7 Problems With Kubota Zero Turn Mowers [Explained]

kubota zero turn mower problems

Manufactured in Japan, Kubota Zero Turn mowers are well respected for their reliability and quality. They are considered fuel efficient and relatively low-maintenance. However, like all things mechanical, there are some problems that you might encounter from time to time.

The more common problems identified by users include the stiffness of the handlebars, problems with the hydraulic transmission, issues with the PTO, overheating of the engine, problems with starting the mower, and some issues with the fuel line. You may also experience some cutting problems.

Let’s look at these common problems individually and find some solutions to overcome them.

1. Handlebars Are Too Stiff

If you’re facing problems with using the handlebars because they are too stiff, it may be caused by bolts that are too tight or inadequate lubrication.


  • Consider loosening the bolts slightly to see if this makes a difference.
  • Add some approved lubricant to the moving parts to help make movement easier.

2. Transmission Problems

The Kubota Zero Turn mowers utilize a hydraulic transmission system. This requires the use of hydraulic fluid, and it’s this fluid that seems to be causing problems for some users.

Primarily, there have been complaints about fluid leakage and hydraulic fluid being blown out of the filler cup and the vents. These problems are, more than likely, caused by loose fittings.


  • Check the hydraulic hoses and fittings to ensure that they’re tight and that you can’t see any obvious leakage points.

3. The PTO Does Not Engage

From time to time, you might have an issue with the PTO that won’t engage the cutting deck. A malfunctioning safety switch more commonly causes this.


  • Test the safety switch under the seat to see if it’s working correctly.
  • Check the wires that connect the clutch to the switch and deck to ensure that they’re providing enough power to operate the clutch and engage the cutting deck. You want to do this with the engine switched off but with the key inserted and the switch for the PTO turned on.
  • Replace the clutch if it’s worn or faulty.

4. Overheating Of The Engine

If you find that your engine overheats while you’re mowing for an extended time, it’s probably because you have a filter that is blocked.

You see, your mower can catch a lot of dirt, dust, and debris while you’re out mowing. This can end up in the air filter and cause it to become blocked.

Ultimately, this stops the engine from being cooled by the air intake.


  • Check the air filter and replace it if you find that it is dirty and clogged up.

5. Problems With Starting The Mower

All sorts of things can stop your mower from starting or running well. More often than not, these problems are caused by a lack of regular maintenance. For example, you may have a dirty fuel filter that has caused a blockage in the gas line.

Alternatively, your battery could be flat because your mower has been sitting idle in the shed during the winter. You might also find that the spark plug is worn and needs to be replaced. Or, you could have some loose terminals that need to be tightened.


  • Remove the spark plug to see if it’s worn. Replace it if necessary.
  • Check the battery to ensure that it’s got a full charge.
  • Have a look at the fuel filter to see whether it’s clogged up with debris. Replace if necessary.
  • If you haven’t done an oil change for some time, this might be a good idea.
  • If all else fails, take your mower to a qualified mechanic for a full service.

6. Problems With The Fuel Line

If you feel that your mower is not running as well as it should, or you’re consuming more fuel than in the past, you might have an issue with the fuel line. Or rather, you might find that there is dirt in the gas, and this is causing all sorts of problems.


  • First, you want to check the fuel filter to ensure that it’s not clogged up with dirt and debris. It might even be wise to replace it entirely with a new one.
  • If you suspect that you might have dirty fuel, it might be wise to empty the tank, clean it and put new, clean fuel into it.

7. Cutting Problems

If your mower is cutting the grass, but you’re getting areas of streakiness or uneven patches of mowed grass, you might have a problem with the cutting blades.

Over time, your mower will experience some wear and tear with constant use. This could cause your mower blades to become loose or even blunt.

All of this could cause uneven mowing of your lawn.


  • Check the blades on the mower to see whether they’re loose or blunt.
  • If one or more of the blades are loose, tighten them up, and this should fix your problems.
  • If your blades appear quite blunt, take them off and sharpen them or have them sharpened for you professionally. Mower blades should be sharpened regularly so that they remain effective.
  • You could even consider replacing the blades with new ones, and this should ensure that your lawn will be mowed with precision again.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many hours will a Kubota zero turn mower last?

If you look after your mower and perform regular maintenance tasks, it should last around 4500 to 5500 hours. When you consider the low number of hours your mower works during the year, you’ll find that your Kubota should last for many years.

What engine does the Kubota zero-turn mower use?

The Kubota zero turn mower is fitted with an 18, 22 or 24 horsepower Kawasaki engine. 

How fast does a Kubota zero turn go?

A Kubota zero-turn mower with an 18-horsepower engine can reach a maximum speed of 5.6 miles per hour.

Final Thoughts

Kubota zero-turn mowers are top-rated and respected for their reliability and low maintenance requirements. However, they do have some problems that users have experienced over the years.

Most of these issues are fairly easily remedied with regular maintenance and replacement of worn parts or dirty filters. Regular maintenance of your mower should ensure that you can enjoy mowing your lawn happily for many years to come.