Start A Lawn Mower With A Bad Starter
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How To Start A Lawn Mower With A Bad Starter?


A sunny morning is perfect for lawn maintenance. Correct? Suppose you set up everything to cut the lawn grasses. You put on gloves, gardening clothes and boots.

The mower is out of the shed, and you will start anytime now. But what if the mower denies turning on? You try multiple times, but it does not respond.

Now you might think that the mower starter is faulty. So, what are the solutions? Well, it’s simple. Bypass the starter, and your mower will start working.

Here, we will discuss how to perform this step. Are you interested in learning something new? Read on.

What is a Lawn Mower Starter?


Let’s know what a mower starter is. The information will be helpful when you are dealing with lawn mower starter problems. In simple words, it’s the component that transfers electrical charge to the ignition system. The starter is made of two parts:

Starter solenoid: Draws current from the battery and supplies it to the motor. When you push the start button, electric current travels from the battery to the solenoid via wires.

Starter motor: Sends the current to the engine via its spark plug. The current creates a spark, which produces ignition inside the piston chamber—the combustion process powers on the machine and gears it to move.

Starter solenoid and motor are placed close to each other. So, you can easily understand that both the starter components are connected. Hence, the mower will not turn on if any of them fails.

Symptoms Of A Lawnmower Starter Problem


A mower starts by making a rumbling sound—however, the outcome changes when its starter is faulty. So, you can listen to the noise and understand the problem. Let’s start.

Abnormal clicks: As we discussed earlier, the solenoid transfers electrical current to the starter motor when you press its power button. Then the motor ignites the engine. When both its starters are normal, the mower will make a click sound followed by a whirring noise. If you hear only the clicking sound, then no need to state that the starter motor is at fault.

Whirring but no catch: If the engine is making a whirring sound, but there is no rumbling after that, then you should check its starter motor. The motor cannot catch and move the engine, or its starter switch is faulty.

If the engine stops after working for a moment, then there are chances that its starter motor’s teeth are broken. It can also happen if the motor’s brushes are heavily dirty or end of life.
No sounds even if the battery is fully charged. Check the connections. You should make sure all the points are connected even if the solenoid is not clicking.

How To Start A Lawn Mower with A Bad Starter?


Symptoms of a lawnmower starter problem

We know that your mower is not powering on, no matter how much you press its power button. But, before inspecting or bypassing the starter, you should check other components of the mower. Here are the steps you can follow.

Dirty battery terminals: The first thing to check is the battery terminals. Both positive and negative points should be clean to initiate and maintain a healthy electrical flow. If the terminals are dirty, the charge will not flow, and hence, your mower will not start. So, if you find the points corroded, we recommend that you clean both of them using a wire brush.

Faulty battery: You cannot test a lawn mower starter without an adequate flow of charge. So, charge the battery using a compatible charger. If the cell becomes wet, then it’s leaking. Hence, you need to seal or replace the battery depending upon its leakage level. Put your hand gloves and wear protective shades to be safe from acidic burns.

If you don’t notice any leakage, it’s time to check the battery’s voltage. You can use a multi-meter for measurements. In normal conditions, the cell voltage reading will be 12V, and the voltmeter will show some numbers anywhere between 12.7 to12.9V. Anything below 12.4 is unacceptable, especially if the battery is fully charged. We suggest you replace the cell if the voltmeter displays lower measurements than 12.4V.

Keep in mind that a battery has a charge cycle. So, it might not work after a certain period that could be six months, one year or more than that; depending upon the make and model. If the cell is ancient, then it will not generate enough power to start your mower. So, replace the battery in case it’s too old.

Do you know what the symptom of an end of life battery is? When you push the start button, the engine will not make any cranking sound. Or the sound will be shallow to let you know that the battery is not supplying the required charge to move the engine.

Dirty spark plug: End of life or damaged spark plug is one of the primary reasons you deal with lawn mower starter problems. So, disconnect the spark plug and check for any corrosion or damage due to oil/moisture. Replace this component if it’s not looking good and try to start the mower.

Malfunctioning ignition switch: A non-functioning ignition switch might stop the starting process of your mower. Please turn on the mower by turning its key. Then ensure all the wires are appropriately connected with the ignition switch. Check if there is any sign of corrosion on the rear part of the switch. If you find any defect with this component, replacing it will do the needful, and the engine will start.

Non-functional solenoid: You can find the solenoid between the engine and the battery. Identification is easy because there are four threaded lugs connected with this component. You can also follow the red line associated with the battery. If it’s faulty, you will not hear any sound from the mower.

After locating the solenoid, check all its connections. If any of the screws are loose, then tighten all of them using a wrench or plier. Try to start the engine by turning its key. If the motor is still not starting, then you should test the solenoid.

Connect a jumper wire from the battery lug to the starter motor lug. Start the mower after making this direct connection. If it’s generating a click sound but does not process further, then it’s time to bring a new solenoid and replace the existing one.

Faulty starter motor: Finding a starter motor is easy because it’s attached to the engine’s crankcase. This component pushes the engine’s flywheel so that the mower can start working. So, you should check the starter more after following all the steps mentioned above.

Use a jumper cable and connect the starter motor and the positive terminal of the battery. Fix a screwdriver on the battery’s negative terminal. There should be some spark when the screwdriver comes in connect with the terminal. Don’t be afraid of any electrical shocks because the mower’s cell has mere 12 volts. If there are no sparks, then you might need to replace the starter mower.

Apart from that, you should also check the magnet and brushes. Also, inspect the spring that is connected with the internal wire winding of the starter mower. It might be dirty or burnt. Replace if you find the ring in lousy condition.

Replacing the starter mower is not an easy task, especially for beginners. So, we suggest that you consult a professional if you are new to the mowing world.

How To Bypass The Starter Solenoid?


If the mower is not starting after performing all the troubleshooting mentioned above, you need to start its engine without the solenoid. Fortunately, it’s not very hard to take this component out of the starting process.

Here’s the deal.

As we were talking about earlier, a wire comes from the battery and connect with the solenoid. And another wire will connect the starter motor with the solenoid. You have to place the metallic part of a screwdriver to make a direct connection between these two cables, one coming from the ignition switch/battery and another going towards the started mower.

Then, start the engine. Try it a few times. If the mower makes a whirring noise, then you don’t have to wait any further. Go ahead and start the grass cutting session.

Precautions while Starting a riding lawn mower with a bad starter

  • Read the instructions manual to make your work simple and easy.
  • Safety is the primary factor. So, wear all the protective gears, including hand gloves and protective shades.
  • Take extra care while using the screwdriver and multi-meter.
  • Make sure there are no kids or pets around when you are busy with lawn mower starter repair.

Final Talk


If the mower starter is faulty, you can replace it yourself or by consulting an expert. But, you can try the points we discussed today and see whether you can fix the mower.

In other words, do not feel irritated if you are experiencing lawn mower starter problems. Try the solutions we suggested, and you might power on the mower even if its starter is bad.

Last Updated on May 17, 2021

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