My Riding Mower Won’t Start and Makes no Click

My Riding Mower Won’t Start and Makes no Click

Riding mowers make the job of cutting the lawn incredibly easy, and cuts down on the time it would take to do so with a traditional push motor considerably. But sometimes these helpful machines experience issues and hiccups that can make the job difficult and even impossible.

If your riding mower will not start and will not even make a click sound when attempting to get the engine started, then the most common issue lies in a part known as the starter solenoid or the coil that is associated with this part.

There may be other issues that are causing this, and we will go over some of the possible causes now. Keep reading to learn more about why your riding mower will not make a click and will not start, and see how you can possibly fix it.

Getting Things to Click

Understanding the Starting System of a Riding Mower

In order to better understand why you are getting issues with starting up your riding mower, it is best that you learn how the system itself functions.

To begin, the red battery cable, which is positive, is connected to one of two terminal posts located on the starter solenoid. These are large posts and easily identifiable.

A black wire connects to the other terminal post. This wire is the one that transfers the power to the start motor in order to start the engine of the mower.

There is also a small red wire that branches from the terminal post that is red. This red wire carries power from the ignition switch to the coil that is located at the base of the starter solenoid itself.

And finally, what is supposed to happen when you turn the key of the ignition into the start position is that the ignition switch will send power through the white wire in order to provide energy to the coil of the solenoid.

After this, the coil will then close an internal point of contact in order to transfer power from the red battery cable right over to the black wire. This, in turn, will power the start motor and spin up the engine.

Why the Mower has no Click and Won’t Start and how to Fix it

The Battery may be Dead

So, if that is how the system is supposed to work, what could be the cause for why your mower is not starting and is not even making a click noise? First you will want to check that the battery of the riding mower is not dead.

A battery that is dead will not be able to perform its job in the starting process of the mower, and it is also the reason for why you do not hear that distinctive click sound when turning the engine over. The solenoid coil is unable to click due to lack of power.

If you suspect that this is the issue you can check the battery using a multimeter in order to measure the voltage across the terminals of the battery. Ensure that you are taking proper safety precautions before doing so.

First, wear gloves and safety goggles and ensure that the ignition is off. Once this is done you may check the battery by using the multimeter. Make sure that the multimeter is set to the DC voltage.

You will know that your battery is weak or dead if it is measuring less than 12 volts DC. If this is the issue you can simply recharge the battery with a charger, or use some jumper cables to attempt to jump-start the mower. 

Keep in mind that jump-starting will only work if the riding mower model is using a 12-volt battery. If you are unable to get the battery to work again, then you will need to replace it.

Check that the Solenoid is Getting Power

If you have assessed that your battery is in okay condition, then that means that power is not getting to through the red battery cable and through to the red terminal post. To check this out you will need to measure the voltage at the post itself.

Using the multimeter tool once more, you can check the post and make sure that it is receiving power that measures at least 12 volts. If it is not receiving this amount of voltage then you should check that the cables and terminals of the battery are not corroded.

A corroded terminal or battery cable will prevent the red solenoid post from receiving the power that it needs to start the engine.

To clean off these parts if they are corroded you can use a wire brush. After cleaning them off check the voltage once more and see if the voltage the post is receiving has changed. If it is still lower than 12 volts you will need to change the red battery cable.

Always keep in mind that you do NOT want to touch the multimeter to both of the solenoid posts simultaneously. This will produce a very bad spark and cause harm to you and damage to your mower. 

Do not attempt to short the solenoid posts using an insulated tool such as a screwdriver, as this will override the safety mechanisms of the mower and bring harm to you or your machine.

Is the Solenoid Coil Receiving Power?

Should you see that your red terminal is getting power, then you can move onto checking if the solenoid coil itself is receiving power once you turn the key.

Measure the voltage once more at the coil and see whether or not the internal contact clicks. If it does not click then you have found the issue. The solenoid is supposed to click as it sends power over to the starter motor, and if it is not doing this then it is faulty or broken.

Using clip-on meter probes to check the voltage of the solenoid coils, or get someone to help you turn the key while you hold the probes onto the wires themselves.

Attach the multimeter to the white and black wires after pulling them off of the spades of the solenoid itself, and then turn the ignition key into the start position. Take note of the reading of voltage on your multimeter and then turn the ignition off.

If your multimeter picks up 0 volts then that means there is a break present in the circuit leading to the solenoid coil but your starter solenoid is doing fine.

If your meter picks up a voltage of more than 12 volts, then you will need to replace the starter solenoid. This is because the coil is receiving power but it is not closing off the internal contact that is needed to send the power to the starter motor.

Replacing this will solve your issue.

Test your Coil

If you measured 0 volts on the previous step, then attempt to check the coil circuit. If your black wire has a break in it then it could be preventing the coil from getting any power.

Check this black wire, also known as the ground wire, by disconnecting the negative battery cable as well as the positive one to kill power entirely from the mower. Tuck these cables away so that they do not accidentally power the motor while you work.

Check the resistance of the black wire with your multimeter by touching one probe to the female spade and the other prove to the bare metal of the mower frame.

If you read 0 ohms then your black wire is grounded, but if you read infinite resistance there is a break. You must find and fix this break but once you do, you should be able to get the engine to start.

Check your Fuse

Check for a blown fuse. This is simple and easy as you can usually tell if it is blown just by taking a look at it. If you notice it is blown then purchase a new one and install it.

Test your Ignition, Blade, and Brake Interlock Switches

If the fuse was not the issue then reinstall it and move onto the next test. If nothing else to this point has worked, then check that these three switches do not have breaks in them.

You can perform these tests similarly to how you tested the coil previously. Measuring 0 ohms on each of these switches indicates that they are functioning properly. If you get infinite readings then there is a break and they will need to be replaced.


Now that you know the possible causes for why your riding mower is not starting and is not even making a click noise you can work towards solving the issue. 

Most of these problems can be identified and solved in a matter of minutes, though if you try everything and find that it is still not starting you may need to contact a professional to have the mower examined and repaired.