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How to Drive a Riding Lawn Mower

One of the most important tools to own if you have a large yard is a riding lawn mower. Large yards take considerable time to mow with a push-style lawn mower. A riding lawn mower incorporates a faster mowing speed and a wider mowing deck which shaves significant time off cutting your grass. To cut your grass with a riding lawn mower, you must learn how to properly drive it. These machines are not difficult to operate and only take a little practice to master.

Check the oil and gas levels on your riding lawn mower. Add to these fluids if necessary.

Climb up onto your riding lawn mower and sit down. Press the brake and clutch pedal, and start the engine by turning the key. On most models, the brake and clutch pedal is the same pedal; in essence it's a dual purpose pedal.

Shift the lawn mower into gear, and release the brake and clutch pedal. Each lawn mower is different but usually has 5 or 6 gears. Each gear has a top speed, with gear 1 having the lowest top speed and gear 5 or 6 having the highest top speed. Adjust the throttle lever to fine tune the speed within the gear you have selected.

Turn the steering wheel to control which direction you move. When you get to your lawn, press the brake and clutch pedal to stop moving.

Adjust the cutting height of the lawn mower with the cutting height adjustment lever. Look near your seating area to find it.

Engage the blades by flipping the blade engagement switch. If your model doesn't use a switch, look for a blade engagement lever. Release the brake and clutch pedal to begin moving. Drive over your lawn to mow, and steer with the steering wheel.


Each lawn mower has different controls. Consult your operation manual before using your riding lawn mower. If your riding lawn mower doesn't have a combination brake and clutch pedal and has a different pedal for each, always press and release the separate pedals simultaneously. You likely have an older style lawn mower if you have two pedals. If you need to change gears while mowing, you do not have to disengage the blades. Simply push the brake and clutch pedal, shift to your new desired gear, and release the brake and clutch pedal.


Always wear long pants, safety glasses and hearing protection when operating a riding lawn mower to prevent bodily injury. Always adjust the cutting height and engage the mower blades while the mower is stationary. Trying to adjust the height or engage the mower blades while moving is dangerous and may lead to an accident.

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