Cub Cadet Riding Mower Blades Won’t Engage

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If the blades on your Cub Cadet riding lawn mower are not engaging, it can make mowing a difficult task. 

If your Cub Cadet riding mower blades don’t engage, then this might be caused by a frozen pulley, a defective battery, or a damaged drive belt. Also, ensure to check the PTO switch, blade clutch, and safety switch.

It is important to note that if the PTO clutch is not getting power, if the clutch solenoid is damaged, or the clutch is worn out, your cub cadet mower blades won’t engage.

In this article, we discuss the common problems that might be preventing your Cub Cadet riding mower blades from engaging,  and some troubleshooting tips to solve the issues so that your Cub Cadet mower blades can engage properly. Before we move forward, learn about the best grits for sharpening mower blades.

7 Common Reasons Why Your Cub Cadet Riding Mower Blades Won’t Engage

Here are some common problems why your Cub Cadet riding mower won’t engage and its 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. 

Fix: Here are some simple steps to fix your Cub Cadet’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.
  • Inspect the belt for damage, wear or tear: Ensure that you remove any covers or guards that shield the deck belt’s network. Check the belt for signs of damage, and wear and tear when you have access to it.
  • Re-install the belt or purchase a new one: If the 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 Cub cadet riding mowers like Cub cadet xt1, Cub cadet xt2, and Cub cadet xt1 lt42, 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. You can also check the diagram in the user manual to be sure that the belt is properly installed.

3. Damages 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 Cub Cadet riding 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 Cub Cadet 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 Cub Cadet 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. Problems with Power Takeoff  Switch

Your Cub Cadet riding mower might develop problems with the Power takeoff switch, causing the blades not to engage. 

The PTO switch provides power to the Power takeoff clutch. A faulty Power Takeoff Switch will affect the functionality and 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.

6. Frozen or Stuck Idler Pulley

The idler pulley of your Cub Cadet riding 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

Where is the PTO Switch on Cub Cadet?

The small bell housing on the underside of the Cub Cadet’s Briggs & Stratton engine houses the PTO clutch.

How Do I Know If My PTO Clutch is Bad?

You’ll need to activate and disengage the Power Takeoff engagement lever. The next step is to 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

Top Recommended Handy Tools for Troubleshooting & Servicing Your Lawn Mower

Multimeter – This is useful for checking voltage, continuity & current to identify electrical problems in your mowerFilter Wrench – For loosening your mower’s filter.
Carburetor Cleaner – Choke and Throttle Body Cleaner for cleaning clogs & buildup in the fuel system.Blade Balancer–Balances Blades After Sharpening.
Fuel Stabilizer – This stabilizes & cleans your fuel to reduce fuel system buildupBattery Inflator – This helps to ensure your mower tires stay inflated to prevent steering or uneven cutting issues.
Socket & Allen Wrench Set – These tools are needed to service & troubleshoot your mower problemsTachometer– Evaluates your mower’s engine performance and provides accurate data about the status of the engine
12-Volt Battery Charger – This is useful for charging your mower battery.Lawn Mower Blade Sharpener– Adjustable Lawn Mower Blade Sharpener for Right and Left Hand Blades.