If you’re like me, you probably take great pride in your lawn. Nothing feels better than stepping out onto a green oasis after a long winter.
Keeping your lawn looking good, however, requires some work. One of the most important steps is making sure the solenoid on your lawn mower is in good condition.
In this blog post, I’ll show you how to check solenoid on lawn mower if it needs replacing and how to do it yourself if it does.
- What is a Solenoid on a Lawn Mower, and What Does It Do?
- How to Check Solenoid on Lawn Mower
- 1. Listen for a Clicking Sound
- 2. Look for Sparks
- 3. Watch the Switch
- 4. Check for Power
- Common Problems with Solenoids on Lawn Mowers
- 1. Solenoid will Not Complete Circuit
- 2. Engine Not Starting
- 3. Poor Engine Performance
- 4. Reducing Power to the Electric Starter
- How to Replace the Solenoid on a Lawn Mower
- FAQ’s on symptoms of a bad solenoid on riding lawn mower
- How Do You Bypass a Starter Solenoid on a Lawn Mower?
- How Do I Know If My Solenoid is Working?
- How Do You Jump a Solenoid?
What is a Solenoid on a Lawn Mower, and What Does It Do?
A solenoid is a simple switch controlled by an electromagnet. In most modern lawn mowers, the solenoid controls the gas tank and engine power.
When activated, current flows through one wire into a coil of wire wrapped around an iron core. This creates a magnetic field that attracts a plunger made of ferrous metal.
When the plunger is attracted to the solenoid, it creates a connection that allows electricity to flow from a battery into an engine and start it up.
How to Check Solenoid on Lawn Mower
If you suspect your solenoid is bad, there are a few things you can check before bringing it to a professional:
1. Listen for a Clicking Sound
One of the easiest ways to check that your solenoid is working properly is by listening to a clicking sound when you activate it.
A good solenoid will click on and off when you press the switch to activate it. If there’s no clicking sound, you may have a problem with your solenoid
2. Look for Sparks
If you have a multimeter, you can also test the solenoid. Place the red lead on the wire connected to the plunger and place the black lead on the other wire.
If you have a good solenoid, you should see a brief spark when you activate the switch. If there’s no spark, it may be time for a new solenoid.
3. Watch the Switch
You can check for proper function by watching the switch itself. A single button press should open and shut off power to the solenoid. If it doesn’t, then something is wrong with your solenoid.
4. Check for Power
If you have a multimeter, you can test the solenoid. Set your meter to volts, have an assistant flip the switch on and take a reading.
If there is no power going to the solenoid, it may mean that your battery or wiring is bad. If you see voltage going to the solenoid, there is a serious problem with your machine.
Common Problems with Solenoids on Lawn Mowers
1. Solenoid will Not Complete Circuit
If your solenoid is not completing the circuit, there is likely a problem with the wiring. Inspect the wiring for any damage like dirt or corrosion.
If you find wiring that looks damaged, then use a wire brush to clean it as best as possible. After you’ve cleaned the wires up, attach them back to the solenoid and check if it starts your mower.
2. Engine Not Starting
If your engine does not start, odds are you have a bad solenoid. In some cases, the problem is with the wiring, but it’s with the solenoid itself most of the time. If this happens to you, replace the solenoid as soon as possible.
3. Poor Engine Performance
If your engine performance has been decreasing recently, the solenoid may be blamed. When a solenoid malfunctions, it can cause a decrease power.
This is due to a small gap opening up between the battery and the starter coil. To avoid this from happening, replace your solenoid as soon as possible.
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4. Reducing Power to the Electric Starter
Over time solenoids wear out and cause a reduction in power to the electric starter. This causes annoying delays when starting an engine, particularly for those who have little patience.
To avoid this problem, make sure you replace your old solenoid with a brand new one as soon as possible.
How to Replace the Solenoid on a Lawn Mower
Replacing the solenoid is a fairly simple process, but I highly recommend only doing it if you’re confident in your ability to do so.
A faulty solenoid is not something you want to mess with when it comes to your lawn mower. With that in mind, here are the steps I would recommend following when replacing your solenoid:
- First, study the wiring diagram for your mower model before starting this project. Ensure you know how to attach the wires correctly and which order they should be in.
- Once you’re confident you understand how everything should go, use a wrench or socket set to remove all of the bolts holding your old solenoid in place. Make sure not to lose any of the parts that fell off when removing them, as this might affect how it works later on.
- Next, clean the area around the solenoid with a wire brush or air compressor to remove any dirt or debris that might get in its way later on. Make sure to wear rubber gloves while doing this step because these tools can be very dirty.
- After you’re done cleaning, use new bolts and either thread lock or non-staining Loctite to make sure the bolts stay in place. Make sure each bolt is tight, but not so tight it will break when you try to take them off later.
- Finally, test your mower again with the solenoid attached. If everything seems to be working correctly, then you’re all set. If not, double-check your work and make sure you didn’t miss a step.
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If none of those tips help, then it’s time to bring in a professional. If the solenoid is still under warranty, contact the manufacturer before attempting any repairs yourself.
However, if it has already passed its warranty period or isn’t covered for some reason, then it’s best to bring it in for a replacement.
FAQ’s on symptoms of a bad solenoid on riding lawn mower
How Do You Bypass a Starter Solenoid on a Lawn Mower?
There are a few ways to do this, but the easiest way is to use a screwdriver:
1. Find the two screws that hold the solenoid in place and remove them.
2. Take the solenoid out of its housing and use a screwdriver to short the two terminals together. Make sure you do this while wearing rubber gloves because it will be hot.
3. Put everything back together and test your mower.
If it still doesn’t start, there might be a problem with the wiring, and you’ll need to investigate further.
How Do I Know If My Solenoid is Working?
If you can’t get your mower to start, then the solenoid may no longer work. To test this, attach a battery charger to your mower’s solenoid and inspect it for any sparks or smoke.
If you get these, then the problem might be your solenoid.
1. Attach two wires with alligator clips at the end to either side of your battery.
2. Make sure you put one wire on the positive side and one wire on the negative side.
3. Attach the other ends of the wires to any metal object close enough to touch the solenoid.
4. Have someone rev the engine while you do this, and if done correctly, it should start moving.
So, how do you know if your solenoid is bad? The best way to test it is to remove the wire from the battery and touch it directly to the posts on the solenoid. If it clicks, then your solenoid is good. If not, you’ll need to replace it.
Have you tried any of these tips on how to check solenoid on lawn mower? Let us know in the comments below.