Riding lawnmowers are a piece of must-have household equipment if you have a large yard. Your lawn requires regular maintenance to give your home that gorgeous look and a homely feel. If you take care of the mower as you should, it can last for a long time. However, you can encounter minor problems with it from time to time.
One of the occasional issues that may arise with the mower is losing the key or accidentally breaking it in the ignition. If this occurs, don’t worry, you can still start the engine by hotwiring the lawnmower.
We’ll show you how. Read this to truly figure out how to hotwire a lawnmower.
How to hotwire a lawnmower
What you’ll need:
- Jumper cable
- Rubber gloves
- Screwdriver (if necessary)
Follow these steps to hotwire your lawnmower:
- Put on rubber gloves, and place the lawnmower gear on neutral.
- Find the solenoid starter. The solenoid is a small device with some wires connected from it to the battery and the engine. It would be situated near the battery, behind the mower’s engine. Depending on the brand of the mower, the engine can be by the side of the driver’s seat or beneath the front of the hood.
- On the solenoid, there are two wires. One is red and connects to the battery. The one is a different color. Some brands have black or gray, which goes to the relay box and the ignition switch.
- Touch one end of your jumper cable to the red wire that connects to the battery. Then touch the other end of the jumper to the wire that links to the ignition switch
Your mower should start once you follow these steps.
How to hotwire a mower through the relay box
Look for the starter relay. It’s a square shaped device with two wires. The red wire connects it to the battery, and another wire, neither black nor red in color, links to the ignition.
Touch the ends of your jumper cable to both the red wire and the other wire leading to the ignition. This should start the engine.
You can also hotwire a mower with a screwdriver if you don’t like this method.
How to hotwire a mower with a screwdriver
- Put on your rubber gloves and place the mower on neutral.
- Identify the solenoid and the wires leading to the battery and the ignition switch.
- Using your screwdriver, touch the red wire to the other wire that leads to the ignition. The mower should power up once you do.
You can also start your mower without dealing with wires. Here’s how:
Start your mower using a screwdriver
Make sure the keyhole is clean and free of dirt. Fit the screwdriver into the keyhole, where you would place the key.
Turn it carefully, the same way you would turn the key to start the engine. The mower should start once you do this.
How to change the lawnmower’s ignition switch
Whatever your reason for needing to hotwire your mower, whether your key is lost or broken inside the ignition, doing it every time is not sustainable. It is preferable to simply change the ignition switch to make your life easier.
Thankfully, this is possible and easy to do. You don’t need a professional or any fancy tool to achieve this.
We will work you through the steps.
- Disconnect the battery – Locate the battery and remove the bolt that connects the red wire to the battery. Remove the wire and bend it away from the battery post.
- Detach the ignition switch – Raise the hood so you can see the ignition switch.
- Put in the new ignition switch – Reconnect the wires to the new switch accurately. Then fit it in place on the dash and reactivate the tabs to lock it in. Return the hood.
- Reconnect the battery – Reconnect the wire to the battery terminal where you took it out from.
There are two tabs holding the switch. Press the tab and push the switch out through the front of the dash.
Behind the switch, disconnect the wires that connect it to the starters.
Take mental note of how it is connected, so that you can replace it correctly.
Safety is vital and before attempting to hotwire your mower, remember the following:
- Ensure the brake on the equipment is ON so that the machine can not move all of a sudden.
- Disengage the blades.
- Minor sparks can occur while trying to hotwire. Do not panic, it is normal.
- Underage people should not hotwire a mower without an adult present.
How to bypass the safety switch of a mower
The safety switch is included in the mower for the user’s safety. But most people find it uncomfortable and exhausting to always tap the switch when they turn on the ignition in reverse position.
The solution to this hassle is to bypass the safety switch. We explain how in the few steps below.
What you’ll need:
- A ratchet
What you’ll need:
- Ready the mower for work – Let the mower sit on a flat, level surface before you begin.
- Undo the spark plugs – Put the mower on PARK mode and disconnect the spark plugs to prevent any sudden start or sparks while working.
- Raise the front hood – Lift the front hood by first removing all the screws that hold it down.
- Disconnect the battery – Undo the cable that connects the battery to the engine. Use the ratchet to remove the negative wire first, then remove the positive one too.
- Identify the safety switch – It is located near the negative terminal of the battery. The switch is made of plastic straps, and two wires are attached to it.
- Disconnect the safety wires – Hold down the plastic strap with one hand, and using a plier, pull out the wires from the strap to disconnect it. Tie the wires together and cover them with electric tape to prevent accidental electrocution.
- Reconnect the battery – Put the battery wires back in place and cover the front hood. Make sure you connect the positive cable first, before the negative.
- Test the mower – Turn on the ignition and test the mower activating the mower blade. If you are able to reverse with ease, you have successfully bypassed the safety switch on your lawnmower.
3 Tips to keep your lawnmower in good condition
- Storage – Store the mower in a dry place with good shelter to protect it from the elements. Most people make room for it in their garage or build a small shed for it in the yard. Just ensure it’s protected from the weather to prevent rusting or other problems.
- Replace parts with the correct ones approved by the manufacturer – When you replace any parts or cable, make sure you get the accurate one approved by the manufacturer. Always refer to your manual for this. You can also take the old part with you to the supply shop to avoid mistakes.
- Store properly when not in use – After the mowing season, before storing the mower, drain the fuel and the oil from the tank. Clean the equipment to remove dirts, including the blades. Make sure it’s well-covered and the lids are tight to keep drops of oil from leaking out.
Having a mower in good condition and not being able to start it due to loss or broken key can be frustrating. Fortunately, this problem is easy to fix by yourself. Following any of the steps above to hotwire your mower can get you to start the machine in minutes.
Additionally, changing the switch is not rocket science and will only take a moment. Just make sure you buy the proper ignition switch for your mower. You can replace it and get rid of the issue in a moment.
Is the safety switch a bother? No need to worry there. By following the simple guide above, you can bypass the safety switch and move your mower with ease in reverse.
Remember though, the safety switch prevents mishaps, so when it’s not in place, operate your mower with caution.