[Help!] Symptoms of a Bad Starter on Riding Mower in 2023


symptoms of a bad starter on riding mower

Riding a mower demands a well-working starter to start and run the mower. Unfortunately, a time can come when the starter gets bad.

So, what are the symptoms of a bad starter on riding mower?

They are the burning smell or smoke from the starter, both engine and the mower won’t start, zero reaction at turning on ignition key, dim condition of dashboard lights, and sudden grinding noise at turning on ignition key.

Recognizing the symptoms will let you take action before the issue gets serious. For that reason, the article is designed with everything of the indications. 

So, stay till the end.

Quick Overview: Symptoms of a Bad Starter on Riding Mower

Before I take you to the discussion, let me show you the summary of the symptoms of a bad starter on riding mower. The solutions are also included just beside them.

Serial            Symptoms            Fixes
1Burning smell or smoke from the starterReplace the starter motor
2Both engine and the mower won’t startInspect the starter motor carefully
3Zero reaction at turning on ignition keyCheck the starter wiring and repair
4Dim condition of dashboard lightsGet new starter motor wires
5Sudden grinding noise at turning on ignition keyGo through the starter solenoid and fix

In-Depth Discussion: Symptoms of a Bad Starter on Riding Mower

The riding mower not starting is a common issue that compels you to worry about the starter. But, a few signs of a bad starter on a riding mower can tell you to inspect it on a serious note.

Go through this section thoroughly to learn the symptoms.

Symptom 1: Burning Smell or Smoke from the Starter

The most common symptom of a bad starter is the burning smell of smoke or smokey smell coming from the starter. As the starter has direct connection with voltage, its motor can have faults.

In other words, it starts overheating sometimes and gets burnt as electricity is concerned. However, these let a burning smell or smoke come out of the starter unit.

The Fix: Replace the Starter Motor

Whenever you notice the smell of burning or smoke from the starter system, take it as a serious issue.

At this point, you have to be very cautious to check the motor. And if any sign of burning is visible or overheating, replace the starter motor immediately.

Symptom 2: Both Engine and the Mower Won’t Start

The engine and the riding mower not starting is an effective indication of a defective starter. It is mostly seen when the starter motor is injured by anything.

Moreover, it can get burnt due to any short circuit or sudden power surge or due to a faulty fuse. At this point, no matter how hard you put in your efforts, the starter fails to function. 

The Fix: Inspect the Starter Motor Carefully

Inspecting the starter motor can show its health condition and if it is burnt, you can find that out, too.

Replacing the starter motor will be a great help if the results show it is defective. However, get the fuse changed for better protection.

Symptom 3: Zero Reaction at Turning on Ignition Key

We know that when turning on the ignition key, there is a sound of starting the riding mower or a clicking sound. But, in a deficient starter, the sounds will be gone and zero reaction of turning on the ignition key will be noticed.

It occurs when the starter gets loose wiring connections or the wires have got sudden cracks.

The Fix: Check the Starter Wiring and Repair

To get the starter out of the issue, go through the wires of the starter. Check all of them connected to the starter and look for any irregularities.

Repair the wires if needed and do not hesitate in replacing them if repairing is not possible.

Symptom 4: Dim Condition of Dashboard Lights

Dashboard lights are noticed in a dim condition when the riding mower is running or starting. It is a symptom of the starter motor having a short circuit in the wires.

As it continues, the motor draws excessive voltage from the entire electric system and thus, the lights start dimming.

The Fix: Get New Starter Motor Wires

Since the wires of the motor are affected by the short circuit, you should get them changed. Otherwise, they can impact the starter motor’s health.

Symptom 5: Sudden Grinding Noise at Turning on Ignition Key

Sudden grinding noise at turning on the ignition key is a significant sign. The reason behind this is the starter solenoid that can start malfunctioning over time.

A higher flow of voltage can get it burnt as it has a limitation of enduring voltage. Even the overheating starter motor can let the solenoid stop functioning. Thus, the grinding noise is observed.

The Fix: Go Through The Starter Solenoid and Fix

You shouldn’t ever delay in discovering the starter solenoid’s health condition after hearing the grinding sound.

If its wires are the culprit, they can be fixed. If the solenoid is the reason, get it changed before starting the mower.

Why is My Riding Mower Starter Not Engaging?

Answer: The riding mower starter fails to engage when the battery has a bad connection with the electric unit. As no power is delivered to the starter, it won’t engage as usual.

What Causes a Starter to Fail on a Riding Mower?

Answer: On a riding mower, the starter can become bad due to a malfunctioning electric unit or the wires with wrong connections. Even the starter solenoid can help in that if it has defects.

Final Thoughts

A bad starter on a riding mower is not at all recommended to run the mower with it. Because it can damage the entire starter unit and cost you more.

That’s why you should take notes from the symptoms of a bad starter on riding mower. And, observe them anytime when your mower is facing toughness while starting or running.

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Scott McFadden

Hi! It's Scott McFadden. I'm obsessed with farming. All my life I grew up around my grandfather and his farmhouse. I cannot put in words how they inspired me to farm. From taking care of cows to looking after our gardens I have learned a lot. It would be a real pleasure if I get to share this with you.

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