I mowed a lawn that had really thick tall grass my blades were already on the dull side, I hit a patch of grass and nearly stalled out my mower. I sharpened my blades, balanced them, cleaned under the deck, and cleaned the air filter. I mowed one lawn after that and it wasnt overly tall or wet and it sounded like it was clogging as if I were mowing really tall grass. It's time for an oil change and I'm gonna change the oil filter as well, but I doubt that's the problem. Could it be the belts? I only have 57 hours on it, it's an ariens ikonx 52. What all should I check for?
Belt slippage usually comes accompanied by a particular squealing noise when engaging the drive or obvious difference in cut.
Check that the plane of rotation of each of the blades is flat. If one of the 3 spindles on which the blades are mounted is bent, as it can be after an abrupt encounter with an immovable or dense object, one tip of that blade will be lower than the other. Then as that blade rotates, even though it is sharp it will encounter thicker material than all the other tips and put stress on the mower. To test this you could run the mower towards some medium length grass slowly and then back out. Examine closely the forward cut edge of the grass and see if the three blades are producing the same result.