How To Test a Riding Lawn Mower Starter? Step-by-Step Guide

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The basic need to start a riding lawn mower is the starter batteries. And the procedure is initiated when you turn the lawnmower key.

A lawnmower engine requires a solenoid for ignition. The electrical connector is analogous to the starter solenoid. An electromagnetic switch connects a starter with an ignition.

The solenoid activates the starting system, which starts the engine. However, the motor will not turn if the magnet rotates incorrectly. Since a damaged starter would behave similarly, it is wise to test the solenoid before replacing it.

Therefore, you should exercise extreme caution before attempting to learn how to test a lawn mower starter on your own because testing can be dangerous. The positive battery wire must be followed to locate the solenoid.

How Can You Know When a Lawn Mower Starter is Ready For Testing?

How Can You Know When a Lawn Mower Starter is Ready For Testing?
Image Source: youtube/Kevin Bolin

When your lawnmower starts generating cranking noises instead of engine turnover, you will know if it is operating correctly or not. Or you may hear a clicking sound when you start the engine.

Additionally, suppose the mower won’t start after several attempts. In that case, you might need to test it to see whether the starter is the cause of the issue or not.

Also Read:- How to Start a Lawn Mower with a Bad Starter?

How Should a Riding Lawn Mower be Tested?

How Should a Riding Lawn Mower be Tested
Image Source: bereadylexington

An electric lawnmower’s starter assembly comprises the starter pulley, recoil spring, and starter rope. The engine starts faster with each draw because of its capacity to initiate combustion manually. You should look at the lawnmower starting mechanism if the engine doesn’t start after multiple attempts.

Tool Requirements

  • Screwdriver
  • Wrench

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1:  Bring the mower to the ground surface or floor. Switch off the power connection. By pressing them against the metal ground point of the cylinder, you can detach the rubber plug from the spark plug and wire.

Step 2: Using the screwdriver and wrench, you can loosen the rope guide near the mower’s motor or at the handle.

Step 3: Holding the starter by the cap will allow you to check to see if it rolls and unwinds smoothly. Find out if it bumps into the recoil spring or is too tight or loose against the pulley.

Step 4: If the starter rope appears frayed, greasy, or damaged, cut it off and remove it from the pulley. After unscrewing the pulley, slide off the post, the bolt, washer, and pulley. If the recoil spring is still attached, flip the cap over and use the screwdriver’s tip to pry it out.

Step 5: Make sure the spring is intact and the hooks are not bent by inspecting the spring within the cartridge. If the spring is broken, replace it. If the pulley is broken or fractured, replace it.’

After all broken components have been replaced, reassemble the parts in reverse order.

How Do You Bench Test a Lawn Mower Starter?

How Do You Bench Test a Lawn Mower Starter
Image Source: youtube/springy 2112

Bench testing a lawn mower starter requires certain important steps and a few basic tools. So before you start with it, keep it all handy to avoid any delay.

Tool Requirements

  • An insulated screwdriver
  • A wrench
  • A digital voltage meter
  • A pair of safety glasses

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Use an insulated screwdriver to fill the space between the solenoid valve’s two significant posts. If the starter doesn’t turn over, the solenoid, starter, ignition switch, or battery is malfunctioning. Consider jump-starting your battery if it is dead.

Step 2: You must cut the cable free from the tiny station using a wrench. We recommend you decide on 20 volts as the power level for the D/C voltage meter.

Connect the wire and the negative wire to the positive cable. If the voltmeter reads less than 12 volts, there is a high possibility of damage to the solenoid, switch, or ground wire.

Step 3: Put the wire back together with a wrench. Cut the positive wire that leads from the voltage meter to the large positive terminal on the solenoid.

To connect the voltmeter’s negative terminal to the ground, clip it. If the meter voltage falls below 12 volts, it is an indication that the solenoid is broken.

Note: Make sure that you wear your hand gloves and safety glasses during this work.

How Do I Replace a Solenoid in a Lawn Mower?

How Do I Replace a Solenoid in a Lawn Mower?
Image Source: Youtube/Gordon Robertson DIY

Now that you are done with the testing, you came to know that the broken solenoid was the root of the problem you were having with your lawn mower. Now, what to?

Nothing much actually, follow our instructions given below and you will get through this problem quite easily. Let’s get started:

Step 1: Choose the right replacement solenoid component for your particular lawnmower. You must have your mower’s model number on hand.

Step 2: Open the lawnmower engine’s hood or cover to detect the battery. Two wires, one red for “positive” and one black for “negative,” will be attached to each of its ends.

Make the red wire loose and disconnect with a socket wrench to prevent shock. After that, remove the black wire using the same method.

Step 3: Find out the solenoid sitting between the starter and battery of the lawn mower. One side of the electromagnet is connected to the red battery wire’s opposite end, which juts back.

The bolt the wire attaches to can be turned counterclockwise using a socket wrench. Like before, use your socket wrench to remove the other wire from the solenoid valve’s opposite side.

Step 4: Using a tool knife to pry under the wire harness and lift the caliper, remove a broad wire harness from the magnetic coil. To completely remove the harness, raise the tinier wires that make it up.

Step 5: Remove the solenoid’s four mounting bolts from the machine frame by applying your socket wrench.

Step 6:  Install the new solenoid in the lawnmower. Reattach the two main wires to the bolts on either side of the solenoid valve using the same socket wrench.

Step 7: Reverse the wiring harness’s route over the solenoid and ensure it makes electrical contact with the solenoid valve’s electrical contacts.

Step 8: Close the engine cover after connecting the battery’s red and black connections. And, just like that, you have successfully fixed the problem of the broken solenoid.

Our Recommendations For Riding Lawn Mower Starter

Let’s say you need to inspect a riding lawnmower’s starter but don’t have access to an insulated screwdriver. In that case, you must use a conventional screwdriver while wearing heavy rubber gloves.

We will recommend you purchase Gorilla Grip Work Gloves. You will get five pairs of all-purpose slip-resistant gloves that come in the product.

FAQ’s For Riding Lawn Mower Starter

How do you bypass an ignition switch without the key?

Access the ignition lock cylinder with your screwdriver. As much as you can, rotate it in a clockwise motion. Then, yank the paperclip as far to the right as you can. The switch should then be simple to slide out after that.

How many safety switches are on a riding mower?

Contemporary lawn tractors are protected from overrunning and operating without an operator by three switches.
A riderless, runaway tractor that is mowing furiously as it speeds across the countryside is something that the first two guards against, while the third manages to cut blades or other accessories.

What might possibly prevent a riding lawn mower from turning over?

There are multiple causes of a riding lawn mower not starting, including old fuel to ignition switch issues. A defective battery or a failing alternator could be the source of the issue if you need to charge the battery all the time.

How can a starter solenoid be bypassed?

In bypass starting, you apply a wrench or a screwdriver to the tractor’s solenoid, the starter motor’s terminals, or the solenoids of other pieces of machinery.
With this, all tractor-neutral starting switches are bypassed. As the circuit is finished, the starter engages, the engine fires up, sparks fly and electricity snaps.


Testing the starter is crucial when your lawnmower is having problems starting. It will tell you the exact situation of your starter, whether it is good or bad. You get help identifying situations in which the starter is not the issue and those in which you have a defective solenoid.

You wouldn’t rush to replace your starter when it is not a problem if you followed our guidelines on testing a lawnmower starter.

Test and inspect your starter, solenoid, ignition switch, battery, and any connections to determine the problem. Moreover, the procedure is so simple that you can do it yourself only if you follow our guide step-by-step and the safety measures profoundly. A screwdriver, a wrench, and a multimeter are the only tools you will need.

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