How to Start a Riding Lawn Mower?

When it comes to mowing vast swathes of grass, riding lawn mowers gets the absolute tick. They’re arguably the most comfortable tools for conveniently cutting grass within the shortest time. Thanks to the varied advantages that they offer, riding lawn mowers are pricier than traditional mowers.

However, that’s a story for another day. Now, by the virtue of your being here, chances are you don’t know the best way to start a riding lawn mower. Fret not, this guide is meant for you.

As you’ll realize, while steps on how to start a riding lawn mower may slightly differ from one mower to another, they all have similar basic concept. However, as a general rule, when starting a riding lawn mower, don’t let the starter crank more than 15 seconds at a time. Could you be interrogating yourself on why you should opt for a riding lawn mower in place of the traditional ones? Okay, a little knowledge of some of its benefits won’t hurt.

Benefits of Riding Lawn Mowers

  • Have varied sets of features. There are those that have mulching capabilities while others come with catch grass clippings. Some other models have both features.
  • High fuel storage capacity.
  • Have electric startups.
  • Easier to handle especially when mowing decks.
  • Adjusts to fit your specific needs.
  • Easier to find spare parts for repair or replacement compared to traditional lawn mowers.

Benefits of Riding Lawn Mowers

Common Reasons Why a Riding Lawn Mower May Fail To Start

So, in your bid to start a riding lawn mower, there are some things that can cause you some hiccups. What’s more, they don’t necessitate costly repairs quite yet.

As such, before proceeding to starting your lawn mower, right check these common reasons why riding lawn mowers may fail to start.

  • Insufficient Gas: Sounds crazy, but it’s very common. Ensure the fuel levels are on point before trying to ignite your mower. Your mower may be having a fuel gauge but if it doesn’t, ensure the gas is at least ¾.

Common Reasons Why a Riding Lawn Mower May Fail To Start

  • Insufficient Oil Level: The oil valve is usually near the engine. Use a dipstick on the oil tank’s cap to see if it looks healthy and replace it accordingly. We don’t expect this to be a brainier; however, in case it is, this guide will help you on how to change oil in lawn mower in case of any doubts.
  • Clogged Carburetor: This normally results from use of stale gas and failure to clean your carburetor regularly. In case of a dirty carburetor, here is a detailed guide on how to clean lawn mower carburetor.

Clogged Carburetor

  • Clogged Fuel Filter: This may be as a result of fill-up from normal sediments accrued during mowing sessions or also usage of stale gas. If your fuel filters are clogged, your efforts to start the lawn mower will be in vain. This is because there won’t be proper flow of fuel to the carburetor. To correct this, you better replace the mower’s fuel filters.
  • Dead Battery: Normally, batteries last long. However, after lengthy usage, there may be indications of it going to rest. As such, you need to first check it with a voltmeter and ensure it has enough acid. In the case of a 12 V battery-quite common, the voltage should be approximately 12 V.
  • Damaged Starter Solenoid:

Damaged Starter Solenoid.

You can easily tell this by turning the ignition key. If it produces a clicking sound, chances are your starter solenoid has gone bad. Simply install a new one, lest your efforts to start your riding mower may not bear the desired fruits.

  • Dirty of disconnected Spark Plug: If you recently performed maintenance on the mower, there’s high probability of having forgotten to hook back the spark plug. A dirty spark plug may also hinder your riding lawn mower from starting. Luckily, these are quick and simple fixes. Simply connect back the spark plug if it’s disconnected and if dirty, replace with a new one. They’re very inexpensive.
  • Dirty Air Filter:

dirty air filter

These may prevent the circulation of the required air to the carburetor thus failing to run the engine. Worse still, if it is torn, debris could have found their way into the engine and therefore the mower may fail to start.

There you go. If you have done these quick checks and affirmed everything is as it should be, you’re good to go.

How to Start a Riding Lawn Mower?

1. Sit firmly on the seat

Undoubtedly, this ought to be the first step. Ensure you’re well seated and in a position to reach all levers and pedals.

 Sit firmly on the seat.

 2. Start the Engine

Most riding lawn mowers come with an inbuilt safety system where the engine switches off unless you’ve engaged the parking brakes or are seated.

 3. Press the Brakes

These are normally located on the left side of the mower. Depending on your riding mower, the brakes are either a pedal or a lever.

If your lawn mower has pedal break system, firmly press them down using your left foot. In case of levers, reach them and hold them in position.

press the breaks

4. Engage the Parking Brake

Just like the pedals or levers breaking system mentioned above, the parking brakes’ location also varies between models. However, they’ll most assuredly be a knob or lever near your left or right side of your seat.

Engage the Parking Brake

Once you locate them, pull the brake up and slowly disengage the brake pedal. Some mowers don’t have a brake knob. If that’s your case, push down the brake pedal to engage the parking brake.

5. Put the Gear to Neutral

Locate the gear shirt level. Normally it’s near the steering wheel but can also be under the mower’s seat depending on the model. Shift it to neutral- labeled ‘N’.

Put the Gear to Neutral

Note: If your mower is among the ones that don’t have parking brake knobs as alluded to above, you’ll need to press the brakes downwards whenever shifting the gears.

 6. Pull the Throttle onto Choke Position

Lawn mower throttle is very essential in starting its engine and also in regulating the speed of lawn mowers’ blades  when mowing the lawn. You’ll normally find it on the left side of your riding lawn mower. They’re easy to identify, thanks to their labeling picture of a rabbit and turtle.

Pull the Throttle onto Choke Position

Move its lever in order to engage the choke. In most riding lawn mowers, this is done by pulling the throttle lever upwards past fast-a point normally labeled with a circle with diagonal lines through it. Also, you can set the lever between the slow and fast settings. This highly depends on the model of your riding mower.

7. Insert the Ignition Key

At this point, you’ll now be able to insert the key in the ignition switch. This is usually found either next to mower’s seat or on the lawn mower’s dashboard.

8. Turn the Key to the Right hand side/Clockwise

In case you’re mower’s engine didn’t have any underlying issue that could hinder it from starting, it will start to come to life. Hold the key on that extreme right position for approximately 15-20 seconds until the engine starts.

9. Move the Throttle to the Fast Position

Return to the throttle and release the choke.

Move its lever upwards into a faster setting. This normally has a sign of a rabbit.

Move the Throttle to the Fast Position

Depending on the age of your mower, it is now good to go. Normally, a new or well-maintained mower will start to move at this point. An older one may necessitate you to allow the engine a few minutes to warm up before you can start driving.

Tips When Starting a Riding Lawn Mower

  • Varied starting procedure: As mentioned before, this may differ. So, in addition to this detailed guide, it’s wise to consult the manufacturer’s manual for extra insights.
  • Note the mower’s model number: This is not only helpful in speedy tracking of spare parts but also comes in handy when you’re looking for any kind of support.
  • Qualified Technician: We advocate for DIY whenever it comes to matters you and your garden machinery. However, if you can’t figure out the problem with your lawn mower, consult a certified repair technician to avert any further damages to your riding lawn mower.
  • Additional Adjustments Settings: Some riding lawn mowers may have extra switch, keys or knobs that you’re required when engaging the mowing blades. Been keen on them and use them accordingly.
  • Always park and turn off your lawn mower when carrying out any maintenance duty or repair.

 Final Thoughts

Regardless of whether you’re simply an aspiring riding mower or a tractor owner, we hope you’re now well guided and equipped with additional insights and tips. Importantly, this guide shouldn’t substitute the user’s manual but wipe away any misunderstandings on how to start a riding lawn mower. Hopefully, this guide turns you into a mow pro. Thank us later.

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.

Join the discussion