Riding lawn mowers provide a means for homeowners to efficiently and evenly cut large tracks of lawn without all the backbreaking labor. These machines have many similar components to automobiles, and as such can encounter similar problems that may impact performance and the ability to drive forward or in reverse. Regular maintenance of your riding mower is required to keep it running in top shape.
A dead or failing battery may keep your riding mower from moving in any direction. A weak battery may have enough power to start the mower but not enough to drive it. As a result, a lawn mower may start successfully but shut down once power demand on the engine increases. In riding mowers that use carburetors, gasoline to air mixtures can become too lean or too rich if the component is damaged, resulting in stall outs and engine damage when attempting to drive the mower forward or reverse it.
Clogged Fuel/Air Filters
Air and fuel filters for riding mowers can become clogged and negatively impact performance. A blocked fuel filter can keep gasoline from flowing to your mower's engine in adequate supply, resulting in a lawn mower that isn't drivable. Damaged or clogged air filters also can prevent your lawn mower from going forward or in reverse simply because the engine will overheat quickly. Your mower's engine may become permanently damaged if these filters are not regularly changed.
Problems with your mower's transmission can lead to an inability to shift gears, which may prevent your riding mower from driving forward or in reverse. The mower could also become stuck in one gear due to transmission failure or damage. Leaks in the fluid reservoir or any transmission lines can also cause shifting problems. The problem can cascade to engine components, such as sticking valves and pistons, if not adequately repaired.
Jonathan Lister has been a writer and content marketer since 2003. His latest book publication, "Bullet, a Demos City Novel" is forthcoming from J Taylor Publishing in June 2014. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Shippensburg University and a Master of Fine Arts in writing and poetics from Naropa University.