Can You Manually Push A Lawn Tractor?

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The necessity to manually push a lawn tractor doesn’t get discussed enough to match the several situations that the machine is required to be pushed. Perhaps you need to move the mower around in the shed without switching it on, or it flunked out on you in the middle of a ride. Maybe you need to hoist it onto a truck to be transported to the repair person or anywhere else– the only way to do this is to physically push the lawn tractor, and you’ll soon find out how.

Lawn tractors can be pushed manually and are very much engineered to do so. To accomplish this, you’d have to override or disengage the hydrostatic drive, which shouldn’t be a problem if you follow the right steps.

In this article, I’d be discussing the easiest and safest way to push your mowing machine without a hassle. Let’s get into it!

Why Your Lawn Tractor Is Refusing To Be Pushed

You might be wondering why your riding mower doesn’t budge when you push or why the wheels have such a strong grip on the floor when the machine is switched off. This is because of the hydraulic pressure; the hydrostatic transmission system runs the pumping motion of the hydraulic fluids that the drive wheels of the lawn tractor rely on to rotate.

So unless you switch your mower on, there would be no pumping motion and thus, no rotation of the drive wheels. That is why you have to bypass the transmission system for your lawn tractor to move on free will.

how to manually push a lawn tractor

4 Easy Steps On How To Push Your Lawn Tractor Manually

Pushing your lawn tractor is ridiculously easy after you locate the bypass lever, which is usually the trickiest part of the process. Here are four easy steps to help you push your lawn tractor manually:

1. Locate The Bypass Lever

The bypass lever can be a little confusing to identify because depending on the lawn tractor, they could come in different shapes and appear in unique locations. Here is how to locate the lever of your lawn tractor:

  • At The Back Of The Machine

Most rear-wheel drive lawn tractors have the bypass lever situated at the back of the whole unit, directly behind the collector. They could be either on the left or right side or sometimes at the sides of the back, around, or underneath the tires. This might seem like a hassle, but it’s really effortless to pinpoint.

Just take your time to inspect the rear area, and you’ll find the pin sticking out awkwardly on the frame. Examples of lawn tractor brands with the bypass lever at the rear are the John Deere and Honda.

  • At The Front And Rear Of The Machine

All-wheel drive lawn tractors have bypass levers at both ends of the mower since you would need to bypass all four points of pressure on the sets of tires. These levers are mostly situated on the axles and, just similar to the back-wheel drives, are straightforward to identify.

Examples of lawn tractors with this bypass setting are the Husqvarna and Stiga four-wheel drive. Basically, if your lawn tractor is a four-wheel drive unit, you’d be sorting out two bypass lever points instead of one.

  • Underneath The Riding Seat

Some lawn tractors have their bypass levers hidden underneath the seats between the collector. This is usually if the saddles are directly on top of the rear wheel axle and are common with older brands like the Countax and Westward lawn tractors.

2. Disengage The Hydrostatic Drive

Once you’ve located the bypass lever, you can proceed to either push, pull, or swerve the pin. The methods differ according to brand, and sometimes according to the model of the lawn tractor. So don’t fret if your mower’s bypass lever is not the same as your neighbor’s even if they’re both rear-wheel drives or of the same brand. All you have to do is attempt to push, pull, or move side to side until it locks in, and you’re good to go.

3. Release The Parking Brake

After the hydrostatic drive has been bypassed, you can then release the parking brake to remove your lawn tractor from the safety lock. This should allow the wheels to move when you apply pressure.

4. Proceed To Push Your Lawn Tractor

Soon as the hydro drives are disengaged, your mower should be able to move freely when you push. Try as much as you can to push forward more than in reverse if your lawn tractor is a rear-wheel driven type to protect the transmission. If you have an all-wheel drive, you can push or pull in any direction you like.

2 Possible Reasons Why You Can’t Bypass Your Lawn Tractor’s Hydrostatic Drive

If you are experiencing certain problems when you push your lawn tractor even after the drive train has been bypassed, there may be a critical problem somewhere. In these scenarios, the best thing to do is not to tamper with the drivetrain any further because as the transmission system is a fragile unit, it can cost quite a bulk to replace.

The Brake Disc Is Stuck

If the wheels swivel uncontrollably or just one wheel moves while the other skids, there’s every chance the brake disc has difficulty.

Broken Bypass Lever

It’s possible that in the process of storing the mower or moving around the yard the lever breaks and falls off. This is why you probably couldn’t find the lever in the first place or why the lever is stuck and refusing to budge when you pull or push.

Final Words

If you follow the steps correctly, there’d be nothing that would stop your lawn tractor from being maneuvered manually. If after our discussion, you still have an issue with locating the bypass lever, I suggest you refer to your owner’s manual or reach out to customer service to be on the safe side. Perhaps your lawn tractor is a rare brand or model and would need a direct consultation on the issue.

Otherwise, I deem you an expert in bypassing the hydraulic pressure and pushing your lawn tractor successfully. Good luck!

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EL Mehdi (Medi), the founder and voice behind Desired Lawn Mower. He is a riding mower enthusiast who enjoys spending more time discussing and covering various ride-on mower topics. He has been active in the industry for years comparing models of different ZTR and lawn tractor brands.