John Deere S120 Problems Get Easily Fixed with Quick Tips

The John Deere S120 lawn tractor has become a trusted ally for many homeowners who cherish their yard’s appearance and upkeep. With its powerful 22 HP V-Twin engine and 42-inch cutting deck, this machine is designed to provide efficient and reliable service. However, even the most dependable equipment can run into issues that can hinder its performance. Understanding and promptly addressing common problems can significantly prolong your lawn tractor’s service life and maintain its efficiency.

The John Deere S120 sits idle, surrounded by tools and a frustrated mechanic

Regular maintenance is a critical part of keeping your John Deere S120 in top condition. Ensuring that the engine parts are clean, the air filter is unclogged, and the oil levels are appropriate can help ward off many potential issues that may arise. Over time, normal wear and tear can lead to further problems such as dirty spark plugs or worn blades. Knowing how to troubleshoot these issues when they do occur will save you time and extend the tractor’s lifespan, ensuring that mowing your lawn is always a breeze.

Key Takeaways

  • Properly maintaining your S120 can prevent many common issues.
  • Clean engine parts and routine checks are essential for optimal performance.
  • Timely troubleshooting extends the longevity of your lawn tractor.

Understanding Your John Deere S120 Lawn Tractor

The John Deere S120 lawn tractor sits on a green, well-manicured lawn. The sun shines down, casting a shadow from the tractor's large, sturdy tires. The grass is neatly cut, and the tractor appears ready for use

Your John Deere S120 is more than just a piece of machinery; it’s a reliable partner for maintaining your property. Known for its 22 HP V-twin engine, this tractor brings a balance of power and smooth operation. The engine’s design ensures efficient fuel combustion, which means more time mowing and less time refueling.

  • Engine: 22 HP V-twin
  • Transmission: Hydrostatic

One of the key features that you’ll appreciate is the hydrostatic transmission, which allows for seamless speed adjustments while you’re mowing. This type of transmission is preferred for its ease of use, especially when you’re navigating through different types of terrain.

Equipped with a comfortable seat and an easy-to-use steering wheel, the S120 makes sure that you can handle your lawn care tasks without unnecessary strain. The addition of cruise control is a thoughtful touch, allowing you to maintain a consistent speed and reduce fatigue during longer sessions.

  • Comfort: High-back seat, ergonomic steering wheel
  • Convenience: Cruise control for even mowing

Built to be strong and durable, your lawn tractor is designed to last. It’s constructed to handle the demands that homeowners typically place on their machines. The sturdy frame, robust tires, and precision-engineered components speak to the quality you can expect from a brand like John Deere.

When considering maintenance, remember that keeping air filters clean and spark plugs in good condition is essential for the tractor to perform optimally.

Remember, with the right care, your John Deere S120 can be a powerful and trustworthy companion for years to come.

Routine Maintenance and Care

Proper care of your John Deere S120 lawn tractor ensures it performs efficiently throughout its lifetime. Paying close attention to engine maintenance, deck and blade upkeep, and seasonal adjustments can save you from future headaches.

Engine Maintenance

Your engine is the heart of your John Deere S120, and keeping it in top shape is essential. Ensure you regularly check and replace the oil according to the manufacturer’s schedule to prevent engine wear. Clean or replace the air filter to enhance airflow and engine performance. It’s also crucial to inspect the spark plug for corrosion or wear, replacing it when necessary. Keep the fuel filter clear to maintain steady fuel flow and check the carburetor for clogs, especially if your tractor is running rough. A quick check of the throttle for responsiveness can also tell you if there’s an underlying issue that needs attention.

Deck and Blade Care

The cutting deck and blades require routine checks to ensure your grass gets a clean cut. Inspect the blades for dullness or damage and consider sharpening or replacing them when they lose their edge. Clean the deck after each use to prevent buildup of grass and debris, which can lead to rust or impaired performance.

Seasonal Adjustments

Different seasons can impose unique demands on your lawn tractor. In spring, prepare your mower for the busy season ahead by checking all systems and making sure it’s ready to handle regular mowing. If you’re storing your tractor over the winter, remember that fuel can degrade, so consider adding a fuel stabilizer to mitigate the effects of ethanol. Before the first frost, give your tractor a thorough inspection and replace any worn parts.

Keep these maintenance tips in mind, and your John Deere S120 will remain a steadfast companion in lawn care.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Your John Deere S120 may encounter a few hiccups during operation. By understanding how to troubleshoot common issues, you can keep your mower running smoothly and maintain safety.

Starting Problems

If your John Deere S120 won’t start, begin by checking your fuel levels and ensure you’re using fresh fuel. Next, inspect the spark plug for carbon build-up and replace it if necessary. Also, verify that your oil levels are adequate and the safety controls are engaged, which can prevent the mower from starting if not properly set.

Performance Challenges

For performance issues, such as irregular idle or fluctuating RPMs, regularly clean the air filter and the fuel system components. Here’s a short checklist:

  • Air Filter: Check and clean or replace if clogged.
  • Spark Plug: Clean or replace if dirty to ensure efficient fuel burning.
  • Fuel System: Ensure there are no blockages affecting fuel flow.

Keeping these components in check can improve overall engine performance.

Steering and Control Issues

Should you face challenges with steering or controls, it’s critical to investigate a few areas:

  • Examine the steering wheel linkage for any loose or damaged parts.
  • Inspect control cables for proper tension and integrity.

Ensuring these features of your John Deere S120 are functioning correctly not only affects performance but is also essential for your safety.

Operator Comfort and Safety

An operator sits comfortably in a John Deere S120, surrounded by safety features and ergonomic design for a smooth and secure operation

Your comfort and safety are paramount when operating machinery like the John Deere S120. This lawn tractor is designed with ergonomic seats that provide support during extended use, making your mowing experience as comfortable as possible.

Safety Features: Your S120 comes equipped with a variety of safety controls to ensure your well-being. Here’s a brief overview:

  • Seat Safety Switch: Ensures the tractor cannot operate unless you are properly seated.
  • Parking Brake: It must be engaged to start the engine, preventing accidental starts.

When it comes to the controls, they are strategically placed for easy access and use. The cruise control option is a standout feature for your comfort, allowing you to maintain a constant speed without continuous pedal engagement, which is a real boon for larger lawns.

Please familiarize yourself with the positions and functions of all controls before use. This knowledge contributes to both safe operation and your personal comfort. The operation manual provided with your John Deere S120 contains a comprehensive control layout and safety instructions — a must-read for a smooth and secure mowing experience.

Remember to adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines for maintenance to ensure your lawn tractor remains a comfortable and safe tool in your lawn care arsenal. Regular checks and care can prevent many issues related to operator comfort and safety, allowing you a pleasant experience with each use.

Attachment and Accessory Options

The John Deere S120 mower sits in a lush green yard, with various attachment and accessory options displayed nearby

When enhancing your John Deere S120 lawn tractor, the right attachments and accessories can significantly expand its capabilities and make your yard work more enjoyable. You’ll find a variety of options designed to fit your specific landscaping needs.

  • Cutting Deck: Your tractor comes with a robust cutting deck, but you can ensure optimal performance with replacement blades or mulching kits to adapt to different mowing conditions.
  • Bagger System: Looking to keep your lawn free of grass clippings? Add a bagger system to your S120 for efficient collection and a clean finish.
  • Carts and Trailers: For hauling gardening supplies or yard waste, consider attaching a utility cart or trailer. It’s a practical way to move material around your property.
  • Snow Removal: If you live in a region with snowfall, the S120 can be equipped with a snow blower or blade attachment, transforming it into a winter workhorse.
  • Protective Covers: Preserve your S120’s appearance and protect it from the elements with a weather enclosure or a durable cover.

Remember to always consult your owner’s manual or a professional for attachment compatibility and installation guidance. Your S120 is designed to work with a range of John Deere equipment, enhancing your lawn care experience with each use.

Warranty and Support Services

A John Deere S120 mower with warranty and support services, displaying mechanical problems

When you purchase your John Deere S120, you’re not just buying a lawn tractor; you’re also gaining access to a comprehensive warranty and support system. The key components of your support services include warranty coverage, assistance from your local dealer, and customer support options that ensure your lawn tractor keeps running smoothly.

Warranty Coverage Your S120 comes with a warranty that typically covers a certain period or usage hours, whichever comes first. This warranty assures that if any manufacturing defects occur, you won’t have to incur all the repair costs. To stay informed about the specifics of your warranty:

  • Register your product: promptly after purchase for warranty protection.
  • Check terms: Look at the duration and what parts and services are covered.

Your local dealer can provide efficient warranty services. If you encounter an issue with your S120, contact your local dealer for guidance. They can:

  • Assess and diagnose the issue
  • Perform covered repairs
  • Provide maintenance tips

Customer Support In addition to warranty services, your access to customer support includes:

  • Online assistance through the John Deere website
  • A range of “How-To” articles for DIY maintenance
  • Phone support for troubleshooting

To get the most out of your support services, be sure to:

  • Keep documentation: Maintain records of your repairs and maintenance.
  • Stay proactive: Address issues early by reaching out for support as needed.

Remember, regular maintenance and utilizing support services can prolong the life of your S120, ensuring it remains a reliable part of your lawn care routine.

Buying Guide and Delivery Information

A customer browsing a buying guide for John Deere S120, with delivery information displayed on a computer screen

When considering the purchase of a John Deere S120, start by visiting your local dealer. They are equipped to provide you with detailed product information and can guide you through the selection process based on your gardening needs as a homeowner.

Choosing Your Mower

  • Research: Read up on the S120’s features and how they fit your lawn care requirements.
  • Budget: Plan for your investment, keeping in mind that quality is synonymous with the John Deere brand.

Completing Your Purchase

  • Discuss with the dealer any ongoing promotions or financing options.
  • Confirm the warranty coverage and understand what it entails.
  • Ask about the maintenance service plan to keep your lawn tractor performing at its best.

Preparing for Delivery

Upon purchase, arrange a delivery date that suits your schedule. Your dealer can provide a comprehensive explanation of the delivery process. You should:

  • Confirm the delivery address and provide clear instructions for access if needed.
  • Clear your driveway or any obstructions for a smooth delivery.


After delivery, ensure that:

  • The lawn tractor is in perfect condition.
  • You receive a demonstration on safe operation and basic maintenance.

Remember: Keeping an open line of communication with your local dealer will lead to a hassle-free buy and delivery experience and years of satisfaction with your John Deere S120.

Fuel Management and Efficiency

Maintaining your John Deere S120’s fuel system efficiently is key to ensuring it runs smoothly. To start, keep a close eye on your fuel gauge to monitor the fuel level. It’s important to prevent the tank from running dry, which can cause air to enter the fuel system and may lead to difficulties in starting the engine.

Here’s what you should regularly check:

  • Fuel Filters: Clogged fuel filters can restrict flow, so inspect and replace them if necessary.
  • Air Intakes: Leaks in the intake manifold introduce excess air, causing a lean fuel condition. If you notice engine surging, this might be the culprit.
  • Fuel Lines: Look for leaks or blockages that might impede fuel delivery.
  • Fuel Pump: Test for proper functionality to ensure it’s delivering fuel to the engine effectively.

Consider the type of fuel you’re using. Your John Deere S120 may have specific requirements, especially regarding ethanol. Often, fuels containing ethanol can attract moisture, which leads to corrosion and other fuel system issues. If possible, use ethanol-free fuel or make sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on fuel with ethanol content.

Remember to:

  • Refuel with fresh gasoline.
  • Avoid using fuel that’s been sitting for long periods.

By staying on top of these aspects, you’re ensuring your John Deere S120 operates at optimal fuel efficiency, keeping you moving ahead with all your lawn tasks.

Replacement Parts and Upkeep

Maintaining your John Deere S120 lawn tractor is key to ensuring its longevity and peak performance. Over time, certain parts might wear out and require replacement. It’s important that you use genuine John Deere parts to guarantee compatibility and to uphold the tractor’s durability.

Here are some of the parts you might need to replace periodically:

  • Air Filter: Essential for clean combustion and engine health.
  • Spark Plugs: Critical for efficient engine ignition.
  • Oil Filter: To maintain clean oil, necessary for engine lubrication.

Maintenance Schedule for Key Components:

ComponentMaintenance Interval
Air FilterCheck every 50 hours; replace as needed
Spark PlugsReplace every 100 hours
Fuel FilterReplace every 100 hours
Oil FilterReplace every 50 hours with oil change

During upkeep, don’t forget about the fuel filter—clean fuel is crucial. If your tractor starts behaving unusually, such as surging at low idle, it may be due to a clogged fuel filter or other maintenance issues. Stay proactive with your maintenance tasks to prevent these problems.

Quick Tips:

  • Always refer to your owner’s manual for specific maintenance recommendations.
  • Keep an eye on your tractor’s performance; early detection can prevent more extensive repairs.
  • Schedule a day for maintenance to keep your tractor in tip-top shape without any rush.

Remember, routine maintenance will not only keep your John Deere S120 running smoothly but also helps in avoiding unexpected breakdowns. Happy mowing!

Frequently Asked Questions

Owning a John Deere S120 can come with questions about its performance and care. This section helps answer common issues that may arise with the tractor.

What common issues do owners report about the John Deere S120 riding mower?

Owners commonly report issues such as clogged air filters, dirty spark plugs, and worn blades. Ensuring regular maintenance and addressing small issues promptly can prevent larger problems.

How can I troubleshoot starting problems with my John Deere S120?

If you’re facing starting problems, check for a damaged starter, insufficient battery charge, or a faulty electrical connection. It’s also wise to examine the metal arm controlling cable tension as it can affect starting if damaged.

What maintenance tips can ensure the longevity of a John Deere S120?

To ensure the longevity of your John Deere S120, maintain the engine regularly, clean or replace the air filter as necessary, and keep the spark plugs clean. Additionally, check oil levels and change the oil according to the manufacturer’s schedule.

Are there known engine issues with the John Deere S120?

Some users have experienced engine troubles, which often stem from inadequate maintenance. Regular cleaning of the engine parts and ensuring the fuel system is free of debris can mitigate many engine-related issues.

What should I check for when my John Deere S120 has cutting performance problems?

When experiencing cutting performance issues, inspect for dull or worn blades, incorrect deck leveling, and clogged cutting decks. Replacing blades and ensuring the cutting deck is clean and level can improve performance.

How do I address electrical issues in my John Deere S120 mower?

For electrical issues, start by examining the battery, fuses, and connections for corrosion or loose wires. Ensure the safety switches are functioning correctly and replace any faulty electrical components as needed.


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