2 Common Lawn Mower Ignition Switch Problems (+ How to Fix)

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When you are gardening, you need equipment to upkeep your garden. A lawn mower is a typical machine you have heard about while discussing gardening.

A lawnmower is required to maintain and keep your garden neat. However, a lawn mower is a machine, after all, and there can be technical problems time and again.

However, one problem that could appear persistently with a lawn mower is the ignition switch. As obvious to our knowledge, the purpose of an ignition switch is to turn on the lawn mower’s engine and prepare it for work.

But what if the mower doesn’t start? During such instances, understand the ignition switch has a problem.

Such problems in ignition switches may arise due to bad wiring or a faulty solenoid. Depending on the issue, you’ll have to fix it through various means like wiring the terminals correctly or replacing the ignition coil or switch.

Here let’s learn about some common lawn mower switch problems and possible ways to fix them.

Common Lawn Mower Ignition Switch Problems

Common Lawn Mower Ignition Switch Problems
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Normally, any machine turns on as you switch on the power button. But, if your lawn mower doesn’t start working, the ignition switch must be a problem. Observe these signs to determine whether it is true.

  • The ignition key will stick.
  • The engine wouldn’t turn on.
  • The ignition key doesn’t make easy movements between OFF, RUN, and START.
  • The engine cranks and then turns off.

So, if you observe any such signs, it is certainly a lawn mower switch problem only, and you need to fix it. How? Read below.

Problem 1: Wiring Problem in Ignition Switch

Wiring Problem in Ignition Switch
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Has it ever happened to you that you start your lawn mower, which also works but suddenly comes to a halt? If yes, it’s because of loose wiring. So, enough current doesn’t reach the solenoid, and the lawn mower stops working.

The ignition switch’s ground terminal may probably be loose or disconnected from its suitable spot. However, there’s another possibility too. The kill switch wire may be loose or touch the lawn mower’s body.

You may hear the engine’s cranking sound even if the wiring is loose or disconnected. However, the lawn mower wouldn’t start.

Problem 2: Faulty Ignition Coil/ Solenoid

Faulty Ignition Coil/ Solenoid
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At times, the engine overheats, and the mower may suddenly halt while you mow. If that happened to you, there’s a starter coil problem. You’ll be unable to restart the machine until it cools and returns to normalcy.

Moreover, if the ignition coil has issues, spinning the flywheel will also be a problem.

The ignition coil may fail to work because of other factors like vibration and heat.

You need to ensure the wires or the spark plug are in suitable working condition for the coil to work. Otherwise, the coil will be overworked and decrease the longevity of the lawn mower.

How to Fix Lawn Mower Ignition Switch?

These are the major problems you will encounter with your lawn mower ignition switch. But don’t worry, we have some hacks to fix them.

Fix 1: Connect The Wires Properly

Connect The Wires Properly
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Here’s a guide to fixing your wiring issues.

Step 1: Find The Ignition Switch Parts

You would have a product manufacturer’s instruction manual with the lawn mower. Use the circuit diagram in this manual to find the ignition switch parts.

From this, you’ll understand the connections between different lawn mower components. You’ll be able to find the battery, solenoid, lights, and magneto coil.

Tip: If you have lost or misplaced this instruction manual, it’s easy to find a soft copy online.

Step 2: Connect The Switch to The Ground

The ground terminal of the switch, denoted by the letter “G,” should then be connected to the solenoid’s grounding terminal or the battery’s negative terminal. To make sure the connection is strong, use a multimeter.

Step 3: Connect The Switch to The Solenoid

You’ll find another terminal of the wire marked as ‘S.’ Connect it with the solenoid’s positive terminal. Connecting the wires to terminals makes it easier with the help of alligator clamps or soldering iron.

Step 4: Connect The Magneto to The Switch

Connect the ‘M‘ terminal with the magneto’s open terminal.

Step 5: Time to Connect The Battery

Connect the ‘B‘ terminal to the battery.

Step 6: Connect The Lights/ Accessories

The ignition switch’s ‘L‘ terminal should be connected to lights. In some ignition switches, you’ll see it as a ‘Y‘ terminal.

Step 7: Put The Switch in Place

Once all terminals are connected, use a screwdriver to put the ignition switch in place.

Step 8: The Lawn Mower is Ready For a Test

Now, start the switch and check if your mower is working. If the mower still halts, doesn’t start, or only cranks, the current isn’t reaching the terminals.

Probably, the terminals have corroded. If there’s corrosion, use a wire brush or sandpaper to remove the deposits. You can also use drops of Coca-Cola soda to solve the corrosion problem.

Fix 2: Replace The Ignition Switch

Replace The Ignition Switch
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What would you do if the wiring has no issue but the terminals have worn out? In that case, you’ll have to replace the ignition switch with these steps.

Step 1: Remove The Battery

Pull the ignition key out of the ignition switch while in the “OFF” position. By removing the bolt holding the negative terminal to the battery, you may elevate your mower’s seat and detach it from the battery.

Step 2: Pull Out The Ignition Switch

The locking tabs are behind the ignition switch, which you may get by lifting the hood. Push the switch out while releasing the tabs.

Step 3: Remove The Wire Harness

Take the wire harness and remove it from behind the ignition switch.

Step 4: Install The new Ignition Switch

You can install the new one by reattaching the wiring harness that was previously disconnected from the old switch. Close the hood after reinstalling the switch in the dash and securing it with the locking tabs.

Step 5: Reconnect The Battery

Connect the battery’s negative terminal to the negative cable of the ignition switch.

Fix 3: Replace The Ignition Coil

Replace The Ignition Coil
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But if the ignition coil is only defective, you need to replace it.

Step 1

First, remove the spark plug and make it touch the engine’s block. Now, try to start the engine. Are there any sparks? If not, you must replace the ignition coil.

Step 2

Find the flywheel and the ignition coil after disassembling the land mower. You must remove the faulty ignition coil and detach the kill switch wire.

Step 3

Reconnect the kill switch wire to the new ignition coil and screw it loosely for easy movements. Leave 0.1-0.3 mm between the coil and the flywheel magnets.

Step 4

Check if the lawn mower has started working.

You can test the circuit completion of the lawn mower through a digital multimeter.

Also Read: How To Start A Toro Lawn Mower?

How to Maintain The Ignition Switch?

It is important to maintain the ignition switch as replacing it is expensive.

  • Do not let the terminals corrode. Clean them regularly with a wire brush or sandpaper-like we saw above.
  • Do not forget the annual maintenance of your lawn mower.

How to Prevent lawn Mower Ignition Switch Problems?

Ways to prevent such problems are:

  • Always opt for supreme quality parts like bolts, wirings, switches, and more.
  • Don’t ignore any initial signs of faults in the lawn mower parts. They might end up being more expensive later.
  • Use a digital multimeter to test the ignition switch regularly.

FAQ’s About Lawn Mower Ignition Switch Problems

Q1. Why does the ignition switch fail to work?

Ans. Various causes of ignition switch failure include temperature problems, ignition switches not correctly installed, springs not working, and more.

Q2. How much do you have to pay to replace the ignition switch?

Ans. With the labor cost, you can consider the cost to be around $220 to $ 490.

Q3. Can you do the replacement of the ignition switch without a professional?

Ans. It is always advisable to opt for professionals while dealing with machines. But if you are confident, why not? Ensure to follow the steps correctly.


Now, you know if your lawn mower ignition switch stops working, it may cause your mower to stop working and will affect your gardening. Moreover, dealing with such problems and handling the gardening manually is annoying and frustrating.

As a result, always take care of the switch and frequently check the functionality of every component of the mower. Follow the tips to avoid any hassle and for the smooth operation of your lawn mower.

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