Ryobi Lawn Mower Blade Not Spinning

Ryobi Lawn Mower Blade Not Spinning

Picture this: It’s a sunny weekend, and you’re all set to conquer that ever-growing lawn. You fire up your trusty Ryobi lawn mower, but to your dismay, the blade remains oddly still. 

Your dreams of a well-manicured lawn start to wither. But before you plunge into the depths of despair, take a deep breath.

In this guide, I am diving headfirst into the mystery of why your Ryobi lawn mower’s blade isn’t spinning. I’ll unravel the common culprits, unveil the solutions, and have your mower back in action in no time. 

Say goodbye to unruly grass, and let’s get that blade spinning again!

Ryobi Lawn Mower Blade Not Spinning

A non-spinning Ryobi lawn mower blade may result from controller or engine problems, a faulty PTO clutch or switch, a damaged drive belt, a seized pulley, a dull blade, a full grass bag, a low mower deck, or tall/wet grass. Identifying and addressing these issues will restore blade functionality.

9 Major Causes Why Ryobi Lawn Mower Blade is Not Spinning

Before you resign yourself to a jungle of untamed grass, let’s explore the nine major causes behind this issue. 

In this guide, I’ll unveil the culprits, offer solutions, and help you reclaim your lawn’s well-groomed glory. Now get ready to troubleshoot and have that Ryobi blade spinning once again. 

1. Controller module failure/ poor engine performance

The controller module plays a critical role in regulating the engine’s performance. This directly impacts the blade’s spinning action. 

When the controller module malfunctions or if there’s poor engine performance, it leads to insufficient power. Because of insufficient power, the blade remains stationary. 

Causes of poor engine performance

Electrical malfunctions. Wiring issues or damaged connectors can disrupt the controller module’s function.

Fuel problems: Inadequate fuel flow, a clogged fuel filter, or bad gasoline can result in poor engine performance.

Solutions and troubleshooting

Check electrical connections

  • Inspect all electrical connections, ensuring they are secure and free from corrosion or damage.
  • Repair or replace any faulty wires or connectors.

Fuel system check

  • Verify that the fuel tank is filled with fresh, clean gasoline.
  • Replace the fuel filter if it’s clogged or dirty.
  • Clean the carburetor or consult a professional if you’re not confident in doing it yourself.

Engine tune-up

  • Perform regular maintenance tasks like changing the spark plug, air filter, and oil.
  • Adjust the engine’s idle speed and governor settings as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Professional inspection

  • If the issue persists after checking the above factors, consult a professional technician.  

2. Faulty PTO clutch

A Power Take-Off (PTO) clutch in a Ryobi lawn mower is responsible for engaging and disengaging the blades. When it’s faulty, the blades may not spin as expected. 

This is because the PTO clutch is an electromagnetic device that engages and disengages the mower blades. When it’s working correctly, it creates an electromagnetic field that engages the blades, allowing them to spin. 

That means a faulty PTO clutch will not generate the necessary electromagnetic field. 

Common causes of a faulty PTO clutch

Wear and tear. Over time, the PTO clutch can wear out due to normal use, leading to a loss of effectiveness.

Electrical issues. Faulty wiring, damaged connectors, or a bad switch can interrupt the electrical circuit necessary for the PTO clutch to engage.

Mechanical damage. Physical damage to the PTO clutch, such as a bent or broken component, can prevent it from functioning correctly.

Lack of lubrication. Inadequate lubrication or contamination of the clutch can cause it to malfunction.

Troubleshooting steps

Safety first. Before troubleshooting, ensure the mower is turned off, the spark plug is disconnected, and the engine is cool.

Check the PTO switch. Ensure the PTO switch is in the “on” position when you want the blades to engage.

Inspect wiring. Look for any loose, damaged, or disconnected wires connected to the PTO clutch.

Test electrical continuity. Use a multimeter to check for continuity in the electrical circuit. Ensure power is reaching the PTO clutch when the switch is on.

Examine the clutch. Physically inspect the PTO clutch for signs of damage or wear.

Consult the manual. Refer to your mower’s user manual for specific troubleshooting steps and guidance.

Faulty PTO clutch

3. Faulty PTO switch

The PTO (Power Take Off) switch is responsible for engaging and disengaging the lawn mower’s blade. 

If the PTO switch is faulty or defective, it won’t send the proper signal to activate the blade. 


Wear and tear. Over time, the PTO switch can wear out due to frequent use, exposure to elements, or internal damage.

Electrical issues. Faulty wiring, loose connections, or a blown fuse can disrupt the PTO switch’s functionality.

Solutions and troubleshooting

Inspect the PTO switch

  • Carefully examine the PTO switch for visible damage, wear, or loose components.
  • If you notice any issues, consider replacing the switch with a compatible one from the manufacturer.

Check electrical connections

  • Inspect the wiring connected to the PTO switch for any loose, frayed, or damaged wires.
  • Ensure that all electrical connections are securely attached.

Test the switch

  • With the mower turned off, use a multimeter to test the PTO switch’s continuity to determine if it’s working correctly.
  • If the switch doesn’t show continuity when engaged, it’s likely defective and should be replaced.

Fuse examination

4. Damaged drive belt

The drive belt guard is a crucial component in a lawnmower’s power transmission system. It connects the engine’s crankshaft to the mower’s wheels and blades.

When the drive belt is damaged, it can slip, break, or become misaligned. This disrupts the power transfer and can make the blades not to spin or lose propulsion.

Common causes of a damaged drive belt

  • Over time, the drive belt can wear out due to normal use, exposure to the elements, and friction.
  • Contact with debris, rocks, or other objects while mowing can damage the belt.
  • Incorrect belt tension can cause it to slip or wear prematurely.
  • A misaligned belt can lead to uneven wear and eventual damage.

What are the solutions?

  • Replace the damaged belt with a new one.
  • Regularly inspect and maintain the drive belt according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. 
  • If the belt tension is adjustable, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper tension adjustment.

5. Seized pulley

The pulley system in a lawn mower is responsible for transferring power from the engine to the blade. If a pulley becomes seized or stuck due to rust, debris, or wear, it hinders the smooth rotation of the blade, preventing it from spinning.


Rust and corrosion. Exposure to moisture and the elements can lead to rust buildup on the pulley, causing it to seize.

Debris accumulation. Grass clippings, dirt, or other debris can get lodged in the pulley assembly, impeding its movement.

Wear and tear. Over time, the pulley’s bearings or bushings may wear out, leading to friction and seizing.

Solutions and troubleshooting

Visual inspection

  • Turn off the mower and disconnect the spark plug for safety.
  • Visually inspect the pulleys and associated components for rust, corrosion, or debris.


  • If rust or corrosion is present, apply a penetrating lubricant to the affected pulley and allow it to sit for a period to loosen any rust.
  • Attempt to manually rotate the pulley to distribute the lubricant and break free any rust or debris.


  • Remove any accumulated debris, grass clippings, or dirt from the pulley assembly using a brush or compressed air.

Bearing/bushing check

  • If the pulley’s bearings or bushings appear worn or damaged, consider replacing them.
  • Properly lubricate new bearings or bushings during installation.
Seized pulley

6. A damaged blade or dull blade

A damaged or dull lawnmower blade can make the blades not spin as they should. 

A dull blade may not provide enough cutting force to spin the blades properly because it struggles to cut through the grass. It may also result in increased resistance, causing the blades to spin more slowly or not at all.

Common causes of blade damage or dullness

Normal wear and tear. Lawn mower blades naturally become dull over time due to repeated use.

Striking objects. Hitting rocks, tree roots, or other hard debris while mowing can damage or dull the blade.

Improper blade maintenance. Neglecting regular sharpening or failing to balance the blade can lead to dullness.

Corrosion and rust. Exposure to moisture and environmental conditions can cause the blade to corrode or rust, affecting its sharpness.

Fixes and prevention

Sharpen or replace the blade

  • If the blade is dull or damaged, it should be either sharpened or replaced.
  • You can sharpen the blade using a file or a blade sharpener. Ensure it’s balanced properly afterward.
  • If the blade is severely damaged or worn, it’s best to replace it with a new one. Consult your lawnmower’s manual for the correct replacement blade.

Regular maintenance

  • Implement a routine maintenance schedule that includes blade inspection, sharpening, or replacement as needed.
  • Keep the blade clean and free from grass clippings, debris, and rust.

Proper mowing techniques

  • Avoid mowing over rocks, tree roots, or other hard objects that can damage the blade.
  • Raise the mower deck to the appropriate height to prevent excessive contact with the ground or obstacles.

Blade balancing

  • Ensure the blade is properly balanced after sharpening or replacement. An unbalanced blade can cause vibration and affect cutting performance.

Lubrication and rust prevention

  • Apply a rust inhibitor or lubricant to the blade to prevent corrosion and maintain sharpness.

7. Full grass bag

A full grass bag can lead to a reduced ability for your Ryobi lawn mower’s blade to spin. When the grass bag is overflowing with clippings, it becomes heavy, causing strain on the mower’s engine. 

This added load results in reduced power supply, which may not be sufficient to rotate the blade.


Neglecting emptying. Sometimes you may forget to empty the grass bag during mowing. This allows the grass bag to fill to capacity.

Large lawn area. If you have a particularly large lawn, you may need to empty the grass bag multiple times during a single mowing session.

Solutions and troubleshooting

Regular emptying

  • Make it a habit to check and empty the grass bag when it reaches approximately 2/3 to 3/4 full to prevent overloading.

Adjust mowing frequency

  • If you have a large lawn, consider mowing more frequently to reduce the amount of grass clippings collected each time.

Compost grass clippings

  • Instead of collecting and disposing of grass clippings, consider using a mulching blade or kit. 

Maintain a healthy lawn

  • Regularly fertilize and water your lawn to encourage healthy grass growth, which can result in fewer clippings.

Invest in a larger bag or more bags

  • Some lawn mowers offer the option to attach multiple grass bags or larger capacity bags. Consider this if you have a large lawn and find yourself frequently emptying the bag.

8. Low mower deck

The mower deck’s height is crucial for achieving the desired grass-cutting length. When the mower deck is set too low, the blade can come into contact with the ground or uneven terrain, causing it to stall or not spin properly. 

The two major causes of low deck height are:

  • Incorrect setting
  • Uneven terrain

Solutions and troubleshooting

Adjust the mower deck height

Refer to your Ryobi mower’s user manual to locate and adjust the deck height setting. This involves raising the deck to a suitable height for your lawn using an open end box wrench. 

Level the deck

Ensure that the mower deck is level from side to side and front to back. An uneven deck can lead to the blade not spinning correctly.

Check for obstructions

Inspect the underside of the mower deck for any debris or obstructions that might be preventing it from rising to the correct height.

Mow on even terrain

Whenever possible, choose to mow on flat and even terrain to minimize unintentional deck lowering.

Regular maintenance

Periodically check and adjust the deck height as needed to maintain the desired cutting height for your lawn.

9. Too tall or too wet grass

Mowing tall or wet grass can affect the performance of your lawnmower and cause the blades not to spin. 

Tall grass can overwhelm your lawnmower because it requires sufficient power to cut through the dense vegetation. This extra resistance can lead to the blades not spinning.  

Wet grass is heavy and tends to clump together. They also clog the mower deck, block the discharge chute, and hinder the blades’ ability to spin.  


  • Raising the mowing deck
  • Mowing more frequently
  • Using a mulching mower
  • Waiting for dry conditions
  • Using a side discharge or bag
  • Using sharp blades

How to Fix Ryobi Lawn Mower Not Cutting Grass

Sharpen blades

Dull mower blades can tear grass rather than cleanly cutting it, leaving your lawn looking ragged. To fix this, remove and sharpen the blades regularly, maintaining their sharpness. 

A sharp blade ensures a clean cut, promoting a healthier lawn and reducing the strain on your Ryobi mower’s engine.

Mow at full throttle

Running your Ryobi mower at full throttle provides the mower engine with maximum power. When this happens, it tackles thick or tall grass more effectively. 

Mowing at full throttle also ensures a consistent blade speed and a cleaner cut. 

Use fresh fuel

Stale or contaminated fuel can impede engine performance. To address this issue, always use fresh, clean gasoline. 

Avoid using old or ethanol-blended fuel that may have absorbed moisture, which can lead to engine problems.

Clean the mower

A clean mower is an efficient mower. Regularly remove grass clippings, debris, and dirt buildup from the mower’s underside, cutting deck, and air intake. 

This maintenance prevents clogs, overheating, and ensures proper airflow for optimal cutting performance.

Replace worn out drive belts

Worn-out or damaged drive belts can hinder the blade’s rotation and overall mower performance. 

Inspect the drive belts for wear and tear, and replace them as needed to maintain proper tension and functionality.

Free obstructions

Obstructions like twigs, stones, or debris can obstruct the blade’s movement, causing it to stop or malfunction. 

Before mowing, clear the lawn of any potential obstacles that could hinder your Ryobi mower’s ability to cut grass well. A clutter-free lawn promotes efficient mowing.

Summary: Causes and Solutions of Ryobi Lawn Mower Blade Not Spinning

CausesSolutions and troubleshooting
Controller module failure/ poor engine performance– Check electrical connections
– Fuel system check
– Engine tune-up
– Professional inspection
Faulty PTO clutch– Inspect the PTO clutch
– Check electrical connections
– Test the clutch
– Fuse examination
Faulty PTO switch– Inspect the PTO switch
– Check electrical connections
– Test the switch
– Fuse examination
Damaged drive belt– Replace the damaged drive belt
– Regular inspection and maintenance
– Proper belt tension
Seized pulley– Visual inspection
– Lubrication
– Cleaning
– Bearing/bushing check
A damaged or dull blade– Sharpen or replace the blade
– Regular maintenance
– Proper mowing techniques
– Blade balancing
– Lubrication and rust prevention
Full grass bag– Regular emptying
– Adjust mowing frequency
– Compost grass clippings
– Maintain a healthy lawn
– Invest in a larger bag or more bags
Low mower deck– Adjust the mower deck height
– Level the deck
– Check for obstructions
– Mow on even terrain
– Regular maintenance
Too tall or too wet grass– Raise the mowing deck
– Mowing more frequently
– Using a mulching mower
– Waiting for dry conditions
– Using a side discharge or bag
– Using sharp blades


Why is the blade on my lawn mower not spinning?

The blade on your lawnmower may not be spinning due to various reasons. These include a damaged or dull blade, a faulty PTO clutch, or a clogged mower deck. 

How do you engage the blades on a Ryobi lawn mower?

To engage the blades on a Ryobi lawnmower, push or pull the PTO (Power Take-Off) lever, often located on the control handle. This activates the electromagnet clutch that engages the blades for cutting. Refer to your manufacturer’s manual for specific instructions.

Why won’t my Ryobi lawn mower cut the grass?

Several factors can cause your Ryobi lawn mower to not cut grass effectively. These include a damaged or dull blade, incorrect mowing height, clogged discharge chute, or problems with the engine or PTO clutch. 

Why is my lawn mower blade not cutting?

Your lawn mower blade may not be cutting effectively due to dullness, damage, or improper adjustment. Dull blades tear rather than cleanly cut grass. Ensure your blade is sharp, undamaged, and set to the correct height for efficient cutting. 


In conclusion, a Murray lawn mower is a reliable workhorse for maintaining a beautiful lawn. When you encounter the frustrating issue of the blade not spinning, diagnose and address the root cause promptly. 

With the troubleshooting tips and maintenance techniques I’ve explored, you’re well-equipped to get your Murray mower back in action. 

Remember, a well-maintained mower leads to a well-groomed lawn, so keep those blades spinning, and happy mowing. Now read our article on “Ryobi lawn mower won’t start” to ensure your mower is in top-notch condition from start to finish.