Zero turn mowers can do 180 degree turns by utilizing its two steering levers working on the rear wheels instead of using a regular steering system on the front wheels. This fascinating technology makes these types of mower stand out among others because of their ability to go back and forth in a straight line. Since the 1950’s, zero turn riding mowers have become the favorite choice for gardening enthusiasts and homeowners all around the globe. Zero turn mowers are not only a perfect choice for trimming large yards but it also shows its usefulness in small yards by moving in tight spaces.
Because of their high demands, the market has been flooded with affordable zero turn riding mowers but some of these models do not provide adequate services. Engine issue, failing to start, engine staggering, engine overheating, poor build quality, faulty transmission system, uneven deck, flimsy parts, leakage, staggering control, and many more issues have been reported by customers worldwide about their mowers which have proven that some mowers need to be avoided at all cost.
11 Worst Zero Turn Mowers to Avoid
According to customer reviews from homeowners and gardening enthusiasts all over the world, these models run into various problems during operation and thus should be avoided by new buyers.
1. Poulan Pro P46zx
Most of the problems on these riding mowers stem from the fact that Poulan uses very flimsy parts while assembling them. Customers have reported parts breaking from almost all of the components of the mower. The spindles that house the pulleys and belts and operate the blades get damaged very easily and break apart. Other important parts such as the brake pedal, seat mounts, various nuts and bolts get damaged very easily and cause overall malfunction of the vehicle.
Staggering Gear System
Another common issue among the users has been that the gear stick gets stuck in a position and takes a lot of effort to shift it. Customers have complained that the gear gets stuck in forward or reverse position and cannot be shifted to the other. This issue is not only an inconvenience for the user but can also be life threatening if the mower fails to stop or reverse direction in the correct time.
Engine Failing to Start
Customers have also complained about various engine issues on the Poulan mowers. Some customers have failed to even start the mower after a few hours of usage. Oftentimes, the fault is not directly in the engine but in the carburetor, fuel pump, battery, and other vital components. Biggest problem in this regard is the fact that the warranty covers only the engine and not the other parts that cause issues.
Numerous customers have complained that the deck is not lifted and balanced properly while cutting grass. In several vehicles, the deck was lower than what the customer wanted and did not lift properly when adjusted. This not only prevents the user from getting the desired height of cut on the grass but it also can cause serious injury to the machine and the user if the blades hit the surface and the whole vehicle tips over.
Transmission failure is also another common issue faced by the users while operating Poulan mowers. Transmission system jams and does not want to move properly when the gears are shifted. These issues are worsened by the fact that the transmission system is sealed off and cannot be repaired easily. A new transmission system costs more than $900 which is almost close to the price of the mower.
2. Troy-Bilt TB225
Users have complained about the Troy-Blit mower engines which malfunction after a short period of usage. Many mowers have simply stopped working after a season of rest. Many have faced the issue of cranking the engine multiple times before the cycles start.
Faulty transmission system is also another problem frequently reported by the customers who operated Troy-Blit mowers. Sometimes the transmission gets stuck in one gear and causes difficulty for the user to shift gears. Transmission problems are further worsened by the fact that Troy-Blit does not provide warranty for them and the customer is forced to buy and replace the transmission parts.
Carburetors on the Troy-Blit mowers are also known to cause troubles during operation. Faulty carburetors do not supply the correct amount of fuel and air mixture to the engine manifold and cause the engine to malfunction and release excessive smoke out of the exhaust pipe. Carburetors are not covered by the warranty and you will need to buy your own replacement part.
Lackluster Customer Support
All of the other issues are worsened by the lackluster customer support provided by Troy-Blit for their users. Numerous customers have complained that the customer support does not provide adequate and necessary information about troubleshooting the vehicles. Even after identifying the problems, they do not provide the right solutions and deny warranty claims frequently.
3. Swisher Ztr2454bs
Swisher Ztr2454bs mowers are known for consuming much more fuel than other mowers of the similar build. The larger fuel tank compensates for this to some extent but requiring more fuel causes the overall cost of running the mower.
Battery issues are also constantly reported by users as the battery dies too fast, takes too long to charge, and gets weak after usage. Some users have also complained that the battery is not held in place properly and can slip out of the mower accidentally.
Numerous customers have also reported the issue of belt slippage while operating the vehicle. The drive belt gets loose and worn out over time and becomes prone to sleeping during mowing. Other belts running on the pulleys to time the blades can also be subject to wear and tear. Belts losing traction and malfunctioning is not only problematic while riding the mower but it can also cause serious damage to the deck and other internal parts in the mower.
Because of using flimsy plastic and light metal to manufacture a lot of the components on the mower, they are known for having frequent breakdowns. The breakdowns are caused by slipping belts, faulty fuel pumps, engine overheating, and various other issues.
4. Country Clipper Ztr
Fuel leakage is a common issue with the Country Clipper Ztr zero turn mowers. Fuel leakage happens due to faulty valves, faulty fuel lines, and faulty fuel tanks. Fuel leaking increases the overall cost of operating the machine as a lot of the fuel is wasted. Fuel leakage can also result in fire and more severe accidents and cause damage to the vehicle and its operator.
Transmission failure is another common issue with these models of mowers. Transmission system often jams and requires excessive force to change gear. Some customers have reported issues regarding changing direction of the mower as the gears often get stuck in forward or reverse gear.
Drive belt transfers the motion from the engine to the wheels via belt and pulley mechanism. The drive belt on this model is known to lose traction, slip, or break after a few hours and requires replacement. Belts are not covered by the warranty and users will have to bear the cost of replacement parts and repairing.
Poor Build Quality
The overall build quality of the Country Clipper Ztr is not up to the standard and with time and usage, parts break and chip off. The metal and plastic body of the mower gets damaged easily.
5. Husqvarna Z254
Engine Dying Frequently
Several users have been faced with the issue of the engine failing to start properly or starting at all after only a few hours of usage. Sometimes this problem occurred while operating the vehicle and sometimes it happened after storing it for a few days. The engine had to be replaced in a lot of cases.
Flimsy Plastic Parts
Husqvarna builds their mowers with very cheap materials like lightweight plastic. Other than the main engine and the important components, most of the parts are made from flimsy plastic and they are prone to getting damaged easily and even breaking off from the vehicle. After just a few hours of usage, these plastic parts got damaged and fell off from the mower.
Belt Gets Burnt Easily
Bagging issues are frequently complained about by the users of Husqvarna mowers. The bagging chute and the blower are both generic ‘Made In China’ plastic parts that malfunction quite often. This hampers the belt’s ability to push grass clipping in the chute. To push the grass clipping into the chute, the belt runs excessively hot and then gets burnt out completely. Several customers have reported that their belts got burnt out and required replacements. None of the belts are covered by insurance and the customers had to bear the cost.
Transmission and Transaxle Failure
Another common issue faced by the users has been constant transmission and transaxle failure. Husqvarna mowers use cheap plastic parts in the transmission and transaxle of the mower. These parts have to bear a considerable amount of force to function properly and they are prone to breaking easily if low quality material is used to produce them. The transaxles are also prone to cracking and breaking after only a few hours of usage. None of these parts are covered by warranty.
Unhelpful Customer Support
The issues are worsened by the lack of helpful customer support that is provided by the Husqvarna company for their products. All of the customer support is automated and users face difficulty trying to explain their issues to chatbots. Husqvarna intentionally designed their chatbots to avoid warranty claims and users have reported that claiming warranty was very difficult even when it came to parts that were properly covered by the warranty.
6. Poulan Pro P54zx
Poor Build Quality
Poulan uses flimsy plastic as the material to build a lot of important components on their riding mowers. These plastic parts get worn out and damaged over time and usage. Although it is common to use plastic as the material of choice for smaller parts that do not perform under high stress, Poulan uses plastic on components like the transmission and transaxle which get bent easily and require costly replacement.
Poulan Pro P54zx lacks the power that is necessary to chop off thicker patches of grass. These underpowered mowers take way longer than usual to mow your lawn especially if the grass is too thick and the terrain is uneven.
Users face constant breakdowns of the mower during operating the vehicle. These stoppages occur due to various problems such as engine overheating, carburetor issue, fuel tank issue, battery issue, faulty clutch, faulty PTO, faulty spark plug, and many more. Poulan Pro P56zx is known to show all of these stated problems.
Disappointing User Experience
The overall user experience of operating a Poulan Pro p54zx has been reported to be awful as the users face constant breakdowns during operation and vital components break apart easily. The deck of the mower that houses the blades and the chute often malfunctions and does not provide clean and even cuts. Users with bigger lawns face more difficulties as it takes considerably more time to trim the grass in the lawn than other models.
7. Ariens Ikon-X
A major issue of the Ariens Ikon-X is that the deck is made of flimsy metal parts which get bent and damaged with just a few hours of usage. Customers have reported that the deck is prone to getting clogged after a few rides. Users have also complained about the blades not spinning properly under the deck because of debris accumulation in the gaps. Uneven deck also fails to provide the user with cleaner and even cuts of grass in their lawn.
This mower also lacks the capability to perform cleaner cuts on the grass because of the blades functioning improperly. Customers have found it difficult to cut wet and thick grass especially on rough or muddy terrain.
This model is also infamous for requiring constant repairs and replacements after only a few hours of usage. The parts of the mower breaks down and falls apart easily and require costly repairs.
Lack of Useful Customer Support
All of the above mentioned problems are worsened by the lackluster customer support that the company provides to their users. Even dealers find it hard to reach the headquarters for replacement parts which are most of the time unavailable in the market. Warranty does not cover all parts of the mower and replacing them is quite a hassle to the customers.
8. Snapper 2691319
Poor Build Quality
The biggest complaints regarding the Snapper 2691319 are about the components falling off or breaking apart. Customers have reported issues about the brake paddles, the wheels, seat mount, muffler, air filters, belts, and many other parts of the mower breaking after only a few hours of usage. This issue has cost the users a lot of money to frequently repair their mowers.
Another common problem with the Snapper mower is that the engine fails to start after a few years. Customers have repeatedly complained about this issue as they failed to start their mower after a season of storage.
Carburetors on the Snapper 2691319 mower malfunctions after only taking the mower out a few times. Even after using clean gasoline and stabilizer, the carburetor is prone to getting jammed with carbon build-up and then malfunctions. Faulty carburetors can also cause severe damage to the engine by providing it with the wrong mixture of fuel and air.
Deck Belt Issue
Customers have taken issue with the deck belts getting worn out frequently on the Snapper mower. Deck belts get worn out very quickly on these mowers and require regular replacements.
9. Husqvarna MZ61
Husqvarna is known for using cheap and flimsy plastic and metals to construct parts of their machines. These parts look alright when it is brand new but show signs of damage with just a few hours of usage. Customers have complained about the deck being too thin and getting bent easily after running on thicker grass or rougher terrains.
Fuel System Issues
Fuel system issues are so common in Husqvarna mowers that they had to officially recall numerous batches for issues in the fuel system. Users have repeatedly complained about the carburetor malfunctioning after a few rides. Repairing the carburetor did not solve the problems for many customers as they faced the same issue again and again every season.
The front wheels of this model are often crooked and the tires rot very easily. Customers took issue with this fact as the tires on these mowers rot way earlier than any of the other brand’s mowers. The wheels often come loose and require replacements.
Another frequent complaint by the users of this mower is that the deck belt loses traction very easily and gets burnt out or permanently damaged. Belts are not covered by the warranty and require costly replacements every season.
10. Dixie Chopper cl3572kw Lawn Mower
Poor Build Quality
Several customers have complained that the parts in the mower wobble and come apart only after a few hours of usage. The brake paddles, the switches, the seat mount, the belts and spindles, the blades, and many other important components in the mower are made from low quality materials like cheap plastic and flimsy metal sheets which get damaged and cause overall malfunction.
Electrical Wiring Issues
Another severe issue of this model of mower is that the electrical wiring inside the mower that connects all the parts to each other and to the battery is prone to getting eroded and getting disconnected. Even after several repairs, the users have repeatedly faced this problem which only grows worse with time.
Users have noticed that the seat is quite uncomfortable on the mower and does not give the user proper access to all of the controls to ensure an enjoyable mowing experience.
11. Cub Cadet Rzt S46
The biggest issue regarding the Cub Cadet RZT S46 is that the deck is built with stamped metal sheets which is thinner and less durable than welded metal deck. The deck is prone to getting bent and damaged with time and usage and bent or damaged deck cuts grass unevenly. This mower also faces difficulty riding on uneven surfaces as the deck does not have enough space to move the blades.
Cub Cadet mowers are affordable but this cheap price comes at the cost of having a weaker engine. Most mowers compared to this model outputs greater power. This model is incapable of mulching as it requires more power which it is not capable of providing.
How to Identify the Worst Zero Turn Mower?
There are a few ways to identify the worst zero turn mowers in the markets to avoid buying them and wasting money.
Checking customer reviews before purchasing a new mower will help the customer to avoid purchasing low quality mowers. Make sure to check that the reviews are on trusted sites and also ensure that the reviews are coming from actual customers of the product. The issues that they face are common and the chances of you running into the same trouble are high.
Brands that do not provide quality products are always hesitant to cover their products with warranty. Discuss about the warranty with your dealer extensively to know what parts are covered by the warranty and what sorts of repairs on the vehicle voids the warranty.
Although it is quite difficult to understand the overall durability of a mower without using it for a considerable amount of time, the durability and build quality of the mower can be understood by checking the materials that are used to build the parts and by checking all the screws, nuts, bolts, and welds that are holding the mower together.
What Are the Zero Turn Lawn Mower Brands to Avoid?
Poulan Pro, Troy-Bilt, Swisher, Country Clipper, Husqvarna, Ariens, Snapper, Dixie Chopper, Cub Cadet are some of the worst zero turn lawn mower brands to avoid.