Common Toro Lawn Mower Problems & Solutions


Toro is a well known brand of lawn mowers known for its quality and product support. Even though it is one of the better lawn mowers on the market today, it will still develop problems over time. When you own a lawn mower long enough, you will run into problems. These problems only magnify when you don’t perform routine maintenance.

I have put together a list of the most common problems you will run into when owning a Toro mower. It’s a great list to keep on hand and save to your favorites. You never know when you’re going to run into your next problem.

Make sure you follow all safety precautions before troubleshooting your Toro. This includes removing your ignition key, disconnecting your spark plug(s) and securing your mower so it doesn’t move. Refer to your owner’s manual for all safety precautions to take with your Toro model.

The most common Toro lawn mower problems are:

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

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10 Common Toro Problems & Solutions

Toro Mower Won’t Start

Often times, the reason your Toro lawn mower won’t start is due to air or fuel restrictions. These restrictions prevent the engine from getting the air and gas it needs to start. Fuel restrictions can be caused by a clogging in the fuel system due to running old fuel. Air flow restrictions can be caused by a plugged air filter.

Other items you need to address are electrical problems including your battery, charging system and switches. You must also make sure your spark plugs are working correctly and providing the spark to start and run your Toro mower.

Detailed information can be found at:
Reasons Your Toro Mower Won’t Start

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
Broken recoilA pull start mower may have a damaged or broke recoil preventing the recoil to initiate starting your engineCheck recoil to see if it can be restrung or broke parts, like the pulley, can be replaced. Replace the recoil assembly if needed.
Bad charging systemA charging system that can’t keep your mower charged and is constantly draining the battery must be repaired to prevent starting problems.Take your lawn mower to your local Toro dealer for assistance identifying which part of the charging system has failed.
Reasons Your Toro Mower Won’t Start

Toro Mower Starts and Dies

The same items that can cause your mower to not start can be the contribute to the problem with your Toro mower dying after it runs for a while. In addition to most the items shown above as starting problems, your mower can overheat and shut down.

Overheating can be caused when your engine cooling fins are plugged and not able to keep your engine block cool. It can also be the result of a clogged mower deck putting too much strain on the engine.

Refer to the list below for a full list of items that can cause your mower to die. Check out the link for more information on your Toro mower starting and then dying.

Detailed information can be found at:
Why Your Toro 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.
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 carb 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 all components making up 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
Battery is Not ChargingA battery that doesn’t hold a charge or a bad charging system that can’t keep the battery charged will cause your Toro to die after running.Test your battery and charging system. Replace any electrical components found to be bad. Read more about testing your battery and charging system here.
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 Why Your Toro Mower Dies While Mowing

Toro Mower Smokes 

Something as simple as a plugged air filter can cause your Toro lawn mower to smoke. When addressed soon enough, you can solve your problem without causing significant damage. There are other items such as an insufficient engine oil level or internal engine problems that can be the reason your Toro is smoking. These problems may be more problematic and costly to repair when not caught and addressed at an early stage.

Detailed information can be found at:
Why Your Toro 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 Toro to your local small engine repair shop for troubleshooting
Reasons Why Your Toro Mower is Smoking

Toro Mower Has a Weak Hydrostatic Transmission 

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 weakChange your hydraulic oil at regularly intervals as recommended by Toro.
Check your hydraulic oil periodically to ensure your hydraulic fluid is full.
(Some transmissions systems are sealed and they can’t be serviced. If you are having troubles with a sealed system, see your dealer).
Reasons Why Your Toro Mower’s Hydrostatic Transmission Seems Weak

Toro Mower Won’t Drive Straight or Steer Correctly

Your Toro lawn mower can start pulling to one side. It can get frustrating when you must compensate for this problem and adjust the way you operate your Toro. Here is a list of items to check on your Toro zero turn mower when your mower isn’t driving straight.

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 turnWhen 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.
Worn or loose steering components in mower with a steering mechanismWorn bushings, washers and gears can cause your mower to not steer one way or the otherInspect and replace the parts that failed on your steering system
Reasons Why Your Mower Won’t Drive Straight or Steer Correctly

Toro Mower Won’t Move

Your Toro zero turn mower uses a hydraulic system with pumps to make the mower move. The hydraulic oil can become low or old causing your mower to not move as fast as it once did. Check for missing components on your drive system that may have become worn, damaged or missing.

Another thing to check is the drive release levers. A mower cannot be pushed without the hydros released. Make sure these levers are in the operating position or your Toro mower won’t 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 Toro.
Check your hydraulic oil periodically to ensure your hydraulic fluid is full.
(Some transmissions systems are sealed and they can’t be serviced. If you are having troubles with a sealed system, see your dealer).
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 Toro 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 Toro’s procedures for changing hydraulic fluid and bleeding air from the system in your owner’s manual.
Reasons Why Your Toro Will Not Move or Go Forward

Toro Mower is Vibrating

There are many items that can cause your Toro lawn mower to vibrate including unbalanced blades, bad bearings and a bad clutch. Loose or missing hardware can also cause components to come loose and cause a vibration in your mower.

Go through this list below to find the best places to check when looking for the reason your Toro is shaking. You may be surprised what you find is the cause of your vibration. Even the smallest little item can cause some major shaking.

Detailed information can be found at:
Reasons Your Toro Mower is Vibrating

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 Toro 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 Toro Mower is Vibrating

Toro Mower Has a Bad or Uneven Cut

You noticed your Toro mower doesn’t give the quality of cut you once had. A bad or uneven cut can be the result of a low tire, unleveled deck, bad mower blades or operator error.

Detailed information can be found at:
Reasons Your Toro Mower Cuts 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 Toro Mower is Cutting Uneven

Toro Mower is Leaking Gas

When gas evaporates into the air, it can often be hard to find the place your Toro mower is leaking gas. There often isn’t a large wet spot to clue you into your problem area. Here is a list of things to check on your mower.

Detailed information can be found at:
Your Toro 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 pumpOpens in a new tab.
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 linesOpens in a new tab.
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 capOpens in a new tab.
Places Your Toro Mower May Be Leaking Gas

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We're just a guy and a girl obsessed with outdoor power equipment! We are excited to share the knowledge and tips we have learned over our combined 55 years in the power equipment industry. We have both ran equipment dealerships and took pleasure in helping our customers everyday providing equipment repair, parts, purchasing, and business tips to our residential and commercial clients. We hope our blog will help you with your next purchase, repair, or project.

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