You take time out of your busy week to make sure your yard is looking its best. Usually, your lawn looks good once you get done mower with your Cub Cadet, but this last time was different. The cut looks terrible and you’re not quite sure where to start to fix the problem.
A Cub Cadet mower can have a bad or uneven cut when the mower deck is plugged, not leveled, or the shell is damaged. Damaged spindles, bad bearings, bad pulleys, dull blades, and worn deck belts can affect your cut.
There are many things that can affect your cut and leave you with a bad-looking yard. I have put together a list of items so you can hopefully find out what is causing your bad cut.
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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.
12 Reasons Your Cub Cadet Cuts Uneven
Cub Cadet Mower Blade is Worn or Dull
Extremely worn blades can leave strips of grass on your lawn when. When the blades are very worn, they should be replaced.
If your blades are just dull, you may not be able to see any significant problems with the cut until a couple of days later. Dull blades beat up the grass and leave it bruised.
This bruising will slowly turn a brown color so you won’t notice it right away. Sharpen your blades if they are in good enough condition. Replace them if they are not. You can find more information on how to change and sharpen your Craftsman blades here.
Cub Cadet Mower Blade is Bent
A bent mower blade on your Cub Cadet can give your lawn an uneven cut. Take a look at your blade. Sometimes it is quite obvious your blade is bent, especially if you hit something solid.
Other times it is hard to tell. Even a slight bend can cause your cut to be uneven so you will want to take measurements to verify your blade is not bent.
To take a measurement, park your mower on flat ground. Remove the key and spark plug boot to prevent the deck from turning on. Next, you’re going to take the measurement from the tip of one end of the blade to the ground. Record the measurement.
Then, turn the blade 180 degrees to measure the opposite end of the blade. If there is over and 1/8″ variance from one blade end to the other blade end, replace with a new blade.
Repeat this step with the other blades if you have more than one blade under your Cub Cadet deck. Warning: Never attempt to straighten a mower blade as this will compromise the metal and be unsafe when the blade is spinning at high speeds.
Cub Cadet Mower Blades are Installed Incorrectly
The high side of the blade, known as the sail or fin, must point up when installed on your Cub Cadet deck. Installing your blades upside down will not only hit the ground and tear up your grass, it can also damage the blade spindle.
Make sure your blades are balanced before you install them. Unbalanced blades can cause an uneven cut and send a vibration through your mower. Read more about mower blade installation here.
Cub Cadet Mower Deck is Plugged with Grass
When your Cub Cadet deck gets plugged with a bunch of grass and dirt, your mower won’t give you a good cut. The design of the mower deck along with the air movement created when the blades spin forms a suction under the deck.
This suction lifts the grass to stand tall while the blades pass by and cut the grass. When the deck is plugged and it can’t create that suction so the grass doesn’t get cut evenly.
You must check and scrape your deck periodically. You’ll have to scrape it more often when cutting wet grass because wet grass tends to stick to the mower deck and leave clumps in your yard.
Some Cub Cadet owners choose to use a silicone spray meant for mower decks to prevent debris from sticking to your deck. This spray helps but will not prevent all of the grass from sticking. You will still need to scrape your deck, but hopefully, not as often.
Cub Cadet Tire Pressures are Not Correct
Owners often overlook their tires when they have an uneven cutting problem. It seems obvious to focus on your mower deck when looking for a cutting problem, but something as simple as a low tire can cause the deck to not sit level. Check your tire pressures are correct.
Cub Cadet Mower Deck is Not Level
If your lawn mower tires are set to manufacturer specification and it is not causing your deck to sit unevenly, then it is time to move on to checking the mower deck height.
With your mower parked on a level surface, measure the distance between the ground and the base of the mower deck on all four corners of the deck. If the measurements are not the same, follow your owner’s manual for instructions to level your deck.
Cub Cadet Blade Spindle is Bent
Check the blade spindles for a bent spindle or a damaged bearing. Again, make sure your spark plug boot is removed and the key is not in your ignition switch for safety.
With a pair of heavy gloves, grab a hold of each end of your mower blade. Rock the blade up and down and check for movement.
If you feel movement or hear a knock, you have a bad bearing in the spindle housing or a bent spindle. You will need to repair or replace the spindle housing.
Bad Mower Deck Belt or Pulleys on Your Cub Cadet
Turn each pulley on the deck slowly to see if you can feel any resistance or hear any noise. Replace any pulleys that don’t rotate smoothly or you hear a noise coming from the bearing.
Your deck belt needs to be in good condition without cracks and wear. Make sure your belt sits securely around the pulleys.
Your Cub Cadet Engine Speed is Too Low or Ground Speed is Too Fast
You must run your engine at full throttle whenever you have your mower deck engaged. Your mower deck takes a lot of power to run and you need to make sure your engine speed is at full throttle.
You must also adjust your ground speed when mowing thick, tall, or wet grass. Cutting grass in these types of conditions puts extra work on your engine so slowing your groundspeed will reduce the load on the engine.
Making multiple cuts will help reduce the load on your mower too. Make the first cut at a higher deck setting followed by another cut at a lower setting.
When your engine and deck are unable to handle the load on the mower, it may not provide a good cut. Mowing too fast can also cause your mower to not be able to create a good suction and end up pushing over some grass.
Incorrect Overlapping Path with Your Cub Cadet
Sometimes the cutting problem is the fault of the operator. When mowing paths up and down your lawn, you need to overlap each pass so you don’t miss any sections of grass and leave strips of grass in the lawn.
Cub Cadet Mower Deck Shell is Damaged
A deck shell can get tweaked by running your mower into objects like trees, rocks, and other hard surfaces. The deck shell is formed to create a suction to give you a good cut. If the deck has been damaged, your cut could also be compromised.
Your Lawn is Uneven
When your lawn is uneven and bumpy, your mower deck can scalp the lawn. For a nice-looking cut, it will help to roll your lawn to smooth it out.
Taking good care of your mower deck and inspecting it periodically for damage or failing parts will help prevent cutting future problems. Take extra care when operating around obstacles and ensure all toys, rocks, and other objects are removed from your yard before cutting.
Still Having Problems with Your Cub Cadet Mower?
If these tips haven’t solved your Cub Cadet problem or if you are experiencing a different problem with your mower, check out my guide showing the most common problems and their solutions: Common Cub Cadet Problems.
Here you’ll find the causes of Cub Cadet issues like the mower not starting, a bad cut, a vibration, or a smoking problem. I include solutions along with links to more in-depth information.