Operator Error

Plastic lawnmower front wheels + a metal drive gear turning the wheels = unhappy and difficult work delays.


On the inner side of the plastic wheels are plastic cogs/teeth that match the cogs/teeth of the metal drive gears that turn the wheels when the self propel option is engaged.  Cogs interlocked in cogs = motion when the power switch is flipped or the lever pulled.

However, when the metal teeth on the drive gears grind instead of interlock, the plastic cogs/teeth are worn smooth.

Plastic vs metal.  One would think that having a plastic wheel and steel gear that mates with it would = disaster every time.  Apparently, that’s not the case in most instances, which is a surprise to me.

So, what caused the plastic cogs in the gear within the wheels on the mower to wear down to nothing?

Apparently the operator…ME.

It seems most devices that employ plastic and metal gears have no problem as long as they are turned on and left to themselves to turn and work and be productive without operator interference.

Enter Operator (aka ME).

So, caused the cogs to be ground away?

Good question.

The answer?

Operator error.

Yep.  My fault.

Apparently, when you don’t squeeze the lever that engages self propulsion all the way against the mower handle, the metal gear doesn’t engage fully with the plastic one in the wheel and it just chews the cogs/teeth out of that plastic one until they are worn smooth.

At least, that’s one line of thought.

Who’d have thunk it, huh?

So, what’s the solution?

Buy more front wheels and hope there’s not a repeat. (Apparently that’s what the company intends – they are available where the mower was purchased.

Enter Brother.

Brother has a mower just like the one I push.  He’s the one who discovered the answer to the problem with the mower. He pulled off the front wheels and found there were no cogs/teeth on the inner plastic gear.  Sheered cogs = no way the gear can turn the wheel, which means the mower doesn’t pull its own weight..

His solution?

Get more wheels.

His advice?  Pay attention to what I’m doing (and not doing) when engaging the self propel option.

Good advice.

Great Brother.

Why do I say so?  Well…Brother was willing to take the wheels off of his mower (round trip of an hour’s drive) and bring them to me so I could use them and not have to push the now non-self propelled mower with brute force.

(I nixed that idea.)

Then he said he would swing by the store on his way home from work, pick up two wheels and drop them off later in the week.

Bless him.

The store was out of stock (no real surprise there…apparently they are in high demand because of operators like me).

The wheels were ordered and scheduled to be in sometime this week or first of next. Not to worry, Brother said. He took the wheels off of his mower after he cut his yard Saturday and brought them to me.

Those he ordered?  I told him to put them on his mower.

Why?  I’ll just chew through these of his until I figure out what it is I’m doing wrong.  I’ve driven self propelled mowers before and NEVER had this happen.

Brother said thanks but no thanks and put the new wheels on the mower I push.

Yes, he did.  You see, he stopped and checked on the wheels he had ordered. Surprise!  They were IN!

Brother arrived with the box containing new wheels AND his wheels in hand. After putting the new wheels on the mower, we checked the mower. This one is equipped with levers that allow for speed to be adjusted and it’s not necessary to keep full pressure on the levers to activate the self-propulsion thingie.  So, that’s not what caused the problem.

Brother said the only thing he can figure that would cause this problem is…making the mower go faster than it was pulling itself.


I do tend to push it faster than it will pull sometimes.

Looks like I will be dropping back to the leisurely pace of the mower.

Oh, after the new wheels were placed on the mower, we started it to see how it pulled.

Wow…dropping back to the leisurely pace of the mower?  I was running behind it just to keep up!!

Thanks, Brother!  I owe you one – big time!!


One thought on “Operator Error

  1. Pingback: Bent Blade | suzansays

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