Lawn mower does not start? How to start a lawn mower

If you have a lawn, probably one of the biggest issues for your weekend is turning on the ignition and finding your lawn mower won’t start. Which give?

Lawn mowers often won’t start because they’ve been unused for months (like in winter), which on battery-powered models can cause the power system to fail. At this point, you can assume that you need to purchase a new battery or take your mower to a repair center for service.

But what a lot of people don’t know is that there is a third option: you can start a lot of lawn mowers with your car.

I have personal experience with this, and it works. Last year my mom’s riding mower wouldn’t start, so she wanted to try starting it with her Honda. I told her she was crazy, until I did a google search.

So, with a few YouTube tutorials under my belt, I went to her garage to try it out, hoping my epitaph wouldn’t end up reading, “She left the world in a flash of electricity on a lawn mower.” . Fortunately, it was easy to understand, even for a town girl, and I’m always here to tell the story.

In case that should happen to you, here are the steps on how to start a lawn mower with a car, along with some expert advice on safety precautions to take and pitfalls to avoid to get you back to the perfect grass. in no time.

  • Jump cables
  • 12-volt vehicle battery or battery charger
  • Work gloves / eye protection
  • Key
Quickly starting your lawn mower with your car should always be done on a level surface.


Step 1: Perform a lawn mower brake and battery check

Before doing anything, make sure your riding mower is on a level surface and is turned off with the parking brake on. No one needs a ride-on mower that gets carried away!

Next, locate your mower’s battery.

“Most riding mowers hide the battery under the hood or the seat, but depending on the brand, you can also find it under the cup holder, behind the steering wheel and in other hard-to-find places,” explains John cunningham, founder of lawn

If you can’t find the battery just by searching, consult your user manual.

Once you have located the battery, make sure it is a 12 volt.

“Most modern riding mowers use this type of small engine battery, but if yours has a 6-volt battery and you try to start it with the car, you’ll blow the battery,” Cunningham cautions.

So let’s underline this: Since most push lawn mowers have smaller motors of 6 volts or less, you shouldn’t try to start a push mower because you could blow up the engine. For a 6 volt model, you can only use a battery charger.


Watch: It’s time to tune that lawn mower: here’s how


Don’t know what blood pressure you have? The voltage should be listed on the battery label, but if you can’t find it, you can also google this information if you know the brand of the battery.

You’ll also want to make sure that the battery is secure and that it doesn’t get wet, as leaking battery acid will burn your skin.

“Keep in mind that batteries are inherently dangerous because of the acid and the fact that they can also generate explosive gases,” Cunningham explains.

If you find that the battery is leaking, you will need to replace it, not restart it.

Step 2: Examine the battery terminals

Dirty, corroded, or loose battery terminals can prevent the flow of power so that even if you perform all of the steps correctly, the battery will not receive a charge.

“The battery connections often come loose from the vibrations and bounces that come with mowing the lawn, so you’ll need to check that the cables are secure,” explains Duston Maynes, technical team leader for RepairSmith.

You also want to make sure that your connections are clean.

“Corroded terminals can be enhanced by sprinkling baking soda powder directly on the terminals, then add a spoonful of plain water and after about a minute the acid will be neutralized,” Cunningham explains. “Then run a wire brush over the terminals and add a coat of grease or petroleum jelly to help prevent further corrosion. “

Finally, this is a good time to identify which battery terminal is positive (+) and which is negative (-). The poles of the battery will generally be red for positive and black for negative. This is important to know for future steps.

Make sure your battery terminals are clean and tight, and locate the positive and negative.


Step 3: Turn off your car and open the hood

Park your car near your riding mower and turn it off. Keep it for the whole process!

Open the hood, prop it up securely, and locate your car’s battery. It should also be a 12 volt.

“You want to make sure that the vehicle’s system is at the same voltage as the lawn mower,” says Maynes. “Some big trucks use multiple batteries and have components that run on a 24 volt system, which would be too much. “

Make sure your lawn mower and car battery are at 12 volts before trying a quick start.


Keep in mind that you may need to remove a plastic shield to access your car’s battery terminals. Once you find the battery and terminals in your vehicle, take the time again to identify which battery pole is positive and which is negative.

Step 4: Connect the cables in the correct order

How you do this step is important: order matters.

“By going from terminal to terminal, that vehicle will be part of the electrical system of the other,” says Maynes. “Following these steps precisely will reduce the chance of a spike, which would damage the charging system during a quick start. “

Make sure you have a safe working area with no risk of tripping over and check that your cables are long enough to go from the riding mower to the vehicle. Remember that you will connect the same colored cable to the corresponding battery pole, secure the jumper cables as follows:

  1. Connect one end of the red jumper cable to the positive post of the lawn mower battery.

    Connect the red wire to the positive post of the lawn mower battery.

    (SearsPartsDirect / YouTube)

  2. Connect the other end of the red jumper cable to the positive pole of your car battery. Do not let this end touch the metal of the car, or you could see a lot of sparks and potentially damage your car battery.

    Attach the other end of the red cable to the positive post of the car battery.

    (SearsPartsDirect / YouTube)

  3. Connect one end of the black cable to the negative terminal of the car battery. The negative cable is more forgiving, so you don’t have to worry as much about it touching metal, as long as you don’t hook it to the positive cable.

    Attach one end of the black cable to the negative post of the car battery.

    (SearsPartsDirect / YouTube)

  4. Connect the other end of the black jumper cable to the metal frame of the mower, away from the fuel tank and battery.
    “The last negative jumper cable is connected away from the battery, because when connected it creates a little spark or a little arc,” Cunningham explains. “In theory, it could ignite acid fumes from the battery if it gets too close.”

    Secure the last black cable tie to the metal on the mower body.

    (SearsPartsDirect / YouTube)

Step 5: Turn the ignition key

Once everything is connected, turn the ignition key to start the mower. If the battery isn’t fully fried (i.e. needs to be replaced), that shake should be enough to revive your lawn mower.

“If you’re running the engine, go ahead and let it run for a few minutes while you stay connected in order to recharge the battery,” Cunningham explains.

Step 6: Remove cables in reverse order

With the lawn mower engine still running, remove the cables in the exact reverse order of how you connected them. In other words, first disconnect the black cable from the mower frame, then disconnect the black cable from the car battery. Next, disconnect the red cable from the vehicle battery, then disconnect the red cable from the mower battery.

“This decreases the risk of damaging electrical components when you break the connection, ”Maynes explains.

Step 7: Fully charge or replace the battery ASAP

Once you get the lawn mower running, you will likely have enough horsepower to drive it a bit. But to prevent this from happening again, it is wise to fully charge the battery with a battery charger as soon as possible.

Fully charge your battery as soon as possible after starting it.

(SearsPartsDirect / YouTube)

“If the battery refuses to start even after trying to blow it, you will have to test the battery with a voltmeter,” Cunningham explains. “You may need to purchase a new battery, or there may be some other problem like a faulty starter, which will require service to be repaired.”

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