Riding lawn mowers are best for cutting and shaping your lawn in quick time. When maintained properly, lawnmowers can last for years. But what if you lost your key or break it during ignition? You can’t even start your lawnmower? Well, In this article we will explain to you how to start a riding lawn mower with a screwdriver if you don’t have a key.
These riding lawn mowers feature ignition keys for two solid reasons. They offer a safety feature and it works like a safety prevention device. A lawnmower key gets lost sometimes or it may break off in the ignition. The case gets even worse when you don’t know how to start a riding lawn mower without a key. We will try to explain a few effective ways like how to start a riding lawn mower with a screwdriver or with a few other tools.
In simple words, you can:
- Start a Riding Lawn Mower With a Screwdriver
- Bypass the lawnmower key switch using the jumper cable
- Install new ignition switch
Please note that only adults are advised to attempts such methods especially the jumper cable technique. Mechanical work, especially when bypassing the ignition to directly utilizing the mower electrical system as it creates a serious situation.
Table of Contents
1. How to Start a riding lawn mower with a Screwdriver
There are two techniques of using the screwdriver to bypass the typical key start. For both methods, it is important to wear rubber gloves.
Method 1: (How to start a riding lawn mower with a screwdriver)
- Engage the mower’s brake and Disengage the cutting blades.
- Open the mower’s hood and locate the battery and ignition coil.
- Locate a small box hooked at one side of the engine compartment.
- Use the screwdriver for the bridge mechanism.
- If the space between the starter and the solenoid to engage, use a screwdriver as a bridge.
- Now touch both connectors using any end of the two-head screwdriver.
- In spite of touching the screwdriver, the lawnmower will start ultimately.
Method 2: (How to start a riding lawn mower with a screwdriver)
- Try to use the flat head screwdriver instead of the key.
- Carefully place the screwdriver in the keyhole.
- Rotate it in the hole just like a key to start the mower.
- It will successfully start the mower.
This technique works on various Cub Cadet and Craftsman models lawn riding mowers. Now you know how to start a riding lawn mower with a screwdriver.
2. Bypassing the Lawn Mower Key Switch (How to hotwire a lawn mower)
Bypass the lawn mower key switch is an elegant way of saying hot-wire the lawnmower. Since on a riding mower, it needs direct access to them and also uses the battery, it creates a safety concern.
Equipment needed for Bypass Method
A bypass method needs some equipment that includes
- A pair of rubber gloves
- Jumper cables
- Battery post cleaner
Always select the rubber made gloves because this material prevents electric current conduction. The rubber helps to keep you safe from electric shocks from the battery. Never hot-wire the mower if you are not wearing the rubber gloves.
Steps to Bypass the Key Switch or Hotwire lawn mower
After collecting all tools and safety equipment, you can now start the technique of bypassing the lawn mower’s key switch.
- Engage the mower’s brake and Disengage the cutting blades.
- Open the mower’s hood and locate the battery.
- Locate a small box hooked at one side of the engine compartment. A live wire runs from the battery to the solenoid to the starter.
- Disconnect the black and red cables from the solenoid.
- Clean the posts using the battery post cleaner by removing the entire corrosion and dirt.
- Reconnect the cables and fix the black jumper cable on the negative battery post.
- Fix the red jumper cable to the battery’s positive post.
- Touch the other end of the red jumper cable to the metal on the mower’s starter.
- Remove the red jumper cable from the starter when the engine turns over
- Remove the black jumper cable from the battery’s negative post.
- This will power up the engine and helps in starting the mower.
- Close the mower’s hood.
Hurray! Now you have hotwired your lawn mower.
3. Install a New Ignition Switch
If you don’t know how to use these methods for starting your riding lawn mower, the last solution is to take the vehicle to the repairing shop. Sometimes the manufacturer doesn’t provide the replacement keys for your mower, it is the last option you can try.
The mechanic will simply remove the old ignition switch by replacing it with the new one. You can now use the new keys to start your riding lawnmower.
Important Tips and Warnings
Here are some important tips that you should consider for the best performance and maintaining the lawnmower.
- Always place your lawnmower in the proper place and maintain it for the best performance.
- Don’t leave your machine outdoors as weather conditions may cause rust or other issues to your machine. Use lawn mower cover to safely store your mower in the shed.
- Always use the manufacturer-approved parts to replace them.
- Check the riding lawn mower in a properly ventilated area for cleaning and inspections.
- Remove the keys from the ignition when you turn off the lawnmower.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What do the letters mean on the back of an ignition switch?
The letters on the back of the ignition switch stand for M= Magneto, S= Starter Solenoid, L= Lights.
- How to Test an Ignition Switch?
Open the fuse panel that is present under the steering wheel. Pull the fuse for a starter signal with the fuse pullers in the panel.
Now check the metal strip to make sure the strip in neither damaged nor burned. Open the hood and turn its dial present on the voltmeter to Volts.
- When I turn my key in the ignition nothing happens?
When you turn the ignition key and nothing happens. It means that the starter motor is not able to turn over the engine. This may be due to the dead battery.
- How do I know if my ignition relay is bad?
Usually, a bad ignition relay produces few signs that can notify the driver of a serious problem.
The car immediately stalls while operating. The most common symptom of the bad ignition relay is a car that immediately stalls while operating.
- Dead battery.
- Car not starting.
- Burned relay.