Craftsman Riding Mower Blades Won’t Engage

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If the blades on your Craftsman riding lawn mower are not engaging, mowing can become really frustrating as you’d struggle throughout. 

If your Craftsman riding mower blades don’t engage, it is possible this might be caused by a bad battery, a frozen pulley, or a damaged drive belt. In addition, check the PTO switch and safety switch.

Note: If the PTO clutch is not getting power, bad clutch solenoid, or the clutch is worn out, your Craftsman riding mower blades won’t engage.

In this article, we share common problems stopping your Craftsman riding mower blades from getting engaged, and some troubleshooting tips to solve the issues so that your Craftsman mower blades can engage properly. Before we move forward, learn about the best grits for sharpening lawn mower blades.

Why Your Craftsman Riding Mower Blades Won’t Engage and Solutions

Here are some common problems why your Craftsman mower won’t engage and their possible fixes: 

1. Damaged Deck Belt

The mower deck is located underneath the seat while the mower blades are rotated by a belt that runs over an idler pulley mechanism. 

The exact deck belt design depends on the mower model you are using and it also differs from manufacturer to manufacturer. 

If you notice that the blades of your mower do not get engaged when you click on the blade controls, it indicates that the deck belt is damaged. 


Here are a few steps to fix your Craftman’s damaged deck belt:

  • Check the deck board:  Check the deck board by placing the mowing machine on a flat surface and lowering the deck to the lowest setting.
  • Remove any debris: Clean any dirt or grass that has been accumulated over the mower deck.
  • Check the belt for damage, wear or tear: Remove any covers or guards that shield the deck belt’s network. Check the belt for any signs of damage, and wear and tear when you have access to it.
  • Re-install the belt or buy a new one: If the mower belt is just misplaced, you can reattach it but if the belt is damaged, you need to change it.

2. Worn-Out Engine Belts

For many craftsman riding mowers like craftsman t110, craftsman t225, craftsman t110, CMXGRAM7368327(R105), if you examine the deck belt and you discover that there is nothing wrong with it, you can now check the engine belt of your machine. 

The engine drive belt on the mower deck is responsible for the disengagement of lawn mower blades and the system of controlled activation.

The blades will not turn if the engine belt is damaged, worn out, or stretched out. Another reason why the blades will not activate themselves is if the drive belt is not mounted and directed correctly. 

Fix: If the engine belt is damaged or worn out, replace the drive belt. Also, check the diagram in the user manual to be sure that the belt is properly installed.

3. Problems in the Undercarriage

The engine belt collects the energy provided by the rotating motion of the crankshaft and subsequently converts it into power for the deck belt motion.

The motor moves from the mower’s motor to the deck belt. This serves as an attachment to a pulley in the deck belt network. 

Over time, the systems and structures of the belt can accumulate debris, dust, and dirt can cause damage to the mower’s undercarriage. 

Fix: To check for any damage, the first step to take is to remove the top surface covering. After that, look for any signs of wear and damage on your Craftsman riding lawn mower’s engine belt. 

In addition, ensure that you remove all the debris or blockages that can prevent the belt from spinning freely.

4. Worn-Out PTO Clutch 

Every Craftsman riding mower is equipped with a PTO Clutch. This component gives the user the power to manually disconnect the engine from the blades. 

This clutch provides power to the drive belts to engage and rotate your Craftsman riding mower blades. If the PTO isn’t getting adequate power, the blades won’t engage and turn on. 

Fix: Check whether the clutch solenoid is faulty or the clutch is worn out or damaged. 

Once you’ve pinpointed this issue, you can get a new clutch or seek the help of a professional to help you fix it.

5. Issues with Power Takeoff  Switch

Your Craftsman riding mower might have some issues with the Power takeoff switch, causing the blades not to engage. 

A faulty Power Takeoff Switch will affect the performance of the mower blades.

Fix: Turn on the Power takeoff switch and use a multimeter to check its power supply and consistency. 

Replace the PTO switch with a new one if you discover any inconsistencies in the power supply. Learn more if your Craftsman lawn mower won’t start.

6. Stuck Idler Pulley

The idler pulley of your Craftsman mower adjusts the tension within the drive belt and it turns the blades. 

If this pulley is stuck or frozen, the blades won’t engage because the tension will not be altered.

Fix: The simple way to fix this issue is to replace or repair any frozen or broken pulley and your mower blades will work well again.

7. Faulty Safety Switches

A poor protection mechanism can stop the blades from spinning. Some mowing machines are installed with one or two safety switches. 

These safety switches can also keep the mower blades from engaging and spinning. This affects your smooth mowing operation. 

Fix: Check the switches, as well as the electric connections within these safety switches. 

Sometimes, these controls are turned off but the electrical connections relay signals to the mower blades to stop working.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Know If My PTO Clutch is Bad?

You’ll need to first activate and disengage the Power Takeoff engagement lever. Then turn it off and on a few times.
If you do not hear the noise or the pulley of the PTO is not stopping or it is slow, it means that the clutch is damaged as a result of a jammed slip ring or overheating.

What would cause a PTO to not engage?

The two main reasons why a PTO won’t engage are installation issues and owner misuse. Additionally, it might simply be a result of your air pressure or transmission oil levels being too low