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Common Ariens Lawn Mower Problems & Solutions

The Ariens Company manufacturers a great line of lawn mowers. While they are of good quality, just like any mower line, they are not maintenance-free and will eventually need repairs. Mechanical, electrical and hydraulics on a lawn mower will wear and fail over time.

Routinely checking and performing maintenance on your Ariens mower can help prevent some of these problems from developing or catch them before they develop into costly problems. This includes replacing and cleaning the filters; cleaning the mower; checking for loose or missing parts; changing the engine and hydraulic oil and filters; and keeping your components lubricated.

I have put together a list of problems along with solutions to resolve them. Many items can be repaired by the average homeowner. Bookmark this page to keep on hand for your next Ariens mower issue. Check out the links in the page for more detailed information.

The most common Ariens lawn mower problems are:

  • Ariens lawn mower won’t start
  • Ariens lawn mower dies while mowing
  • Ariens lawn mower is smoking
  • Ariens lawn mower has a weak hydrostatic transmission
  • Ariens lawn mower won’t drive straight or steer correctly
  • Ariens lawn mower won’t move
  • Ariens lawn mower is shaking or vibrating
  • Ariens lawn mower is cutting uneven
  • Ariens lawn mower is leaking gas
Common Ariens lawn mower problems and solutions

Common Ariens Lawn Mower Problems & Solutions

Ariens Lawn Mower Won’t Start

Your Ariens mower requires three items to start and run: air, fuel and spark. Begin looking for an item that can prevent the mower from receiving one of these items. Check for a plugged air filter, dirty carburetor, restriction in the fuel components, dirty spark plug, or old fuel. These are the easiest items to check.

Next, if you rule out fuel and air being a problem, you will need to find an electrical issue that will keep your mower from getting the spark required to form a combustion in the cylinder. In addition to the spark plug, you’ll want to check out the ignition coil, battery, terminals and charging system. Something as simple as a faulty safety switch can keep you from mowing the lawn with your Ariens mower.

Detailed information can be found at:
Reasons Your Ariens Lawn Mower Won’t Start (Solved!)

CauseReason for ProblemSolution
No gas in the fuel tankFuel tank is emptyFill with fresh fuel
Bad or old fuelFuel breaks down overtime making your fuel less efficient and prone to clogging the fuel systemDrain the fuel tank and fill with fresh fuel. Use a fuel additive like Sea Foam to stabilize the fuel and assist with cleaning the fuel system. Use the right fuel.
Faulty or clogged fuel capThe vent in the cap can get clogged causing your tank to form a vacuum restricting fuel flowUse a thin piece of wire to try to clear the clogged vent. Replace the cap if needed.
Bad spark plugExcessively dirty or broken spark plug; bad connection; not gapped correctlyReplace with a new spark plug, secure connections and ensure it is gapped to manufacturer specifications
Plugged air filterDirt and grass can plug the air filter preventing air flowRemove the filter and clean it. Replace the filter if it is in bad condition.
Plugged fuel filterA dirty fuel filter will restrict fuel flowReplace the fuel filter
Bad fuel pumpA failed or leaking fuel pump will no longer create pressure needed to pump fuelReplace the fuel pump
Blocked fuel linesBad fuel deposits and dirt can build up and clog the fuel lines preventing the engine from getting the required fuelUse a carb cleaner and compressed air to clear the clog out of the fuel line. Replace line if necessary.
Dirty carburetorThe carburetor can become dirty and clogged due to bad fuel and ethanol deposits preventing fuel flowClean the components making up the carburetor. Replace if needed.
Bad battery or loose & dirty terminalsA dead battery, loose cables or corroded terminals can cause starting problemsCharge your battery and replace if it won’t hold a charge. Make sure your cables are tight and clean the corrosion from terminals.
Bad safety switchSafety switches is a safety measure that exist to prevent your mower from starting in certain situations. When a switch fails, your mower may not start.Test and replace faulty safety switch
Bad ignition switch or coilYour mower will not start when either the ignition switch or coil is badTest and replace a bad switch
Reasons Your Ariens Mower Won’t Start

Ariens Lawn Mower Starts Then Dies

Many of the same reasons an Ariens mower won’t start are reasons why the mower may die after it’s been running. In addition to items mentioned above, your Ariens may shut down when it overheats. This can happen when the cooling fins are broke or plugged; the engine shroud is dirty; and the heat shield is not securely in place. This prevents air from circulating around the cylinder head and engine block to keep it cool.

A plugged air filter, insufficient engine oil level or wrong grade of engine oil can also cause the Ariens mower to overheat. Other items to check that can cause your mower to die is insufficient fuel, wrong choke setting, bad gas cap, clogged mower deck and faulty ignition coil.

Detailed information can be found at:
Reasons Your Ariens Lawn Mower Starts Then Dies

CauseReason for ProblemSolution
Bad fuelFuel breaks down overtime making your fuel less efficient and prone to clogging the fuel system and engine damageDrain the fuel tank and fill with fresh fuel. Use a fuel additive like Sea Foam to stabilize the fuel and assist with cleaning the fuel system
Plugged air filterDirt and grass can plug the air filter preventing air flowRemove the filter and clean it. Replace the filter if it is in bad condition.
Dirty or broken cooling finsCooling fins get packed with dirt, oil and grass not allowing air to effectively cool the engine blockReplace broken fins and clean the cooling fins. Clean around the engine shroud.
Clogged fuel lines or filterBad fuel deposits and dirt can build up and clog the fuel lines preventing the engine from getting the required fuelUse a carburetor cleaner and compressed air to clear the clog out of the fuel line. Replace a plugged fuel filter.
Dirty carburetorThe carburetor can become dirty and clogged due to bad fuel and ethanol deposits preventing fuel flowClean the carburetor. Replace if needed.
Too Much Engine OilToo much engine oil increases pressure in the crankcase causing it to overheat and dieCorrect your engine oil level by removing a little oil
Bad Spark PlugDirty or damaged spark plug causes plug to foul out and cause intermittent running problems.Clean or replace spark plugs if needed. Ensure spark plug wires are securely attached and the plug is gapped correctly.
Faulty Ignition CoilA windings on the coil can separate and short out on a bad ignition coilCheck for a break in the continuity using an ohm meter and replace is found bad
Choke is in the Wrong PositionA choke is used for cold starts. The choke can cause your engine to shut off when it continues to restrict airflow after the engine warms.Make sure the choke is in the correct position
Bad Gas CapGas caps have vents for air to pass through. When the vents get plugged, the fuel tank will cause fuel restrictions.Replace a fuel cap that no longer vents
Clogged Mower DeckClogged mower deck causes a strain on the engine causing it to work hard and possibly shut downPeriodically scrape your mower deck to keep it clean
Reasons Your Ariens Lawn Mower Dies While Mowing

Ariens Lawn Mower is Smoking 

It’s never good to see smoke rolling out of your Ariens mower. If you catch the problem early, you may be able to be fixed it before it causes significant damage. This includes items like a plugged filter, a bad engine gasket, too much engine oil or spilled oil from a recent oil change.

When your Ariens mower begins to smoke because there isn’t enough engine oil in the crankcase, you have a more significant problem where extensive engine damage may have occurred. If this is the case, it’s best to have a knowledgeable small engine mechanic diagnose and repair your engine.

Detailed information can be found at:
This is Why Your Ariens Lawn Mower is Smoking

CauseReason for ProblemSolution
Plugged air filterDirt and grass can plug the air filter preventing air flowRemove the filter and clean it. Replace the filter if it is in bad condition.
Too much oil in the crankcaseExcessive oil can cause pressure to build in the engine allowing oil to get into the cylinder through the valve trainDrain a little engine oil until it is at the manufacturers recommended oil level.
Engine oil level is too lowLack of oil can increase friction in your engine causing extreme heat.Bring to a small engine repair shop to inspect engine damage. You can try adding oil, but it is often too late to have this fix your engine problem.
Internal problems including the piston ring, valve train or engine gasketInternal engine problems can have a detrimental effect on your mower if they are not caught soon enough and fixed.Bring your Ariens to your local small engine repair shop for troubleshooting
Reasons Why Your Ariens Mower is Smoking

Ariens Lawn Mower Has a Weak Hydrostatic Transmission 

Ariens has intervals when you must change your hydraulic fluid for best performance. When you run a low level of hydro oil or your oil is getting aged, you can develop transmission problems. Your Ariens mower’s transmission may seem weak. Weakness can also be caused by a bad drive belt or tensioner pulley.

CauseReason for ProblemSolution
Bad drive beltA bad drive belt can cause your pump not to work efficientlyReplace a frayed, cracked or worn belt
Bad tensioner pulleyWhen a tensioner pulley fails, it fails to keep tension on the drive beltReplace the pulley and grease the tensioner arm
Low or old hydraulic oilLow or old hydraulic oil can fail to lubricate the hydraulic system causing your hydraulic system to seem weakCheck your hydraulic oil periodically to ensure your hydraulic fluid is full.
Reasons Why Your Ariens Mower’s Hydrostatic Transmission Seems Weak

Ariens Lawn Mower Won’t Drive Straight or Steer Correctly

CauseReason for ProblemSolution
Incorrect tire pressureUnequal tire pressure can cause your mower to pull to one side.Check tire pressures and keep them filled to the manufacturers spec. Tires on each side of your mower requires equal pressures.
Bad dampers on zero turnBad dampers will cause your mower to jerk to one side when moving forwardReplace with a new damper
Tracking adjustment needed on zero turn or standon mowerWhen one tire is moving faster than the other, your mower can pull to one sideAdjust speed adjustment bolt to change the rotation speed of the tire. Refer to your owner’s manual.
Reasons Why Your Ariens Mower Won’t Drive Straight or Steer Correctly

Ariens Lawn Mower Won’t Move

Old hydraulic oil or an insufficient oil level can cause your Ariens mower to move slowly or not move at all. Check the drive belt, tensioner pulley and spring. If any of these items are worn or missing, your Ariens mower may not move.

Another item to check is the hydraulic release lever. You may have recently had to manually move your mower and used the drive release lever to release the hydros. Make sure your drive release levers are in the operating position. If they are not, your mower will not move.

Detailed information can be found at:
9 Reasons Your Mower Won’t Move or Go Forward

CauseReason for ProblemSolution
Drive release lever in the wrong positionThe drive release lever allows hydrostatic mowers to roll freelyThe drive release lever must be in the operating position.
Drive pump belt is wornThe mower won’t move if your drive belt has fallen off. It could also not move if the belt is worn.Replace a worn or cracked belt. Make sure the belt is securely around the pulleys.
Bad tensioner pulleyThe bearing in the tensioner pulley can failReplace the tensioner pulley
Missing idler arm springIf the idler arm spring breaks or goes missing, it can no longer place tension on the drive beltReplace the broken or missing spring
Low or old hydraulic oilLow or old hydraulic oil can fail to lubricate the hydraulic system causing your hydraulic system to seem weakChange your hydraulic oil at regularly intervals as recommended by Ariens.
Check your hydraulic oil periodically to ensure your hydraulic fluid is full.
Hot hydraulic fluidHot hydraulic fluid can be a sign of damage to your hydrostatic transmission systemLet your hydraulic oil cool. If you find your mower runs fine when it is cold, but does becomes weak when the hydraulic system gets hot, have your mower checked at your local Ariens dealership.
Air in the hydraulic systemAir must be bled from the hydraulic system after changing your hydraulic fluid or the mower will not be able to move at normal speedsFollow Ariens procedures for changing hydraulic fluid and bleeding air from the system in your owner’s manual.
Reasons Why Your Ariens Mower Will Not Move or Go Forward

Ariens Lawn Mower is Vibrating

A shaking lawn mower does not make for a good mowing experience. An Ariens mower can vibrate so bad it may feel like you’re going to shake right out of the seat. This can be caused by many different things.

When your mower starts vibrating, even the smallest of items can cause your mower to shake. This includes small debris getting stuck in your mower. It may also be cause by loose or missing parts.

Other items that may cause your Ariens to vibrate are loose engine mounting bolts; a bad clutch; unbalanced or bent mower blades; bad bearings in the spindle housings or pulleys; or a worn mower deck belt.

Detailed information can be found at:
Ariens Lawn Mower is Vibrating: How to Make it Stop!

CauseReason for ProblemSolution
Loose or missing engine mounting boltsEngine bolts are used to reduce vibration of the mower when the engine is runningSecure engine bolts and replace any missing bolts
Clutch is badWhen there is bearing failure and it falls out of the clutch it can cause vibration. A manual engagement clutch can have a bushing and linkages that can fail.Replace the clutch
Unbalanced or damaged mower bladesDamaged and unbalanced blades can send a vibration through your mower. Blades must be balanced before installingReplace any damaged blades and make sure they are balanced.
Material wrapped around the blade spindleForeign materials like string or long weeds can get wrapped around your blade shaft causing vibrationRemove all debris and items wrapped around the blade shaft. Check for spindle damage.
Bad spindle housing bearingsVibration can be caused by a bad bearing in the spindle housing.Replace bearing in the spindle housing or replace the whole spindle housing assembly
Worn pulleys or deck beltCheck deck belt and pulleys for wearing of the belt and bearing failure in the pulleysReplace any damaged or worn belts and pulleys
Debris lodged in mowerThe smallest little things can cause your Ariens to excessively vibrate. Check over your mower for debris stuck in the deck or mower. Don’t overlook the small stuff.Check over your mower deck and mower for any place small items can be stuck in your mower. Remove these foreign materials.
Reasons Your Ariens Mower is Vibrating

Ariens Lawn Mower Has a Bad or Uneven Cut

The first thing to check on your Ariens mower before checking anything else is your tire pressures. Something as simple as a low tire can throw off the level of the mower deck giving you an uneven cut.

After checking the tire pressures, look for a worn or bent mower blade; an unleveled deck; a bent spindle; or worn spindle bearings, deck pulleys or belts. In addition to failed parts or incorrect settings, a bad cut can result from mowing too fast or not having a high engine speed.

Detailed information can be found at:
Ariens Lawn Mower is Cutting Uneven

Worn mower bladeUneven tire pressuresEngine speed is too low
Bent mower bladeUnleveled mower deckGround speed is too fast
Blade installed wrongBent blade spindle or spindle bearingDamaged deck shell
Clogged Mower DeckWorn deck pulleys or beltOperator error
Reasons Your Ariens Mower is Cutting Uneven

Ariens Lawn Mower is Leaking Gas

Burnt spots in your lawn or a strong fuel odor are signs your Ariens mower is leaking gas. Running old fuel through the mower is a big factor in your fuel components degrading and leaking fuel. Old gas can cause the plastic in your components to become soft making them susceptible to leaking at the seams.

Other reasons your Ariens mower leaks gas is from a dirty carburetor, bad shut-off fuel valve, cracked fuel lines and a bad fuel cap seal.

Detailed information can be found at:
Ariens Lawn Mower is Leaking Gas

CauseReason for ProblemSolution
Dirty of Failed CarburetorThe carburetor can collect a buildup of substances remaining from old gas that can cause blockages or parts failuresClean the carburetor and replace any damaged parts
Old Fuel FilterFilter can become pluggedReplace fuel filter
Bad Fuel PumpPump can wear and deteriorate over time and may begin leaking at the seamsReplace the fuel pump
Bad Fuel TankA metal tank can develop a rust hole. A poly tank can leak at the seams of the tank.Replace the fuel tank. Sometimes, a rust hole can be repaired if you can no longer find a replacement tank.
Bad Fuel Shut-Off ValveMetal and plastic shut-off valves are prone to leakingReplace the shut-off valve
Cracked Fuel LinesRubber fuel lines become dry and cracked causing gas to leakReplace the fuel lines
Bad Seal in the Gas CapThe gas cap seal can fail and no longer seal allowing gas to splash out of the fuel tank around the gas capReplace the gas cap
Where Your Ariens Mower May Be Leaking Gas