How to Fix Riding Lawn Mower Won’t Start, No Clicking

Riding Lawn Mower Won't Start

We all know that riding lawn mowers are a lot of work. When you have to start your machine, it's not uncommon for it to take a few tries before the engine finally catches and starts up! If you're having problems starting your riding lawn mower with no clicking noise, then there may be an issue with the starter or battery. This blog post will go through some quick tips on what you can do if this is happening to you!

Now, if you push the starter button and you don't hear anything let alone a clicking noise when trying to start your lawn mower, then there may be an issue with the battery.  If this is happening to you then it's recommended that you check all of the following:

A few things you can do to check your battery is the issue are:

  • Make sure that your connections are tight, including positive and negative ones.

If you have a voltmeter or multimeter then it's recommended to check voltage on both sides of your connection points with the key off, if it's 12.0 volts or more then the battery is good.

  • Make sure your battery terminals are clean and that there is no corrosion on them.

If you've checked all of these things and your riding lawn mower still won't start, then it may be time to replace the battery. Batteries usually last around  three  to  five  years  depending on how much use it gets.

If the battery is old, then you should consider replacing it with a new one or having a professional replace it for you if you're not comfortable doing so yourself!

But if the battery isn’t the problem, what can you check and fix to get your riding lawn mower going?

Let explores the most common faults and fixes.

  • Wiring and Connections

Like any internal combustion engine, the starter motor needs a good connection to the battery. Inspect all connections on the starter motor, solenoid, ignition switch, and battery. Clean off any corrosion using a wire brush and make sure the connections are tight.

Don’t forget to check the grounding points as well. These are just as important as the connection to the battery. Put a small amount of grease on all connections or use liquid electrical tape. This will help to prevent corrosion in the future.

  • Check All Safety Switches  

If you have a safety switch, make sure it is working correctly.  Some riding mowers have the key in the ignition and others use a blade style starter button on either side of the handle bar.  The safety switches are located inside the engine compartment or under your seat depending if there are handles to pull up or down.  

There are a few things you can do to test the safety switches.  With the key off, try moving the levers, handles, or buttons and see if they make contact. If they don’t then there is likely an issue with the switch.  Another way to check is by using a multimeter.  

If the key is in, and you start checking switches then make sure not to turn on the engine.  You can always check for voltage with the multimeter but don’t use it as a tester.  This will cause an electrical current which could damage your mower or worse electrocute yourself!  

If you need to replace a safety switch, then you can find them in our online store or your local hardware store.  We recommend replacing the combination of switches at once so that everything is working properly and safe.  The most common problem with these switches are when they get stuck inside the handle bar. They will eventually wear out and stop working all together.

  • Bad Starter Solenoid

If your riding lawn mower won’t start, then it may be bad solenoid.  This is a metal cylinder that sits on the frame of your mower and mounts to the starter motor.  You can test this by using a multimeter or just trying to turn over the engine with it unplugged.  

If you have a multimeter, set it to measure ohms and put one lead on the end of your solenoid wire where it connects to the starter motor. The other probe will connect directly with no connection at all (ground).  You should get some resistance here somewhere between 0-15 ohms.  If you get a reading of infinity or nothing, then the solenoid is bad and will need to be replaced.  

Many riding lawn mowers use this style starter motor but usually have an engine driven pulley on it that connects directly to your flywheel.  You may also see these called electric starters. If you have a bad solenoid, you can find replacement starters at our online store or your local hardware store.  

  • Starter Motor Mounting Bolts Loose

Another common problem that could be causing your riding lawn mower not to start is when the starter motor mounting bolts are loose.  This can cause the starter motor to move around and not make proper contact with the flywheel.  You can check this by tightening the bolts or just replacing them if they are too loose.

The starter bolts usually have a lock washer on them which will help keep them from loosening over time.  If you have a broken lock washer, then replace it with another one or just use some high strength thread locker. Another option is to install the starter motor on top of the flywheel instead of bolting directly down through it. This will help prevent any movement caused by small vibrations and bumps in your lawn.

  • Starter Motor Brushes Worn Out

The starter motor brushes are what make contact with the flywheel and start your engine. If they are worn out, this can cause your riding lawn mower not to start. You can test for this by taking off the cover of the starter motor and looking at the brushes.  

If they are worn out, then you need to replace them with new ones or by using a dremel tool for smaller motors like on your push mowers. You can get replacement brushes online but if you don’t want to wait, check your local hardware store.  

If none of these tips work and your lawn mower still won't start then it's probably time to replace the starter. If you're interested in replacing a lawn mower starter, then it's recommended that you check out our website at: Lawn Mower Parts Store

  • Leaky Capacitor

Another problem that you may have with your riding lawn mower not starting is a bad capacitor. This is usually found in the engine compartment and has wires leading to it from the starter motor. It looks like an old style computer chip or small battery case but much larger.  

When the capacitor is bad, it will need to be replaced right away. This part can get hot and cause a fire if not working properly so don’t take any chances with this one!  

If you have an older riding lawn mower without electronic ignition, then your starter could also be going bad.  

When you turn the key, it should make a clicking sound and then nothing happens.  If that is happening then your starter may be bad or just needs to be cleaned out with some contact cleaner spray like dielectric grease or Deoxit D-30. Once this has been done, try turning over the engine and see if it starts.

Related Questions

What if I do hear a clicking noise?

In almost all cases, that means that the battery is drained. Recharge it, and the mower should start with no further interruptions.

What if my mower starts and then dies immediately?

In that instance, there can be multiple problems, from a dirty carburetor to a faulty spark plug. You will have to inspect these components to see if they are causing the issue.

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