Why My Riding Lawn Mower Won’t Start

Help! My riding lawn mower won’t start. You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve heard this. To be honest, I know why the riding lawn mower won’t start if the machine belongs to me, but if the mower is someone else’s problem then it is harder to determine the issue. There are a plethora of things that could cause a cranking issue with a mower. You want to get the machine running as soon as possible so the best thing to do is pinpoint the most likely issues.

Out of Fuel?

I hate to go Billy Bob Thornton in “Sling Blade”, but the thing may simply be out of gas. That is an easy thing to check and yes you may think yourself a fool if it really is just out of fuel. But even so, that is an easy fix! If that is not the cranking problem you have to move on to the next item on the check list.

What About the Spark Plug?


Always check the spark plug to make sure the connection is good. if the plug wire is in good shape and is connecting in the proper manner with the actual spark plug then that is not the problem. If the wire is fraid or it’s not securely touching the plug then make the needed adjustment. Also be sure to unscrew the spark plug to see if it is burnt out. An old dirty spark plug won’t produce enough spark to ignite the engine. A burnt end of the plug that is inside the engine is a good indicator that it is time to replace it. That is a small cost to fix. About $2 will get you going again. Be sure and set the gap on the new plug to the proper setting. See the owners manual for more info on your particular machine.

Check the Safety Switches

Safety switches are a big key to why your riding lawn mower won’t start often times. I’ve noticed the blades engaged a few times after being puzzled as to why won’t my lawn mower start. Engaging the blades is a safety hazard as you are cranking a mower. It is also hard on the engine to do such an operation.

Having a lawn tractor in gear is a safety no-no while trying to crank a lawn mower. Generally this will cause a tractor to not crank to keep you from starting off in a forward movement before you are ready.

Take a Seat, Literally…..

Not being fully seated on the riding mower seat or not grasping the handle on a push mower will also trip a safety device to keep a mower from cranking. This safety measure is meant to protect the user from injury from falling off the mower or falling down while using a push mower. Obviously falling is very dangerous while using a machine with whirling blades that are sharp as knives. It is common for operators to try and disengage these safety switches, but it is also foolish to do so. They may cause irritation at some points during use. But overall they are a beneficial part of a lawn mower. Better safe than sorry I always say.

Last Chance, a Dirty Carburetor


Last but not least on the list of mower cranking issues is a dirty carburetor. Carbon can build up in the carburetor and choke the engine down. It can’t “breathe” properly so the engine can’t turn over enough to start up. The same is true for a dirty air filter. You should clean the air filters on your machine regularly and replace them as directed in the owners manual. If your air filter is so dirty that the engine will not start, then you are really abusing your lawn mower!ç

These are a few key issues that most people can fix if they are having trouble cranking their lawn mower. At the very least most users can figure out the problem and seek help if needed. My Lawn Mower Quick Start Guide might help you. Other problems will require a visit to the mower shop. You can’t do it all on your own sometimes.

Still, didn’t figured out why your riding lawn mower won’t start? Just message me below and I ‘ll do my very best to help you!

Happy Mowing Like Always!

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