How to Adjust the Brakes on a Lawn Tractor

Like in any automotive vehicle, a lawn tractor will have a clutch, accelerator and a brake. The brake is there to reduce speed and safely stop your lawn tractor. Over time, a lawn tractor brake can become worn out and not work as well as it should. Luckily, adjustments to your lawn tractor brake are fairly simple and can be done at home.

Young Man Riding Lawn Mower At Grassy Field
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How to Adjust the Brakes on a Lawn Tractor

How Do Lawn Tractor Brakes Work?

In a lawn tractor engine, the brake and clutch actually share the same pedal. You activate the pedal, and the pedal pushes the brake arm. The brake arm then engages the brake rotor, which is located in the transmission. This slows the engine down and safely brings your lawn tractor to a stop.

How Will You Know Lawn Tractor Brakes Need Adjustment?

You'll notice over time that the brakes in your lawn tractor gradually decrease in efficiency and quality. This tends to be a result of the brake cable becoming stretched and therefore loosened. Perhaps they'll take longer to respond or require a firmer hold in order to work. Not only can this be problematic for neat lawn mowing, but it can also be dangerous. The general guidelines are: If your lawn tractor takes longer than 6 feet to stop when traveling at its highest speed, your brakes need adjusting.

How Do You Adjust Your Lawn Tractor Brakes?

In order to safely adjust your lawn tractor's brakes, you first need to park your lawn tractor on a flat, even surface. Depress your brake pedal, then engage the parking brake. You must then turn off the engine, and take your key out of ignition for safety.

Next, put your lawn tractor's engine in neutral. The gear shift is located to the right of the driver's seat. Move the shift into neutral, which will usually be indicated on the shift lever with an "N."

Near the right rear wheel will be the brake cable and operating arm. The two will be connected by a spring attachment. You need to measure the distance between this spring on the brake cable and the operating arm. The distance should be no greater than 1.5 inches. Any greater and the cable needs adjusting.

To do this, you must locate the jam nut and the adjustment nut. The jam nut will be holding the adjustment nut in place. Using a wrench, loosen the jam nut to allow you access to the adjustable nut.

Then, using the same wrench, tighten the adjustable nut, measuring as you go. Once the distance between the brake cable spring and operating arm is at 1.5 inches or less, you can stop tightening.

Next, tighten the jam nut to hold your adjustment nut in place. You can then test your newly adjusted brakes to check they are now working properly.