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9 Common Troy-Bilt Lawn Mower Problems with Solutions!

You were once excited to bring home your new Troy-Bilt mower to make your lawn care easier. That excitement begins to fade when you start running into problems with your mower.

All mowers end up failing over time because, after all, they are mechanical and mechanical parts will wear. You can prevent a lot of these problems with routine maintenance and care of your Troy-Bilt lawn mower.

I have put together a list of problems that can develop in a Troy-Bilt lawn mower to help you troubleshoot and fix those problems when they appear in your mower. You will find a summary of items that may be causing your problem along with the solution below.

I have also included links to more depth information on the most common problems. I hope this will assist you in getting your mower up and running again!

Common Troy-Bilt lawn mower problems and solutions

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Follow all safety instructions provided in your equipment operator’s manual prior to diagnosing, repairing, or operating. Consult a professional if you don’t have the skills, or knowledge or are not in the condition to perform the repair safely.

Common Troy-Bilt Problems

The most common Troy-Bilt lawn mower problems are:

  • Troy-Bilt won’t start
  • Troy-Bilt dies while mowing
  • Troy-Bilt is smoking
  • Troy-Bilt has a weak hydrostatic transmission
  • Troy-Bilt won’t drive straight or steer correctly
  • Troy-Bilt won’t move
  • Troy-Bilt is shaking or vibrating
  • Troy-Bilt is cutting uneven
  • Troy-Bilt is leaking gas

Problem 1: Troy-Bilt Mower Won’t Start

Your Troy-Bilt lawn mower may not start because you have an electrical, fuel, or airflow problem. The charging system, ignition switch, battery, and safety switches can fail to cause your mower to not start.

You may also have a bad air filter, dirty carburetor, bad spark plug, or clogged fuel components that can cause your starting problem.

Detailed information can be found at:
Reasons Your Troy-Bilt 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 it 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 airflowRemove 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 the 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 the 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 it if it won’t hold a charge. Make sure your cables are tight and clean the corrosion from terminals.
Bad safety switchSafety switches are a safety measure that exists 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 broken recoil preventing the recoil to initiate starting your engineCheck the recoil to see if it can be restrung or if broken parts, like the pulley, can be replaced. Replace the recoil assembly if needed.
Reasons Your Troy-Bilt Mower Won’t Start

Problem 2: Troy-Bilt Mower Loses Power and Dies

While you are mowing, your mower can suddenly lose power and die. This is often a fuel or air restriction problem. Bad fuel, a plugged air filter, and clogged fuel components can cause your mower to die when it is unable to get the air and fuel it requires to keep running.

Other items to address are additional things that can cause your Troy-Bilt mower to overheat like dirty cooling fins and a clogged mower deck.

Detailed information can be found at:
Reasons Your Troy-Bilt Lawn Mower Dies: Fixed

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 it 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 airflowRemove 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 linesBad fuel deposits and dirt can build up and clog the fuel lines preventing the engine from getting the required fuel.Use a carb cleaner and compressed air to clear the clog out of the fuel line
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.
Reasons Why Your Troy-Bilt Mower Dies While Mowing

Problem 3: Troy-Bilt Lawn Mower Smokes 

Again, a plugged air filter can be a reason your lawn mower is having problems. You may have guessed it already, a plugged filter can cause many Troy-Bilt mower problems.

It can cause smoking because your mower isn’t getting enough air to mix with fuel so it is running rich.

There is also the possibility your air filter is so plugged that oil has been pulled into the cylinder along with air from the crankcase. When the oil burns off, your mower emits smoke. Other smoking problems can be the result of an internal engine problem.

Detailed information can be found at:
Why Your Troy-Bilt Lawn Mower is Smoking

CauseReason for ProblemSolution
Plugged air filterDirt and grass can plug the air filter preventing airflowRemove 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 manufacturer’s 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 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 Troy-Bilt to your local small engine repair shop for troubleshooting
Reasons Why Your Troy-Bilt Mower is Smoking

Problem 4: Troy-Bilt Mower Has a Weak Hydrostatic Transmission 

When the hydrostatic transmission on your Troy-Bilt mower feels weak, you should check the drive belt and tensioner pulley for wearing and replace them if needed.

Old hydraulic fluid or a low hydraulic fluid level can cause weakness in your transmission. It’s important to follow your manufacturer’s guidelines for a hydraulic oil and filter change.

Note: Some hydraulic systems on entry-level mowers can be sealed which means you are unable to change the fluids. If you are having problems with your hydraulics and have a sealed system, contact your local dealer or lawn mower repair shop for support.

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 Troy-Bilt.
Check your hydraulic oil periodically to ensure your hydraulic fluid is full.
Reasons Why Your Troy-Bilt Mower’s Hydrostatic Transmission Seems Weak

Problem 5: Troy-Bilt Mower Won’t Drive Straight or Steer Correctly

Whether you have a riding mower or a zero-turn, you can experience problems with your steering system. Unequal tire pressures can cause your mower to pull to one side.

A riding mower can have loose components in the steering system causing it to not steer correctly.

Bad dampers can make your zero-turn pull to one side on your zero-turn. Another reason your zero-turn can fail to drive straight is if the tracking adjustment is off.

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 manufacturer’s spec. Tires on each side of your mower require equal pressure.
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 the speed adjustment bolt to change the rotation speed of the tire. Refer to your owner’s manual.
Worn or loose steering components in riding mowerWorn 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

Problem 6: Troy-Bilt Lawn Mower Won’t Move

It can get very upsetting when you can’t get your Troy-Bilt mower to move. A Troy-Bilt mower may not move because the drive release lever is still engaged; the drive belt is worn, components on the tensioner are worn, or you have bad or a low level of hydraulic oil.

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.
Missing key in the axleYour riding mower may have a small key in the axle that may have fallen out of placeReplace the key in the axle
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 regular intervals as recommended by Troy-Bilt.
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 becomes weak when the hydraulic system gets hot, have your mower checked at your local Troy-Bilt 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 Troy-Bilt’s procedures for changing the hydraulic fluid and bleeding air from the system in your owner’s manual.
Reasons Why Your Troy-Bilt Will Not Move or Go Forward

Problem 7: Troy-Bilt Mower is Vibrating

It can be difficult finding the root cause of your Troy-Bilt mower’s vibrating problem. Many small items can cause a significant vibration including loose parts, loose engine mounting bolts, or debris stuck in your lawn mower.

In addition to this, damaged or unbalanced blades; bad bearings in your pulleys and spindle housings; or a worn belt can cause a vibration in your Troy-Bilt’s mower deck that can be felt throughout the mower including the operator’s seat.

Detailed information can be found at:
How to Stop Your Lawn Mower from Shaking & Vibration

CauseReason for ProblemSolution
Loose or missing engine mounting boltsEngine bolts are used to reduce the 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 Troy-Bilt 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 Troy-Bilt Mower is Vibrating

Problem 8: Troy-Bilt Mower Has a Bad or Uneven Cut

When your Troy-Bilt mower doesn’t cut as nice as it once did it’s time to check out your tire pressures and look over your mower deck. A low tire can cause your deck to not sit level so it is best to start here when you have an uneven cut.

Next, you’ll want to inspect your blades and mower components for wearing and damage. There is always the possibility you aren’t operating your mower correctly and mowing too fast or without your throttle on high.

Detailed information can be found at:
Why Your Troy-Bilt Lawn Mower is Cutting Uneven (Fixed!)

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 Troy-Bilt Mower is Cutting Uneven

Problem 9: Troy-Bilt Mower is Leaking Gas

When you see small areas of burnt grass in your lawn or you smell gas in your garage or storage shed, it’s time to look for a fuel leak on your Troy-Bilt.

It can be a difficult task to find the leak because the area of the leak may have evaporated not leaving a significant wet spot behind to give a clear indication of where the leak started.

You will need to check all of your fuel components from your gas tank to your carburetor. Your Troy-Bilt can develop leaks from a bad gasket in your carburetor, degradation of plastic components, a bad seal in your fuel cap, and more.

Detailed information can be found at:
Your Troy-Bilt Lawn Mower is Leaking Gas (Solved!)

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
Cracked Primer BulbThe rubber of the primer bulb can begin leaking when it cracks or isn’t attached well to the fuel hose.Replace the primer bulb
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 Troy-Bilt Mower May Be Leaking Gas