15 Common Bad Boy Mowers Problems: Easy Troubleshooting Steps

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Commercial lawn care experts have used Bad Boy mowers for over a decade. Built in Batesville, Alabama, the Bad Boy brand has become popular with residential homeowners over the last few years, now rivaling brands like John Deere and Cub Cadet. 

While these heavy-duty lawn mowers are well-built, like all machines they may experience some type of problem or failure. Hopefully, it’s a small one that happens years into ownership!

If you’re facing the painful reality of Bad Boy mower problems, then I am here to help. In this article, I’ll go through 15 of the most common Bad Boy Mowers problems you are likely to face. I will also provide solutions and easy troubleshooting tips for each. Let’s dive in!

Common Bad Boy Mower Problems [With Fixes]

Select any options below to jump to the right section for your Bad Boy mower problem:

  1. My Bad Boy Mower Won’t Start
  2. My Mower Still Won’t Start
  3. My Bad Boy Mower Dies While Mowing
  4. My Bad Boy Mower is Smoking After Starting
  5. The Smoking Doesn’t Go Away After Running It
  6. My Bad Boy Mower Has a Weak Hydrostatic Transmission
  7. My Bad Boy Mower Won’t Drive Straight or Steer Correctly
  8. My Bad Boy Mower Won’t Move
  9. My Bad Boy Mower Cutting Deck is Shaking or Vibrating
  10. Uneven Cutting
  11. My Bad Boy Mower is Leaking Gas
  12. Bad Boy Mower Transaxle Problems
  13. Electric Deck Lift Systems Failure
  14. My Bad Boy Mower Battery is Draining Fast
  15. My Bad Boy Mower Belt is Breaking
bad boy mower

Problem #1 – My Bad Boy Mower Won’t Start

The most common reason a Bad Boy lawn mower won’t start is that something is blocking air flow to the fuel or spark plug.  Adequate air flow is essential to operate your lawn mower, and the most likely culprit is:

  • Plugged or dirty air filter
  • Clogged fuel lines
  • Carburetor build-up
  • Faulty or bad spark plugs
  • Faulty or bad electrical components
  • Faults in the charging systems

SOLUTION

Get under the hood and ensure that your air filter and carburetor are free of debris. A blocked air filter and/or carburetor is a common problem after mowing tall grass, weeds, or dusty areas.

Likewise, check the spark plug for carbon buildup and/or that the insulator isn’t damaged. When doing so, make sure that the spark plug wire isn’t frayed or otherwise damaged.

Problem #2 – My Mower Still Won’t Start

You’ve checked the filters, the plugs, and the carburetor.  Everything looks good, but your mower still won’t start. Now what? 

If it is none of the above, then it may be because you have bad or old gasoline in your machine’s fuel tank. This is a fairly common problem if you have stored your machine over a long winter. 

SOLUTION

Drain the gas from your mower and add fresh gasoline to the fuel tank. Bad Boy Mowers recommends unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 87 or higher and an ethanol content no greater than 10 percent. 

As a side note, be sure to store your gas in a cool, dry location and use it within 30 days of purchase. If you don’t plan to use all the gas within 30 days, consider adding a fuel stabilizer to maintain its integrity.

Problem #3 – My Bad Boy Mower Dies While Mowing

The most likely cause of a Bad Boy mower dying while mowing is fuel or air restrictions. Either restriction can cause a mower’s engine operations to stop. 

SOLUTION

Like when a mower won’t start, check the machine to ensure all filters and fuel lines are clear and operating unrestricted. 

If you are still having issues, examine the flywheel and make sure the fins are clear of debris.

See also my detailed guide on why a mower starts then dies.

Problem #4 – My Bad Boy Mower is Smoking After Starting

A smoking Bad Boy lawn mower can certainly be cause for alarm! Smoke can be white, gray, or even have a bluish tint. 

An engine oil leak is the most common cause of smoke coming from an engine. This could stem from an accidental spill during maintenance or if you tilted or rolled your machine. In most cases, the smoke will go away. 

SOLUTION

Run your mower for ten minutes or so. If the problem is a leak or spill, it should burn off and go away on its own. 

Problem #5 – The Smoking Doesn’t Go Away After Running It

If your lawn mower still emits smoke after running it for ten minutes, it may be a sign of a bigger problem. Smoke is often a sign that your machine is “running rich,” meaning the air-to-fuel ratio is off in your machine.

SOLUTION

First, allow your Bad Boy mower time to cool off. Once it is cool, check the air filter and ensure your carburetor is getting enough oxygen to operate.

If this doesn’t correct the problem, your carburetor likely needs adjusting. To do so, consult your Bad Boy Mowers Service Manual (Owner’s Manual) for instructions or take it to a reputable service station for adjustment.

Problem #6 – My Bad Boy Mower Has A Weak Hydrostatic Transmission

A hydrostatic transmission system functions like an automatic transition system in automobiles. It uses fluids (not belts) to transfer operating power from the engine to the machine’s wheels.

Hydrostatic transmission systems give you a smooth ride and last longer than a standard transmission. Problems with these systems occur when there is a breakdown in transmission components. 

SOLUTION

First, check your hydraulic oil. I recommend changing it regularly. If this doesn’t work, try applying grease to your tensioner arm. 

Still not working? Inspect the system for defective stems, drive belts, or pulleys and replace them as necessary. 

Problem #7 – My Bad Boy Mower Won’t Drive Straight or Steer Correctly

If the mowing pattern is off-kilter and your mower is no longer steering correctly, then there is a good chance you hit something while mowing. 

SOLUTION

The simplest solution is the most obvious – don’t run over things while driving. If, however, your machine has lost some of its steering accuracies over time, check your mower deck to ensure one side isn’t dragging or uneven. 

If this isn’t the problem, check to see if you have bent spindles.  

Problem #8 – My Bad Boy Mower Won’t Move

You’ve started your mower, but it won’t move. Now what? 

A broken or damaged drive belt, tensioner spring, and tensioner pulley can all cause a machine to start but not move. Other potential problems include the hydraulic systems not operating correctly or being low on oil. 

SOLUTION

Check your hydraulic system first. The solution could be as simple as refilling or changing the hydraulic oil. If that doesn’t help, check the drive belt, tensioner spring, and pulley to see if they are working properly. 

Problem #9 – The Cutting Deck is Shaking or Vibrating

Cutting deck shaking or vibrating is typically caused by one of two things: either your mower blades have become unbalanced, or you’re missing screws from the deck’s pulleys or lock collar. 

SOLUTION

Make sure your mower blades are balanced and there isn’t any grass build-up in the deck. If the blades are balanced, inspect the deck pulley and lock collar for missing bolts. 

Problem #10 – Uneven Cutting

Most people I talk to become rather surprised when they hear there are several reasons a mower starts cutting unevenly. The source of this problem could be one or more of the following:

  • Low or uneven tire pressure
  • Loose blades
  • Dull deck blades
  • Blade spindle damage
  • Grass buildup under the mowing deck 
  • Uneven blade spinning 

Fortunately, all of the solutions are relatively easy fixes. 

SOLUTION

The solution will depend on which of the above is the source of the uneven cut:

  • Make sure the tire pressure is even 
  • Sharpen or tighten your deck blades
  • Replace with new blades
  • Insect your blade spindles for damage and repair as necessary. 
  • Ensure your mowing deck is debris-free and your deck lift pedal works properly. 

Making any necessary height adjustments to your mower deck should also improve uneven cutting. These solutions typically will solve a wide range of uneven cutting problems. 

Problem #11 – My Bad Boy Mower Is Leaking Gas

A gas leak often stems from debris getting caught in your machine. If that debris becomes moist, it will cause the lines running from your fuel tank and other fuel components to break down.   

Quite often, the hardest part of fixing a gas leak is determining exactly where your leak is coming from. Many problems, like a leaky gas cap seal, are easy to fix. Others are more difficult and may need a maintenance mechanic. 

SOLUTION

Park your lawn mower in a flat location and allow it to cool off. Once your mower has cooled down, have a look for visible gas leaks in the following areas:

  • Check and clean the carburetor if necessary
  • Inspect and replace fuel filters, fuel pumps, or the fuel tank
  • Replace the gas cap or gas cap seal if it is causing gas to splash from the fuel tank
  • Replace damaged fuel lines 

Problem #12 – Bad Boy Mower Transaxle Problems

The first sign that you have a Bad Boy mower transaxle problem is the smoothness of your ride. If your once comfy ride has become bumpy and you notice that the grass cut isn’t the same anymore, then this could indicate a transaxle fault. 

Common transaxle problems often come from a leaking hydraulic fluid or a bad or broken charge pump. 

SOLUTION

The easiest solution for many Bad Boy transaxle problems can be solved by filling or changing your hydraulic fluid. If this doesn’t work, you will want to consider changing or having someone change the charge pump. 

Problem #13 – Electric Deck Lift System Problems

While an incredible feature, the Bad Boy Mowers electric deck lift system can experience problems. 

The most common problem is the actuator failing to lift or lower the mower deck properly or not at all. This is likely caused by moisture within the actuator preventing the actuator shaft from screwing and unscrewing properly. 

SOLUTION

To repair the electric lift problem, you’ll need to open your actuator housing, check for moisture or condensation, and see if your actuator is properly sealed. 

If the housing is compromised, seal it up with a sealant or seal kit. If moisture has been present for a long period of time, visible rusting may have occurred. Scrape the rust off and apply grease to the area to help prevent future rusting. This job may sound intimidating, but don’t worry, it isn’t too hard.  

Problem #14 – My Bad Boy Mowers’ Battery Is Draining Fast 

Your battery should hold a charge, so if you are finding that it is draining fast, then this could stem from several things:

  • Dirty or defective battery cables 
  • Electronic drain
  • Bad battery 
  • Faulty battery charger
  • Failing voltage regulator
  • Bad or loose connections. 

SOLUTION

As you probably know, batteries are full of nasty stuff that can cause skin and eye irritation. So before you ever start working with a battery ensure you are wearing adequate hand (gloves) and eye protection. 

Now that you’re safely ready to inspect the battery, you can check a few areas:

  • Inspect the cables and tighten them if loose 
  • Look for corrosion on the battery terminals and clean if you find any 
  • Check for visible wire damage 

If none of these are the source of your problem, then it is time to test your battery to see if it is still operating correctly. 

If none of these have still not fixed the problem, you probably need to have the alternator checked. 

Problem #15 – My Bad Boy Mower Belt Is Breaking 

If your mower belt breaks, especially more than once in a short period, it could be due to factors such as damaged pulley bearings, compromised pulley grooves, and edges, debris in your pulley grooves, or an unstable tensioner spring. 

The belts that control a mowing track on a zero-turn mower must be free of debris and working properly.

SOLUTION

Belt adjustment is key! Make sure your lawn mower belt is snug but moves freely; an over tightened belt will break sooner rather than later, or a defective mower belt.

I recommend checking your belt for irregularities at least once during the mowing season. This should be part of your proper maintenance routine. 

FAQs about Bad Boy Mowers

Q. Can you troubleshoot a Bad Boy mower at home?

A. Your experience, comfort, and knowledge of lawn mowers will determine how much troubleshooting you can do at home. In most cases, finding the solution can be done at home, but I can’t guarantee that will always be the case. 

Q. Are Bad Boy mowers reliable? What kind of warranty do Bad Boy mowers have? 

A. Yes, Bad Boy Lawn Mowers and Bad Boy Tractors are quite reliable and backed by a wide variety of warranties to cover defective mower parts and more. The warranty will depend on the machine’s year, make, and model.

The warranty also varies if you are using the machine for commercial or residential use. I recommend looking at their website or visiting your local dealership for specific information. 

Q. Which is a better, Gravely or Bad Boy mower?

A. From my personal experience, I would choose the Bad Boy mower over a Gravely. The Bad Boy machines have a smoother ride, feel more powerful, and the general maintenance is pretty easy. 

Q: Which engine is best in a Bad Boy lawn mower?

A. Bad Boy Mowers have different engine options. The Kohler Courage XT-Six V-Twin engine that comes standard in Bayboy machines is a fantastic option for commercial or residential users. Capable of reaching speeds of up to 12 mph, this engine is powerful yet performs very well.

Q: How do I check to see if my Bad Boy lawn mower deck is level?

A. The easiest way to level your mower deck is to move your zero turn mower to a level location, ensure the tire pressures are equal, and then measure the corners of your deck. 

This is a good time to make sure your deck lift pedal is working properly. From left to right, your deck should be level. From front to back, your deck should have a 1/4 inch pitch. Poor adjustments to your deck can lead to uneven cutting and possible deck damage

Q: What problem can cause oil to push out from the exhaust system on a Bad Boy zero turn mowers?

A. Oil could be coming out of your zero turn mower exhaust for a number of reasons:

– The machine has tilted
– Too much engine oil was added
– The carburetor is unbalanced
– Bad or clogged air filter
– Engine damage or wear

Final Thoughts

Bad Boy lawn mowers are a great tool for professional landscapers and residential homeowners wanting to cut down mowing time or add visually appealing mowing patterns to their lawns using zero turn mowers. 

In general, a Badboy mower runs fine if you perform regular maintenance such as yearly spark plug changes, regular oil and filter changes, and blade sharpening. Keeping your Bad Boy mower well serviced will help you avoid many of the problems detailed above.

But, like with all machines you may face problems with your Bad Boy brand mower. Understanding the potential Bad Boy mower problems you could experience and knowing the potential solutions can save you time, money, and aggravation.