How To Manually Push A Toro Zero-Turn Mower

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It’s quite a bummer for your zero-turn mower to fail halfway through the mowing session, and because many crucial functioning components collectively authorize the movement of the machine, your Toro z-turn can flunk at any unfortunate time. It could be the drive belt that snapped or slipped, maybe the gas ran out, or in rare cases, the battery dies– all these situations would warrant a general solution; manually pushing the zero-turn mower to where it can be serviced.

The difficulty you will face is a result of the wiring of the Toro zero-turn that causes the wheels to lock in place when the engine is turned off, obstructing you from toting the machine to the desired destination.
For this reason, I’ll be discussing the easiest (if not only) way to manually push your Toro z-turn back to the shed or onto the trailer safely.

Why Won’t My Toro Zero-Turn Move When I Push Manually?

You have probably pushed or witnessed a car being pushed out of sticky situations, and are wondering why your Toro z-turn has dug its wheels into the ground preventing you from doing the same. After all, it does have wheels. So, why wouldn’t it move?

The reason is the hydraulic pressure. Your zero-turn uses hydraulic fluid pressure to rotate the drive wheels of the machine. This motion is instigated by the motors of the mower which can only function when the engine is running. Forcing your z-turn to move will try to reverse the hydraulic fluid and will significantly ruin the pumps.

So, if you’re fond of pulling or scraping your zero-turn to make small parking gestures without switching on the machine, this is your sign to stop for good! Unless you simply love to repair expensive stuff, that is.

Prepping Your Toro Zero-Turn Mower For Manual Pushing

To ensure you’re taking the safest route possible for you, your mower, or any other person on the scene, here are safety measures you can follow:

Wear Your Gloves

Since you would be squeezing your hands into parts of the machine that could have sharp edges, wearing gloves is the simplest safety measure to take to avoid injuries from occurring.

Wedge Your Zero-Turn’s Tires

This step is to prevent the mower from rolling away in case it happens to be on uneven ground. Using a block of wood, brick, branch, or any suitable object you find, secure the rear tires of the mower to prevent it from strolling away in free mode.

If your Toro z-turn got stuck in a ditch, you will need a sturdy wedge for the tires to press on when you push the machine.

Place The Throttle On The Slowest Speed

Toro zero-turns are featured with the Smart Speed technology that allows you to select your desired velocity whilst in motion. Place the throttle on the tow mode, which is the lowest speed to ensure that you don’t lose control of your machine when you push.

Toro ZTRs are quite speedy machines, and when you remove resistance from the drive wheels, you can easily push them with the slightest pressure and it may even take you by surprise.

Put The Deck In The Highest Cutting Position

Since you’re manually pushing your Toro ZTR, the deck should be at the highest cutting position to prevent accidents that may occur since you’d be a little short of the front view. Although this is only important if your terrain is uneven or bumpy, it could also minimize the risk of scalping your lawn.

Clear The Path

Ensure that there are no obstacles that would hinder your machine from moving as smoothly as possible. You might need to place wooden planks over holes or scalps since you’d be pushing the mower yourself. Overall, it would make it a lot easier for you to achieve.

Manually Pushing Your Toro ZTR

Now that you have taken all the safety measures, you might as well dive right into the pushing. Here’s how to disengage the Toro transmission so that your zero-turn can move freely:

1. Put The Steering Levers In The Neutral Position

Your Toro zero-turn mower is equipped with an automatic parking system that puts the machine to a halt when you extend the levers outwards at the sides (like extending your arms). Now, all you have to do is put the mower on by twisting the ignition key to the right. This will allow you to compress the levers into the neutral position. After that, you can turn it back off.

2. Disengage The Parking Brake

The parking brake will hinder the movement of your Toro z-turn if it’s still engaged. Pull it down to release it and proceed to the next step.

3. Locate The Transmission Release Pins

Compared to other brands, it’s quite easy to locate the transmission release pins on the Toro ZTR. As soon as you peep into the back of the machine, under the seating area is a sticker with symbols indicating how to disengage the transmission. If you look further down toward the bottom, you’ll find the pins beside each drive wheel motor.

4. Release The Hydraulic Pressure

All you have to do is shove the pins on each motor into their keyholes to successfully put the wheels on free drive. Once this is done, you can immediately get into pushing. To engage the transmission, you will do the opposite by pulling the pins out.

how to push toro zero turn mowers in hills

Manually Pushing Your Toro Zero-Turn Down A Slope

When a slope is involved, it could be a different ball game depending on how steep it is. Considering you have followed the safety measures and your machine is properly wedged, here are two helpful tips for ‘slopey’ situations:

Request For Assistance

As I mentioned earlier, the Toro zero-turns are speedy machines that almost completely rely on the hydraulic pumps to be wedged in place. Once you’re on a hill, there will be a lot of risks you could encounter if you’re not exactly confident with maneuvering the machine down. Seek assistance from someone you can rely on to help you tether the mower safely down the slope.

Utilize The Steering Lever’s Brake Feature

In this situation, you or your assistant can sit in the machine to take advantage of regulating the speed using the steering levers. For this, you’d have to turn on the mower (do not crank the engine) to access the electric safety feature. This will allow you to intuitively halt the machine if the condition gets out of hand so that you, your assistant, and your mower remain safe.

Parting Words…

All that it takes for your Toro zero-turn mower to move freely is disengaging the transmission of the machine. Once this is done, you can easily nudge your mower onto a truck or back into the shed.

Tip: As you maneuver your machine, ensure that you try as much as possible not to push in reverse to limit the strain you could be putting on your mower. I wish you the best of 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.