How to Fix John Deere Safety Switch Problems? (Complete Guide)

Like most other manufacturers of lawn mowers, John Deere includes a safety switch mechanism in each of their mowers to reduce operational mowing risks. Sometimes this safety switches break.Here’s how you fix the problem..

BTW John Deere riding mowers and tractors normally include two safety switches. The first is beneath the parking brake, and the second is beneath the driver’s seat.

If the operator doesn’t use the right starting procedure, the parking brake switch prevents the machine from starting. On the other hand, the seat safety switch stops the blades from engaging and turns off the engine when there is no rider in the seat.

Problems with John Deere Safety Switch

Problems with John Deere Safety Switch

If any of the switches on the John Deere tractor or riding mower is damaged or inoperable, the engine won’t turn over.

Furthermore, if the seat safety switch malfunctions, the blades will continue to engage even if the operator is not seated, putting the rider at serious personal risk.

Farm Empower, written by Scott McFadden, has a page which also outlines common problems with John Deere lawn tractor safety switches. If our guide doesn’t help you, please see his page on safety switch problems and fixes.

If you have any new insights or photos to share, please contact me (Jeff Henderson) at and (417) 414-5099.

How to Determine if There is a Problem with John Deere Safety Switch?

It is critical to determine whether or not your John Deere tractor has safety switch problems before attempting to repair them. And it can be done hassle-free in less than 15 minutes.

Place the tractor or mower on a hard, flat surface and take a seat on the operator’s seat. Depress the parking brake pedal. Turn on the ignition. If the engine fails to start, the parking brake switch may fail.

Follow the exact steps, start the engine and let go of the parking brake. Pull up on the PTO switch to engage the mower blade.

Remove yourself from the operator’s seat without leaving the machine. If the engine continues to operate and the blades remain engaged, the seat safety switch must be changed.

Also Read: What is Blade Brake Clutch on a lawn Mower?

Fixing John Deere Safety Switch Problems

Fixing John Deere Safety Switch Problems

You are already aware that John Deere mowers typically have two safety switches. Unfortunately, one safety switch may often malfunction, while both may do so on other occasions.

We shall therefore go over each safety switch’s troubleshooting individually. We’ll start by investigating how to troubleshoot the safety switch on the parking brake.

Parking-Brake Safety Switch

The tractor’s brake pedal has a safety switch that ensures the brake is on before starting the engine.

The tractor’s engine won’t start if the brake pedal isn’t fully depressed. In other words, the brake safety switch will shut off the engine if the driver gets up from the seat without applying the parking brake.

PrairieLand Partners, is a licensed John Deere repair center located at 2401 E Northview Rd, McPherson, KS 67460. They discussed the following fixes which we’ve expanded on below:

But how to fix it if the parking brake safety switch is not working? Here are the steps.

1. Park the Mower or Tractor and Start the Engine

First and foremost, you should only attempt to repair your tractor once it has been correctly parked on a flat, hard surface.

Therefore, leave your JD riding tractor parked on a flat surface. Put your feet on the parking brake pedal, which is located on the left side of the front fender, while seated in the driver’s seat. Start the vehicle. The parking brake switch can be broken if the engine won’t start.

2. Locate the Parking Brake Safety Switch

The parking brake safety switch on most John Deere tractors is located either on the left side under the front fender, under the rider’s seat (on riding mowers) or under the brake pedal.

3. Replace the Safety Switch

Once you’ve located the safety switch, you will discover two bolts securing the parking brake safety switch to the structure.

Make sure to remove the switch properly as you pull it out correctly. To remove the two bolts holding the safety switch, you will need an 8 mm socket wrench.

Purchase a new safety switch and connect it to the same location. Remember to use the same two 8 mm bolts to restore the switch.

4. Restart the Tractor/ Mower

It’s time to restart your machine after the new parking brake safety switch has been successfully installed.

Restart the mower and then sit down in the seat as usual. Put the parking brake on and start the engine now. Depressing the parking brake should cause the engine to start normally. But if the issues persist, it’s time to go to an authorized repair mechanic.

Operator-Seat Safety Switch

You can locate this safety switch right there behind the rider’s seat. By pressing down on the switch, the user releases the safety starter barrier, which enables the engine to start. Thanks to this safety switch, the tractor’s operator must be seated before the tractor can be started.

However, occasionally you could experience problems with this safety switch. How? But don’t panic; resolving this problem is also quite simple and doable at home. Follow the steps outlined below.

1. Park and Start the Mower

Park the mower as you did while checking the parking brake safety switch. Place yourself in the driver’s seat and depress the parking brake pedal. Remove your foot from the parking brake and start the mower usually.

2. Engage the PTO Switch

The mower blades should then be engaged by pulling up the power-take-off (PTO) switch on the steering wheel’s left side. Now, without leaving the mower, get out of the operator’s seat. You can stand up from your seat.

If you notice that the blades have turned off, the operator-seat safety switch is functioning correctly. However, despite leaving the operator’s seat, if the blades continue to engage and the engine continues to run, you should know that the safety switch is defective.

It’s time to replace the old safety switch with a new one.

3. Replace the Safety Switch with a New One

Set the parking brake and turn off the mower before removing the seat safety switch. This is necessary. Additionally, adjust the seat so it can be as close to the steering wheel as practical.

Find the operator-seat safety switch, and using a screwdriver, lean over and remove it by unscrewing it. Next, completely unplug the switch from the wiring harness and detach it. Then, install a new seat safety switch by putting it into position.

4. Restart the Mower

Testing is essential to ensure that the new safety switch is fitted correctly and is operating as intended. You would have to restart the mower to do this.

Start the lawn mower as usual, then turn on the power-take-off (PTO) switch to activate the blades. Then, once more, leave your seat. It should be clear that the troubleshooting was successful if the blade disengaged and the engine shut off.

If this is not the scenario, the issue may lie elsewhere, and you ought to contact a qualified mechanic.

Note: When the mower’s safety switches malfunction, you risk major injuries. So, never operate a mower with faulty safety switches.

Also Read:

What is a Safety Switch?

What is a Safety Switch?

So you’ve learned how to repair a John Deere tractor or riding mower’s safety switch. But how many of you know what a safety switch is? As a result, for the uninitiated, here is a simple definition.

A safety switch is a switch that instantly shuts down the engine if the user does not start or operate it correctly. Most tractor manufacturers include a safety feature to protect their customers.

The safety switches perform two basic functions:

  1. Shutting down a running engine in an unsafe condition.
  2. Disable the starting system.

How Does a Safety Switch Work?

How Does a Safety Switch Work

The safety switch features a push button and two pairs of contacts. One pair is connected to the engine, while the other is grounded.

The push button is instantly pressed when you sit in the operator’s seat. Consequently, the connection between the batteries and the motor is made. However, if you move from your seat, the contact breaks, grounding the mower and causing it to stop.

The safety switch also disables the tractor’s starting system in hazardous conditions. But how does it accomplish this?

It accomplishes this by blocking the flow of the positive battery current to the starter solenoid. This scenario can happen if you start the engine but forget to apply the brake pedal. The safety switch will be activated in such a scenario, disabling the starting system.


How many safety switches are there in the John Deere riding mower or tractor?

There are two major safety switches in John Deere mowers- the parking brake safety switch and the operator’s seat safety switch.

Can I disable my tractor’s safety switches?

Yes, you can turn off or bypass the safety switches on your tractor. We do not, however, advise doing this. Nevertheless, if you really must circumvent the switches, follow these instructions.

• Disconnect the electrical connections and take out the spark plug.
• Find the safety switch you wish to turn off or remove.
• Using a screwdriver, unplug the switch from the wiring harness. Remove the connector as well.
• Remove the connector pins that enable or disable the safety switch.
• Reattach everything, then turn the mower back on.

Where can I locate the safety switches on my John Deere riding mower?

On John Deere riding mowers, the seat safety switch is directly behind the rider’s seat. On the contrary, most John Deere models have the parking brake safety switch under the left front fender.

Why are the safety switches vital?

The safety switches are essential because they disable the tractor’s starting system in risky situations.

The switch prevents the machine from being started incorrectly from the ground by requiring you to be in the operator’s seat and/or the brake applied before turning on the engine. The safety switch lets the tractor quickly stop if you leave the operator’s seat for whatever reason.

Why might the safety switches trip?

Some common reasons that may trip off the safety switch on your tractor include the following.

• Bad wiring
• Faulty connection
• Damaged tractor parts 
• Manufacturing defects in the switches

About Jeff Henderson

Have a question regarding your lawn tractor? Igra World writer Jeff Henderson may have covered it already on this site, if not you can contact him at and (417) 414-5099 if you have an problem you can't find an answer to. Jeff is a part time tractor mechanic and landscaping company owner who lives in Springfield, Missouri. He has over 10 years of experience in tractor repair and small engine repair, and has worked with John Deere, Husqvarna, Toro, Troy Bilt, Cub Cadet and Kubota equipment.

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