Troubleshooting Your Riding Mower

It can be frustrating when something goes wrong with your riding mower, but don't let it get to you. You can often fix the problem on your own with a few simple troubleshooting steps. Take care of the smaller problems first before you move on to the more complex. In most cases, the problem will be something small. The following will provide you a checklist to help you diagnose the problem with your commercial mower, brush mower, or riding mower.

Check the Ignition

Make sure that you did not leave the key in the on position from the last use. If it has been in the on position for longer than twenty four hours, it is most likely that your battery has been fully discharged and no longer has the power needed to start your machine.


Make sure that the mower engagement lever is disengaged. If the mower lever is in the engaged position, safety precautions will not let the circuit complete to start the mower.  The mower blade should not be engaged until after the mower is started and you are in a proper starting position.

PTO Switch

If your mower has an electric clutch, you will have a PTO switch. When it is in the right position, this switch will engage the electric clutch. It must be in the off position to complete the circuit to the engine. This switch is sometimes called a "kill switch" or "safety switch" because it will immediately shut down your lawn mower when depressed.

Foot Pedal

Make sure that the foot pedal is fully depressed to complete the circuit. On most models, engaging the parking brake will hold the foot pedal in the preferred position.


If you have tried all of the above steps with no success, it is time to check the battery. It is possible that one of the connections could have simply come loose. Check and tighten any loose connections. Do not allow any metal object to complete the circuit between the charges on the battery. Check the date on the battery. It might just simply be time to change it out for a new one. If you do change out your batter, be sure to recycle the battery core. You should also check your battery for  corrosion. The connections need to be cleaned if they show corrosion or rust. This will help them form a strong contact.

Check The Fluids

Make sure your fluids are topped off and in good condition. Check to see that there is no water in the fuel or oil compartments. If there is, drain them and fill with clean, water-free fluids.

If the above tips do not solve your problem, check your owners manual.  Troubleshooting just means taking into account the symptoms and focusing on what causes that particular problem. With patience, you are sure to find the culprit.