Why John Deere Mower Dies When PTO is Engaged

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Mower stalling is a common problem that can happen to your John Deere lawn mower. 

This can arise as a result of bad switches, routed belts, or the inability of the pulley to spin. However, these problems can be easily solved.

This article covers three reasons why your John Deere mower dies when PTO is engaged and its possible fixes to solve the problem.

Ready? Let’s dive right into it:

3 Reasons Why Your John Deere Mower Dies When PTO is Engaged


1.  Routed Belt


An incorrectly routed belt might cause your John Deere to die when the blades are engaged. This is a common problem that can be easily fixed by you.

Fix: Below is the steps of fixing this problem:

  • The first step to take is to lower the mower deck to its lowest position.
  • Remove the belt protector from the belt pulley to inspect belt routing.
  • Remove the pins that hold the mower deck together at the back. To do this, you need to lift the belt over the pulley.
  • Remove the pins that hold the Power Take-off wire and front deck attachment point together. Then, remove the spring by pulling back on the cable.
  • Slide the deck out from beneath and inspect the mower’s belt route.

Note: It is important to read the instructional manual for correct routing and re-route if necessary. You may need to take off the spindle covers to finish this repair.

Also Read: Lawn Mower Made a Loud Pop and Died

2. Pulley Being Unable to Spin


Your John Deere’s pulleys are turned by the spindles. These pulleys are operated by the drive belt. 

If your pulley does not spin properly during blade engagement, it may cause the mowing machine to die. It is advisable to solve this problem as soon as possible.

Fix: Below are some troubleshooting tips for pulleys that are unable to spin:

  • Take off the drive belt from the engine pulley. 
  • Check the pulleys for damage or sticking. 
  • The blade brakes are released when you engage the deck lever. In this case, you may spin your spindles by using your hands.
  • Try to spin the idler pulleys on the deck with the released blade brakes. It may require changing it if they do not create a growling noise or turn.
  • You need to take off the deck’s blade before replacing the pulleys. You can now grasp the nut that is located under the pulley with the proper size wrench.
  • While doing this, remove the bolt on the top of the pulley. Then, remove the cup washer, nut, pulley and belt protector from its assembly.
  • Reinstall the new pulley, washer and belt protector. Check to see if the belt is behind the pulley.
  • Change the nut and cup washer and tighten them. Reattach your John Deere’s deck by sliding it beneath the mower.

3. Bad Switches

In a case of a rollover, the safety switch may turn off, keeping the mower operator in a safe condition. A defective safety switch can make the engine of the mower die during blade engagement. It is advisable to resolve this problem quickly.

Read: John Deere Lawn Mower Won’t Start

Fix: Below are the tips for fixing a bad safety switch:

  • You need to evaluate the safety switch to make sure that it is well plugged in. This component is located under the seat. You may need to take off the seat before you can have access to it.
  • To do this, unscrew the bolts and slide the seat forward. 
  • Lift the seat out from the bracket by releasing the locking tab with a slot screwdriver. To inspect it, pull the switch out by rotating it.
  • Use a multimeter to test if the safety switch does not look damaged. 
  • Set the meter to ohms and attach each end to the internal contacts. The value should be 0 ohms. In addition, it should read infinite resistance when you turn the switch on.
  • Perform the same operation on the connectors from the outside. If the switch fails this test, it is important to replace it.


We have covered the common problems of your John Deere lawn mower dying after the PTO gets engaged.

We hope that our recommendations will guide and help you solve the issues. If these problems persist, it is advisable to take the machine to a professional to help you fix it. For optimal performance, it is important to maintain your lawn mower properly.

Also Read: John Deere Zero Turn Steering Problems

Frequently Asked Questions

How To Identify a Bad Electric PTO clutch?

A failed clutch does show some signs when the Power Take-off is engaged. One of the main signs is your clutch slowing down during engagement.

The clutch also gets heated after running for a while. They usually stay engaged until you turn them off.

Where Do I Find the PTO switch of the John Deere Mower?

The Power Take-off is a mechanism that turns the blades beneath the deck. It runs on a 12-volt system while the electric clutch is controlled by the switch on the John Deere mower’s dashboard.

How Much Do You Spend on Average to Buy a Lawn Mower?

A lawn mower has an average cost of $1068. Reel mowers have an average cost of $104 while walk behind mowers cost up to $363. 

Riding mowers are more expensive. They have an average cost of $2,450 while robot lawn mowers cost up to $1470.