How to Troubleshoot a Cub Cadet Tractor


Cub Cadet tractors are well-made machines that, if maintained and serviced properly, will last a long time. Troubleshooting opportunities typically arise for one of three reasons: lack of maintenance, worn-out parts and because a part did not last as long as it should have. Getting to know how your yard machinery operates and why it operates the way it does will help you to maintain your equipment regularly. Service and maintenance tasks do not require a trained mechanic, although major repairs do.

Engine Won't Start

Step 1

Check the fuel level in the tank. Fill the tank with fresh, stabilized fuel. If the engine still will not start, check the choke to be sure it is activated while trying to start a cold engine. Further problems can be caused by a blocked fuel line.

Step 2

Drain the fuel out of the tank and clear the fuel line. Replace the fuel filter, and refill the fuel tank with fresh, stabilized fuel. If you can smell fuel when trying to start the engine, the spark plugs may be malfunctioning or not functioning at all.

Step 3

Check the connection between the spark plug wires and the spark plugs and tighten loose connections. If another start attempt fails, disconnect the spark plug wires and remove the spark plugs. Wipe any carbon build-up off of the spark plugs with a clean cloth rag. Check the gap with a gapping tool.

Step 4

Reinstall the spark plugs, reconnect the wires and try to start the engine. If the spark plugs are two seasons old, replace them. Use this same procedure if the engine idles roughly or if it hesitates at high RPMs.

Other Engine Problems

Step 1

Stop an overheating engine immediately. Check the air filter. If the foam prefilter is dirty and clogged, rinse it out with warm running water and spray it with a light coat of WD-40 or spray silicone lubricant.

Step 2

Remove the paper filter from the filter housing and blow any dirt and debris away with an air compressor. If the foam filter and the paper filter are two seasons old or more, replace them.

Step 3

Reinstall the paper filter and slip the lubricant-coated foam filter over it.

Step 4

Check the engine oil level with the dipstick, wiping the oil off of the dipstick with a cloth rag or paper towel. Insert the dipstick into the engine block again to read the oil level. Fill the oil reservoir if it is low. Do not overfill.

Mowing Problems

Step 1

Set mower blades so they will cut only the top third of the grass length during the first pass if an initial pass doesn't cut the grass properly. (The grass may be too tall.) Lower the mower blades to the regular cutting height and make a second pass to finish the job.

Step 2

Allow grass to dry out before trying to mow. If the grass is too wet, it clumps together and is very hard on a lawn tractor.

Step 3

Consider sharpening or replacing the mower's blades if these corrections don't make a difference in the mower's cutting performance. To avoid this, sharpen mower blades at the beginning of every operating season.

Tips and Warnings

  • Seek the assistance of a qualified service dealer before completing any major repairs on your Cub Cadet Tractor. Work not performed by a qualified service dealer may void the manufacturer's warranty.

Things You'll Need

  • Fresh fuel
  • Fuel stabilizer
  • Fuel filter replacement
  • Spark plug replacements
  • Gapping tool
  • Clean cloth rag
  • WD-40 or silicone spray lubricant
  • Air compressor
  • Engine oil
  • Mower blade replacements


  • Cub Cadet Hydrostatic Garden Tractor---GT1554 Owner's Manual

Who Can Help

  • Cub Cadet Home Owner Page
Keywords: Cub Cadet, troubleshooting, repairs, do it yourself

About this Author

Josh Nuttall graduated with a Bachelor of Science in English literature from Utah Valley University. He has been writing, editing and proofreading for more than six years. His work shows up all over the Internet and takes the form of articles and full website content.

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