March 1, 2017

How to replace the starter solenoid on a riding lawn mower

By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace the starter solenoid on a riding lawn mower

This DIY riding mower repair guide gives step-by-step instructions for replacing the starter solenoid on a riding lawn mower. When you turn the ignition key to the start position, the starter solenoid sends current to the starter. If you don’t hear the internal solenoid contact click when you turn the key, replace the solenoid because it's not working. Replace the starter solenoid with a manufacturer-approved replacement part using the steps in this guide..

This repair procedure works for common Craftsman, MTD, Troybilt, Toro, Husqvarna, Murray, Cub Cadet and Ariens riding mowers and lawn tractors.

Quick links
Tools required
Wrench set
Work gloves
Repair difficulty
Time required
30 minutes or less
Repair difficulty
Time required
30 minutes or less
Replacing a starter solenoid on a riding lawn mower

This video explains how to replace the starter solenoid on a riding lawn mower.

Instructions

  1. 01.

    Remove the battery

    Wear work gloves to protect your hands.

    Turn the ignition switch off and remove the key.

    Lift the seat.

    Remove the bolt connecting the negative cable to the battery.

    Lift the insulating cover and remove the bolt connecting the positive cable to the battery.

    Lift the battery out of the battery box.

    Disconnect the battery cables.

    Disconnect the battery cables.

  2. 02.

    Remove the battery box

    Release the seat switch wire harness clip from the seat bracket to create slack in the harness.

    Release retaining tabs and lift the battery box out of the mower body.

    Set the box on the fender.

    Lift out the battery box.

    Lift out the battery box.

  3. 03.

    Remove the starter solenoid

    Note the location of wires connected to the starter solenoid.

    Remove the mounting nuts from the terminal posts and pull the wires from the posts.

    Pull the wires from the coil spades.

    Remove the starter solenoid mounting bolt from the mower frame.

    Rotate the starter solenoid forward and pull it out of the mower.

    Tip: Take a photo of the connections to help you reconnect them correctly.
    Remove the mounting bolt.

    Remove the mounting bolt.

  4. 04.

    Install the new starter solenoid

    Transfer the mounting clip from the old starter solenoid to the new one.

    Position the new starter solenoid on the frame and install the mounting bolt.

    Connect the wires to the coil spades.

    Install the wires on the terminal posts, connecting them with the mounting nuts.

    Connect the wires to the starter solenoid terminal posts.

    Connect the wires to the starter solenoid terminal posts.

  5. 05.

    Reinstall the battery box

    Position the battery box in the opening and align the wire harness and battery cables.

    Lower the battery box into the mower body and engage the retaining tabs.

    Reconnect the seat switch wire harness clip to the seat bracket.

    Reconnect the seat switch wire harness clip.

    Reconnect the seat switch wire harness clip.

  6. 06.

    Reinstall the battery

    Lower the battery into the battery box.

    With the insulating cover positioned on the cable, reconnect the positive battery cable to the positive battery terminal.

    Reconnect the negative battery cable to the negative battery terminal.

    Lower the seat.

    Reconnect the battery cables.

    Reconnect the battery cables.

Warning: Undertaking repairs or maintenance to appliances or power equipment can be hazardous. Should you choose to undertake repairs or maintenance, you are assuming the risk of injury to your person or property. In an effort to reduce the risk, use the proper tools and safety equipment noted in the applicable 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 or maintenance, however, 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: damaged cutting blade, worn deck pulley, damaged mandrel pulley, loose fasteners on mower deck components
Main causes: shift lever needs adjustment, neutral control needs adjustment
Main causes: engine overfilled with oil, leaky head gasket or sump gasket, damaged carburetor seals, cracked fuel pump, broken fuel line
Main causes: punctured tire or inner tube, leaky valve stem, damaged wheel rim
Main causes: worn or broken ground drive belt, bad seat switch, transaxle freewheel control engaged, transaxle failure, dirty carburetor
Main causes: unlevel mower deck, dull or damaged cutting blades, worn mandrel pulleys, bent mower deck, engine needs tune up
Main causes: worn or broken blade belt, broken belt idler pulley, blade clutch cable failure, bad PTO switch, damaged mandrel pulleys
Main causes: clogged carburetor, damaged flywheel key, dirty spark plug, stale fuel, improper valve lash, engine needs a 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 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
How to replace the starter motor on a riding lawn mower

If you hear the solenoid click but don’t hear the starter motor spin when you turn the key, follow these steps to replace it.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
January 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a riding lawn mower blade

If a blade on your mower is dull or bent, replace it following the steps in this repair guide.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 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.

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Riding lawn mower engine spins but won't start video

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How to repair a riding lawn mower tire video

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Learn when you can use sealant to fix a flat tire.

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How to mow a lawn for healthier grass

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