Riding Lawn Mower Electrical Troubleshooting

Electrical Problem with a Riding Lawn Mower?

Engine won't start? There are a few potential possibilities - an empty fuel tank, an engine issue or possibly an electrical problem.  

Identify the problem

If one of the following occurs when you turn the key to the Start position, it's likely an Electrical issue:
  1. Nothing happens - the engine makes no sound and indicator lights do not turn on.
  2. Indicator lights turn on (on models so equipped), but the engine does not start.
  3. You hear a clicking noise, but the engine does not start.
Possible solutions are listed below. But if you're more comfortable having a professional troubleshoot your mower, you can take it to a certified MTD Parts service dealer for service and maintenance.


  1. If nothing happens when you turn the key to the Start position, the cables may not be making good contact with the battery terminals, or you've simply got a dead battery. Clean any corrosion off the battery terminals and tighten the cable clamps to the terminals. Put an automotive 12V charger on your battery and charge at low Amps.
  2. Indicator lights turn on, but the engine does not start? Your mower has a safety interlock system that prevents the engine from starting unless the operator is in the seat, the tractor's parking brake is applied and the PTO (Blade Engage) is in the OFF / Disengaged position. Some riding mowers have additional safety features. Please refer to your Operator's Manual, or take your mower to a certified MTD Parts service dealer to have the Safety Interlock System properly inspected.
  3. You hear a clicking noise when you turn the key to the Start position, but the engine does not start? This usually indicates a failed Starter Solenoid. Replacing a solenoid is fairly straight-forward, but if you're not comfortable tackling the job, please visit a certified MTD Parts service dealer.

If you'd like more information on riding lawn mower maintenance and repair, refer to your operator's manual  or visit our Diagnose & Troubleshoot page.

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