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How to Start a John Deere Lawnmower, Step by Step

John Deere is one of the most popular brands of tractor-type lawnmowers. Their trademark green-yellow lawn tractors are suitable for small, medium, and big yards because they range from 18 horsepower to 450 horsepower. The company has an ever-increasing and wide base of customers. Some new lawnmower owners are not experts and are unaware of various lawnmower procedures-as basic as how to start the mower. If you are a new owner of a John Deere lawnmower and don’t know how to start it, or even an older owner who doubts about the correct starting procedure, this blog will help you. It will cover the needed steps on how to start a John Deere lawnmower correctly.

How to start a John Deere lawnmower, step by step:

  • Step 1: Prestart checks
  • Step 2: Push the brake pedal and unlock the mower’s parking brake
  • Step 3: Move the throttle lever into the choke position for a cold mower or half-speed position for a warm mower
  • Step 4: Turn and hold the key to the start position for 5 seconds
  • Step 5: After the engine starts, let the key run to its initial position
  • Step 6: Let the engine run at half speed before you start operating the mower

There are various models of John Deere lawn tractors and riding mowers, but the starting procedure for all of them is almost the same, except for slightly different locations of components and parts. You can get accurate info about these locations from the manufacturer’s manual or the tractor body’s labels.

The starting procedure of a John Deere lawnmower is quite simple and can be performed in some minutes. Turning the engine off after you’re done mowing is equally important, and we’ll teach you that too. So, before further ado, let’s get into the details.

Starting Procedure of a John Deere Lawnmower/Lawn-tractor, Step by Step:

Starting a John Deere lawnmower is not difficult. All you need to do is to follow six easy steps. Before you start with the actual procedure, keep the following important things in mind:

  • Start the mower in an appropriate area: We recommend you never start your John Deere lawnmower in a closed space, such as a garage or a shed where the fumes can’t escape. The engine exhaust fumes contain toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, which is so dangerous that it can cause severe injury or even death if inhaled in an enclosed space. So, start the mower in an outdoor area, or open up the doors and windows if you intend to start it in the garage. If you cannot create adequate ventilation for the exhaust fumes in your garage, attach a pipe extension to the exhaust and run it outside. This way, the fumes will be directed away from you.
  • Sit in the seat: You need to be sitting in the seat facing the tractor’s front for starting it. This step may sound “too obvious,” but it is a must-do step. This is because the new models of John Deere tractors are equipped with safety switches that won’t let the engine start unless an operator is sitting in the seat.

With these two things ensured, proceed to the starting procedure.

● Step 1: Prestart checks

Before you should start your John Deere lawnmower, you should do some prestart checks. They involve checking the oil level, gas level and see if the blades are ok. Check that the blades are sharp and there are is visible damage. If all is ok, you can put the key in the ignitions slot. Often it is located on the right side of the steering wheel. Locate the slot and put the key into the slot, but don’t turn it in just yet. Turning the ignition key basically turns the ignition switch on, allowing current from the battery to start running through the ignition system. When you insert the key, it will be in the stop position; let it be in this position.

● Step 2: Push the brake pedal and unlock the mower’s parking brake

The brake pedal could be located on the left or right side of your lawnmower, depending on your own particular model. Put your foot on the brake pedal and push it all the way down, and hold it there. With the brake pedal fully pushed down, push the parking brake lever to unlock the brake. The parking brake lever is often located below the ignition.

● Step 3: Move the throttle lever into choke position for a cold mower or half-speed position for a warm mower

The throttle lever is positioned to the left side of the steering wheel. Locate the throttle lever. If your engine is cold, put the throttle lever in the cold start (choke) position. If you are starting an already warm engine, move the throttle lever to the half-speed position.

Keep in mind that your John Deere lawnmower might have a choke knob instead of a choke position. In this case, put the throttle in the half-speed position, then pull out the choke knob.

● Step 4: Turn and hold the key to the start position for 5 seconds

The next step is to turn the key all the way to the right (start position). Hold it in the turned position for five seconds, no longer. Release the key when the engine is starting..

If your engine does not start with one turn of the key, wait for around ten seconds, then turn and hold the key like before, and release it after no longer than five seconds. Repeat this procedure until your engine starts. A healthy engine with adequate fuel will start up on the first or second try.

Keep in mind that holding the key at the start position for more than five seconds can damage the starter. So, be careful in this process.

● Step 5: Let the key run to its initial position

Your engine will start running when the key is in the start position. Once the engine starts, let go of the key. The key will automatically return to the run position.

On the ignition switch, the run position is located to the immediate left of the start position. The key will stay in the run position as long as your John Deere lawnmower is running.

● Step 6: Let the engine run at half speed

The mower needs to warm up properly before it starts operating. So, let the engine idle for around two minutes before you start operating the mower.

Don’t let the engine idle for more than 2 minutes. If you are operating the mower and need to take a break longer than 2 minutes, turn the mower off instead of letting it idle. Turn it on when you are ready to operate it again.

With the engine started and the John Deere mower running, we hope you have a good time mowing the yard. Once you are done with the mowing, you need to turn the mower off too. In the next section, we’ll show you how to turn off a John Deere lawnmower.

Turning off Procedure of a John Deere Lawnmower/Lawn-tractor, Step by Step:

Follow the steps given below to turn off your John Deere lawnmower:

● Step 1: Move the throttle into the slow position

The first step is to move the throttle lever down to the slow position and let your mower idle at this speed for around 30 seconds. If you don’t perform this step before turning the engine off, unburnt fuel will stay in the engine. When the engine idles at a slow speed for half a minute, the engine’s amount of unburnt fuel is considerably minimized. Ensure that your mower is parked in an area with proper ventilation while it idles at a slow speed.

● Step 2: Turn the key to the stop position

The next step is to turn the key all the way to the left. With the key in the stop position, you’ll hear the engine turning off.

Don’t remove the key yet.

● Step 3: Engage the parking brake

Push the brake pedal all the way down and hold it in this position. With the brake pedal compressed, pull up the parking brake lever to lock the parking brake.

Once the parking brake is locked, take your foot off the brake pedal.

● Step 4: Remove the key

Once the mower is successfully turned off, remove the key from the ignition slot. Keep the key in a safe place.

John Deere Mower Starting Problems:

John Deere mowers are very reliable, but even the best machines can run into trouble. It is always possible that your John Deere lawnmower does not normally start because of several reasons. Most of these issues are not too serious and can be fixed by the user. This blog contains many step-by-step articles on how to deal with these problems.

Let’s look at some of these issues:

Possible Causes
Possible Causes
Engine clicks but fails to start.
● Battery terminals corroded
● Loose or damaged wiring
● Faulty starter (motor and/or solenoid)
● Weak/dead battery  
The engine is hard to start.
● Faulty spark plug
● Dirty air filter
● Dirty fuel filter
● Weak/dead battery
Bad gas
● A faulty or dirty carburetor
● Misadjusted engine valves
● Temperature below 0 oC (32 oF)

The issues mentioned in the table are pretty common for all lawnmowers. The best way to deal with these issues is to avoid them with regular maintenance of your John Deere lawnmower. You can consult the manufacturer’s manual to learn all the maintenance routines to keep your mower healthy. Maintenance increases both the performance and life of machines.

Final Remarks:

It is common for new lawnmower owners to get confused about the starting and turning off procedure. If you are a new John Deere mower owner, it is time for your confusion to go away. The guidelines provided in this blog post will help you with the starting and turning off procedures. After performing these procedures two or three times, you’ll begin to remember them and won’t need to refer to the instructions anymore. To ensure that your John Deere mower starts up and runs smoothly, perform regular maintenance.