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Easy Guide for Starting a Riding Lawn Mower | Reasons Why it Won’t Turn Over

To cut a large swathe of grass in a short time, using Riding Lawn Mower is one of the convenient ways to deal with it. If you have a wide lawn, a riding lawn mower provides you with various advantages, but it is quite expensive compared to the traditional mowers. The steps to start a mower slightly differ from one brand to the other, but more or less, the basic concept will be the same. However, every mower follows one general rule – it is to be noted that the starter should not crank for more than 15 seconds at a time. Also, there are times when it won’t start after sitting for a long period. Below you can find out how to start a riding lawn mower in such situations.

Don’t you ask yourself why you should buy a riding lawn mower rather than a traditional mower? Let us explore and find out the answer to this question by acquiring knowledge regarding the uses and benefits of riding lawn mowers below.

Benefits of Riding Lawn Mower

There are more benefits of using a riding lawn mower than the traditional mower. For example, tending the garden seems the most tedious job, right? However, this could be easier and less time-consuming with the latest innovative models.

  • Variety of Features: There are various features available, and one among them is the models that offer mulching capabilities. On the other hand, some other specific models use catch grass clippings. Some models inherit both features.
  • Storage: This model could be more beneficial as it can store large quantities of fuel, but most of the other models use electric start-up, and it is very easy to handle.
  • Flexibility: You can adjust the cutting decks as per your need. Also, it is very easy to find replacement parts when you use a riding lawnmower. In short, you can easily replace the lawn mower deck parts in this type of riding lawn mower compared to the traditional lawnmower.

Why Won’t My Riding Lawnmower Start after Sitting (Common Reasons)

Before starting your riding lawn mower, you have to analyse the reasons a riding lawn mower fails to start at times. Here are some reasons:

Insufficient Gas and Oil Levels

Insufficient gas, this might sound ridiculous but before starting your mower, try to check the fuel levels to see whether it is on point or not. At least the fuel level must be nearly 3/4th before using it. Try to check the oil levels and replace them over a certain period. The oil valve will be near the engine, and with the help of a dipstick, you can check it.

Battery Dead

Batteries will have a long lifetime, but they might give you some indications regarding the dead condition after more usage. Using a voltmeter, check and ensure that it has enough acid in it. For a 12-V battery, the voltage must be 12 V, respectively. To know the exact lifetime, check out How Long Do Lawn Mower Batteries Last

Carburetor Must be Neat

The carburetor might clog due to the presence of stale gas. Also, irregular cleaning of the carburetor may result in the clogged carburetor.

Fuel Filter Clogging

The fuel filter gets clogged due to the usage of stale gas. When this filter clogs, there won’t be a proper fuel flow to the carburetor. So, if you try to start the riding lawn mower, it will not start. To correct this condition, make sure to change the fuel filter on the riding lawn mower you use.

Due to Damage in Starter Solenoid

If the ignition key produces any clicking sound when turned on, it is a sign of damage to the starter solenoid. Try installing a new solenoid for better results.

How to Start a Riding Lawn Mower with a Choke?

Follow this simple 7-step guide to know how to turn on a riding lawn mower; when it is not starting after sitting or if you are a beginner.

Step 1: Sit Firmly

Some riding lawn mowers have a built-in safety system to ensure safety needs. The engine will get turned off unless the parking brake is operated or seated. So, before starting the mower, try to check whether you can reach the pedals or levers comfortably.

Step 2: Look for Brakes

The brakes will be located on the left side of the mower. They could be either a pedal or a lever, depending on your model. If your brake is a pedal, with the help of your left foot, try to press it in the downward direction. On the other hand, if your brakes are in lever form, try to reach them and hold them in a specific position.

Step 3: Operating the Parking Brake

The parking brake location differs according to the model. But in common, it could be either a lever or a knob, which will be present near your left side or right side.

Next, try to pull the brake in the upwards direction and release the brake pedal slowly. Finally, to engage or operate the parking brake, push the brake pedal downwards when your lawnmower doesn’t have a knob with it.

Step 4: Switch Gear to Neutral

Normally, the switching of the gear lever will be near the steering wheel. Make sure to switch the lever to “N,” which points out the neutral gear.

Step 5: Pull Throttle Lever

The throttle will be present on the left side of the seat. It is very easy to identify. To operate/engage the choke, move the throttle lever. You can do this depending on the mower you use. Moving of the throttle is achieved by keeping the position of the lever in between two settings (fast and slow) or by trying to pull the throttle upwards, which is indicated by a circle that holds a diagonal line passing through the circle.

Step 6: Insert Key and Turn it to the Right

Put the key in the ignition point, which is either present in the mower’s seat or the dashboard. To start the engine, hold the key for nearly 15 seconds towards the right position and wait for the engine to start.

Step 7: Final Step

As a final step, get back to the throttle and try to release the choke with the lever, which is to be moved in the upward direction to a faster setting.

Safety Tips and Warnings to Use a Riding Lawn Mower

Some of the safety tips and warnings you should know before using a riding lawn mower are:

  • The machine you use must be properly maintained and have proper storage. For a long lifespan, the operating condition of your machine should be excellent to prolong its life. Maintenance may vary according to the models you use.
  • Always use the replacement parts that the manufacturer approves if you need to replace the parts. Check the model number, as well as the manufacturer, to find the correct replacement.
  • Do not keep your machine outdoors. Use a riding lawn mower cover which must be water-resistant to protect your machine under the worst climates.
  • Choose a ventilated area for maintenance. You can clean and inspect your machine for any faults. Park your vehicle by keeping the brake on. Choose a flat surface for performing the maintenance. To inspect your machine, turn off your machine, remove the ignition key, and start your cleaning process. 
  • Go through the user manual for better results. It is a must to unplug the battery, and the spark plug wires must be disconnected.


Working with a riding lawn mower is quite simple when following the above process. The benefits of using a riding lawn mower are tremendous compared to sticking to traditional mowers. It is very easy to operate the machine more safely with a user manual. Maintenance plays an extremely greater role in the long usage of machines. Choosing this kind of riding lawn mower yields good results, so handling it efficiently prolongs its life.