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How to Troubleshoot a John Deere 185 Tractor

By James Cooper
Troubleshoot your tractor to keep it running smoothly.
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If you have problems with the operation of your John Deere 185 tractor, take time to troubleshoot the problems before calling a repair service. The problem may be something simple that you can resolve on your own. Always refer to your John Deere 185 Tractor user manual for specifics regarding the particular problem you are experiencing, parts you may need and for a diagram indicating the location of various parts on your tractor.

Fuel Consumption

Open the shutoff valve to your gas tank. If it isn’t open, your tractor will not receive the proper mixture of air and gasoline. Drain old fuel from your gas tank that may have been sitting over the winter, and replace it with new fuel.

Inspect the fuel filter for cleanliness. If the fuel filter is clogged, your tractor will not get the fuel it needs to run.

Remove the spark plug after trying to start your tractor. Sniff it to determine if it smells like gasoline. If not, you may have a blockage in your gas line.

Inspect the air filter to make sure it is clean. If it is clogged with dirt, the engine will not get the air it needs to start.

Driving Issues

Drive the tractor to see if it vibrates. If so, you may need to replace the drive belts.

Replenish the transmission oil if the tractor will not move but the engine is running. The parking brake could also be locked.

Refer to your instruction manual for information about the linkage. If your tractor moves when it is in neutral, you may need to adjust the linkage.

Electrical Issues

Push the brake pedal down if the starter does not turn the engine.

Replace your battery with a new one if the tractor won’t start and the battery terminals appear corroded.

Change a burned out bulb if the lights don’t operate. Also connect the light plug if it is disconnected.

Chute and Blade Issues

Empty grass out of the discharge chute if it gets clogged. If this keeps happening, you may be driving the tractor too fast or trying to cut grass that is too long and wet.

Drive more slowly if patches of grass remain uncut. You may also need to sharpen or replace your mower blades.

Raise the cutting deck if the grass is getting scalped.


Things You Will Need

  • Battery
  • Light bulb
  • Transmission oil
  • Gasoline


  • Call John Deere at 309-765-8000 for more information.

About the Author


JIm Cooper is an attorney and business consultant. He serves on the board of many corporations. He is also a published writer with more than 30 years of experience. Cooper's articles have been published in "American Executive," "Men's Health" magazine, "Newsweek," "Marie Claire" and "Mademoiselle" magazines.