There’s nothing quite as frustrating as a faulty lawnmower. Fortunately, if your riding lawn mower won’t start and no clicking comes from the engine, you might not need a replacement just yet.
Below, our experts have put together the potential issues with a riding mower that won’t start or click and provide troubleshooting tips to help your riding mower work again.
How to Fix a Riding Lawn Mower That Won't Start
Materials You Will Need
How a Riding Lawn Mower is Powered
Lawn mowers are powered by a four-cycle engine (intake, compression, combustion, and exhaust). Some mowers use gasoline as their fuel and a spark plug to combust it. Others are powered by diesel and require no spark plug. In either case, the engine runs the transmission and drive wheels, and rotates the cutting blades underneath the machine.
Like automobiles, lawn mowers use a battery, starter motor, and ignition switch. When you turn the ignition switch to the ‘Start’ position, 12 volts of direct current travels from the battery through the starter solenoid to the starter motor. This current also flows through a cable to the anti-afterfire solenoid in the engine
When you release the key to the ‘Run’ position, this DC of 12 volts is then redirected. Instead of going to the starter solenoid and motor, it moves to the alternator and anti-afterfire solenoid only. Together, these parts help to charge the battery and run auxiliary power sources like headlights and power plugs.
If your high-quality zero turn mowers work fine, you would hear a clicking sound between the ‘Run’ and ‘Start’ positions. This implies that the starter solenoid is getting power from the battery. On the other hand, when you don’t hear a click from the engine, the starter solenoid has failed, or its coil isn’t getting power from the battery.
Although mowers differ from models, they all work on the same principles.
Check and Charge/Replace Dead Battery
Battery troubles are one of the most common reasons a mower won’t run or click. A corroded battery won’t power an engine, and neither will a drained battery, when you forget to turn off the key.
A service monitor on a mower can help you identify when you’ve got battery troubles. But without one, you can check the battery using a multi-meter by following these steps:
Check the Ignition Switch
The top-rated riding lawn mowers should have good ignition switch measuring 0 ohms. This means its contacts complete the B and S terminal circuit and can send voltage to the solenoid. On the other hand, a damaged ignition switch will measure infinite resistance.
Other common issues you can experience with a damaged ignition switch include loose wiring and connections, corrosion, or spinning ignition. To fix this problem, check the ignition wiring for corroded, damaged, or loose wires
Inspect the Control Module
Depending on your model, a control module could be anywhere, even under the seat. And if you notice that your high-quality electric riding lawn mower won’t start no clicking comes from the device, or cranking doesn’t work, then this module could be faulty.
There are two ways to check the control module yourself:
Check Safety Functions
Every mower even the cheapest riding lawn mower you can find in the market has in-built safety features. Typically, sensors or switches control these features, and they are routed through the control module. Once a detector activates a safety function, your mower won’t work as usual.
The main ones to check are the brake switch, blade switch, weight sensor (to make sure a driver is sitting before the mower works).
When you start the engine, you should press your brake pedal. If the brake pedal doesn’t work, then you need to inspect your brake detector.
If the brake switch is okay, the multi-meter should display 0 ohms of resistance. Replace this switch if you read infinite resistance from your multi-meter.
A riding mower engages when the blade knob is switched off or the transmission isn’t set to park. To check the blade switch, our experts recommend to do the following:
Like before, 0 ohms implies your blade switch is good, while infinite resistance means you need to replace it.
Motion detectors, switches, and sensors have in-built override functions. These functions are generally used for tests, and simply disconnecting a detector can cause an override. If you suspect your sensors are on an override, our team suggests to reconnect them before starting the device.