Why Is John Deere Tractor Won’t Go Forward or Reverse? Fixes


Lawn maintenance work may halt when your John Deere tractor doesn’t go forward or reverse. At the same time, such a troubling case gives headaches and nightmares. Fortunately, there are some convenient fixes based on the problems.

The cause varies from a dead battery to worn-out or damaged tires. Also, some culprits are blocked air or fuel filters, damaged drive belts, defective tensioner pullets, etc. 

You are not alone in facing the problem. Many consumers experience the same error. I discussed the reasons and solutions briefly in this comprehensive guide. Let’s get going.

John Deere Tractor Won’t Go Forward or Reverse – Reasons & Solutions at a Glance

John Deere Tractor Won’t Go Forward or Reverse – Reasons & Solutions at a Glance

In a rush? I suggest looking at the below chart to learn the causes and solutions of riding mowers that won’t move forward or reverse at a glance.

1Dead batteryReplace or change the battery
2Blocked air or fuel filtersClean the filters
3Damaged drive beltReinstall or replace
4Defective spark plugInspect the spark plug and replace it
5No contact between the friction wheel and the friction plateInspect the both components periodically and do the needful if you find any wear and tear
6Worn out or damaged tiresChange the worn-out tire
7Defective tensioner pulleyInspect the pulley and tighten or replace it if required

Why is My John Deere Tractor Won’t Go Forward or Reverse?

Every riding lawn mower comes with a significant lifespan. But they can stop working or show poor performance. If you fail to ensure periodic maintenance, you may face the John Deere tractor not moving issue for the below reasons.

Reason #01: Blocked Fuel or Air Filters

Blocked Fuel or Air Filters

Fuel and air filters play a vital role in the overall performance of a John Deere Tractor. Both filters can get blocked over time, negatively impacting the mower’s performance.

A blocked fuel filter prevents gasoline from flowing to the mower’s engine. As a result, the engine doesn’t get enough supply of gasoline. Finally, the lawn mower stops moving, and the engine overheats quickly.

What to do in such cases?

Cleaning or changing the air and fuel filters is the best solution.

Reason #02: Problem with the Battery or Carburetor

Problem with the Battery or Carburetor

Did you check the battery of your John Deere tractor? Is it damaged?

A mower will not move forward or reverse due to a failed, dead, or weak battery. It is also no exception for John Deere tractors.

If the power demand reduces, you can start your John Deere mower, but it will stop moving soon.

Moreover, the air filters of riding mowers designed with carburetors must be changed periodically. Otherwise, the gasoline-to-air mixture can’t happen properly, causing any movement of the mower.

Reason #03: Transmission Failure

Transmission Failure

Shifting the gears of your mower can be difficult because of the transmission failure. In return, the John Deere mower will not move forward and reverse.

Moreover, the chance of getting stuck in one mower gear is high when damage or failure happens in the transmission. You will also experience problems while shifting if there is any leak in the fluid reservoirs or transmission lines.

Attending the mentioned problem immediately is necessary. Otherwise, the issues may cascade to the engine particles, such as pistons and sticking valves.

Read Also: 7 Reasons Why John Deere Tractor Won’t Start & Their Fixes

How to Repair the John Deere Tractor Won’t Move Problem?

As mentioned, repairing the John Deere tractor won’t move the problem is straightforward. Here are a few steps which can help you resolve the issue.

Step 01: Replacing the Drive Belt

Replacing the Drive Belt

Does your John Deere slow down or fail to move while climbing the hills? If yes, be sure that the problem is with the drive belt. Troubleshoot whether the drive belt is damaged or slipped out of its place.

For a slipped drive belt, reinstall it.

On the other hand, for a damaged drive belt, change it.

Step 02: Replacing the Carburetor Assembly

Replacing the Carburetor Assembly

Is the John Deere tractor engine running rough?

Replacing the carburetor is mandatory if you find any problem with it. Even if the engine fails to start perfectly, consider checking the carburetor for errors. The carburetor problem causes imbalanced gas and air mix.

Step 03: Rebuilding the Engine Carburetor

Rebuilding the Engine Carburetor

Wear and tear of the carburetor gaskets and seals are common. Thus, a gas leak occurs. In this case, renovate the leaked or clogged carburetor using the rebuilding kit.

Step 04: Tuning the Engine Up

Tuning the Engine Up

Did you experience uneven cuts when mowing the lawn with a John Deere mower?

If yes, tune up the mower engine. At the same time, changing the engine oil, fuel filter, spark plug, oil filter, and air filter is crucial.

Step 05: Seat and Seat Switch Replacement

Seat and Seat Switch Replacement

A seat switch or kill switch is available under the seat of a riding lawn mower. The switch keeps the engine running while you are in the seat.

If the seat is damaged, replacing it becomes necessary because a broken seat fails to engage the seat switch.

As a result, the engine gets turned off once you release the brake.

In addition, inspect the seat switch to identify whether it is plugged in but can’t recognize your presence on the seat. For such a problem, replacing the seat switch will be best.

Read Also: 8 Reasons Why John Deere Tractor Keeps Draining Battery

Are John Deere Tractors Worth the Price?

Are John Deere Tractors Worth the Price

You must have heard the slogan, “Nothing runs like a Deere.” The statement is impressively true. Let me explain.

Your John Deere will run as long as you want it to. Also, the answer to whether they are worth the price depends on the machine’s reliability.

According to Consumer Report, John Deere has received a maximum reliability rating. The mowers also achieved excellent customer satisfaction. They have comfortable riding seats, reliable engines, shard blades, and many exclusive features.

With all the excellent highlights, it is evident to say John Deere lawn mowers are worth the price.

What is the Lifespan of a Well-maintained John Deere Lawn Mower?

What is the Lifespan of a Well-maintained John Deere Lawn Mower

Lawnmowers are efficient units, letting you clean your yard efficiently. Moreover, you can cut a large track of lawns evenly using them.

They are engineered with almost similar components as automobiles. Several problems can affect lawnmowers’ performance, and John Deere tractors are also no exception.

John Deere riding mowers are well-known among homeowners for their reasonable price point and longevity. You will get 8 – 10 years of efficient service from them.

When proper maintenance is ensured, a John Deere lawn mower having a small HP engine offers 500 – 1000 hours of service life. Also, 2-cylinder engines are long-lasting compared to single-cylinder engines.

A classic John Deere tractor offers 1.5 hours of cutting time per week for 8 months and 45 hours yearly.

According to this calculation, a well-maintained John Deere Tractors’ service life is 15 years. Although the manufacturer claims that the average service life is 10 years based on the usage and care. But John Deere lawn mowers can work precisely when you ensure periodic maintenance.

Read Also: How to Release Parking Brake On John Deere Tractor?


Why is my John Deere riding lawn mower not moving forward?

The drive belt is the main culprit for John Deere riding a lawn mower not moving forward. In order to troubleshoot the issue, try riding your tractor uphill. Is the tractor going slow? If yes, the problem lies with the damaged or malfunctioning drive belt.
Increase the speed by reinstalling the drive belt. Moreover, replacing the tensioner will help make the drive belt functional again.

Why is my John Deere riding lawn mower not moving backward?

A John Deere riding lawn mower does not move backward for many reasons. Air and fuel filter issue is the most prevalent reason. Reversing the machine becomes challenging if fuel gets blocked in the engine. Simultaneously, such an incident can overheat the engine, impacting the overall performance of the lawn mower.

How to know that my John Deere tractor transmission is failing?

When you notice that the pulley is rotating while the wheels are not turning, there is some problem with the tractor’s transmission.

How to make your John Deere last longer?

The ultimate answer is taking care of your John Deere. So, the next question is how to maintain a John Deere lawn mower for the best longevity. Here are a few tips for you.
Change the oil regularly
Clean the air and fuel filters when needed
Replace the bearing periodically
Keep the joints well-greased
The cutting blades need to be sharpened and replaced over time
Store the John Deere lawn mower in an environment-controlled area

Last Notes

A John Deere tractor won’t go forward, or reverse can be a frustrating and time-consuming setback. However, proper troubleshooting and expert guidance can resolve this issue.

Remember, identifying and addressing the root cause promptly will ensure your John Deere tractor gets back on track. Also, quick action allows you to resume your work with minimal disruption and maximum productivity.

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