone.

Many have already faced the same issue. Sometimes, it starts to move but stops while mowing and refuses to move any longer.

Let’ see how they have solved it. You can try these solutions as well.

Check the pulley splines on the transmission first. This is where most people strip the splines or the center of the transmission pully.

If this is the case, you need to replace the drive pulleys. Another thing you should keep in mind that, L110 is a flatland mower.

Don’t mow in the hills. Hills kill the mower and the pulling carts.

How Long Can A Well Maintained John Deere Lawn Mower Last?

Homeowners use riding lawn mowers to cut a large track of lawns evenly and efficiently without any extra backbreaking effort.

Such machines use similar components to automobiles, and just like automobiles, these mowers can also encounter several problems that may impact the performance.

John Deere produces and sells riding mowers because consumers prefer a lawnmower at a certain price point, and it should work fine for at least 8 to 10 years.

A lawn mower with a smaller horsepower should give 500-1000 hours only if used and maintained properly.

Engines with twin cylinders will last longer than engines having a single-cylinder, just like a V6 truck engine that lasts longer than a four-cylinder mini car engine.

A classic riding mower can clock up 1.5 hours of cutting once every week, almost for eight months. This makes it 45 hours a year.

Therefore, based on this calculation, a well-maintained mower can last for more than 15 years.

Though the average life span of a John Deere riding mower is ten years, still depending on your use and maintenance, it may work effectively for more than the average life span.

Final Thoughts

Not just John Deere, every mower has problems. A mower is just like other vehicles, which, if services correctly, can give you a better life span.

If you have a vast lawn and are planning to buy a John Deere riding mower to cut down the lawn efficiently, this article will help you know everything about riding mowers.

Here we have discussed why your John Deere riding mower won’t go forward or reverse and the process of maintaining your riding mowers so that it works effectively throughout.

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15 thoughts on “John Deere Riding Mower Won’t Go Forward Or Reverse: Reason & Fix”

  1. My John Deere D130 won’t go forward or reverse. The engine runs strong and the mower blade turns when engaged. The drive belt is intact and the transmission pulley rotates by hand but not when the forward or rear pedal is engaged. This unit is 5 years old and maintained yearly with new filters, belts, and lubrication. The mower just stop moving forward when mowing but the engine and blade still worked.

  2. My 1 year old E100 is doing the same thing. Dropped it off for warranty on the transmission. Thing is like new. My lot is 1/3 acre so not much of a grass foot print. Sorry I went JD. It replace a 30 year old Ranch King from Farm and Fleet made by MTD. It still runs but very worn. I use a 2005 BroncoTroybuilt on my1acre property. Belts, steering bushing, and normal lube the only problem. Believe it’s a 30 year machine. Runs like a deer big joke.

  3. My Deere 216 has worked very well for 35 years but just recently for the first time it will not go forward or in reverse. Engine is strong and the deck works just fine and the drive belt is intact.

  4. I’m also having the same problem as Jim Victory. I just replaced the drive belt and battery on my D130, and the belt will turn by hand, but not when I press the gas. I’m just about at my wit’s end here.

  5. I just had this problem The tractor would start but I could not get it to move forward or backward. It appeared the brake was stuck. It turned out to be the brake jammed with the parking brake. Once pushed down on the orange parking brake lever and the brake at the same time, the brake released and gears were engaged. Make sure no gears are jammed as such.

  6. Wow so simple, I need to find the pin that must have fallen out when i repaired a rear tyre! Lets hope that fixes the problem.

  7. You are much better off with a standard non hydro trans. Stay away from new model lawn tractor with the plastic trans! they are junk and will break you!

  8. I do know on hydrostatic machines of any type they will not move if fluid gets low or air gets in the rear end. Add fluid to rear-end and work air out by moving pedal forward and reverse.

  9. George Maskiell

    Model D105. Was mowing lawn, went to put it into reverse, pressed RIO switch as usual. No itt will not shift out of reverse into neutral or forward. I shut the engine off, still will not shift. Feels like it’s stuck.

  10. Gregory Bartuch

    Same problem here belt is intact and deck blades work when engaged. Neither forward or reverse work when pressed . Mine is a x570

    1. If your John Deere E100 riding mower won’t move forward or backward despite the engine running, there are several possible issues that could be causing the problem. Here’s a checklist of things you can look at to troubleshoot:

      Transmission Release Rod:

      Check if the transmission release rod at the back of the mower is in the correct position. If it’s pulled out or in the “tow” position, the mower won’t move. It should be pushed in for the mower to drive.

      Drive Belt:

      Examine the drive belt, which connects the engine to the transmission. A slipped, broken, or worn-out belt can cause the mower not to move. Replace the belt if it’s damaged or worn out.

      Tension Pulleys:

      Check if the tension pulleys are functioning correctly. If they’re stuck or not applying the correct tension to the belt, the mower won’t move.

      Transmission Fluid Level:

      Low transmission fluid can cause movement issues. Check the transmission fluid level and refill it if necessary.

      Parking Brake:

      Ensure that the parking brake is fully disengaged. If it’s engaged even slightly, it can prevent the mower from moving.

      Gear Shift Lever:

      Ensure that the gear shift lever is properly engaged in either forward or reverse.

      Pedal Linkage:

      Check the pedal linkage for any obstruction or disconnection. The linkage must be intact and able to move freely.


      Look for any obstructions underneath or around the mower that could be hindering the wheels from turning.

      Transmission Issue:

      The transmission itself could have an internal problem. This is more complex and often requires a professional repair service.


      Check that the wheels are properly attached and that the keys securing the wheels to the axle have not fallen out.

      If you’re not comfortable or familiar with checking these components, it might be best to consult the user manual or contact a professional service technician. Riding mowers have complex mechanical and safety systems that might require specialized knowledge and tools to repair. Since your mower only has 69 hours of use, it should still be relatively new, and there may be warranty considerations. Check your warranty status with John Deere or the dealer where you purchased the mower; if it’s still under warranty, repairs might be covered.

  11. Den,
    Thank you so much for your video. You really showed me what I was missing when the little metal piece fall out from the wheel hub. After watching your video, I found the piece of metal and I put it into the mower and its was moving forward and backward again. Thank you so much.

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