John Deere Tractor Turns Over But Won’t Start + Troubleshooting Tips

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There’s nothing more frustrating than a tractor that turns over but just won’t start. But take it from me, with a few straightforward adjustments, you can often have it purring smoothly again in no time.

Having worked with multiple John Deere tractors, I’ve gathered a list of the starting problems I’ve encountered. Read along – it could be just what you need to overcome any tractor-related troubles.

Reasons Why Your John Deere Tractor Turns Over And Won't Start + Fixes

#1: Fuel Filter Problems

The fuel filter is essential because it ensures that dirt or debris doesn’t enter the carburetor and clog it. If your tractor wont start, check to see if the fuel filter is clogged. 

John Deere fuel filter

You can do this by unscrewing the fuel filter and checking to see if there is any dirt or debris inside. If there is, you’ll need to replace the fuel filter.

#2: Low-Quality Fuel/Diesel

If you’re using low-quality fuel or diesel for your unit like the John Deere S100, this can also lead to your tractor not starting. It’s essential to use high-quality fuel because it helps prevent any issues with the engine. 

I recommend premium unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 87 if you’re not sure what kind of fuel to use.

#3: Clogged Fuel Cap

A clogged fuel cap can prevent your tractor from running by restricting the airflow the engine needs. The fuel cap plays a crucial role in venting the tank and preventing pressure build-up.

John Deere clogged fuel cap and tank

Check for any clogs on the fuel cap and remove any debris. If it still doesn’t start, I recommend you replace the fuel cap. 

#4: Inadequate Battery Power

If your battery doesn’t have enough power, it can keep your tractor from starting. Check if it needs to be recharged or replaced.

You can tell if the battery needs to be recharged below 12.6 volts. If it’s above 12.6 volts, but the tractor still won’t start, it might be time for a new battery.

#5: Inadequate Fuel

Not having enough fuel reaching the engine can keep your tractor from starting. Check the fuel level and add more fuel if necessary.

John Deere fuel tank prescreen

Consult an accredited John Deere maintenance services to look into its more technical aspects if it still won’t start. 

#6: Fuel Contamination

Another possible problem with your John Deere tractor is fuel contamination. Be sure to check that there isn’t any water or other contaminants in the fuel tank to avoid further damage to the engine. 

If you think there might be water in the fuel tank, drain it and refill it with fresh fuel.

#7: Defective Hose

A defective hose can also keep your tractor from starting. 

John Deere defective fuel hose

Check all of the hoses for any cracks or leaks. If you find any, replace the hose as soon as possible. If your John Deere tractor is still giving you trouble, it might be time to call in the professionals.

#8: Fuel Injection Pump Problems

Fuel injection pump problems in your John Deere tractor could be because the timing is off or damages or leaks in the system. 

Check the fuel lines for any leaks as they reduces the lifespan of lawn mowers. If you find any, tighten the fittings and see if that solves the problem. For damages, I recommend you seek a professional John Deere mechanic. 

#9: Engine Problems

I’ve often found that damaged or broken piston rings can be at the heart of such issues. You see, piston rings play a crucial role in sealing the air or fuel mixture in the cylinders. So, when they’re compromised, you can experience a loss of compression.

John Deere engine repair

I recommend taking the engine apart for users with some technical experience to check the piston rings for damages. Replace them as needed. 

#10: Clogged Air Filter

A clogged air filter will prevent the right amount of air from getting to the engine, which keeps your John Deere tractor from starting. 

To clean the air filter, remove it and tap it gently to remove any dirt or debris. If it’s still clogged, you’ll need to replace it. 

#11: Wrong Throttle Operations

Wrong throttle operations keep your tractor from starting by preventing the right amount of air and fuel mixture from getting to the engine.

John Deere throttle control

If you’re not sure how to operate the throttle, I suggest reading the tractor’s manual on how to self-repair. However, if you’re not familiar with the technicalities, consulting a professional John Deere mechanic prevents further damage. 

#12: Wrong Starting Procedure

Novice mowers usually encounter this problem. John Deere tractors come with manuals to help users understand and follow the correct starting procedure.

I recommend doing your research or consulting a John Deere tractor representative if you’re unsure how to proceed. 


In my experience, John Deere [1] tractors are built to withstand long hours of usage as long as they are well taken care of. With proper maintenance, they can serve you well over extended periods. 

However, if your John Deere tractor cranks but still wouldn’t start despite these various troubleshooting steps, it may be time to seek expert help.  

Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You've probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.
Robert Johnson
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