Last Updated on October 13, 2021 by Mark Brian
Lawn mowers are important tools when it comes to lawn keeping. Since mower switches are designed in a way to avoid theft, your lawn mower won’t get started otherwise. However, it sometimes happens that the key gets stuck in the ignition switch or the switch gets faulty. In this case, you have some technical tricks that can come in handy to bypass ignition switch on riding mower. In addition, you should keep safety a priority.
How Ignition Switch Works?
Ignition switch has two positive and negative terminals, spaced slightly apart, called a starter. These are connected to a battery which powers the engines to move blades. A key acts as a bridge to build a connection between the starter solenoid and the battery, and starts the riding lawn mower’s engine.
How to Check a Broken Ignition Switch?
When the switch is faulty or broken, the primary indication is the halting motion of the lawn mower, or else it won’t even budge. The correct way to test this is by using a voltmeter and taking out your ignition switch.
Next, turn it over and you will notice five marks for instance S for solenoid and M for magneto. Keep the key in the switch at the off position and test the continuity between different terminals. If the voltmeter beeps, then the terminals are working fine otherwise not.
3 Ways to Bypass Ignition Switch on Riding Mower
If it comes to reel vs riding mowers, reel mowers have no ignition switch but all riding lawn mowers do. Riding lawn mowers are also comparatively expensive so fixing or bypassing the ignition switch becomes important. The three ways to do so are:
- Jump Start Method
- Hot Wire Method
- Screwdriver Method
1. Jump Start Method
One of the most common ways to bypass ignition switch on riding mower is the jump start method. A faulty ignition switch is such a problem that even the most reliable large yard mowers can run into it. So, it is the same jump starting as a car but a little technical.
You will need some rubber gloves to act as insulation when dealing with battery power. Also, a pair of pliers, a battery post cleaner, and booster cables. Before we dig into the process, make sure that the riding lawn mower is parked on the brake, with blades disengaged and battery plugs taken out.
- First, remove the hood of the lawn mower to expose the engine.
- Next, find the connection between the battery and the starter, and disconnect them. The black wire signals the negative end and the red wire signals the positive end.
- Use a battery pole cleaner to clean the poles to remove any corrosion that might be impeding.
- Then, reconnect the wires in the same poles. Likewise, attach the red terminal of the booster cable to the red wire and the black terminal of the booster cable to the black wire. Clamp them to the mower’s metal deck in order (first black, then red).
- Finally, the engine will start. Slowly take out the booster cables, first the red one followed by the lack one.
2. Hot Wire Method
Another method that you can use if you don’t have booster cables, is the hot wire method. If the ignition switch is there but not working, take it out of its cast. It will be a round metal with five plugs at the back.
Following is a step by step guide to hotwire bypass the ignition switch of a riding lawn mower:
- Take two pieces of red wire and strip them with a wire stripper until both ends are visible.
- Then, attach one of the wires to the upper left plug of the switch and its other end to the bottom left plug.
- Then attach one end of the other wire in the same bottom left plug and its spare end to the middle right plug after pulling the choke.
- The engine will start immediately and you can turn on and off the riding lawn mower, by attaching and removing the wire in the middle plug.
3. Screwdriver Method
Sometimes the ignition switch fails to recognize the key or has any mechanical issues. If the distance between the poles is short then you can use a screwdriver in place of a key. However, this method is specific to certain lawn mowers and the condition of the switch.
All you need to do is to use the screwdriver as a key, insert it into the hole and slowly turn the riding lawn mower on. Even the best lawn mowers for wet grass can be fixed like this.
If none of these methods is working, then it is time to change your lawn mower’s ignition switch by a mechanic.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How to stop a bypassed riding lawn mower?
Most riding lawn mowers have an automatic kill switch that stops the mower if you stand up. However, if it is not present or not working properly, you can also fully pull the choke out. It will hamper the fuel supply and eventually stop the lawn mower.
What causes the ignition switch failure?
Broken springs, high temperature, or long term use can cause ignition switch failure. Worn out metal or corrosion can also cause this. Frequently oiling and cleaning the switch can reduce the incidence of it.
Why is the mower engine not starting even after bypassing the ignition switch?
Bypassing the key switch can only work when the batteries are intact. The most probable reason for the engine to not start after powering it on is either the engine is seized or the batteries are dead. Draining old oil can unseize a riding lawn mower engine.
You can happily mow grass for a long time with the above mentioned methods without spending any money. If you have any queries regarding how to bypass ignition switch on riding mower, please let us know. We will be happy to help.