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How to Tell a Cub Cadet Mower Starter Solenoid is Bad

You hear a clicking or humming sound coming from the mower and the engine won’t turn over. This can be the result of a bad solenoid.

A Cub Cadet starter solenoid is likely bad when the solenoid is bypassed and the starter motor turns over the engine. A starter solenoid that is mounted on the starter can be tested using a battery charger to determine whether the solenoid is bad.

Take caution when working with the starter solenoid. Follow all safety precautions listed in your Cub Cadet operator’s manual.

Lawn mower starter solenoid

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Follow all safety instructions provided in your equipment operator’s manual prior to diagnosing, repairing, or operating. Consult a professional if you don’t have the skills, or knowledge or are not in the condition to perform the repair safely.

What Is a Cub Cadet Lawn Mower Solenoid? 

A Cub Cadet lawn mower solenoid is an on/off switch of sorts. It is an electromagnet switch that is actuated to engage the starter motor to turn over the engine.

The starter solenoid is usually mounted to the starter motor, but it doesn’t need to be to work correctly. Some lawn mower solenoids can be found mounted closer to the battery than the starter. 

Three & Four Post Solenoids 

This is a typical wire schematic of three and four-post solenoids. Remember, not all wire schematics are the same for every lawn mower.

Some schematics will include wiring for options like lights and 12-volt ports on some Cub Cadet mowers. These diagrams only show the basic wiring schematic. 

How to Identify Cub Cadet Lawn Mower Solenoid? 

Solenoids can appear a little differently. Some may be round while others are square. It may have 3 or 4 posts sticking out of it. Some solenoids will be attached at the top of the starter.

The positive (+) wire from the Cub Cadet battery attaches to one side of the solenoid. Following the positive cable from the battery is an easy way to find your solenoid.  

You will find solenoids on every Cub Cadet electric start engine.  

What Causes a Cub Cadet Lawn Mower Solenoid to Go Bad? 

A Cub Cadet solenoid is an electrical switch. Electrical items can fail at any time.

Inside the solenoid, you will find a spring and copper plate. A Cub Cadet starter solenoid can go bad if the spring gets weak or the copper plate starts to corrode.

The solenoid can also fail as a result of a weak starter, bad battery, or bad ground.  

It is good to know what to look for when you are diagnosing a solenoid. 

Symptoms of a Bad Cub Cadet Solenoid on Lawn Mower 

A riding or zero-turn Cub Cadet starter solenoid may be bad if you hear a click or hum when you turn the ignition key and your mower doesn’t start.

Another indication your solenoid may be bad is when a wire gets hot and begins to smoke or melt

Steps to Diagnose a Bad Cub Cadet Lawn Mower Solenoid 

List Tools Needed: 

If you are going to diagnose the solenoid on your lawn mower, there are a few ways to do so. 

1. Make Sure Your Cub Cadet Battery Has a Full Charge

Use your voltmeter to make sure your battery has at least 12.3 volts in it. Read more about testing your battery in our article “5 Things That Are Draining the Life of Your Lawn Mower Battery“.

2. Get Your Cub Cadet Mower Ready to Start

  • Set the parking brake
  • Make sure your lawn mower is in neutral
  • Turn the key to the on position

3. Bypass the Cub Cadet Starter Solenoid Using a Screwdriver

Lay a long screwdriver over the solenoid to touch the two cables to bypass the starter. The two cables you are looking for are the cable from the battery and the cable to the starter.

It may throw a spark when the screwdriver makes contact with the wires. This is common so don’t be alarmed.

If the engine happens to turn over while you have your solenoid bypassed there is a good chance your solenoid is bad. If the screwdriver does not work well, you can also use needle nose pliers to jump the solenoid. 

Before you replace the starter solenoid, check for loose or corroded wires or bad ground. These items can keep the solenoid from getting the power it requires to work. 

4. Test the Cub Cadet Starter Solenoid

Solenoids that are mounted on the starter can be tested. Remove the starter from the engine and test the solenoid with a battery charger. This is a good way to watch if the starter is working with the solenoid. 
 
Once the starter has been removed from your lawn mower, you need to attach the negative (-) clamp to the case of the starter and touch the positive (+) clamp to the big post and exciter wire on the solenoid. This is just a quick bench test when the starter is out. 

Can You Bypass a Cub Cadet Lawn Mower Starter Solenoid? 

A Cub Cadet starter solenoid can be bypassed by placing a long screwdriver across the solenoid from touching the cable from the battery to the cable to the starter.

Be careful. The connection could cause a spark which is normal. Always wear safety gear.

Another reason why your mower may not start is due to water in the electrical system. Check out Why Your Mower Won’t Start After Leaving in the Rain for more information. 

Still Having Problems with Your Cub Cadet Mower?

If these tips haven’t solved your Cub Cadet problem or if you are experiencing a different problem with your Cub Cadet, check out my guide showing the most common Cub Cadet problems and their solutions: Common Cub Cadet Problems.

Here you’ll find the causes of Cub Cadet issues like the mower not starting, a bad cut, a vibration, or a smoking problem. I include solutions along with links to more in-depth information.