How To Troubleshoot a Lawn Mower That Isn’t Turning Over

Have you ever encountered a situation where your lawn mower won’t turn over or fails to do that even after several tries? If yes, it must have kept you thinking about whether it is possible to troubleshoot this problem or how to troubleshoot a lawn mower that doesn’t turn over.

Firstly, gather up all the required tools and materials. Then, inspect the current state of the spark plugs, spark plug lead, battery, solenoid, and starter thoroughly. Clean, repair or replace the faulty or damaged internal elements. Next, check whether the engine is seized up and manually push the blades to unseize it.

Keep reading this following article and learn the detailed way of troubleshooting a lawn mower not turning over.

3 Steps to troubleshoot a lawn mower not turning over: 

Imagine you are about to start your work, and out of the blue, you figure out that your lawn mower not turning over.

If you have no recollection of what might have gone wrong or cannot pinpoint the reason behind such commotion, you can start by checking the basic areas and applying simple fixing tricks.

Sometimes, people only think of bigger issues and overlook the simple minor faults that can lead us to experience such troubles.

But if minor fixes can save your time and money, why would you want to invest in professional servicing for minor fixings.

That’s why I have decided to present a quick, easy, and cost-effective DIY method of troubleshooting a lawn mower that does not turn over.

Things required to troubleshoot the lawn mower not turning over:

Have a proper glance at the checklist of the required tools and materials:

Standard Mechanical toolkitSpark plug cleaner
SocketNew Spark plug & lead (if needed)
Spark plug testerNew Battery (if required)
Wire brushNew Starter kit (if necessary)
Safety GlovesSolenoid replacement kit (if needed)

Step 1- Check the Spark plugs & Spark plug lead:

As soon as you encounter such troubles, you should make sure that the spark plugs and the plug lead are in good working condition.

Check the Spark plugs & Spark plug lead

First, you should check whether the spark plugs are operating properly or defected because the mower won’t turn over with a defective spark plug on it.

Check the Spark plugs & Spark plug lead 2

To inspect, disconnect the lead and clean the surrounding area. Then, use a socket to remove the plug.

Check the Spark plugs & Spark plug lead 3

Next, if the plug looks dirty, clean it with a wire brush and a spark plug cleaner. Then reinsert it again and ensure it fits into the position securely.

If the spark plug looks damaged, cracked, or broken, you should replace it.

Check the Spark plugs & Spark plug lead 4

After that, you should inspect the spark plug lead with a spark plug tester or multimeter.

Check the Spark plugs & Spark plug lead 5

Connect one tester prong to the spark plug lead and the other end to the spark plug. Then, try to start the engine and verify the result with your mower’s user manual. If required, replace the spark plug lead.

Step 2- Check the Battery, Solenoid & Starter:

While checking the spark plugs and plug lead’s state, do not forget to inspect the condition of the battery and solenoid.

Check the Battery, Solenoid & Starter

Follow the step-by-step instruction provided in this video to troubleshoot your mower battery thoroughly.

Watch this DIY video to test the solenoid’s condition.

Besides that, you should also test the starter to confirm whether the starter is the main culprit of your lawn mower’s turnover failure or not.

Check the Battery, Solenoid & Starter 2

To troubleshoot your lawn mower starter easily and thoroughly, without skipping a single step follow this video.

Step 3- Manually pushing the Engine Blades:

In case you are experiencing the same issue of hearing only clicks whenever you turn the key, it’s most probably the engine is causing such trouble by being seized up.

Manually pushing the Engine Blades

Thus, manually just push on it to get the engine to turn over, but do not push it too hard because it’s plastic.

Manually pushing the Engine Blades 2

First, take this cover off and you will see four screws here.

Then, take off those screws too.

Manually pushing the Engine Blades 3

Now, try to push it with your fingers to make sure the motors are free and bound up.

Manually pushing the Engine Blades 4

Check whether the mower is starting over or turning over now and if none of the above fixing tricks work for your mower, be sure to contact the nearest service provider for professional assistance.


Performing such repairing tasks can be hazardous. Thus, make sure you have enough knowledge and expertise to perform them. Remember to first read your mower’s instructions manual before operating, servicing, or troubleshooting it.

Watch this video.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes my riding lawn mower not to crank?

There can be various reasons behind a riding lawn mower starting trouble or failure, such as stale gas, ignition switch malfunctioning, a bad battery, or failed alternator.

How to determine if my lawn mower spark plug is bad?

Remember, the more worn out or dirty the spark plugs are, the greater the tug on the rewind, and you will need more effort to produce an adequate spark.

Thus, if you notice that your lawn mower won’t start or the lawn mower engine requires a constant tug on the rewind to start, you most probably have a damaged or broken spark plug in your lawn mower ignition system.

Is it possible to unseize a lawn mower engine?

The easiest way to unseize your lawn mower engine is to turn the internal blades manually using your hand.

To do this, put on the safety gloves and hold or clamp down the blade activation lever on the handle. Then, try to push the blades.

Where should I spray starter fluid in my riding mower?

Spray a light quantity of starter fluid directly into your lawn mower’s carburetor chamber.

You can also spray the starter fluid into the intake near the air filter or the engine’s spark plug bore.

How to determine if the starter solenoid on my riding mower is bad?

The most common sign or symptoms of a bad starter solenoid are engine starting struggle, no cracking, no clicking sound while the engine starts, the starter tends to spin without engaging the Flywheel fully, or the engine cranks slowly.

Final Verdict

Lawn mowers won’t turn over trouble is not a new thing among the mower user community, and sometimes, easy DIY fixing techniques can save both your time and money.

Initially, the entire troubleshooting process might seem a bit complicated, but if you follow all the instructions given in today’s article, you can fix the problem easily and quickly.

Remember, you can only get the best outcome if you thoroughly follow all the instructions to troubleshoot a lawn mower not turning over.

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