Riding Lawn Mower Won’t Start, No Clicking — Solutions When Your Riding Mower Does Nothing When You Turn The Key

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Dealing with a non-starting riding mower can be incredibly frustrating. However, if you’re experiencing a situation where the engine doesn’t make any clicking sounds, there may still be hope for a simple fix without having to replace the mower just yet.

I’ve come across numerous instances where a riding mower won’t start or even click. Let me share with you some potential issues and troubleshooting tips to get your riding mower back in action.

How to Fix a Riding Lawn Mower That Won't Start

“Should I call a professional when the riding mower does nothing when I turn the key?” The answer is: not always. You should be able to find out the problem with your tractor or mower yourself. But first, ensure you set the parking brakes. 


Then check if the blade is still disengaged. Your riding mower won’t work otherwise.

Materials You Will Need

How a Riding Lawn Mower is Powered

From my extensive experience with riding mowers, I can tell you that they typically operate on a four-cycle engine, cycling through intake, compression, combustion, and exhaust phases. While many mowers I’ve worked with use gasoline and rely on a spark plug for combustion, there are also those that run on diesel, eliminating the need for a spark plug. Regardless of the fuel type, once that engine gets going, it powers the transmission, drives the wheels, and spins those cutting blades underneath.

Like automobile car, riding mower requires to charge a battery, starter motor, and ignition switch. When you turn the ignition switch to the ‘Start’ position, 12 volt 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

Troy-Bilt 382cc 30-Inch Premium Neighborhood Riding used by a model

When you release the key to the ‘Run’ position, this DC of twelve (12) volts is then redirected. Instead of going to the starter and motor, it moves to the alternator and anti-afterfire solenoid only. Together, these parts help to charge the battery and start 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 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 start an engine, and neither will a drained battery, when you forget to turn off the safety switchCorrosion can be a usual problem for used riding lawn mower models at cheap prices of $500 below, so make sure to check this when you buy one.

Woman ridingmower

I’ve often found that a service monitor can be invaluable in pinpointing battery issues. However, if you don’t have one, don’t fret. I’ve checked batteries countless times using a multi-meter. Just follow these steps:

If the multitester reads more than twelve (12) volts, the battery is good. Otherwise, it is weak, or dead and you’ve found the problem with your mower.

You can recharge relatively new batteries by:
Woman struggling with her faulty_mower

If a simple recharge doesn’t work, you need to replace the battery pack in the mower. Avoid a jump start mower to prevent damages to the on-board system

Check the Ignition Switch

The problem with your mower could be with the switches. When you start the engine and your riding mower does not forward nor reverse, your ignition switch’s contacts complete a circuit. This circuit is from a red to a white wire, which is on the B-terminal and S-terminal, respectively.

I suggest checking the switch by measuring the resistance between these terminals.

Red riding

The top-rated riding 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

A control module is a printed circuit with resistors, relays, and a ground side that receive commands from the safety switches. If the sensors in the motor work correctly, a circuit module will also output a command to the starter through the solenoid. But keep in mind, not every mower I’ve come across is equipped with one.

Hurqvarna electric lawn mower cutting deck

Depending on your model, a control module could be anywhere, even under the seat. And if you notice that your high-quality electric riding mower won’t start and 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:

A good fuse should measure near 0 ohms. On the other hand, a blown fuse will measure infinite resistance.

Check Safety Functions

Every mower even the cheapest riding 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.

Lawn mower with shovel, rake, and working boots

The main ones to check are the brake pedal switch, blade switch, battery connection, weight sensor (to make sure a driver is sitting before the mower works).

When you jump 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 mowers engages when the blade knob is switched off or the transmission isn’t set to park. To check the blade switch, I 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, I suggest reconnecting them before starting the device.

Replace Faulty Solenoid

Follow these steps to change a faulty solenoid:

Troy-Bilt 382cc 30-Inch Premium Neighborhood Riding Lawn Mower used on grass

While you can repair some solenoids, it’s often better to change them for longevity. In this way, you can still have the opportunity to place your riding lawn mower on retail in the long run given that the equipment is properly maintained. 


Why does my riding lawn tractor click but won't start?

Your riding lawn tractor click but won’t start because the trouble could be from your battery, fuse, control module, or mower’s safety features. You’ll often just need to recharge your battery or change the fuse to power your lawn tractor again for mowing season.

How do I know if my mower solenoid is bad?

You will know if your mower solenoid is when you listen to what happens when you turning the key while starting the mower. You should hear one click when the solenoid engages. If it doesn’t make this sound, your bad starter solenoids have an issue and need a repair or replacement.

What do you do when your riding mower won't start?

When your riding mower won’t start, carefully go through the starting procedure. Sometimes, you might have forgotten a step like pressing the parking brake or standing while starting the device. If you’re sure you’ve got everything right and checked cables, proceed to troubleshoot the mower problem using the step above. You’ll save time if you start from a battery and fuse test.


Having dealt with countless mowers, I understand the frustration when your riding mower doesn’t start, there’s no clicking sound, and cranking proves fruitless. But, no matter the model you’re working with, I’ve developed some tried-and-true troubleshooting methods. Trust me, if you follow these tips closely, you’ll have a good shot at getting your mower up and running.

Is mowing your uneven and hilly lawn a challenging and daunting task? Then, getting these topnotch riding mower for hills might be an ideal solution. Read next! 


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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.

2 thoughts on “Riding Lawn Mower Won’t Start, No Clicking — Solutions When Your Riding Mower Does Nothing When You Turn The Key

  1. Thank you, great help but mower still wont start I have eliminated everything had the battery checked 12.7 volts its a deep cycle, changed main fuse even though ok, it will start from the solenoid but not the key, ignition switch good. Might be the circuit board I have a 2006 Supaswift hydro been an excellent ride on until now. Again thank you keep up the good work

  2. It’s good to hear that you’ve already covered a lot of ground in diagnosing the issue with your riding lawn mower. Since the battery, main fuse, and ignition switch are fine, the issue might indeed be with the circuit board. Given the age of your 2006 Supaswift hydro, electronic components can sometimes be problematic.

    If starting from the solenoid works but not from the key, there might be an issue in the electrical signal between the ignition switch and the solenoid.You might want to inspect the wiring between the ignition switch and the solenoid for any visible damage or loose connections. If all looks good, consider consulting a professional or a local repair shop experienced in ride-on mowers for further insights.

    I hope this helps, and I wish you the best in resolving the matter with your trusty Supaswift.

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