February 1, 2015

How to replace a riding lawn mower ignition switch

By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a riding lawn mower ignition switch

This DIY repair guide gives instructions for how to replace an ignition switch on most riding lawn mowers. If the riding mower won't start when you turn the ignition key to On or won't stop when you turn the key to Off, the ignition switch could be the problem. To check, use a multimeter to test whether electricity travels between the S and B terminals. If the ignition switch is the problem, replace it with the manufacturer-approved replacement part.

This basic procedure works for Craftsman, MTD, Murray, Toro, Troybilt, Husqvarna, Poulan, Weed Eater and Yard-Man riding lawn mowers and lawn tractors.

Quick links
Tools required
Wrench set
Work gloves
Repair difficulty
Time required
15 minutes or less
Repair difficulty
Time required
15 minutes or less
Replacing the ignition switch on a riding lawn mower

This video explains how to replace the ignition switch on a riding mower.

Instructions

01.

Disconnect the battery

Park the tractor on a level surface and set the parking brake.

Turn the ignition switch off and remove the key.

Wear work gloves to protect your hands.

Lift the seat.

Remove the bolt connecting the negative cable to the battery and tuck the cable away from the battery so it doesn't touch the battery post.

Disconnect the battery.

Disconnect the battery.

02.

Remove the ignition switch

Lift the hood to access the back of the ignition switch.

Release the locking tabs and push the switch out though the front of the dash.

Disconnect the wire harness attached to the back of the ignition switch; if it's difficult to unplug, wiggle the plug as you pull on it.

Remove the ignition switch.

Remove the ignition switch.

03.

Install the new ignition switch

Connect the wire harness to the back of the ignition switch.

Push the new ignition switch into the dash and engage the locking tabs.

Lower the hood.

04.

Reconnect the battery

Reconnect the negative cable to the negative battery terminal.

Lower the seat.

Warning: Undertaking repairs to power lawn-care equipment can be hazardous. Use the proper tools and safety equipment noted in the guide and follow all instructions. Do not proceed until you are confident that you understand all of the steps and are capable of completing the repair. Some repairs should only be performed by a qualified technician.
Symptoms common to all riding mowers & tractors

Choose a symptom to see related riding mower and lawn tractor repairs.

Main causes: dead battery, stale fuel, bad starter solenoid, ignition system problem, bad ignition interlock switch, clogged carburetor
Main causes: punctured tire or inner tube, leaky valve stem, damaged wheel rim
Main causes: damaged tie rods, bent or worn wheel spindle, worn front axle, damaged sector gear assembly
Main causes: faulty battery, bad alternator
Main causes: engine overfilled with oil, leaky head gasket or sump gasket, damaged carburetor seals, cracked fuel pump, broken fuel line
Main causes: damaged cutting blade, worn deck pulley, damaged mandrel pulley, loose fasteners on mower deck components
Main causes: worn or broken ground drive belt, bad seat switch, transaxle freewheel control engaged, transaxle failure, dirty carburetor
Main causes: shift lever needs adjustment, neutral control needs adjustment
Main causes: unlevel mower deck, dull or damaged cutting blades, worn mandrel pulleys, bent mower deck, engine needs tune up
Repair guides common to all riding mowers & tractors

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your riding mower or lawn tractor.

How to replace a mandrel assembly on a riding lawn mower

Replace the mandrel assembly if the blade shaft vibrates or doesn't spin.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
How to replace the air filter on a riding lawn mower

Get your mower running smoothly again by replacing the air filter—it's a quick job you can do yourself, following these steps.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
February 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a riding lawn mower ignition switch

Get your mower started again by replacing the ignition switch—it's a quick job you can do by following these steps.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
Articles and videos common to all riding mowers & tractors

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your riding mower or lawn tractor.

May 1, 2017
Troubleshooting a riding lawn mower blown fuse video
By Sears PartsDirect staff

Test the ignition switch and wire harnesses to find the short.

June 1, 2016
How to mow a lawn for healthier grass
By Erin Hynes

How often and tall you mow your lawn has a big impact on its health. Check out these 3 rules.

March 1, 2016
How to level a riding lawn mower deck for an even cut video
By Sears PartsDirect staff

Mower not cutting the grass evenly? Your mower deck might be the problem.