How to Test a Starter on a Riding Lawn Mower

All starters on riding lawn mowers get their electricity from the on-board battery. The circuit begins at the ignition key, and just like starting a car, once the key is turned, it completes the circuit through a solenoid -- which acts like an electrical connector -- and sends power to the starter, causing it to spin the flywheel, which starts the engine. To test a starter, all you need to do is bypass the ignition circuitry.

Mowing grass in stadium
credit: Stoyko Sabotanov/iStock/Getty Images
A riding lawn mower.
Red Lawn Mower
credit: Maurice van der Velden/iStock/Getty Images
Look under the hood.

Lift up the hood of your riding lawn mower and locate both the battery and the starter.

Step 2

Find the electrical posts where the wires are attached on both the battery and starter. The red wire is "hot" and the black wire is the "ground."

Step 3

Brush off the posts with your stiff-bristled brush, removing all dirt and debris. This will assure a solid electrical connection.

Step 4

Put on your rubber gloves. Attach one end of the black cable from your jumper to the black wire or negative post on the battery. Attach the other end to any metal part of the tractor.

Step 5

Attach one end of the red cable to the red or positive post of the battery.

Step 6

Touch the other end of the red jumper cable to the positive-red side of the starter. If the starter is good, it will turn over. If the starter is bad, it will not turn over and must be replaced.

Dale Yalanovsky

Dale Yalanovsky has been writing professionally since 1978. He has been published in "Woman's Day," "New Home Journal" and on many do-it-yourself websites. He specializes in do-it-yourself projects, household and auto maintenance and property management. Yalanovsky also writes a bimonthly column that provides home improvement advice.