Do Zero-Turn Mowers Have Brakes?

A lawn tractor can look very different from zero-turn mowers. If you have tried using a zero-turn mower you may have noticed that the braking system is not the same as a tractor mower. This is where many users wonder where the brakes are on a zero-turn mower.

There is also no steering wheel on this machine instead levers are used to control the steering. Because this lawn mower can present some difficulty, below, we mention everything you need to know to use this machine. You can even get a greater ability to move by learning the complete operation of this machine.

In this article, you will be able to find the definition of a zero-turn mower, the braking system it includes, and some differences from conventional lawn mowers. You will also be able to take advantage of the benefits of this machine, such as the responsive control, the operating speed, or the reduced turning radius. So let’s get down to work.

What is a zero-turn mower?

A lawnmower is characterized by the mobility it can offer as it includes a zero-turning radius. This gives the user the ability to turn in the opposite direction or the same place as a tank turning on itself. On diesel or petrol-powered lawnmowers, hydraulic speed control is used for each of the drive wheels.

Today we can find a wide variety of these types of lawnmowers that can be for domestic or commercial use. In most cases, there are 2 large drive wheels at the rear and 2 small swivel wheels at the front of the mower. Battery-electric versions are also available.

This machine allows independent turns on the large drive wheels, unlike other mowers that control the swivel wheels. So, the driver has a greater range of movement when dealing with the grass in a field. It is this design of the mower that allows turns in opposite directions.

Hence, the driver can make a z-turn or turn at the same point on either side of the road. It is also possible to make turns on one of the drive wheels when the driver has decided to park one of the wheels.

It is even possible to make turns in circles of a wide variety of radii. When the driver allows the wheels to turn in reverse, a reversal of the direction of travel is achieved.

Do Zero-Turn Mowers Have Brakes?

A zero-turn mower offers some big differences compared to conventional or classic mowers. One of these advantages is the higher level of speed to be able to mow any terrain. However, the higher speed offered by this lawn mower can be a difficulty when comes to a novice user.

That is why there is also a braking system that is different from the speed of this mower. The faster operation of this machine requires a brake system that is more efficient compared to classic lawnmowers. Here the user will not find a brake pedal on a zero-turn mower.

This may go against the naturalness of many users when driving a conventional tractor. Instead, a system of control levers is included, so the user will have to learn to coordinate the levers of this mower to move efficiently and stop when necessary.

Expert users claim that it takes a lot of practice along with a good level of training to learn this braking system and use the mower efficiently. Many people even believe that this is a disadvantage because it is a braking system unique to this type of lawnmower and is not found on other lawnmowers.

Also Read: Why Lawn Mower Dies?

How Do You Stop a Zero-Turn Mower?

Although a zero-turn mower has a unique braking system, this does not mean that the braking system is the same on all models. So, in principle, it is necessary to consider the specifications of each model of the zero-turn mower before knowing exactly how to stop this machine.

However, we can offer a very simple set of steps to implement. Here it is important to remember that zero turn mowers have a set of general features. At the same time, this braking system requires a lot of practice to be able to do a good job smoothly on any type of lawn.

  • Step 1: You must set the steering levers to the neutral position. Once you have reached the neutral position, you must move the same steering levers outwards.
  • Step 2: You must activate the parking brake which may be somewhat different from one model of each zero-turn mower to another. You must also push the PTO switch or blade switch down. This is what allows you to disengage the blades.
  • Step 3: If you have finished using your zero-turn mower you can turn off the engine. To do this all you need to do is turn the ignition key to the stop position.

Also Read: How to Prevent a Lawn Mower From Exploding?

Do All Riding Mowers Have Brakes?

The vast majority of riding mowers are even in a design very similar to vehicles that travel on streets or highways. On these vehicles, it is possible to find a throttle along with a clutch and of course a braking system. Zero-turn mowers may include levers for turning, while other mowers include a brake pedal.

A conventional lawn mower with a tractor design does not offer a high speed. However, the brake is still very important to avoid any accidents or problems when using the tractor mower. As with any vehicle, the braking system of lawn tractors can also deteriorate with age and use.

One of the most important considerations of a lawn tractor brake is the pedal. Here we can note that both the clutch and the brake have the same pedal. In the design of a lawn tractor, we can notice that the brake rotor is coupled to the brake arm together with the transmission. In this way, the engine is certainly slowed down.

All this allows the brakes of the lawnmower tractors to slow down gradually. In any of them, it is not possible to find any kind of abrupt braking. However, this is also not necessarily due to the low speed that a lawn tractor can offer. Normally less than 6 ft is required to stop this machine.

Related Guide: Do Zero-Turn Mowers Have Baggers?

Is it Hard to Drive a Zero-Turn Mower?

While some people claim that it takes a lot of practice to use a zero-turn mower efficiently, others disagree. You might need about an hour to be able to learn how to use a zero-turn mower efficiently to deal with a large terrain.

It is also necessary to consider that anyone can learn how to use a zero-turn mower despite its unique braking system and other particular features. A zero-turn mower provides a higher level of speed in its operation compared to a tractor mower. 

That is why it is advisable to use a low engine speed acceleration when the user is learning to use a zero-turn mower. In this way, the user can move this machine slowly regardless of whether the movement of the steering levers is too aggressive or somewhat soft.

Once the user has managed to drive a zero-turn mower for at least an hour, he or she can increase the speed little by little. In some cases, with one or two hours of total use of this machine, the user should already have the necessary experience to use a mower on flat terrain or some slopes.

How Do You Drive a Zero-Turn Mower on a Hill?

Zero-turn mowers are generally classified in the same way as tractor mowers. On the vast majority of models of any of these machines, a user will be able to mow on slopes with a maximum inclination of 15°. The direction in which the lawn is to be mowed must also be taken into account, as the results are not the same.

When the user chooses to mow crossways, the results are not the same as when he chooses to mow downwards and upwards. It is not recommended to use a mower on slopes that are too steep for several reasons. When mowing downhill, the speed increases excessively and the brakes are not sufficient to stop the mower.

Tips for Driving Zero-Turn Lawn Mowers

Before using your zero-turn mower, consider the following tips for best results.

  • Practice: While some people claim that it takes little time to learn how to use this mower, for others this may not be enough. Hence, practice as long as necessary until you feel confident using this mower in different situations.
  • Get used to the design: The design of a zero-turn mower is different from a tractor mower. So, the user must get used to the lack of a conventional steering wheel and pedals.
  • Learn different turns: A zero-turn mower offers different turning possibilities. You need to use the correct turn in every situation as it could create some ugly ruts in your garden lawn.
  • Turns on slopes: when you are on a dangerous slope you should make smooth turns rather than sharp turns. You should also avoid sudden changes in direction.
  • Learning the braking mechanism: You should learn the braking mechanism because of which zero turn mower offers a higher speed compared to a tractor mower. This will avoid many dangerous situations.


Zero-turn mowers include a different braking system than tractor mowers. You will need to know how to use the levers as this type of mower does not include a brake pedal or even a conventional steering wheel. Still, it remains one of the efficient options for mowing your lawn.

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Victoria Peterson

I am a passionate gardener who wants to help you create and maintain your dream yard. I know that it can be daunting to take on a project like this, but I am here to help. I have been gardening for years and have learned a lot along the way. I want to share my knowledge with you and help you create the perfect yard for your home.

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