Frequently Asked Questions about Zero-turn Mowers

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For many years, zero-turn mowers were mostly regarded as a tool for professional mowers. And because these users were experts in the field, online resources teaching about the nitty-gritty of ZTRs are almost non-existent.

Nowadays, these machines are gaining popularity among residential mowers, each having numerous questions about zero-turn mowers. But, unfortunately, most of their questions remain unanswered. And the fact that you landed here is evidence enough that you’re also searching for answers.

Well, you are in luck! We have gone the extra mile, just for you. This resource will share a comprehensive guide with answers to the most asked questions about zero-turn mowers.

Do Zero-turn Mowers Have Cruise Control?

Yes. Some mid-range models of hydrostatic zero-turn mowers have cruise control. That’s because most of them are designed for commercial use. Thus, their manufacturers are keen to install plenty of features for the ultimate comfort of the user. These features include cruise control, a comfortable high back seat, cup holders, and adjustable armrests. See “Best commercial zero-turn mowers” for more information.

Below we’ll have a quick look at the advantages of having cruise control in zero-turn mowers.

Mow at a Constant Speed

The top advantage of cruise control is that it allows you to choose a constant desired speed to mow your lawn. This is useful when mowing long, straight stretches. It is also possible to change the speed depending on the conditions of your yard.

Saves Preset Maximum Speed

Another standout feature of cruise control is that you can save a few preset maximum speeds. Do you need to take a break or clear an obstacle?

The cruise control is set to disengage instantly when the operator hits the brake pedal or brings both steering levels to their neutral position. And when you’re back mowing, the cruise control lets you return to one of the preset speeds, and you can continue trimming your lawns as if you never left.

Easy to Control the Speed of Your Mower

Cruise control allows you to save your preferred “maximum” speeds. That makes it possible for you to adjust your mower’s speed in an instant, as needed. Mowing will now be smooth and enjoyable.

Do Zero Turn Mowers Have Alternators?

Another popular question homeowners ask before buying a z-turn mower is, do zero-turn mowers have alternators? Yes. Zero-turn mowers have alternators, just like any other engine-driven machine.

In a nutshell, an alternator helps to control the mower’s battery performance. And, of course, the battery performance affects the overall performance of your zero-turn mower.

When you set off your unit’s ignition, the alternator has to provide the battery power. And if your alternator isn’t working as it should, your ZTR is deemed to develop some problems. Here are a few signs of a faulty zero-turn mower alternator.

Your Mower No Longer Holds Charge

The signs of a failing alternator are very similar to those of a bad battery. Thus, if your mower’s battery won’t charge or no longer holds its charge, it’s best to check your alternator’s condition. I’ll share more about this later below.

The Engine Won’t Start

As we have said earlier, the alternator should charge your battery when the engine is running. This charge should be enough to last until the next day. If your engine won’t start and the battery is in perfect condition, your alternator is probably faulty.

How to Check the Condition of your Z-turn’s Alternator

Here is the easiest and quickest method to check your ZTR’s alternator. First, turn on your mower’s headlight. Next, turn off the engine. Ideally, the headlights should dim automatically. If they don’t, then your alternator is faulty.

For more accurate results, test your battery’s voltage (using a voltmeter) when the mower is running. It should be about 13 to 15V. If that’s not the case, repeat the test at the alternator. It should still be 13 to 15V. If the reading is zero, then your alternator is faulty.

Please note that a bad alternator can as well damage your z-turn mower’s engine. Thus, replace a faulty alternator immediately.

And if you want your alternator to last longer, ensure your ZTR is well maintained and doesn’t overheat often. That’s because overheating may damage your lawn mower’s components, starting with the alternator. Also, check the oil levels frequently. Clean the filters. Plus, ensure your zero-turn mower stays in good shape at all times for long-term service.

Do Zero-turn Mowers Have Brakes?

Yes. Zero-turn mowers have brakes. However, while traditional mowers use a brake pedal, braking in z-turn mowers is achieved when they steer both hand levers to their neutral position. These are the same levers used to accelerate and slow down the mower. Simply push them forward to accelerate and pull them back to slow down. See “How to drive a zero-turn mower” for a detailed guide.

This unique braking system often proves challenging to most new users. That’s because it needs the operator to have an accurate and well-coordinated braking action. But because most are used to brake pedals, mastering this new system takes time. The operator will need to have the right training, coupled with enough practice for a flawless experience.

However, all z-turn mowers have emergency/ parking brakes which come in handy when the operator needs to make an unexpected stop.

Do Zero-Turn Mowers Have a Hitch?

Yes. Zero-turn mowers have a hitch. However, while some options have a built-in hitch, you will need to order it separately for other models.

A hitch refers to the device attached to your ZTR for towing purposes. This device is useful if you want to pull supplies such as seed spreaders, fertilizers, and other mower attachments.

If you’re going to purchase the hitch separately, ensure that the hitch hole matches your trailer ball. The installation is a breeze. However, there are several precautionary measures you must have in mind when towing with your z-turn mower.

General Precautions You Need to Consider When Towing with a Zero-turn Mower

  1. Keep away from slopes. That’s because the extra weight from the trailer or attachment decreases the traction of your z-turn, making it more prone to sliding on slopes.
  2. Similarly, stay away from risky areas such as wet grounds and ditches.
  3. Ensure there are no kids or pets inside your trailer.
  4. When towing, you should make wide turns, rather than zero turns. That’s because the trailer increases the chances of skids and accidental spins when making turns.
  5. Avoid driving at high speed since it becomes a little challenging to get your mower to an instant stop. You’ll need to allow some extra meters before the ZTR can come to a complete stop.
  6. Finally, don’t exceed the recommended towing weight for the trailer. It not only increases the chances of accidents but overworking your machine could as well damage it.

In Conclusion

All zero-turn mowers will have alternators. However, only some models have cruise control. And while their braking system is not the conventional brake pedal, mastering it is possible. You’ll only need the right training and enough practice.

Also, note that some ZTRs come with a hitch, but others require that you buy it separately. Do you have any other questions about zero-turn mowers, please feel free to engage us in the comment section below.

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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.