Why Would Honda Mower Wheels Lock? (Explained)

Self-propulsion is one of the revolutionary technologies that has made lawn care feasible for a wide number of people. Previously, personal health limitations, as well as uneven ground surfaces would have made the chore difficult or even impossible.

Honda wheels lock due to damage to the wheels themselves, debris clogging their motion, drive system issues, or faulty connecting parts. On self-propelled models, issues affecting front wheels will be different in kind and scope than those affecting the rear wheels due to propulsion system parts.

Honda is one of the manufacturers that has secured an impressive chunk of the self-propelled mower market thanks to its impressive range. Unfortunately, even Honda mowers are not exempt from some of the issues that come with self-propulsion. Today’s article focuses on wheel locking, its causes, and possible solutions.

Let’s roll.


What Causes A Self-Propelled Lawnmower To Lock Up?

Self-propelled lawnmowers are reliable, efficient and have made the chore of cutting grass a little easier. Gone are the days of heaving a heavy machine up and down your yard as you rush to free up what’s left of your weekend. 

Nowadays, you can casually sip a beer as you stroll behind a machine that is more than eager to do all the work. Unfortunately, even well built self-propelled mowers like Honda brand models are prone to issues that result in locked-up wheels. That’s right, issues…as in plural.

So, what causes the wheels on a self-propelled mower to stop moving? 

Let’s see.

It’s possible that something (sticks, pebbles, grass buildup, etc.) may be stuck in the wheel joints. One or more wheels may also have experience worn gears that cause them not to move. It may be more serious than simply the wheels and have to do with drive cables, gas lines, and transmissions.

It’s important to look for minor would-be causes before you open up your machine to inspect your transmission or other major areas.

We recommend that you start by taking a close look at the wheels themselves for problems.

Mowers And Locked Wheels

If you store the mower in the garage for an extended period (i.e., winter), the wheel joints may also dry up and lose lubrication. The wheels may jam up as a result. 

A lot of self-propelled mowers also have plastic wheels with plastic gears that interact with metallic drive gears. Over time, the plastic gears become increasingly worn and begin to lose grip. The metal gear keeps spinning, but the wheel won’t be able to hold on, resulting in a “wheel-lock”. This problem often affects one wheel at a time.

Always ensure to service the mower and its wheels before every new mowing season. You must have a good lubricant on hand for this eventuality. Cleaning the wheels thoroughly before storage is also essential.

Fuel Lines

Gas-powered self-propelled (mouthful-laden) lawnmowers are also susceptible to air bubbles in the gas line. This causes misfires in some combustion cycles. In other words, the engine receives air instead of fuel and fails to produce power…and no power = no movement.

This issue is also pretty common around storage time when the tank is emptied. What you need to do to solve the problem is to tilt the lawnmower from side-to-side to get all the air bubbles on one end of the fuel line. You should then let the mower sputter out the air, which should take a few seconds. Restart the mower if it peters out.

Drive Systems

On rare occasions, grass clippings can make their way into the upper reaches of the mower deck and clog up parts of the drive system. This is one of the reasons cutting wet grass is discouraged. If you suspect this issue, you will have to open up the deck hatchet and have a proper look. Clean out all debris and test the mower out.

If the mower’s motor is (seemingly) running smoothly, you might want to check if the drive cable is in position. Sometimes the cable pops out of the pulley, which results in the wheels not turning. The cable can usually be popped back in by hand with no fuss.

A more serious scenario is if the drive cable gets stretched out or worn. A defective cable will result in an inconsistent drive. You will have to get another drive cable that is taut within the drive pulley system.

Transmission Problems Could Lock Wheels

An even more serious problem is transmission failure. In 99% of cases, once the transmission goes kaput, it’s curtains for the lawnmower. You will have to go and get a replacement machine. Luckily, this issue is very rare, especially while under warranty.

Ultimately, the best way to prevent the issue of non-turning wheels is to inspect, clean, and service the lawnmower. Change all the necessary oils and lubricants. The gas lines must be emptied properly and the gears on the wheels must be intact.

You can outsource these services or go full-DIY. You’ll need wrenches, lubricants, and screwdrivers for most maintenance work.

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Why Does My Honda Lawnmower Keep Stopping?

Honda is one of the standout brands in this particular market segment. The dynamic HRX217VKA (Amazon link) and HRX217HZA (Honda official website) are particular highlights with their variable speed settings and the all-encompassing quiver that is Honda’s Versamow system.

Honda mowers are perfect for landscapers who occupy both camps of the mulch/bag debate.

Plastic wheels are used on Honda mowers and when paired with metal parts, wear and tear can keep them eventually cause them to stop moving. Self-propulsion levers can jam and cause wheels to seem locked. Lubrication and cleaning can also free up locked rear wheels.

Unfortunately, Honda is not immune to the same problems highlighted above. Let’s look a little closer at what could be locking up your mower’s wheels.

Plastic Wheels And Gears

For starters, Honda makes use of plastic wheels, which means the metal-on-plastic issue may rear its head at some point down the line. Be prepared to replace your wheels at a moment’s notice.

Self-Propulsion Levers

Another problem that is widely reported by Honda owners is problems with the self-propulsion lever. This lever controls the movement of the wheels as well as any variable speed adjustments. These levers may occasionally jam up and fail to travel as far as they should. Luckily, it’s not something a little lubrication can’t fix.

Lubrication And Debris

Hondas are also known for locked-up rear wheels. This is usually a result of clogging and loss of lubrication in the rear wheel bearings.

How to Lubricate And Clean Honda Mower Rear Wheels

This problem requires the removal of the wheels, drive gears (with a snap removal tool), and the axle.

  1. You may have to tap one side of the axle to get it out. We recommend a soft mallet to avoid damaging it.
  2. Once the parts have been disassembled, give them a thorough wipe down to remove debris.
  3. Do the same to wheel bearings and lube them up.
  4. You should then replace everything as it was and try the mower.

If your mower is still on warranty, we recommend that you take it to your dealer for a risk-free checkup. Honda mowers are on the pricey end of the self-propelled spectrum, so you might want to minimize DIY repairs.

Storage time is a hotbed for this particular problem, so ensure you observe the long-term storage tips we’ve outlined above. Your mower must be kept in a cool dry place to maintain lubrication. We also recommend a storage tarp to protect it from dust during the long winter months. 

Why Can’t I Pull My Lawn Mower Backwards?

There are two issues that are at play when pulling a lawnmower backwards. One is the drive shaft or belt on self-propelled mowers and the other is safety. One is a physical problem, the other is one of mowing technique.

Self-propelled Honda mowers like all other brands do not have reverse propulsion for mowing in the opposite direction. This means that if the drive system is engaged the mower will resist being pulled or moved backwards. Disengaging the drive system will solve the problem.

That being said, there is also the issue of safety when pulling a mower that is generally designed to be pushed or moved forward.

Especially on inclines or damp grass, it is easy to loose footing and in some instance, like when pulling a mower backwards, a limb can slide under the mowing deck. This could cause very serious injury.

There are safety measures in place like PTO levers and switches, but they are not foolproof. Extreme caution should be used when pulling a mower backwards. It is best to use Honda and other mowers in the way they were designed, and that means pushing or allowing the mower to move itself forward.

One additional problem that can come with mowing while pulling a push-mower backwards is the uneven cut you could receive. The handles are like levers in design. If pushed down upon, which is easy to do, the front wheels will come off of the ground.

This causes the grass to be unevenly cut at the points where this occurs. Just another thing to keep in mind when trying to mow while pulling.

Why Does My Lawn Mower Wheel Keep Falling Off?

One opposite problem to wheels locking up and becoming unable to spin is a wheel that loosens to the point of falling completely off of the mower. Hondas can have this problem like all the rest of similar mowers on the market.

Mower wheels falling off are due to faulty or loosened bolts used to connect the wheel to the mower frame or mowing deck. This can be due to vibrations over time, damage from collision, or defects in the original parts. Damage to axels, bearings, and other parts can be caused by this problem.

Inspect the wheel assembly to determine if the problem is a cracked part, loose connection, or a combination of the two. In most cases, removing the wheel will be necessary to look over all of the connecting areas.

The easiest and most common solution to this problem is to replace the defective part or simply tighten loose connections. Either way, it will require a proper diagnosis after removing the wheel to get a closer look.

How To Tighten Or Loosen The Wheels On A Honda Lawn Mower

The most common issue Honda mower owners face with stiff or loose wheels that are difficult to spin deal with the front wheels. There are more connecting parts to self-propelled models on the rear wheels. The front wheels have a simple rotation that can be easily changed by over-tightening of the mounting bolt or loosening due to vibrations.

Using a socket wrench is the best way to loosen or tighten the mounting bolt attaching the front wheels of a Honda mower to the wheel adjustor assembly. At times this assembly itself can become loose and need tightening. Other issues could revolve around clogging debris or cracked parts.

Replacing damaged parts, cleaning out debris, and tightening mounting bolts and the wheel adjustor assembly usually fixes the problem. Another solution could be to use lubricant or grease to ensure proper spin of the wheel.

The Final Touches On Honda Mower Wheels Locking…

The wheels locking on a Honda can have to due with very different issues depending on the model you have and whether the problem is with the front or rear wheels on self-propelled machines.

Diagnosing the issue is the first step, but many times it is something that can be taken care of simply with cleaning, lubrication, or adjusting the bolts and assemblies surrounding the wheel.

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Mathew Booe

Mathew has worked in landscaping professionally for over 10 years. He is a grandpa and frequently interviews other experienced landscapers and lawn care experts who are also grandpas for these articles.

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