Advantages and operation of self-propelled lawnmowers

Effortlessly mow uphill and on large lawns

Inspirations / How to


Estimated reading time 4 minutes

Fertilisation, irrigation, mowing, weed and moss control, antifungal treatments, mole control, scarification, reseeding… in the garden and countryside, lawn maintenance requires a big commitment almost all year round and, of all the various activities involved, grass cutting is the one that takes up the most time, at least from March to November.


Therefore, in your armoury of gardening tools, a lawnmower, garden tractor and brushcutter are undoubtedly the most useful machines. In this article we talk about a particular type of mower: the self-propelled lawnmower. Unlike push mowers, self-propelled lawnmowers move forward “automatically”, because the wheels are driven directly by the engine or motor.


Self-propelled lawnmower vs push mower

The difference between a self-propelled lawnmower and a push mower is apparent from the names. While a push mower relies on the strength of your legs and arms, a self-propelled lawnmower moves by itself in whichever direction you point it, because the wheels receive the necessary driving force from the engine/motor.

A push mower is sufficient if you have a small garden, but a self-propelled lawnmower is essential in other situations, such as when working on very large, flat surfaces and mowing on uneven or sloping ground. In these cases, only a self-propelled lawnmower makes cutting grass faster and less tiring.

Sometimes, however, a lawnmower may not be enough, even if it’s a powerful self-propelled model: in such cases, you are better off using a flail mower for grass cutting.

How a lawnmower’s drive system works

Just like on a car, a lawnmower’s transmission is the set of components that transfer the power generated by the engine/motor. The drive system is the part of the transmission that transmits driving force to the wheels in order to make them turn.

In a lawnmower, the transmission transfers the engine/motor power to the blade—making it spin so that it cuts the grass—and, in the case of a self-propelled lawnmower, also to the driving wheels. Based on the number of driving wheels and their position, the drive system of a self-propelled lawnmower can be front- or rear-wheel drive if there are two driving wheels, or all-wheel drive if there are four — just like in cars.

In the Oleo-Mac catalogue you can choose from numerous models of rear-wheel drive self-propelled lawnmower with single speed, speed variator or multi-speed drive. Decide which one is right for you by weighing up the power supply, power rating, engine/motor, cutting characteristics, deck type, weight and price: for example the G 53 TK COMFORT PLUS, MAX 53 TK ALUMINUM PRO and LUX 55 HXF petrol-driven lawnmowers, or the Gi 48 T battery-powered lawnmower.

How does a lawnmower’s drive system work? Once the mower is started and you operate the drive lever, which is linked to the transmission via a cable, the transmission components transfer the engine/motor power to the wheels in the following sequence:

  • The engine/motor shaft turns the blade rotor hub, which incorporates a pulley.

  • This pulley enables the blade rotor hub to drive the belt.

  • The belt moves a second pulley that is connected to the drive block, i.e., the box containing the drive gears.

  • The drive gears turn the wheel transmission shaft.

  • The shaft turns the driving wheels by means of specific gears.

Broken lawnmower drive? Here’s what to do

How can a lawnmower’s drive system break? What can happen to the drive components of a self-propelled lawnmower?

  • The drive’s engagement with the lever can get knocked out of sync, in which case the cable needs adjusting.

  • The drive cable can snap, if so it should be replaced.

  • The belt can become unseated, requiring it to be repositioned.

  • Otherwise, the belt may break and should be replaced.

So, what should you do if your lawnmower’s drive system is defective? If you have an Oleo-Mac self-propelled lawnmower, for all the above interventions we recommend that you trust in the expertise and original spare parts of our service centres. The same applies even in the unlikely event that it is necessary to replace the lawnmower’s drive unit, i.e., the assembly consisting of the gearbox and drive shaft.

We often recommend paying equal attention to maintaining and cleaning your garden tools, and this also applies to self-propelled lawnmowers. Clear out any grass clippings, soil and dust after each mowing session, to avoid unforeseen difficulties such as blocked or noisy driving wheels caused by the gears filling with dirt over a long period of use.

The mower's transmission components are protected by the deck and underbody. However, we still recommend that you clean your lawnmower because dirt can damage the drive system, especially if the underbody is not completely sealed, as is the case with some models on the market. To verify whether yours is sealed or not, place the machine on its side and check whether the lawnmower’s internal components are visible at the point where the blade rotor hub emerges. If not, it’s a sealed machine.

Find all our cleaning tips in this article on how to maintain a lawnmower in order to keep it running efficiently and safely.

When talking about lawn maintenance at the start of this article, we mentioned mowing, weed control and scarification. If you want to know more about those activities, check out these articles for tips on mowing the lawn in summer (the most stressful season for grass), how to eliminate weeds and how to scarify lawns.

Correlated news

/ Inspirations


Power generators: how to choose the right one

Applications, power requirement and practicality

Read more

/ Inspirations


All about vines: how to choose and plant them

From rooted cuttings to the vineyard

Read more

/ Oleo-Mac World


2024 Oleo-Mac Catalogue

Oleo-Mac presents the 2024 Catalogues

Read more