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Ryobi Lawnmower Starting Problems: Troubleshooting & Fixes

Most homeowners buy lawnmowers to keep their lawns neat and finely trimmed. Just like any machine, Ryobi lawnmowers, too, require periodic maintenance and proper handling so that they keep performing seamlessly. If a Ryobi lawnmower malfunctions, such as by not starting or stopping after starting, you should know how to perform an initial troubleshooting to fix these issues yourself.

Ryobi Lawnmower starting problems:

If your electric Ryobi Lawnmower fails to start, it could either be a faulty power switch, a blown fuse, or a tripped circuit breaker. If you’re using an extension cord, it could also be the cause of the problem.  For battery-powered mowers, the battery charging could be the issue in addition to a faulty start switch. Fixing the lawnmower requires troubleshooting these individual components one by one.

In this article, I have explained the possible step-by-step approaches that can be adopted to make your Ryobi lawnmower up and running again.

Factors Causing Starting Problems in Ryobi Lawnmowers:

Both corded and cordless lawnmowers have a lot less maintenance needs than gas-powered lawnmowers and are less prone to undergo starting problems. These devices have an electric motor powered by either a battery (in cordless mowers) or AC mains (in corded electric mowers).

Most problems that occur while starting these lawnmowers are related to the power source. A standard troubleshooting procedure is described below that you can follow in case the lawnmower doesn’t start.

1. Faulty/Loose Connections

If the electric lawnmower shuts down all of a sudden or doesn’t start, the first thing to check is the electrical connections. Almost 60-70% of the problems are due to dirty/faulty/loose electrical connections. Ensure the plug is inserted tightly and the socket isn’t faulty.

Check that the battery is inserted correctly. If that is the case, check the terminal on both the mower and the battery. Clean them using some alcohol. I do not recommend cleaning them with something sharp, as this will remove the top part of the terminals.

If you’re using an extension cord to access larger areas, check if the cord isn’t at fault. Try plugging the lawnmower directly into the switch to troubleshoot the extension cord. After verifying all the connections, see if the problem is solved.

2. Faulty On/off Switch

If the lawnmower doesn’t start after initial checks, check if the start switch is working fine or not. To inspect the switch, all you need is a multimeter. Set the multimeter to resistance mode and perform a continuity check by placing it at the terminals of the start switch while keeping the switch on.

If the meter shows some resistance value, the switch is working fine. The switch is faulty and should be replaced if infinite resistance is shown. Ryobi switches are available online or at your local dealer. Replacing them is relatively easy.

3. Blown Circuit Breakers/Fuses

Circuit breakers of your house may trip in the event of excessive current flow or voltage fluctuation. As a result, if it’s plugged into the socket, the electric lawnmower won’t work unless the breaker is reset. Check your house’s circuit breaker box and ensure all the circuit breakers are turned on.

Some houses may have fuses installed on circuit breakers. Hence, in the event of a sudden electric shutdown, you can check the fuse box and search for blown fuses. Reinstalling a new fuse may solve the problem.

If you cannot identify the blown fuse or fix it, contact a professional to solve the issue.

4. Battery

One of the most obvious reasons your battery-powered lawnmower has stopped working is because the battery has been discharged or overheated. If the battery is fully charged and the connections are secure and conducting, your battery probably has overheated.

In such a scenario, stop the lawnmower, let the battery cool down, and recharge it. Most battery-powered lawnmowers are designed with a safety feature to shut down if the battery or motor overheats.

Ryobi Riding Lawnmowers:

Ryobi riding lawnmowers are battery-operated and often come with a runtime of approximately 2.5 hours or more (i.e. this depends on the model and battery). These riding lawnmowers do not employ any sparkplugs, flywheels, or carburetors. Following are some of the common problems that may occur with such devices.

1. Riding Lawnmower Does Not Start?

There could be various causes why your electric lawnmower fails to start. Some of these reasons include: 

  • Safety Switches: Safety switches, as well as seat and blade adjustment switches, might cause your lawnmower not to start. Make sure all these switches are disengaged before you start the mower. 
  • Battery: Make sure that the battery is completely charged before use.
  • Debris: Your mower may not start properly because of excessive debris accumulation that could stop the blades from turning.

2. Riding Lawnmower Starts But Then Dies?

It could be due to the following reasons.

– Insufficient Battery Power:

Your electric mower won’t continue running if your battery power is insufficient. The battery could be discharged completely or have loose or non-conducting terminal connections. It is also possible that one or more cells in the battery are failing. Or if the battery is old, it could not store enough energy, as it loses capacity every time you charge it.

– Overheating of the Battery:

The battery may be excessively overheated due to long-term use or electrical wiring faults. In case of overheating, shut the mower down instantly and let the battery cool down.

– Bad Safety Switch:

Your mower might be unable to start if any of your safety switches malfunction. You can test each switch or use a jumper wire to bypass them temporarily.

Make sure the defective switches are replaced. I recommend not using your lawnmower unless all safety switches are operational for your protection.

– Defective Motor:

If the problem isn’t fixed after troubleshooting the battery, the electric motor is the only malfunctioning item left. It is possible that a voltage surge could have damaged the motor windings, and the lawnmower does not work anymore.

A winding burnout is highly likely if the motor gives off a spark during the shutdown. If your product is under warranty, contact the Ryobi service center to fix or replace the motor. In case the warranty is void you can try to replace the motor if you can find a replacement. Or contact a professional for help.

5. Ryobi Lawnmower Has A Dead Battery?

Almost all lawnmowers by Ryobi are battery-powered. It is common for a mower to not start because of a dead battery. 

  • Battery: Check first if the battery is mounted correctly and locked in place.
  • Check the connections: First, ensure all terminals and connections are tight and conducted correctly. 
  • Clean the terminals: Terminals must be cleaned for corrosion or residues using some alcohol or a metal wire brush. But take care not to damage the terminals with the metal brush. If the residues remain, clean the terminals with a baking soda solution. Make sure you wear rubber while handling the terminals. 
  • Check the voltage: Test the battery with a multimeter and make sure the voltage is above 12.7 when fully charged.

If the battery still does not work after recharging, replace it with an identical one. 

Ryobi Self-Propelled Lawnmowers:

Some of the commonly occurring problems with Ryobi self-propelled lawnmowers are given below:

1. Self-Propelled Lawnmower Doesn’t Start?

If you have an electric or battery-powered self-propelled lawnmower, the troubleshooting steps are the same as with a Ryobi riding lawnmower.

– For Electric Self-Propelled Mowers:

  • Check the socket and plugs for looseness. Search for blown fuses and tripped circuit breakers if any.
  • Using a multimeter, inspect both the start switch and the power cord for breakage or other damage.
  • Try plugging it directly into the socket if you’re using an extension cord.

– For Battery-Powered Self-Propelled Mowers:

  • Examine the start switch and check for continuity.
  • Check the battery charging and connections. Allow the battery to cool down if overheated.

2. Self-Propelled Lawnmower Shuts Down?

There are three reasons why your electric lawn mower can stop working suddenly. 

  • The circuit breaker or a fuse has been blown out.
  • The overheated motor has tripped the thermal cut switch.
  • The socket connection has become loose.
  • Grass or debris has been stuck between the blades.

Do check the plugs along with the fuses and the safety switches. If the battery has overheated, allow it to cool down for 10 minutes.

Important Consideration:

Make sure the blades aren’t plugged with grass clippings. Note that this issue is more likely to occur in self-propelled lawnmowers with shorter blades and a relatively small cutting deck.

This makes it more likely for grass and debris to become trapped between the blade and the spindle. The motor gets overloaded when the spindle gets jammed, and the mower may not run.

To prevent this problem, it’s better to develop a routine practice of cleaning the mower’s underside after every run. This becomes even more important when mowing unkept grass that is greater or equal to 6 inches long or the grass is damp.

Ryobi Battery Powered Lawnmowers:

Compared with electric lawnmowers, battery-powered lawnmowers are easier to operate since they provide greater reach and are portable. They are also much safer as a DC battery lessens the risk of electrical hazards posed while dealing with AC mains.

Due to their greater utility, these mowers have gained quite popularity among users. From the user experience, some of the commonly occurring problems with these mowers are:

1. Battery-Powered Lawnmower Doesn’t Start?

The battery-powered lawnmower may not start if the battery has drained entirely or if it’s incorrectly installed. A faulty start switch or foreign debris stuck between the blades can also cause this problem.

– Loose Connections:

To tackle this problem, the first thing to be done is to ensure the battery is installed correctly. When inserted into the compartment, the battery often clicks, confirming that it’s set correctly. Other than the connections, check if the battery is charged up.

– Low Charging:

This is often indicated by battery lights that could give off a red warning (indicating lack of charge). But in some cases, the battery charger doesn’t function correctly, so the battery quickly runs out of juice. To test the charger, connect a multimeter at its outlet and see if it shows any voltage.

If you are unsure if the charger is working correctly, I recommend going to your local dealer and letting it check.

– Starter Switch:

Once the battery has been diagnosed and works correctly, you should check the starter switch using a multimeter. A mechanical fault in the switch or loose electrical connections may be causing the problem. Replace the switch if it is faulty.

– Debris Stuck:

In some cases, debris stuck between the blades may also overload the motor so it wouldn’t start. Turn your lawnmower over and clean the underside of the mower deck.

– Safety Checks:

Lastly, ensure you correctly follow the starting procedure by engaging all the necessary levers and safety switches while starting the motor. Some motors may not start if the brake and the blade engagement levers aren’t pressed.

If the machine still doesn’t start after the above troubleshooting, you should ask a mechanic to diagnose the electric motor.

4. Battery-Powered Lawnmower Shuts Down?

A battery-powered lawnmower shuts down due to insufficient battery charging. The buildup of debris underneath the blades could also cause this shutdown due to the motor overheating.

Start by checking the battery level and recharging it if needed. Check for debris buildup under the blades if that doesn’t restart the device. After cleaning the underside of the mower, restart the motor again. Check for a faulty start switch if it still doesn’t turn on. Perform a switch replacement if needed.

Sometimes, overheating the motor may also trigger the thermal switch. This safety feature is added to avoid thermal damage to the motor windings. You should allow the mower to cool down for about 10 minutes and restart it again.

If the lawnmower continues to shut down or doesn’t start, it indicates a possible fault in the motor windings. I recommend consulting a professional to help fix this issue.

Lawnmower Starting Problems

1. Gas-Powered Lawnmower Starting Problems

Lawnmower doesn’t start
a. Empty fuel tank
b. Clogged carburetor
c. Air filter blocked with dirt.
d. Spark plug with worn-out electrodes
a. Before adding fresh, drain old fuel residues from the tank.
b. Inspect and clean the air and fuel filters from debris. Replace if necessary.
c. Disassemble and clean the carburetor using a carb. cleaner liquid.
d. Replace the spark plug if electrodes are worn out.
Lawnmower starts but then dies
a. Blocked air filter
b. Clogged carburetor jets
c. Vapor lock in the fuel tank
a. Clean the air filter using soap and water. Replace if needed.
b. Clean the carburetor jets from residues using a carb cleaner spray.
c. Clean the fuel tank vents to prevent a vapor lock.
Lawnmower is smoking
a. Oil leaking into the combustion chamber
b. Blocked air filter  
a. Avoid overfilling the oil tank.
b. Always tilt the mower with the air filter pointing upwards.
c. Check and replace worn-out gaskets.
d. Clean the air filter.
The lawnmower runs rough/misfires
a. Stale fuel deposits in the fuel system.
b. Broken flywheel key
a. Perform a complete tune-up involving cleaning the filters, carburetor, and fuel lines.
b. Replace the flywheel key.

2. Corded Electric Lawnmower Starting Problems

Lawnmower doesn’t start
a. Loose connection
b. Defective extension cord
c. Faulty start switch
d. Tripped circuit breaker
a. Ensure the connections aren’t loose and the socket is working.
b. Try plugging in directly without an extension cord.
c. Test the start switch using a multimeter and replace it if needed.
d. Reset the tripped circuit breaker.
The lawnmower shuts down during operation.
a. Loose plug at the socket
b. Tripped circuit breaker
c. Motor winding damage
a. Ensure the connection isn’t loose and the socket works.
b. Reset the circuit breaker or replace the blown switches.
c. Contact customer support to seek a replacement in case of motor damage.

3. Cordless Battery Powered Lawnmower Starting Problems

Lawnmower doesn’t start
a. Low battery
b. Faulty start switch  
a. Ensure the battery is fully charged.
b. Test the start switch for continuity using a multimeter.  
The lawnmower shuts down during operation.
a. Low battery
b. Overheating
c. Debris obstructing the blades  
a. Ensure the battery is fully charged.
b. Let the lawnmower cool down for 10-15 minutes and restart.
c. Clean the mower’s underside and remove any debris/grass clippings.

4. Robotic Lawnmower Starting Problems

Lawnmower doesn’t start
a. Disconnected boundary wire
b. Faulty power supply
c. Software update
d. Debris stuck in blades
a. Ensure the boundary wire is connected to the charging station.
b. The battery connections should be correct and the charging should be sufficient.
c. Keep the software up to date.
d. Remove any debris stuck between blades.
The lawnmower keeps shutting down mid-operation
a. Ensure the boundary wire is connected to the charging station.
b. The battery connections should be correct, and the charging should be sufficient.
c. Keep the software up to date.
d. Remove any debris stuck between blades.
a. Avoid mowing when the conditions are damp.
b. Resolve error messages on the display.

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  1. Jerome Myers says:

    I appreciate the detailed steps provided in the article, it makes troubleshooting easier.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Jerome! I’m glad you found the steps helpful for troubleshooting your Ryobi lawnmower. Happy mowing!

  2. John Knight says:

    What is the average lifespan of a Ryobi lawnmower battery?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      The average lifespan of a Ryobi lawnmower battery ranges from 3 to 5 years, depending on usage and maintenance. Regular charging and proper storage can help extend its life.

  3. Linda Kelley says:

    Is there a specific brand of battery charger recommended for Ryobi lawnmowers?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      I recommend using the Ryobi battery charger specifically designed for Ryobi lawnmowers for optimal performance. Check the Ryobi website or authorized dealers for the recommended charger.

  4. Yolanda Hoffman says:

    Do Ryobi lawnmowers come with a warranty that covers starting problems?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Yes, Ryobi lawnmowers come with a warranty that covers starting problems. Follow the troubleshooting steps in the blog post to fix any issues. Good luck!

  5. Joe Garrett says:

    Can I use a different type of battery for my Ryobi lawnmower if the original one fails?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Yes, it’s best to use the same type of battery for your Ryobi lawnmower to ensure seamless performance. Always check for compatibility before making any changes.

  6. Hailey Kelly says:

    Do you have any recommendations for storing a Ryobi lawnmower during the winter months?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      For storing a Ryobi lawnmower during winter, ensure it’s cleaned, drained of fuel, and stored in a dry area. Remove the battery and store it separately to maintain its charge.

  7. Neil Ortiz says:

    Can I replace the battery of my Ryobi lawnmower myself, or do I need to seek professional help?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      You can replace the battery of your Ryobi lawnmower yourself. Just ensure the connections are secure, switch is working, and battery is charged. Troubleshoot step by step following the blog post guidance.

  8. Norman Torres says:

    I never knew how complex lawnmowers could be, thank you for breaking down the troubleshooting steps.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for reading, Norman! I’m glad you found the troubleshooting steps helpful. Let me know if you have any other questions about lawnmowers.

  9. Kelly Peterson says:

    Should I unplug my lawnmower after every use to prevent circuit issues?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      It’s not necessary to unplug your lawnmower after every use. Just ensure proper maintenance and troubleshooting if needed. Keep your lawn looking great!

  10. Arthur Kelly says:

    This article is very helpful, I was struggling with my lawnmower but now I have some troubleshooting steps to follow.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Arthur! I’m glad the troubleshooting steps were helpful. If you have any more questions or need further assistance, feel free to ask. Happy mowing!

  11. Allan Holland says:

    Great article, very informative and useful for Ryobi lawnmower owners.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Allan! I’m glad you found the article informative. Let me know if you have any questions or need further assistance with your Ryobi lawnmower.

  12. Jacqueline Scott says:

    I appreciate the tips provided for maintaining a Ryobi lawnmower, very useful information.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Jacqueline! I’m glad you found the tips useful for maintaining your Ryobi lawnmower. Happy mowing!

  13. Soham Byrd says:

    I’ve had starting issues with my lawnmower in the past, this article will help me fix it next time.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Glad to hear that you found the article helpful, Soham. Let me know if you need any further assistance with your lawnmower. Happy mowing!

  14. Bertha Green says:

    Thank you for explaining the potential starting issues with Ryobi lawnmowers, this was very helpful.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Bertha! I’m glad you found the information helpful. If you have any more questions or need further assistance, feel free to reach out.

  15. Marshall Cox says:

    What safety precautions should I take when troubleshooting my Ryobi lawnmower?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Hi Marshall, when troubleshooting your Ryobi lawnmower, ensure proper connections, check start switch, inspect for blown fuses, clean blades, and test battery charging. Good luck with the repairs!

  16. Lesa Brewer says:

    It’s great to have a guide to troubleshoot my lawnmower without needing to call a professional.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Lesa! I’m glad the troubleshooting guide was helpful to you. Let me know if you need any further assistance with your lawnmower.

  17. Cathy Jackson says:

    Thank you for the step-by-step troubleshooting guide, very clear and easy to follow.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Cathy! I’m glad you found the troubleshooting guide helpful. If you have any more questions or need further assistance, feel free to reach out.

  18. Willard Spencer says:

    How often should I clean the terminals of my lawnmower to prevent starting issues?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Hello Willard, cleaning the terminals of your lawnmower every 3-4 months can prevent starting issues. Make sure they are free of debris and corrosion. Hope this helps!

  19. Matthew Burton says:

    I didn’t know there were so many components to check when a lawnmower doesn’t start, this was informative.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for your feedback, Matthew! I’m glad you found the information helpful when troubleshooting lawnmower starting issues. Let me know if you have any more questions.

  20. Albert Richards says:

    Is there a specific maintenance schedule that should be followed for Ryobi lawnmowers?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Regular maintenance for Ryobi lawnmowers includes checking connections, switches, and batteries. Troubleshoot step by step to fix starting issues. Always ensure safety switches are operational.