Cub Cadet Starting Problems: How to Fix it Easily?

Lawn care is a necessary component of landscaping. And if you want to spend money on a quality lawnmower, one of the finest brands available is Cub Cadet.

In 1960, International Harvester Cub Cadet opened its first production facility at the Gloria Drive Shed in Kentucky. The brand is known for its cutting-edge agricultural and yard machines and equipment.

Products from Cub Cadet substantially altered the market as consumers began to appreciate high-quality goods.

The brand’s lawn mowers stand out in the market among other products. We also went through several of its lawn mowers and wrote reviews for them.

Please click here to learn more if you’re interested. Cud Cadet lawnmowers do have some advantages, but they also have some drawbacks. After all, they are machines, and machines can fall prey to issues now and then.

One of the most frequent problems with the brand’s lawn mowers is failure to start. We, therefore, took it seriously and dug deeper to identify the top 10 potential causes of a Cud Cadet lawn mower failing to start.

Keep reading to find out everything. But first, let’s concentrate on the central issues with this lawn mower and suggest fixes.

Problems and Their Solutions at a Glance

Problems and Their Solutions at a Glance

Before digging deeper into the problems, here are the issues and their quick fixes.

Cub Cadet Starting ProblemsSolutions
Engine won’t start• Read the user manual
• Watch YouTube videos on starting a mower
• Get familiarized with the controls and switches of your mower
No gas or fuel in the tank fuel• Check the fuel tank
• Refill the tank with gasoline that has an octane rating of 87 or higher
• Refill with gas with an ethanol content of no more than 10%
Old or bad fuel• Change the fuel
Use a fuel stabilizer
Damaged spark plug• Clean the spark plug
• Replace it if needed
Clogged air filter• Clean the air filter
Plugged fuel cap vent• Replace the old fuel caps with the new ones.
Clogged fuel filter• Clean the fuel line
• Replace the fuel filter
Dirty carburetor• Clean the carburetor on your own
• Take it to a repair shop
• Replace it if needed
Defective battery• Check the battery voltage using a multimeter
• Change the battery if needed
Faulty ignition coil• Check the continuity of the ignition coil
• Change it if you find it broken

10 Common Cub Cadet Starting Problems With Their Solutions

10 Common Cub Cadet Starting Problems With Their Solutions

This is the crux of the post. Here, we’ll discuss the top 10 problems preventing the Cub Cadet lawn mower’s engine from starting.

To build this section, we perused the customer reviews and the most prevalent customer concerns. These problems have been selected based on the gravity and regularity of their occurrence.

1. The Engine Won’t Start

You can forget to start it, which is one of the main causes of engines not starting. No, we’re not kidding. To begin with, confirm that you are adhering to all the starting procedures outlined in the Operator’s Manual.

Additionally, before getting on it, please familiarize yourself with the tractor or mower’s controls, switches, and components.


Reading the User Manual is the easiest way to address this problem. The manual and videos can be used to learn more about your mower’s controls and components.

You can also watch “tutorials to start a Cub Cadet mower” YouTube videos. If not, you may search for any riding mower starting tutorial.

2. No Gas In The Tank Fuel

Only some issues will be as simple to solve as learning how to start a lawnmower’s engine.

Sometimes, the issue may occasionally be subtle and complicated. One such problem is running out of gas or fuel in the Cub Cadet mower’s fuel tank.

The calculation is straightforward: the machine wouldn’t run if the empty gasoline tank. So, check the fuel tank if you know how to start the engine, yet your mower won’t start.

The dashboard of the majority of mowers will also contain a fuel indicator. Take note of that so you can determine whether the tank is full of fuel or gas.


If your lawnmower uses gasoline, it is recommended that you refill the empty tank with brand-new, unleaded gasoline that has an octane rating of 87 or higher. On the other hand, consider a gas with an ethanol content of no more than 10%.

Note: The fuel must be stabilized with a fuel additive or utilized within 30 days for optimal benefits.

Because it burns so hot and corrosive, ethanol might overheat your engine. Significant damage may result from this. So, taking care of an overheated engine is crucial, or your mower may fail to start again.

3. Old Or Bad Fuel

There are two possibilities: either you’re using stale fuel in your mower, or the fuel has been sitting in the mower for over a month. Unfortunately, your Cub Cadet mower won’t start in either scenario.

Remember that gasoline (ethanol) left in a mower for more than 30 days collects moisture, evaporating and leaving a residue. This buildup may clog the carburetor and the filter.

Here are some methods for determining whether the mower’s fuel is problematic.

  • Oxidation of the fuel
  • Foul smell
  • The fuel smells strong instead of fresh
  • The fuel has an unusually darker color


The proper way to address this issue is to remove the old fuel using a siphon pump and swap it out for a cleaner and newer one.

Always buy fuel at a busy station and utilize it within 30 days of purchasing it. And if you can’t finish the fuel in that time, mix in a fuel stabilizer. By doing this, the fuel will be preserved for a longer period.

Note: Gasoline lines and the metering needle may have become clogged or glazed if the fuel was kept within the mower for a lengthy period.

A condition like this can result in fuel system obstructions for your machinery. You can either clean the system yourself, hire an expert, or, in extreme circumstances, replace the carburetor.

4. Damaged Spark Plug

A damaged spark plug may be to blame if you have started your engine recently, yet your mower won’t start.

When a spark plug becomes clogged with carbon or oil, the lawn mower’s engine may misfire and not start. The tester’s terminals normally show a strong spark when the engine operates smoothly.

However, if there is a problem, there won’t be a spark. To determine if this plug is the issue, make sure it forms a solid connection.


Remove the spark plug and check it for evidence of broken insulators as the first step in troubleshooting the problem. If you find it broken, you may need to change it.

If the problem is severe, you might have to get a new one. On the other hand, if the spark plug’s connection to the terminals is improper, it could lead to issues.

However, if you are suspicious that there might be a buildup on the spark plug, you can remove it to check. Then, to solve the issue, spray brake cleaner onto it, let it sit for a few minutes, and then wipe it clean. After that, you can tighten the spark plugs with a socket wrench.

Are you curious about the most convenient ways to change a spark plug? Check out this: How to Change a Spark Plug in a Lawn Mower?

5. A Clogged Air Filter

The air filter on your Cub Cadet mower needs to be cleaned if it needs air to operate. It is crucial to remember that a Cub Cadet engine will only start if it gets enough air.

The engine could run out of air if the air filter becomes clogged or dusty. And the engine will not start if the essential air cannot pass through the filter.

But why won’t the engine start?

Let’s clarify it. When the air filter becomes clogged, the engine begins to draw air from other places, primarily the crankcase, which can cause the engine to overheat, causing damage. Additionally, an overheated engine will fail.


Before diving into the troubleshooting techniques, you should be aware that there are two different classifications of air filters: oiled and dry.

Depending on the degree of pollution in your area, a dry air filter requires cleaning or replacement every 15,000 miles or sooner.

On the other hand, the oiled models required cleaning around every 50,000 miles or when areas of the panel were not viewable.

To clean a paper air filter, follow these instructions.

  • It must be taken out of the air filter housing.
  • Remove any leftover dirt from the housing with a dry cloth.
  • To remove extra dirt, knock the filter against a hard surface.
  • Hold the filter up to the light to see whether you can see light rays pass through the paper to determine whether the filter is suitably clean.
  • You can reuse the filter if you can see the light and there is no harm
  • You might need to change the air filter if that is different.

Please use an oil designed for cleaning air filters if you intend to clean the air filter with it. You must use enough air filter oil to keep dirt and debris from flowing through the filter.

After cleaning the air filter, remember to clean the air box. A new air filter can quickly get contaminated if you have a dirty air box.

Note: Never use solvents or kerosene to clean the air filter.

6. Plugged Fuel Cap Vent

You’re probably aware that fuel caps contain vents. The vents allow the gasoline tank to ventilate. What transpires, though, if these vents get blocked or plugged?

Your tractor/engine mower could run out of fuel if it doesn’t have enough venting because it won’t be able to absorb enough fuel from the fuel tank.

Due to the stress created when fuel is pulled out and air cannot replace it, the engine may potentially crash. Your Cub Cadet’s engine won’t start as a result.

Release the fuel cap vent and start your mower to confirm that it is the cause of the problem. Reinstall the cap while the engine is running if your Cub Cadet lawn mower is running.

Check to see if the mower continues to run or stops again after 7–10 minutes. If it stops, it might be time to swap the worn-out caps for fresh ones.


Replace the old fuel caps with the new ones.

7. Clogged Fuel Filter

The gasoline filter’s primary job is to filter out dirt and particles and keep them from getting into the engine. What if, however, the gasoline pump becomes obstructed or clogged?

It won’t stop the debris from getting into the engine, and the fuel won’t be able to enter and exit the filter, which is fatal.

Check whether the fuel flowing into the filter is likewise flowing out of it to see if the fuel filter is operating properly. If this is not the case, there is unquestionably a fuel filter issue.


If you notice that the fuel filter on your Cub Cadet mower is blocked or that the fuel flowing through it is not dispensing, you need to change the fuel filter.

To begin with, try spraying a carb cleaner into the tube or blowing compressed air through the tube to see if you can remove the clog from the filter. Then, continue the process until there is no buildup or debris on the filter line. But only use this as a very last option.

8. Dirty Carburetor

Your Cub Cadet mower may also be difficult to start if the carburetor is dirty or clogged. It typically occurs when fuel is kept in the mower for an extended period. 

Some of the fuel’s components may evaporate over time, leaving behind a denser and sticky material. The stickiness could jam the carburetor, stalling the vehicle.

But how on earth would you know that a dirty or clogged carburetor is the actual reason the Cub Cadet’s engine failed?

Fear not; we have the solution for you.

Here are a few quick ways to determine whether the carburetor is the real problem.

  • If the engine cranks but doesn’t start.
  • If the engine is running lean.
  • If the engine makes a crackling or wheezing noise.
  • If the exhaust emits an excessive amount of black smoke.

Here is a Perspective for You:

Consider the Cub Cadet’s engine, the human heart, and the grime and gummy gasoline residue cholesterol. When cholesterol levels rise, they obstruct the heart’s ability to beat normally. Similarly, too much dirt and residue in the carburetor reduced engine performance; it might lead to engine failure if not addressed quickly.


If you have the necessary skills for the job, your initial course of action should be to attempt to clean the carburetor on your own. It is preferable to take it to the repair shop if not. However, if the carburetor is in very poor condition, consider getting a new one.

9. Defective Battery

The Cub Cadet mowers need batteries to be charged and ignited, like any other contemporary riding lawn mowers and tractors.

However, with continued use, the battery may become defective and fail to start the engine. Additionally, your mower may have trouble starting if the terminals are loosened or exhibit corrosion.


The first thing to do is to inspect the batteries and their connections. Any slack wires need to be tightened up immediately. You should also restore any cracked wires to avoid short-circuit hazards.

A multimeter can be used to examine the efficiency of your batteries. 12.7 volts or thereabouts should be the reading from the batteries.

The batteries must be replaced if they cannot withstand this much charge. Don’t worry; changing a lawnmower’s battery is not difficult.

10. Faulty Ignition Coil

The defective ignition coil is the final potential reason why the Cub Cadet engine won’t start on our list.

Now, for those who are new to the term- “ignition coil,”- let us tell you that it is also known as the starter coil. Its primary function is to transfer voltage from the battery to the spark plug. The mower is started as a result of a spark in the engine.

So what if the ignition coil is malfunctioning? Simply put, there won’t be any voltage transmission; without a spark, the engine won’t start or ignite.

However, the ignition coil is not necessarily to blame every time if the spark plug does not “spark.” But if the mower won’t start, we suggest you examine it along with the spark plug.


Examine the spark plug as well as the ignition coil. If the former is in good shape, concentrate on the latter to see if it is faulty. If it is broken, the only solution is to replace it.

Note: You can use an ohm meter to see if the ignition coil has the proper continuity.

List of Cub Cadet Starting Problems that Need Professional Help

List of Cub Cadet Starting Problems that Need Professional Help

As long as they are not particularly bad, most of the above mentioned issues can be solved at home. But not all of them can be resolved via DIY.

So, here are certain concerns that if you encounter and believe are preventing your Cub Cadet mower from starting, you should immediately contact an expert.

  • If you see a large amount of black smoke exhausting every time you fire the engine.
  • The mower is using excessive fuel.
  • The engine is getting highly overheated.
  • The mower is making knocking or popping sounds.
  • The mower vibrates or shakes when you try to start it.


Can a faulty charging system stop the Cub Cadet from starting?

Yes, a Cub Cadet mower’s charging system can malfunction and keep the engine from starting. A faulty charging system won’t recharge the battery, which prevents the engine from receiving the power it needs to start.

If I do not follow the safety features in the mower, will it still fire up?

No, Cub Cadet safety mechanisms prevent your mower from starting unless you adhere to their instructions.

What is a starter solenoid on a Cub Cadet mower?

A lawn mower solenoid is an electromagnetic device found in the starter motor. When you turn the ignition key, it activates the starting motor, which starts the engine.

How long does a Cub Cadet mower last?

The answer depends on how you use the mower, servicing it, and keeping it in good condition. Still, the average life of a Cub Cadet mower is at least 500 to 1000 hours.

The Bottomline

So that’s our take on the Cub Cadet Starting Issues. The list is not an exhaustive one. Other problems with your mower may also keep it from starting.

The good news is that most problems can be treated at home if intervention begins early. However, if you are dealing with a more severe problem, we recommend contacting a professional or getting the mower to a certified repair shop.

About Jennifer Igra

Growing up in Brooklyn, New York City known for it’s green gardens. Jennifer, a 30 year old gardener and green living fanatic started Igra World to share her gardening journey and increase gardening awareness among masses. Follow Igra World to improve your gardening skills.

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