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Why Won’t My Riding Mower Start?

Having trouble starting your riding lawn mower? Here are some potential causes and ways to troubleshoot the issue to get your mower operating properly.

Common Causes

Some of the potential reasons for rider startup failures include:

  • Fuel-related issues
  • Improper engine operation
  • Spark plug issues
  • A disengaged parking brake
  • Engaged blades

Depending on the model, your mower may have a service monitor, which could indicate a specific area of the mower that needs attention (e.g., battery or air filter).

Step-by-Step Startup Troubleshooting

  1.  It may sound simple, but if your mower will not start, try turning off the mower blades or PTO shaft, set the brake, and try starting it again. The parking brake must always be fully engaged when starting.
  2. Next, check the fuel level in the tank, and be sure to always use fresh fuel if the tank is low. Many issues with small engines stem from stale fuel. You may need to replace the fuel filter, as it may be blocked.
  3.  Next, make sure the engine is choked. If the engine still does not start, check the oil level. If it is low or empty, it could be a sign of internal engine damage. If this is the case, contact an authorized service center.
  4. You should also check the air filter. If it’s dirty, replace the air filter with a new one to provide better air flow through the engine.
  5. If the engine still does not start, check the spark plug. The various colors of the plugs will typically indicate the root problems for a lawn mower that does not start.

If problems persist, you’ll need to see a local authorized servicing dealer. You can also find genuine replacement parts for Troy-Bilt® products here.