5 John Deere X300 Problems and Fixes

Photo: John Deere / The John Deere MachineFinder Blog

The John Deere X300 is a popular and sturdy lawn tractor that is built for cutting grass well. As with many small engine machines, this tractor can have problems over time due to wear and tear or improper maintenance. This particular model has some of these kinds of issues. 

The John Deere X300 is known to have problems such as: 

  1. Engine not consistently running well
  2. The lawn tractor will not start
  3. You cannot steer the machine left or right
  4. The tractor does not mow evenly
  5. The fuel runs out too quickly

Read on to learn more about these problems and the fixes for them. In some cases, you will need a professional to help, and in others, you can try to remedy them on your own. 

This article will also briefly look at the pros, features, and some FAQs about the X300 lawn tractor.

1. Engine not consistently running well

The engine of the John Deere X300 can show several problems. It may run roughly or excessively vibrate, overheat, struggle with load, or backfire.

You will likely need professional service to help you look the engine over. In general, a well-maintained engine should last from 500 to 1000 hours of operation. Consider the following before taking the John Deere X300 in for a professional service.

  • Misfiring/Rough Engine: If the lawn tractor is misfiring or runs roughly it may be due to the carburetor. To fix this, you can replace the ignition module or needle valve. 
  • Connections/Cooling: Refer to the John Deere X300 user manual and check the electrical connection, cooling fan, and choke cable to determine if they need replacement. 
    • Users can also check the battery charge and connections and the spindle bearings to see if they need replacement. 
    • John Deere X300 lawn tractors have a Kawasaki FH491V or FS600V engine, which is prone to overheating. The cooling fan on top of these engines could be faulty or is not working (see recalls below). Engines that overheat can lead to fire, so the engine (and fan) should be serviced at a local dealer as soon as possible.
  • Fuel Pump: Check the fuel pump sensor to see if it is working and sending the right signal for releasing oil to the engine
  • Load: If pulling or carrying a load, the John Deere X300 may struggle to operate efficiently. Some users will take off the load or disengage the power take-off (PTO) function to reduce the rough operation. 
  • Throttle: Ensure that you are running the lawnmower with the proper throttle engagement.
  • Filters/Spark Plugs: If the engine is backfiring or stalling, check the inline fuel and air filters. Make sure they are clean or replaced. If this does not solve the issue, try tightening or replacing the spark plugs. 

2. The lawn tractor will not start

If your John Deere X300 has starting problems it could be due to a variety of issues such as: 

  • Using the incorrect fuel
  • There is water or air in the fuel or fuel lines
  • Spark plugs are bad or a fuse has blown
  • Battery terminals are bad
  • There are disconnected wires or low voltage from the battery
  • There is a collapsed hydrostatic transmission
  • Cooling fins are clogged
  • Carburetor has issues
  • Electronic control module has problems

General Solutions

Check over your lawn tractor using the manual. 

  • Clean all of the filters and ensure the battery is charged, clean, and properly connected. 
  • Drain the oil and fill it with clean and correct oil for the machine. 
  • Make sure the fuel cap is on tightly, and that the fuel filter is clean.

If you have looked over the machine and made adjustments for optimal performance, and it still will not start, you will likely need a professional to look it over.

Other Solutions

A collapsed transmission can create problems for shifting gears. Some people that purchase the John Deere X300 will upgrade the transmission upon purchase to avoid this problem. 

Cooling fins reduce the temperature of the engine. If they are clogged they cannot do their job. Repaired and maintained cooling fins are essential for keeping the engine from overheating.

If your tractor starts, but won’t move forward, make sure the parking brake is not on and disengage the bypass valve lever. 

Also, ensure that the carburetor is working correctly. If it is not mixing gasoline with air properly to ignite the engine, making a low or heavy mixture, the carburetor cannot assist the mower in moving forwards or in reverse.

If you jumpstart your lawn tractor, it may fry the electronic control module. As a result, you will need to replace it.

Proper and consistent maintenance is essential for the John Deere X300 to promote its longevity and keep repair costs down. 

This video demonstrates how to change the oil, air, and gas filters as well as how to grease the front axle.

3. You cannot steer the machine left or right

Some users of the John Deere X300 have found that they cannot turn left or right while operating the machine. 


Steering issues are often related to a problem in the steering mechanism’s gears or steering shaft. A mechanic may need to replace them for you if you are unable to do so on your own.

4. The tractor does not mow evenly

Uneven mowing is a common problem for many kinds of lawn tractors. Typically, this is due to wear and tear of the belt, cutting at too fast of a speed, dull blades, the deck is not level, or the discharge chute being clogged. You may notice that the machine vibrates excessively.


Replace the belt.

  • Level the mower by inflating the tires properly to the correct pressure.
  • Check for rusting or broken parts on the mower deck and replace or repair as needed.
  • Clear out debris from the discharge chute. You can hose off the undercarriage as well.
  • Sharpen the blades and slow down when cutting. The John Deere X300 does not cut tall or wet grass very well, especially if you go fast.

5. The fuel runs out too quickly

The throttle or carburetor may not be working efficiently leading to excessive fuel consumption. In many cases, the carburetor is the cause of this issue.


  • Replace or adjust the carburetor.
  • Change the throttle cable to make sure it opens sufficiently. 

A Closer Look at the John Deere X300


  • Tuff Torq K46 transmission (automatic, belt-driven)
  • OEM UC16533 Fuel Pump
  • Kawasaki FH491V or FS600V engine
  • Fuel tank 3.3 gallons (12.5 L)
  • Electric start
  • 2 -wheel drive
  • Power steering
  • One-touch mulch control (option)
  • Easy-to-read display

Attachments for the John Deere X300

  • Blades (snow removal)
  • Brush guard and bumper
  • Carts
  • Material collection systems (leaves, clippings)

Pros of the John Deere X300

Reviews claim that the John Deere X300 lawn tractor runs relatively quiet and cuts well. It handles slopes comfortably and is more durable than box model mowers. 

This machine mows relatively quickly and has a smooth engine that idles appropriately. This lawn tractor drives linearly and the turning is considerably good for a 2-wheel model. 

Filters, the drain plug, and spark plugs are conveniently located and easy to access.


The John Deere X300 was recalled from 2010 to 2011 in order to fix the cooling fan located in front of the steering wheel under the hood. If it stopped working, the engine could overheat resulting in melting plastic parts and creating the risk of fire.

Before this, in 2006, these machines were recalled for a defective manufacturing process that may have damaged a circuit in the interlock module. If this module failed, the mower blades could operate without someone in the seat, posing a risk to the user.


How can I make my John Deere X300 faster?

You can try a variety of strategies to make your John Deere X300  faster. Keep in mind that if you alter the original construction you may invalidate any warranties.

  • Tires: Install bigger tires with the same wheel width to fit the axle. This will allow for better handling and faster rolling. You may lose some loss in torque, however. Additionally, you should adjust the level of the mower deck to accommodate the tire size. 
  • Blades: Replace or sharpen the blades to cut efficiently and quickly. Make sure they are properly balanced on the deck.
  • Governor: Remove the governor, which allows the horsepower to work at top speeds. Use caution and remember that this may affect your warranty.
  • Pulley: Install a bigger pulley to make the transmission go faster. This can be a complicated and risky task for many mowers and you may need a professional to help.
  • Purge Air: Purge air from the hydraulic drive. This is recommended for new mowers as well as ones that sit for several months in storage. Refer to your user’s manual.
  • Remove Attachments: Take off attachments that you are not using, so nothing is adding to the weight, slowing it down.
  • Fuel: Use high octane fuel which more efficiently burns and powers the engine.

What is the average life of a John Deere lawnmower?

Well-maintained John Deere lawn mowers can last up to twenty years. 

Owners of John Deere can receive excellent customer support along with a variety of products and attachments that work with the machines for multi-seasonal use.


Potential buyers of the John Deere X300 quickly discover that an investment to mow the lawn can start at several thousand dollars. Despite the typical problems and some more expensive solutions for this machine, this is a popular choice for mowing lawns.

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