For a company that has only been in existence for less than a decade, Spartan Mowers really know what they are doing.
Besides creating one of the most gorgeous zero-turn mowers on the market, they have consistently added revolutionary tech upgrades and premium parts.
The result is an absolute beast for residential and commercial lawn mowing. However, when you hear some people talk about Spartan mower problems, you might get the idea that the brand isn’t great.
In this article, we are going to examine these problems and their solutions and determine if your next mower should be a Spartan mower or if you should look elsewhere.
10 Spartan Mower Problems
1. Mower won’t start
Spartan mowers have the most advanced starting sequence for any zero-turn mower. The smart design will let you know if you have followed the proper starting procedure by literally giving you the green light.
A red light by the start/stop button means you have missed a step. If you have a green light, but the engine still doesn’t start, it means there is something wrong with your Spartan mower, and you need to investigate.
Here is how to troubleshoot when your Spartan zero-turn mower doesn’t start:
- Check the fuel. Even if the fuel gauge shows fuel, it could be old gas, so you need to inspect the fuel tank. Gasoline breaks down after about 4 weeks, so if you haven’t used your zero turn for a while, empty out the tank and pour fresh gas.
- Check the spark plug. An old or dirty spark plug won’t create the ignition required to burn fuel. Remember to change spark plugs every 25 hours. A disconnected spark plug will also prevent the engine from starting.
- Check for a clogged air filter. Air is the third component to burn the fuel in your engine, after gas and the spark. Don’t wait until your scheduled maintenance to change a blocked air filter.
- Check the fuel system. Old gas and debris can clog fuel filters, the fuel pump, and fuel lines. Use a carb cleaner and compressed air to clear lines, and buy a new fuel filter as necessary.
- Check the battery for power.
- Check for loose wires and connections, especially ones connecting to the safety switch, control console, battery, and hydraulics.
You will notice that we didn’t mention oil on the list. If it was any other lawnmower brand, this could be a problem.
However, Spartan mowers have a proprietary system that doesn’t require you to change oil or oil filters for 500 hours.
If you have gone through all of these and the engine still isn’t starting, the two other likely options are that the carburetor might be dirty or you have a faulty ignition coil.
You could learn to diagnose and clean these yourself, but if this is your first mower, get a professional.
2. Spartan mower won’t move
Because of their design, zero-turn mowers are always eager to move. That is why you would often have problems like a zero-turn creeping on idle.
The Spartan mower is not immune from this problem, which is why it is surprising when a mower doesnt move at all.
If you have taken your drive levers off neutral and your Spartan lawnmower still isn’t moving, here are the things you should check:
- Check the drive belt and tensioner pulley. If you have a broken belt or pulley, your lawnmower won’t move. Spartan have made their components easy to access and replace as needed.
- Check the hydraulics. Ensure you don’t have a leak, and change the hydraulic oil as needed. If the hydraulics are hot, it could mean there is a problem somewhere. Remember to bleed out air after changing the hydraulic oil.
- Check the battery. If the battery is too weak, it might be able to get your engine to start, but it will die as you try to move it or engage the blades.
3. Uneven cut
With all the tech that goes into Spartan mowers, you would expect them to cut evenly and not leave streaks on your lawn.
If you notice this happening, the first thing you need to determine is: has it always been like this, or is it a new development?
If, from the time you bought your Spartan mower it was leaving streaks on your lawn, that will mean something was not set right, and it could still be covered under warranty.
If this is a new problem, there are several reasons why this could happen. The most common options are:
- The tire pressure is uneven
- The blades aren’t sharp
- You aren’t driving at full throttle
- Dirty mower deck
- Dull blades or damaged mower blades
- Spindle problems
Another option is a damaged cutting deck, but considering Spartan mowers are made from fabricated American steel, this could only happen if you’ve been doing something crazy with your mower.
If you check all of these and you still have streaks, you might want to check how you use your Spartan zero-turn mower.
These things are pretty fast at 13 mph, but this speed won’t give the best cut. You should also vary your cutting pattern and don’t use it on very high or very wet grass.
4. Spartan lawn mower starts then dies
This is one of the worst things you can experience on a lawn mower, especially if you’re far away from the shed and have to walk all the way back.
There are many reasons why a lawn mower would start and die, but the most common ones are:
- Low fuel. It is common to forget to top up the tank. However, it is also with checking that you don’t have a leaky fuel tank.
- Bad gas. If the gas in your fuel tank begins to smell sweet, drain the tank and pour in fresh gas.
- Clogged air filter. Just enough air might be able to squeeze through a dirty air filter to get the engine started, but not enough to sustain it.
- Low engine oil.
- Faulty ignition coil. Unlike the name suggests, an ignition coil doesn’t just ignite once and then stops; this is a continuous process.
- Dirty spark plug. Just like the coil, it will get you started, but it won’t finish.
- Clogged fuel line. If the fuel filter fails, debris and lawn clippings could find their way into the fuel line. Bad gas can also clog the lines.
- Clogged mower deck. When there is too much debris, the mower blades overwork the engine and will eventually cause it to stall. Try to clean the mower deck after every intense session or every time you cut wet grass.
- Dirty carburetor. This is a tricky one to diagnose if you don’t have engine-repair experience.
Considering Spartan lawnmowers have not been around that long, it is unlikely you will experience some of the more extreme problems.
If you do, they have a pretty solid 3-year warranty, so go to any Spartan dealer to get it checked.
5. Spartan mower smoking
This isn’t a problem you see every day. A lawnmower will usually emit smoke when the oil level is too low, which then causes the engine to overheat.
Insufficient airflow into the cooling fins can also cause the engine to heat up. Besides too little oil, too much oil and pouring the wrong oil can also cause smoking.
Again, this isn’t a common problem, as your Spartan lawnmower is built for effective oil consumption.
If you have been following the Spartan mower maintenance tips, you shouldn’t have any oil or air filter problems, meaning it’s unlikely for your Spartan zero-turn mower to start smoking.
6. Shaking mower deck
When you have a powerful engine moving at top speed, it’s pretty normal for it to start vibrating.
However, Spartan zero-turn mowers have a vibration control deck system that will keep the mower steady.
So, if you notice the mower deck shaking, it means you are one of the very few Spartan owners to have experienced it.
The first thing you should check is if any mounting bolts are loose or missing. Another culprit could be a bad clutch or broken mower blades.
A problem with the hydraulics could also affect the stability of the mower deck.
7. Spartan mower pulling to one side
When a zero-turn mower is misaligned, it is usually because it has been assembled poorly.
However, because Spartan mowers are assembled in Arkansas, you are unlikely to have this problem from the factory.
Therefore, this is a problem that is more likely to develop over time, and the cause is usually tire air pressure.
When you don’t have enough tire pressure or traction in one tire, the fuller one will push the mower aside, kinda like a three-legged race.
So, if you don’t remember to check tire pressure often, you will soon run into some difficulties.
Another reason for the steering to be warped is if you need tracking adjustment. This will ensure that both tires are moving at the same speed.
8. Spartan mower leaking fuel
When you leave gas in your mower for the whole of winter, some of that gas could begin to compromise the fuel lines. So, when you swap out the gas in Spring, you might begin to smell fuel as you drive.
That is because your Spartan mower is now leaking gas from your fuel lines or from the carburetor.
Two ways to check if you are leaking fuel are if the fuel gauge goes down overnight or if you notice a trail of burnt grass as you ride.
You will need to trace the leak and replace any broken parts. If the leak is from the carburetor, it will need some servicing. To prevent gas from breaking down quickly, use a fuel stabilizer. Here’s where to find a mower’s carburetor.
9. Poor cuts on a hill
One of the major selling points of Spartan mowers is that they work great on slopes with declines up to 15 degrees.
As a result, it has been known to perform better than Bad Boy mowers. The problem with that is many Spartan owners begin to have unrealistic expectations.
As a rule, you should cut slopes with a lawn tractor and not a zero-turn mower. Even a Spartan mower won’t compete with that.
To get the best cut with a zero-turn mower on a hill, you need to move slowly and make a few passes to get it perfect.
10. Faulty control console
Spartan has done a great job modernizing the control center of zero turns. The problem, though, is that technology will often let you down.
One complaint from a handful of Spartan owners is that the console developed a fault, so they couldn’t drive their mowers.
When that happened, Spartan was gracious enough to replace it. Unfortunately, this isn’t a problem you can fix on your own, but as long as you’re under warranty, you have nothing to worry about.
If you’re not, you can use it to bargain for a decent upgrade, as this is a factory fault and not your doing.
Unstoppable Spartan Mowers
There is a reason Toro was quick to acquire the Spartan mower brand.
In our review of common Spartan mower problems, you will see that many of them are due to human error, easy to fix, and/or pale in comparison to the competitors.
The bottom line is every mower will have problems, including Bad Boy, arguably the best commercial zero-turn mower today, and John Deere, arguably the best farm equipment maker in the world.
So, are Spartan mowers worth it? Absolutely. However, if you want to weigh your options, read some of our other reviews here.