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How to Operate a Lap Bar Zero Turn Mower

Nov 21, 2019

The secret is out all over Australia.

People are buying Zero Turn Mower machines more now than ever before, leaving behind legacy and traditional lawn mowing equipment – like riding mowers and lawn tractors – in favor of these new machines that are capable of so much more (and delivering results so much faster!!).

The last thing anyone in Australia wants to do is have to spend more time mowing their lawn. With a zero turn mower tackling lawn duty it’s possible to shave between 50% and 70% off of the amount of time you used to take to knockout this chore. That’s a lot of extra free time each week!

At the same time, some folks just aren’t quite comfortable climbing on top of a zero turn mower yet – mostly because of the foreign control scheme that just feels so different than a traditional steering wheel.

Some of the best Zero Turn Mower options on the market today take advantage of a lap bar control scheme and wrapping your head around how that works can take a bit of doing.

Here are some tips and tricks to help you get a head start on this new control set up!

Independent Control for Each Wheel

The first thing you want to really embrace when it comes to wrangling a new zero turn mower is that each side of the lap bar is going to be responsible for controlling the steering wheel (the actual wheel that steers this mower in the rear) entirely.

While a steering wheel maneuvers and manipulates both of the wheels at the same time, lap bars are going to work on one wheel independently – which is why you’re allowed to move, pivot, and reposition as quickly and as efficiently as you’re able to with this set up.

It’s important to understand that when you move one side of the lap bar forwards or backwards you are controlling only one side and one wheel of your mower. Once you start to understand that the key to maneuverability on your zero turn mower boils down to controlling both bars independently but in sequence with one another everything starts to fall into place.

Speed and Directionality at the Same Time

Another big piece of the puzzle you’ll want to get comfortable with as quickly as possible is that you’ll be controlling both the speed and the directionality of each independent wheel with every movement of the lap bar that you make.

If you are to grasp the right bar alone and gently push it forward your zero turn mower would begin to slowly spin in counterclockwise circles. If you were to grasp the left bar alone and gently push it forward, you begin to slowly spin in counterclockwise circles.

If you grab both bars at the same time and gently push them forwards or backwards with the same amount of pressure you’ll move forwards or backwards in a straight line. Apply different levels of pressure to one bar or the other and you’ll steer in the opposite direction – more pressure on the left bar pushes you to the right and vice versa.

It can be a little bit confusing and even a little bit alien at first to control both the speed and directionality of your Zero Turn Mower at the same time and with the same movements. But pretty soon you’ll be manipulating your zero turn mower like an orchestra conductor and cruising along your lawn!

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