You have finally found time in your busy schedule to mow your lawn. You’re happy to be able to get it done and out of the way.
However, this time your mower won’t turn over. I have put together a list of items to check when you run into this problem.
A Cub Cadet lawn mower won’t turn over when it isn’t getting power to the starter motor to spin the engine.
This can be due to a bad battery; loose or corroded wiring; corroded terminals; a bad ignition key switch; a faulty safety switch; a blown fuse; a bad starter solenoid; or a faulty starter motor.
Make sure you are following all safety precautions as shown in your owner’s manual. If you are uncomfortable working on your Cub Cadet’s starting system, contact your local Cub Cadet dealer or a knowledgeable mechanic to diagnose the starting problem.
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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.
Why Your Cub Cadet Mower Won’t Turn Over or Crank
Dead or Bad Battery in Your Cub Cadet
A dead battery won’t provide the power you need to turn over your Cub Cadet. Keep your battery charged, especially during storage, to extend your battery’s life.
Test your battery using the steps in the article 5 Things That Are Draining the Life of Your Lawn Mower Battery.
Charging a Battery: Use a battery charger to charge your 12-volt battery. Before you continue, wear protective gear to protect your eyes and skin from electrical shock. Follow these steps to charge your lawn mower battery with a charger:
- Access the battery and terminals. You may need to use a screwdriver to uncover the battery. Do not remove the battery from the casing.
- Connect the charging cables beginning with the positive cable first. This is the red cable or the one with the plus sign. Place the cable on the positive battery terminal.
- Attach the negative cable to the negative battery terminal. This is the black cable or the one with the negative sign.
- Do not touch anything that doesn’t have a rubber coating to prevent electrocution.
- Set the charger’s voltage and amperage level to the desired level. The average volt level for lawn mower batteries is usually 12 volts. More amperage charges the battery faster. Start with two amps and work up to no more than 10 amps. A slow charge is best.
If the battery fails to hold a charge it must be replaced with a new battery. You can purchase a new battery at your local lawn mower dealership, hardware store, or automotive store.
Bring your old battery with you. Most places will charge you a core fee unless you provide them with your old battery.
Loose or Corroded Wires and Connections in Your Cub Cadet
Wires and connections can become loose with the constant vibration of your Cub Cadet. Make sure they are secure. While checking the connections and verifying the continuity is good, make sure the terminals are free of corrosion.
The outdoor elements can cause moisture to develop around the connections causing corrosion.
Try to remove this corrosion using a wire brush and a baking soda solution (2 cups water to 3 heaping tablespoons of baking soda). Replace the terminals if the corrosion is too severe.
Bad Fuse on Your Cub Cadet Lawn Mower
A fuse is installed to protect your Cub Cadet’s electrical system. Check your mower to make sure you don’t have a blown fuse.
If you’re unsure if the fuse is blown, you can check it by placing a multimeter probe on each prong of the fuse to measure resistance.
A resistance reading near 0 means your fuse is good. An infinity resistance reading indicates a bad fuse.
Replace a blown fuse with the same amperage as the fuse you are replacing. If you continue to blow fuses, you should bring your Cub Cadet to your lawn mower dealership or lawn mower repair shop to troubleshoot the root cause.
Bad Ignition Switch on Your Cub Cadet Lawn Mower
The ignition key switch can be the culprit if you insert the key and turn it to find nothing happens. Your Cub Cadet will fail to turn over and start.
Check the switch using a multimeter to check continuity to determine if the ignition switch is the problem. To do this, look for the prongs mark B for Battery and S for Starter Solenoid.
Insert the key and turn it to the start position. With the multimeter set to measure resistance, touch one probe to the B prong and the other probe to the S prong.
A good ignition key switch will measure resistance near 0 ohms. A bad ignition key switch will measure infinite resistance and will need to be replaced.
Bad Safety Switch on Your Cub Cadet Lawn Mower
Your Cub Cadet has an operator presence control system installed to keep you safe. A safety switch can be defective and cause your Cub Cadet to fail to turn over.
Test your switch using a multimeter. You can also temporarily bypass the safety switch to identify a bad switch, but only do this for troubleshooting purposes.
Never operate a mower without the safety switch. Never run a mower when a safety switch is bypassed. A safety switch can save you from serious injury and you never know when you’re going to need it.
Bad Starter Solenoid in Your Cub Cadet Lawn Mower
A starter solenoid is an electromagnetic switch that, when engaged, initiates the starter motor to turn over your Cub Cadet’s engine.
The starter solenoid can go bad when the spring becomes weak or the copper plate begins to corrode. A weak starter, bad battery, or bad ground can also cause the solenoid to fail.
Before you test your starter solenoid, you must have a fully charged battery. Continue testing the solenoid by using the steps to diagnose a bad starter solenoid in “How to Tell a Cub Cadet Mower Starter Solenoid is Bad”.
Bad Starter Motor on Your Cub Cadet Lawn Mower
Once you have ruled out the battery, cables, wiring, ground, and starter solenoid as being the reason your Cub Cadet won’t turn over, it’s time to look at the starter. The starter can be removed and tested.
I recommend having your local repair shop that specializes in starter and alternator repairs test your starter and rebuild it if possible before just throwing a pricey new starter at your Cub Cadet mower.
Still Having Problems with Your Cub Cadet Mower?
If the above list did not resolve your problems, I put together a guide of common mower problems and solutions. You will find links to more in-depth articles for each of these common issues. You can find the article in “Common Cub Cadet Lawn Mower Problems”.