Riding Lawn Mower Doesn’t Crank or Click

Riding Lawn Mower Doesn’t Crank or Click


Hi, Wayne here with Sears PartsDirect. Today we’re going to troubleshoot a riding
lawn mower that doesn’t do anything when you turn the key to start the engine—not even
click. Before you do anything, make sure the parking
brake is set and the blades are disengaged. The riding mower won’t start otherwise. You’d be surprised how many people forget
those steps and think something is wrong with their mower. What’s the significance of the click when
you turn the key? When you hear the click, you know the starter
solenoid coil is getting power from the battery through the ignition switch. If you don’t hear that click, either the starter
solenoid has failed or the starter solenoid coil isn’t getting power. We’ll show you how to pinpoint the cause by
checking the riding mower’s battery, solenoid posts and coil, fuse, ignition switch, brake
switch and blade switch. We’ll use this Craftsman riding mower for
our troubleshooting. This type of mower is common, but the wiring
and components in yours might be different. Refer to the wiring diagram for your model
if you notice differences. To understand how we track down the problem,
it helps to know how the starting system works. The positive, red battery cable connects to
one of the two large terminal posts on the starter solenoid. The black wire connected to the other large
terminal on the starter solenoid carries power to the starter motor to start the engine. A small red wire branches off the red solenoid
terminal post to carry power through the ignition switch to the coil at the bottom of the starter
solenoid. When you turn the key to the start position,
the ignition switch sends power through the white wire and energizes the coil inside the
solenoid. The coil closes an internal contact to send
power from the red battery cable to the black wire, which powers the starter motor to spin
the engine. So what can go wrong with the starting system? Well, a dead battery won’t power up the starter
system and could prevent the solenoid coil from clicking. To check the battery, we’ll use a multimeter
to measure the DC voltage across the battery terminals. Put on work gloves and safety goggles. Turn off the ignition. Access the battery—in this type of riding
lawn mower, you lift the seat to get to the battery. With the multimeter set to measure DC voltage,
touch the red multimeter probe to the positive or red battery terminal and the black meter
probe to the negative or black battery terminal. If the battery is good, it measures more than
12 volts DC. If it measures less than 12 volts, the battery
is weak or dead and you’ve likely found the problem. A weak or dead battery won’t power the starter
solenoid coil. Try recharging the battery using a charger. Or in a pinch, you can use jumper cables to
jump-start a riding mower model that uses a 12-volt battery. If the battery won’t recharge, replace it. If the battery is okay, that means power is
getting to the red battery cable. But is voltage getting through the red battery
cable to the red terminal post? To check that, let’s measure voltage at
the red terminal post. With the multimeter set to measure DC voltage,
touch the red meter probe to the red post on the starter solenoid and the black meter
probe to the negative terminal on the battery. It should measure more than 12 volts. A word of warning here. Don’t let the meter lead touch both of the
solenoid posts at the same time or you’ll see a severe spark. Shorting across the solenoid posts sends the
current to the starter motor. Some of you may be tempted to short across
the terminal posts intentionally using an insulated screwdriver to start the engine. But we strongly discourage this approach because
this dangerous practice overrides safety switches. If the battery measures less than 12 volts,
check the battery terminals and cable leads for corrosion. Clean corrosion off the battery terminals
and battery cable leads with a wire brush. Corrosion can prevent the red solenoid post
from getting power. Recheck the voltage. If it still doesn’t measure more than 12
volts at the red post, replace the red battery cable. So, let’s get back to troubleshooting the
starting system. Now that we know the red terminal is getting
power, the next step is to find out whether the solenoid coil gets power when you turn
the key. If you measure voltage at the coil but the
internal contact doesn’t click, the starter solenoid is to blame. The solenoid clicks when it sends power to
the starter motor. To check voltage on the solenoid coil wires,
you need clip-on meter probes to hold the probes on the wires as you turn the ignition
key, unless you have a helper to turn the key while you hold the probes on the wires. Pull the white and black wires off the spades
of the solenoid. Set the multimeter to measure DC voltage. Clip the red meter probe to the white wire
female spade connector and the black meter probe to the black wire female spade connector. Turn the ignition key to the start position,
note the voltage reading on the meter display and then turn the ignition key off. If the multimeter measures battery voltage—it
will be more than 12 volts—replace the starter solenoid because the coil is getting power
but not closing the internal contact to send power to the starter motor. (If it measures 0 volts, there’s a break
in the circuit to the solenoid coil. The starter solenoid is likely okay, it’s
just not getting power. Time to test the coil circuit. We’ll check the ground side of the circuit
first. The black wire attaches to the solenoid coil
and connects to the metal frame of the mower as a ground. A break in that wire keeps the coil from getting
power. To check the ground wire, we check for resistance
between the female spade on the black wire and the metal frame of the mower. Disconnect the negative battery cable and
then the positive battery cable to completely kill power to the mower before checking resistance. Tuck the cables away from the battery to keep
them from touching the posts and accidently restoring power. Set the multimeter to measure resistance and
touch one meter probe to the black wire female spade and the other meter probe to bare metal
on the mower frame to ground it—I’m using the mower deck height lever. A reading near 0 ohms of resistance means
the black wire is grounded. A reading of infinite resistance means you
must find and repair the break in the black ground wiring. Once you restore a good path to ground on
the black wire, you should be able to start the engine. If the ground side of the circuit is okay,
we’ll check the hot side of the circuit that begins with the small red wire on the starter
solenoid terminal and ends at the white wire that connects to the coil spade. The circuit includes a fuse, the ignition
switch, brake switch and blade switch. First, we’ll check for a blown fuse because
you can usually see a blown fuse just by looking at it. The fuse in this mower is right here next
to the starter solenoid, but we need to pull out the battery and battery box to access
the fuse. Move the zip tie over and pull the fuse from
the holder. If you find the fuse element broken like this,
replace the fuse because it’s definitely blown. If you’re unsure whether the fuse is blown,
check for continuity through the fuse with your multimeter. Place one meter probe on each of the fuse
leads to measure resistance through the fuse. You should measure near 0 ohms of resistance
through the fuse. If you measure infinite resistance, replace
the fuse because it’s blown. Keep in mind that the fuse blew because of
a short in a component or wiring. Follow the steps in this video to determine
the cause of a blown fuse and fix the problem so the fuse doesn’t blow again soon after
you replace it. If the fuse is okay, reinstall it in the holder
and secure it with the zip tie. Next, we’ll check continuity through the red
wire from the starter solenoid post to the ignition switch. Open the mower hood. Pull the wire harness off the ignition switch. Release the locking tabs on the ignition switch
and push it out of the dash. Push the wire harness plug through the hole
so you can easily access the contacts for testing. With the multimeter set to measure resistance,
place one meter probe on the starter solenoid post with the red wire and the other meter
probe on the female plug spade with the red wire attached. You should measure near 0 ohms of resistance
through this section of wiring. If you measure infinite resistance, find and
repair the break in the red wire. If this section of wiring is okay, we’ll test
the ignition switch next. When you turn the key to start the engine,
internal ignition switch contacts should complete a circuit from the red wire on the B terminal
to the white wire on the S terminal. To test the ignition switch, we’ll measure
the resistance between terminals B and S with the key turned to the start position. With the multimeter set to measure resistance,
touch one meter probe to the B prong on the back of the ignition switch and the other
meter probe to the S prong. Turn the key to start the engine and check
the resistance in your meter display. You should measure near 0 ohms of resistance. If you measure infinite resistance, then replace
the ignition switch because it isn’t closing the contact B to S to send voltage to the
solenoid coil. If the ignition switch is okay, then we’ve
isolated the circuit break to the section of white wire that includes the brake switch
and blade switch. We’ll check the brake switch first. To give you a better view, we’ve removed
the hood. To access the brake switch, remove the air
duct mounting screws and pull off the air duct. Carefully move the fuel tank out of the way. Drain some fuel from the tank if it’s too
heavy to lift. Next, remove the lower right dash fastener
and pull off the lower dash. Now you can get to the brake switch for testing. Note the prongs that the white wires connect
to because those are the prongs that we’ll check resistance through to determine whether
the brake switch is okay. Pull the wire harness off the brake switch. With your multimeter set to check resistance,
touch one meter probe to one prong and the other meter probe to the other prong that
connects to the white wires. You should measure near 0 ohms of resistance
if the brake switch is okay. If you measure infinite resistance, replace
the brake switch because it’s broken. If the brake switch is okay, we’ll check
the blade switch. Remove the clutch lever assembly mounting
screws and pull the assembly down slightly to access the blade switch. Note the prongs that the white wires connect
to and then disconnect the wire harness from the blade switch. With your multimeter set to check resistance,
touch the meter probes to the prongs that the white wire connected to. The multimeter should show near 0 ohms of
resistance if the blade switch is okay. If it measures infinite resistance, replace
the blade switch because it’s broken. If the blade switch is okay, then there’s
a break in the white wire between the ignition switch and the solenoid coil that’s preventing
the coil from getting power. Find and repair the wiring break. Now that you’ve gotten through all of our
troubleshooting tips, you should be able to start your mower. Now you can get to the real work of mowing
your lawn! I hope this video helps you out today. You can find links to the parts we talked
about in the video description below. Check out our other videos here on the Sears
PartsDirect YouTube channel. Subscribe and we’ll let you know when we
post new ones.

100 thoughts on “Riding Lawn Mower Doesn’t Crank or Click

  1. I have a 2015 T3200 Craftsman riding mower. Ran great last fall. stored in the garage for winter, pull it out today and added fresh gas to about 1/4 that was already in it. Mower will turn over but not firing or trying to start.. I took the fairly new plugs out and cleaned them up with a little sand paper on both ends of the plug, it still will not fire. Any ideas what I could check for to help diagnose the problem. Thank you ahead of time for any advice you can give me. Ric

  2. Great job! This was by far the best video explaining in detail how to check your lawn tractor if not starting. Bravo!!!

  3. Everything checked out fine after going through this video multiple times. I finally found my issue was that the blade lever wasn't fully pushing down on the blade switch.

  4. Good video. But before you do all of that make sure all connectors are securely connected. My lawn mower was not starting because there was no click sound, i checked and found out the spark plug connector was barely connected, and the ignition switch connection was lose, once i connected them it mower started and sounded much better.

  5. I have riding mower and will click or make a sound i have replaced the solenoid switch i have replaced the key switch an the safety blade switch,what else could it be.HELP

  6. kind of helpful but i've tested everything and i'm still thinking my problem is either the Solenoid or the blades on mine are locked up and not allowing the PTO to properly engage the deck I have almost the same tractor only mine is the 24 HP briggs with the 54" cut the GT not the LT. My model is still being sold but my tractor is 3 years old now

  7. I have replaced the batter and the solenoid and the blade safety switch and still will not make a sound no click are any thing check the fuse ,replaced the key switch.Help

  8. so i checked the batter red wire going the solenoid switch for batter so i that power is going to the solenoid switch still nothing no click are anything,should the blade safety switch be push in when you trying to start the mower because mys is up and not down when the blade are not engaged this a Bolens riding mower.

  9. This video was tremendously helpful. It is much more thorough than the others I watched. I worked through almost all the steps before finding the white wire that a local rodent had chewed through. Thanks, Sears! I would be going through many hassles and my lawn would look terrible if not for your video.

  10. Great Video, just laughing though because I don't even use gloves on my filthy old engines. Thanks for the video though

  11. I have a Lowe's pony 17 hp and its 4 years old and my husband spilled a little gas filling it up the other day. Hour later I got in and tried to start and it didn't do nothing and I kept turning and it made a few clicks and started and ran fine. I turned it off and on a few times while having to move stuff with no problems. So a week later I get on and turn the key and it makes a high pitch noise and I kept the key turned, stopped and turned it again and waited and it cranked a few times and started right up. I turned it off and on during the day and checked and battery is full and checked bolts. But I lifted off the hood and the mice have been in there as there is some grass clippings? But I'm wondering why its hard to start but once its running its fine?

  12. Hi sir,
    I have Murray model 465306×8. Mine no click or sound when turn the key. I have replaced solenoid and ignitions key still no click or sound. I have tried to jump from battery straight to the starter and it starts motor turn. I am not sure what else to look for please can you help. Battery is good @ 12.49 volt. This riding mower used to starts without problems I can get off and get back on many time and it still start. But something happened when I got off the seat and tried to start it then it won’t click or sound at all.

  13. Question for you sir… when I measure the voltage at the 2 wire spade terminals that come off the solenoid, I have 8.86 volts dc. The battery is 12.20 volts dc. Where is the problem?

  14. Very helpful. I was going through all of the checklists and then I heard him say, "If the blades are engaged it will not start. I went out and the mower and sure enough I had left the blades engaged. I put them in the off position and the mower started right up. I knew it would not start with the blades engaged but I just forgot to turn the blades off the last time I turned the mower off. Thanks again!

  15. My lawn mower tractor does not click at all I changed the solenoid and the ignition switch but it still does not turn on what can I do

  16. great video,on my bush hog,it was the black wire that connects to each coil,you could not have them hooked together anymore,had to be seperate kill wires or they would not fire if both hooked up and to make my starter turn the motor,i had to splice into the thick white start wire going into the middle relay and run that to the starter side of the solinoid,note,all of this cause my key switch fell apart and i was poking around with the plug trying to get it going and i fried some wires no doubt in the harness

  17. Does the same concept applies to Push Mower? I have one with used key and it won't even click. The battery measures 8V when tested,

  18. It is hard for me to follow but seems a good video. I have Sears Lawn Tractor YT3000, few days it was working until I attached the two trash contains to the back of lawn tractor. I start ignition, there is one click sound but it won't start the engine.
    I check the motor oil, it was very low, I put SAE30 oil but it does not help. Battery is only few months old, I recharged the battery, same problem again. One think I have not done is to check the spare plug. I also check make sure the steel rope is all the way in (out is for pushing the lawn tractor manually).

    Does anyone has thought for one click sound when I turn on the ignition key?

  19. Clicking and won’t start. I did all of the steps and everything seemed good. Battery is fairly new and reads 12.85 v and I even had it checked out, reads 100% volts and CCA. I got it down to the starter motor. I then bypassed the electrical system and checked to see if the starter would turn. It turned for less than a second, then it stopped. I removed it for the tractor and tested it again. It spins. I checked to see if the engine is locked up and I could move the fly wheel with my hand, very easily. It has been dragging for a few years before it finally turns over. Could that starter motor still be bad? I have replaced the ignition switch and the starter solenoid. This is very aggravating.

  20. Also, check to make sure that both of the wires that connect the fuse, hasn't wiggled loose.
    That is what was wrong with mine. It is a very easy fix, and could save you hours of headaches. You won't hear a click when you turn the key. I found the problem when I checked the fuse.

  21. Thanks for the fantastic video! I'm trying to trouble shoot my ride on mower. Battery reading over 12V the solenoid the same over 12V, I push the start button and it clicks and then makes a high pitch noise. Any ideas? many thanks.

  22. I have a Dixon 5502 1997 that runs and cuts great.
    My issue is it will only start with the PTO engaged.
    What is going on?
    Anyone know??? Start it up and turn PTO off and works great. Blades work when starting… not good.
    HEEELLLP PLEASE

  23. Dunno if you'll reply by tomorrow, but I've got a mower that's been sitting for a while now outdoors, covered by a wheelbarrow, and it won't start. I had the battery indoors on a cloth with low humidity, and when put on a trickle charger, it read full charge. There is a spark between the posts, and as I was connecting the battery (after tracing positive and negative on the mower) I turned the key and got a split second of starter turnover.

    After lubricating the wire bolts to get them to tighten easier, I tried to start it again, only to get no click or crank. Checked the main fuses, wiggled all wires, and wd-40'd the key switch, fuse 'box' and relay to try helping and still nothing. I gave up for now, but will put this video to the test tomorrow to see if I can self diagnose it.

    Mower is a Toro Wheel Horse 600 series from the 90's.

  24. I was surprised that I had left the mower deck electric knob in the engaged position and the engine wouldn't crank because of this. I even ordered a new switch without seeing that it was engaged. Wasn't paying attention.

  25. If i check the ground wire (connected to the solenoid, which my ground wire is green) and get no reading at all (infinite resistance or whatever) what do i do? Cut the green wire and ground it?

  26. i have gone through the troubleshooting thing and i still cant get my mower to start on its own. new battery but have to use charger starter to start motor. now i am having this loud "click" when i turn the key and mower wont start? can you heolp me. thanks beau

  27. So what my tractor does it clicks but when I jump it it’s start prefect then if I turn off the mower and try to start it again it just clicks I have to put cables on

  28. This wireing bullshit is too complacated no more fule selanoids no more safetys just make it bare bone menimum i dont need my fucking mower connected to WiFi so NASA can tell me how good my lawn looks

  29. Forget all those dweebs with their fancy (eck…music?)and ponytail boys. THIS GUY IS THE REAL DEAL! Many thanks!

  30. Dang I’m on my way to buy a used mower with electrical problems but watching this makes me not want it anymore😆

  31. Thank you for posting this. My mower did nothing when I took it out of winter storage – no click, no headlamps, no instrument panel lights – so I replaced the 11-year-old battery. No luck. This video saved me the hassle of pushing the mower onto a trailer and to the shop for an hour pensive repair bill. You saved me something more precious than money; you saved me TIME.

  32. GREAT video on troubleshooting small engine electrical! I'm very mechanically inclined and can repair or replace just about any part. But electrical just stumps me. This video was extremely explanatory and made my repairs very easy to track! Thank you

  33. Outstanding video! Love how you throw in the schematics for the system too! I can’t thank you enough for the money and time you saved me.

  34. Very good video for troubleshooting electrical problems. Mower started with jump, but would not start on its own. First thought was its the solenoid. My battery was only 10 volts, not enough to power solenoid . Replaced battery with new, started right up. Thanks much for this info.

  35. My ignition switch gives me 4v instead of the 12v from the battery. I've followed all the steps and found the break switch to be faulty. Haven't replaced it yet we will see what happens.

  36. This is very helpful at eliminating problems, but I am still stuck. My solenoid only has one female spade that comes off it, and it's red. I assume since there isn't a problem with my red battery cable, and and since my battery is brand new and still testing out with plenty of voltage, and I am getting power from the battery cable to the solenoid, that there must be a bad ground. I just don't know how to test to find it. When I turn the ignition, I'm still getting a click, but the starter isn't engaging.

  37. Just helped me fix my machine. I did not know about the fuse. Checked it out and there was the problem.

  38. Fantastic video. I have a Craftsman LT1000 and never had electrical problems. Working on a friend's Husky mover that won't start. Very informative video. Thanks.

  39. I have a LT 1000 got it through family . Just put a new batt it .. nothing no click like you said . I don’t have a multi meter not sure in how to use that tool . My lt is green 18 hp intek how do I check to see if the mower deck is in gauged? The markings are not read able

  40. On testing the ignition I get 0.2 . Does that mean it’s no good ? From ignition harness (red wire) to solenoid I get the same 0.2 With the plug to ignition switch turn key 🔑 nothing no clicks at the solenoid .now on checking the brake switch OL on the meter meaning no good . It’s the 1st time I have used a meter . Sears was out of that meter your using so I had to get pro series multi meter.

  41. Mower died while mowing (ran out of gas)… battery was bad and kept having to charge it so I bought a new battery. Wouldn’t click or start up. PTO was engaged haha thanks for the reminder

  42. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! After many of hours of poking around this video pointed me to the fuse that was in fact blown. Saved me lots more time and $$ in having a pro take a look at it.

  43. Jackasses couldn't put the fuse in a more convenient place, no, you got to disconnect the battery and take the housing out, way to go

  44. Excellent troubleshooting for a number of riding garden tractors like Craftsmen's and John Deere , thank you!

  45. I liked the video very much, but it didn't help solve my problem. For those mowers that shut off when you are not in the seat, please add to check the wire coming from the seat. After all my checking I noticed mine was disconnected. Problem solved for mower that just quit while in use, and wouldn't crank at all. Again, great video!

  46. yes, excellent and informative troubleshooting video. Just leads me to my erk on these mowers…. why bury the switches? At least provide an easier means to test the switches??

  47. Well I managed to trace the fault in my lawn tractor and fix it. Thank you, I wouldn't have known where to start without your informative video. Thumbs up from me.

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