How to Start a Riding Lawnmower


Whenever you need to cut a large amount of grass in a concise period of time, the most manageable option is to go for a riding lawnmower. In the case of an extensive lawn, people often prefer a riding lawnmower over a standard one because it saves time and is less hectic to use.

Although riding lawnmowers are comfortable tools for cutting large patches of grass, they might be comparatively harder to operate. They are an effective tool not only for commercial use but also for personal utilization. These machines are a bit complex to use, so one might even face difficulty locating the ignition on such a machine.

How to Start a Riding Lawnmower:

  • Step 1: Troubleshooting your lawnmower
  • Step 2: Sit firmly in the seat
  • Step 3: Press the brake.
  • Step 4: Engage parking brake
  • Step 5: Shift gear to neutral
  • Step 6: Pull the throttle in the choke position
  • Step 7: Insert the key into the ignition
  • Step 8: Turn the key to the right.
  • Step 9: Move the throttle in a fast position

 Like driving a car, it is necessary to understand the machine before you get into the driver’s seat. One must spend a few seconds to do a pre-mow check to make certain everything is functioning properly. One essential thing to consider is that depending upon the brand under consideration, there might be little differences between the lawnmowers, but overall, their functionality is quite similar. Following are the steps that ought to be followed to start a riding lawnmower.

Start a riding lawnmower in 9 easy steps.

● Step 1: Troubleshooting the lawnmower

Before starting the lawnmower, it is important to tune and troubleshoot it.  Following are the steps that are necessary to troubleshoot the device.

– Change out the old fuel

Some mowers consist of a fuel gauge, while others have a fuel tank located either under the seat or in front of the mower. Before starting, make certain that the tank is filled with fresh gas and no leak there. Make sure that the gas is fresh as the old one clogs the system. 

– Check Oil level

Riding mowers require oil whose valve is located near the engine. With the help of a dipstick, determine whether the oil needs to be replaced. To drain the oil, place a container under the mower and open the drain valve.

Moreover, to replace the oil filter, one needs an oil filter wrench. After rubbing the filter with engine oil, tighten it back with the help of a wrench.

– Brush off the plugs

Spark plugs are located on the front of the lawnmower. Twist the wire gently until the spark plugs come off. After that, with the help of a wrench, remove them. Using a brush or sandpaper, clean off any dirt on them. In the case of corrosion, it is recommended to replace them. 

– Replace the Solenoid

If you hear a clicking sound, this means that there might be an electrical issue. To solve this, open the hood and disconnect the battery. Locate the wire that reaches the solenoid. After unscrewing the bolts with a socket wrench and then replace the solenoid with a new one. Make the connections again. To buy a solenoid, make sure that you know the model number on hand.

– Replace the battery

A battery with low health can hinder the lawnmower from starting. To replace the battery, locate it under the hood or seat. Clean the connecting wires. Undo the negative terminal (black wire) first and then the positive terminal (red wire). Now reverse the order when you are attaching the new batteries.

One can check the health of the battery via a voltmeter. While buying the replacement, make sure you know the model or make of the old battery.

– Clean the air filter and carburetor

The air filter of the lawnmower might get clogged due to dirt. This may hinder the lawnmower to start as oxygen is stopped, which is necessary for combustion. It is suggested that one should replace the air filter instead of cleaning it. 

To clean the carburetor and fuel filter, one must disassemble the engine to locate the fuel line leading from the tank to the engine. The carburetor is a bowl-shaped that connects the fuel line. It is usually blocked due to old fuel and dirt. One can use a special carburetor spray to clean it.

● Step 2: Sit firmly in the seat:

After you have tuned and troubleshot the lawnmower, it’s time you get ready to start it. It is recommended to sit firmly in the seat while engaging all the safety features as a first step. Various mowers have safety features that cause the engine to shut off as long as parking is engaged or no one is seated in it.

Before starting, make certain you have adjusted the seat to reach the pedals.

● Step 3: Press the break:

The break is a pedal that is located under the left foot of the rider. In some lawnmowers, instead of a pedal, the break is a lever. To engage the brake, you either need to push the pedal or lever down. Make certain that the brake is engaged before starting the machine.

● Step 4: Engage the parking break:

The location of the parking brake varies from model to model in a lawnmower. It is usually in the shape of a knob or a lever that is easily approachable by you. Once you have located the parking brake, slowly release the pedal break while pulling the knob/ lever.

That lawnmower that does not have a knob or a lever, their parking brake can be engaged by pushing the brake pedal.

● Step 5: Shift the gear to neutral:

After engaging the parking brake, the next step is to locate the gear shift lever and put it in neutral. Generally, it is located under the seat or near the steering. Shift the lever so that it’s point towards “N” that is meant for neutral.

For the lawnmower that doesn’t have a parking brake, holding down the brake pedal is necessary for the gear shift.  

● Step 6: Pull the throttle in choke position:

Now, locate the throttle, which is generally present next to the seat. The throttles have the signs of rabbits and turtles as a speed identification. The choke can be engaged by moving the throttle lever. Depending upon the type and brand of mower, the lever ought to be positioned between fast and slow settings or via pulling it way past fast to the point presented by a circle with a diagonal line passing through it.

● Step 7: Insert the key in the ignition:

After following all the above-mentioned steps, it’s time to put the key in the ignition switch, located in the lawnmower’s dashboard, ahead of the rider.

● Step 8: Turn the key to the right:

Now the key is in the ignition. After this, turn it all the way to the right, and the engine will start to roar. One needs to hold the key for 15 seconds or more till the engine completely starts.

● Step 9: Move the throttle in a fast position:  

Once the engine has started, go back to the throttle. Release the choke by moving the lever into the fast setting, which is often signaled by a rabbit sign.

Safety Measures and Tips:

  • Store indoors: Never leave the machine outdoors. Safely store it indoors in a garage so that the machine is protected from bad weather conditions.
  • Follow the instruction manual: In terms of replacing parts, it is suggested to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and opt for manufacturer-approved parts. For that, it’s necessary to remember the model number of your machine before you go out for a purchase.
  • Unplug the battery: Disconnect the battery before you disconnect the wires of the spark plug to avoid any hazard. Make sure that you follow the instruction manual once you go for a replacement or tune-up.
  • Maintenance: For cleaning and maintenance, opt for a well-ventilated area. Ensure that you have engaged the brake and the surface on which the lawnmower is standing is flat. Turn off the ignition and secure the key before getting into the cleaning or washing.

Final Remarks:

This article equips you with the necessary tools required to start a riding lawnmower. It states the starting process and the troubleshooting, which is a necessary prerequisite for starting the lawnmower. There are numerous benefits of a riding lawnmower in saving time and ease. Still, these perks can be well enjoyed if you deem to follow the above steps properly by keeping in mind all the necessary safety precautions.

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