Last Updated on June 13, 2022 by Dave Farquhar
If you have a crooked handle on your Ryobi lawn mower that leans awkwardly to the left, it doesn’t mean it’s broken. It’s pretty easy to fix. But it can cause other problems that are harder to fix. So here’s how to fix it right now, before that crooked handle leads to a bigger problem.
Fix the crooked handle on a Ryobi lawn mower
If you’ve had a Ryobi lawn mower for more than a few months, it’s possible that eventually the handle will start to look like the picture below. It will be crooked, and no longer square with the mower deck, making it more difficult to push in a straight line.
The reason for this is deceptively simple. The handle isn’t extended all the way, or at least not on both sides.
Normally, when you don’t extend the handle all the way, the mower won’t start at all. But there is only a sensor on one side. So if you extend the handle fully on the side with the sensor but not the other, you end up with a crooked handle. The mower may not feel quite right but it starts and runs, and you’re probably in a hurry. It’s easy to not think anything of it until you go to put the mower away and notice it’s leaning awkwardly to one side.
The quick fix is to unlock both sides, extend both sides of the handle completely, and then lock it back. But I really recommend you check one more thing after that. Otherwise you may have another problem later this year. For this last part, you need a T25 Torx driver or hex bit.
Avoiding future problems
Depending on how long you have been using the mower with a crooked handle, the handle mounts may be loose. While the handle is crooked they look bent, but more than likely they’re just loose. And that’s a good thing, because it means you just need to tighten the screws.
Each mount is bolted to the body with three T25 screws. Because of the uneven pressure, you’ll probably find the top two screws are loose on one side of the mower, and the bottom screw is loose on the other.
Unfortunately, to reach the lower screw without removing the wheel, you either need a small right angle ratcheting screwdriver or some creativity. I found it is possible to get it done with a T25 hex bit, a small set of locking pliers, and a fair bit of patience. It’s unorthodox but in a pinch it can work. Lock the bit in the jaws of the locking pliers and cinch them down to hold. Then reach in behind the wheel. Turn the screw about a quarter turn until you run out of room. Pull the contraption out, reposition the bit in the jaws if you felt it slip, and repeat.
Even if you have to improvise, tightening the screws takes 5 minutes. If you don’t already have a T25 hex bit and a suitable hex driver, it will probably take longer to go to the store to get those than it will to tighten the screws.
If you find they are loose, I do recommend fixing it sooner rather than later. Eventually one or more will fall out. If those screws fall out, it’s going to lead to a wobbly handle at some point. The screws may be a standard pitch, but they aren’t one I recognize.