My dad usually helps me with these sorts of issues, but he died last fall. Any help is appreciated. I am handy and can fix this if I can get the parts and have an idea how bad this really is.
By JohnnyU from Baltimore, MD
The shaft may be bent, but before you take the mower in for repair, check to see if the metal key that locks the flywheel to the shaft is broken. This is a DIY job. Remove the piece covering the flywheel, then remove the flywheel (you may need to buy an inexpensive tool to loosen the flywheel from the shaft). If the key is broken, simply replace it and reassemble everything.
Depending on how old the mower is, there may (probably will) be an automatic braking device that locks the flywheel and prevents the blade from spinning if the "dead man's" safety bar is released. Be sure that everything is put back the way it was before replacing the cover.
You should also check to see if the blade hub key is broken. Again, it's a simple DIY replacement.
Ours did the same thing. Turns out that the shaft was bent when we ran over something. Repair cost more than the mower was worth, so we had to get a new mower.
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