How to Fix a John Deere Riding Mower

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Things You'll Need

  • 3/8-drive ratchet and socket

  • Sparkplug wrench

Repair costs are high. Anytime engine-driven equipment requires a repair or rebuild by a professional mechanic, you'll pay two to three times more than the cost of parts alone. Since many of the problems with a John Deere mower are minor, you can save a lot of money doing the work at home. Depending on the age of the riding mower, most issues are related to wear and tear.


Step 1

Take the air breather cover off the air inlet and inspect the air filter. An engine experiencing inlet air restriction will lug and choke as if it's failing. Cleaning or replacing the air filter will breathe fresh life into the engine and improve performance considerably.

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Step 2

Check for spark at the spark plug when the engine turns over but does not start. Remove the plug connector and take out the spark plug with a spark plug wrench. Place the plug back into the connector and ground it against the engine case. Turn the ignition over as if to start the engine and look for spark emitted from the plug. If the spark is absent, replace the plug with a new one. The ability for a spark plug to ignite the fuel air mixture in the engine's combustion chamber deteriorates over time. Eventually, the spark plug will give out entirely.


Step 3

Jump start a John Deere riding mower with an automotive battery charger. A dead battery is a common issue after a lengthy winter storage. Before plugging the battery charger's power cord into an outlet, connect the black lead to the negative battery post, and the red lead to the positive battery post. Plug the battery charger in to power and allow the battery to charge until the charger's meter indicates a full battery charge. If the battery will not accept a charge, it has likely failed and will require a replacement.


Step 4

Disconnect the negative battery terminal first when removing the battery for replacement. Use a 3/8-drive ratchet and socket to loosen the battery lead terminals. Wiggle each terminal slightly while pulling up on it to remove the battery leads from the battery. Wipe any dirt and debris from the battery box with a gloved hand once the battery is out of the way. Put the new battery in place and install the red battery lead to the positive battery post first. Tighten the terminal with the socket and ratchet before installing the black battery lead to the negative terminal.


Step 5

Examine the riding mower's fuse link if the mower fails to turn over. A John Deere mower employs a 20 amp fuse in the battery circuit for protection of the mower's electrical circuitry. Raise the hood and locate the fuse next to the battery on the left side of the mower. Remove the fuse with a pair of pliers and look through the clear plastic for a metal strip. If the metal strip is burned in half, replace the fuse with a new one of the same size and amp rating.


Inspect the simple items first when experiencing trouble with a John Deere riding mower.


Wash your hands immediately if exposed to battery acid or gasoline while servicing the riding mower.



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