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Step-by-Step Guide in 2023: How to Test a Lawn Mower Starter

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Welcome to the step-by-step guide on how to test a lawn mower starter. If your lawn mower has trouble starting, it may be due to a faulty starter. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through testing a lawn mower starter to determine if it’s the cause of your mower’s starting problems.

how to test a lawn mower starter

By following these steps, you can save time and money by diagnosing the problem accurately and avoiding unnecessary repairs. So, let’s dive in and get your lawn mower up and running again!

Understanding Test a Lawn Mower Starter

Before we jump into the testing process, it’s essential to have a basic understanding of how lawn mower starters work. The starter is a crucial component of the engine’s combustion process. It comprises several parts: the solenoid, starter motor, starter drive gear, and ignition switch. A problem with any of these components might prevent your lawn mower from starting since each one is essential to the starting process.

Signs of a Faulty Lawn Mower Starter

To determine if your lawn mower starter is the culprit behind the starting issues, it’s crucial to recognize the signs of a faulty starter. Here are some common symptoms that may indicate a problem with your lawn mower starter:

  • The engine cranks slowly or not at all.
  • You hear a clicking sound when turning the ignition key.
  • The starter motor spins but fails to engage the engine.
  • Smoke or a burning smell coming from the starter area.
  • Frequently blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to test your lawn mower starter and diagnose the issue accurately.

Safety Precautions

Before starting any maintenance or testing procedures on your lawn mower, it’s essential to prioritize safety. Here are some safety precautions you should follow:

  • Wear protective gloves and safety glasses.
  • To avoid accidental starting, disconnect the spark plug wire.
  • Work on a flat, stable surface with sufficient lighting.
  • Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings.

By taking these safety measures, You can reduce the possibility of harm and ensure the testing procedure is secure.

Tools and Materials Needed

To test a lawn mower starter effectively, gather the following tools and materials:

  • Socket set
  • Multimeter
  • Screwdrivers (flathead and Phillips)
  • Battery terminal cleaner
  • Safety gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Cleaning brush
  • Replacement starter (if necessary)

Having these items ready will enable you to perform the tests smoothly and efficiently.

Step-by-Step Guide to Test a Lawn Mower Starter

Step 1: Preparation

Before diving into the testing process, preparing your lawn mower for the procedure is important. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Park the lawn mower on a flat surface and engage the parking brake.
  • Disconnect the spark plug wire and secure it away from the spark plug.
  • Clean the battery terminals and ensure a secure connection.
  • These preparatory steps create a safe and suitable environment for testing the lawn mower starter.

Step 2: Locating the Starter

The next step is to locate the starter on your lawn mower. The starter is typically located on the engine block, near the flywheel or the crankshaft. Consult your lawn mower’s manual to find the precise location. Once located, proceed to the next step.

Step 3: Testing the Starter Solenoid

The starter solenoid is crucial in connecting the starter motor to the battery. To test the solenoid, follow these steps:

  • 1. Connect the multimeter’s red lead to the solenoid terminal and the black information to a ground source.
  • 2. Set the multimeter to the continuity or resistance mode.
  • 3. Activate the ignition switch to the “Start” position.
  • 4. Check for continuity or a low resistance reading on the multimeter.

If the multimeter shows no continuity or a high resistance reading, the solenoid may be faulty and require replacement.

Step 4: Testing the Starter Motor

The starter motor is responsible for cranking the engine. To test the starter motor, perform the following steps:

  • 1. Disconnect the starter motor’s electrical connections.
  • 2. The red lead of the multimeter should be connected to the starting motor’s positive terminal, and the black information should be connected to a ground source.
  • 3. Set the multimeter to the continuity or resistance mode.
  • 4. Activate the ignition switch to the “Start” position.
  • 5. Check for continuity or a low resistance reading on the multimeter.

The starter motor may be faulty and need replacement without continuity or a high resistance reading.

Step 5: Checking the Starter Drive Gear

The starter drive gear engages with the flywheel to crank the engine. A worn or damaged drive gear can cause starting issues. To check the starter drive gear, follow these steps:

  • 1. Locate the starter drive gear near the starter motor.
  • 2. Inspect the gear for wear, damage, or debris signs.
  • 3. Rotate the gear by hand to ensure smooth movement.

Replacing the starter drive gear may be necessary if you notice any abnormalities or the gear fails to rotate smoothly.

Step 6: Inspecting the Ignition Switch

A faulty ignition switch can prevent the starter from receiving power, resulting in starting problems. To inspect the ignition switch, proceed as follows:

  • 1. Locate the ignition switch on your lawn mower.
  • 2. Inspect the switch for signs of damage, loose connections, or debris.
  • 3. Ensure the switch moves freely between the “Off,” “On,” and “Start” positions.

If you notice any issues or suspect a faulty ignition switch, consider replacing it to eliminate it as a potential cause of the starting problem.

Step 7: Verifying the Battery Condition

A weak or dead battery can affect the starter’s performance. To verify the battery condition, follow these steps:

  • Disconnect the battery from the lawn mower.
  • Use a multimeter to measure the battery voltage.
  • Ensure the battery voltage is within the manufacturer’s recommended range.

If the battery voltage is low or below the recommended range, recharge or replace the battery as necessary.

Step 8: Testing the Electrical Connections

Loose or corroded electrical connections can disrupt the current flow to the starter. To test the electrical connections, perform the following:

  • Inspect the wiring connections for corrosion, looseness, or damage.
  • Clean the connections using a battery terminal cleaner or a wire brush.
  • Ensure all connections are tight and secure.

By ensuring proper electrical connections, you can eliminate any potential disruptions and improve the starter’s performance.

Step 9: Troubleshooting Common Starter Problems

This step will address some common starter problems and their possible solutions. Refer to the FAQ section below for detailed troubleshooting answers.

Step 10: Replacing a Faulty Starter

If all previous tests indicate a faulty starter, it may be necessary to replace it. Consult your lawn mower’s manual or seek professional assistance for the specific replacement procedure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I test a lawn mower starter without removing it from the engine?

Testing some starter components without removing them entirely from the engine is possible. However, specific tests require the starter’s disconnection for accurate results.

What is the purpose of a starter solenoid?

The starter solenoid switches, allowing current to flow from the battery to the starter motor. It engages the starter motor’s gear with the engine’s flywheel, initiating cranking.

How often should I test my lawn mower starter?

Testing your lawn mower starter if you experience starting issues or as part of regular maintenance is recommended. Trying the starter can help identify problems early and prevent more extensive damage.

Can a faulty starter damage other components of the lawn mower?

Yes, a faulty starter can cause damage to other components, such as the flywheel or the ignition system. It is essential to address starter issues promptly to avoid further damage.

Should I seek professional help for testing and repairing my lawn mower starter?

If you need clarification on the testing or repair process, it is recommended to consult a professional or seek assistance from a qualified technician. They can provide expert guidance and ensure proper repairs.


Congratulations! You have completed the step-by-step guide on how to test a lawn mower starter. By following the outlined steps and performing the necessary tests, you can diagnose starter-related issues and determine the best course of action.

Remember to prioritize safety throughout the process and seek professional assistance if needed. Now that you have the knowledge and tools, you can confidently troubleshoot and resolve lawn mower starting problems. Get out there and enjoy a well-maintained and smoothly-running lawn mower!

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