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16 Reasons Why Your Electric Lawn Mower Won’t Start

Do you have an electric lawn mower that will not start? You are not alone. Most people who own these lawn care machines experience this problem at some point in time, and it is frustrating, to say the least.

Fortunately, there are a handful of common causes for this issue, many of which you can troubleshoot and solve yourself somewhat easily.

An electric mower may not start due to the key not being fully engaged, the plug connections being loose, safety handles are not engaged, or an insufficient power source.

A lawn mower filled with debris, debris restricting the blade rotation, damaged components, and clogged vents can also cause your lawn mower to not start.

Because it is such a common issue for mowers to have trouble starting, we have put together a full list of what you should check the next time it doesn’t start.

Electric lawn mower not starting

Follow all safety instructions provided in your equipment operator’s manual before 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.

This is Why Your Electric Mower Won’t Start

1. Mower Key or Safety Button Is Not Fully Engaged

Most mowers require a safety key or a button to be depressed to turn on the mower. This safety feature is an added step to the starting procedure to ensure the mower doesn’t unintentionally start.

In the event this occurs, all you need to do is push the key in further or remove it and reinsert it. If it still doesn’t work, you may have a problem with a bad switch that doesn’t recognize the safety device.

2. Push Mower Handle & Side Rails Are Not Set Up Correctly

There are safety switches in place to prevent you from starting your mower if the handle is not set up correctly. The foldable handle must be unfolded and secured in the operating position.

If your model mower has side rails on the handle, they must be extended to their maximum length. The clamps to hold the side rails in this position must be locked.

There is the possibility the side rails can move out of position causing your lawn mower not to start.

If this happens to you, release the clamps, check that the handle is in the correct extended position, and secure the clamps.

3. Incorrect Starting Procedure

Whenever you get a new mower or one that is just new to you, make sure you check its user manual to know all of your mower’s safety features and safety recommendations.

The safety button or safety key is a safety mechanism meant to prevent children from accidentally depressing the safety bar and starting your mower. Not following this procedure will prevent your mower from starting.

Here is the starting procedure for most battery-powered mowers:

  • Securely insert the battery.
  • Insert the safety key and press the safety button. (Not all models have a safety key).
  • While your safety button is depressed, pull the safety bar to meet the handle. This will start the mower.
  • Release the safety button.
  • The mower will shut off when you release the safety bar.

4. Insufficient Power Source

Without sufficient power, your lawn mower will not start.

If you’re certain that the issue doesn’t lie with your initial starting step (i.e., key/safety button and safety bar engagement) then it’s time to turn to the next likely culprit, which is your lawn mower’s source of power.

The first place you should start on a cordless mower is with the battery connection and then take a glance at the battery and charger.

Check the extension cord and electric supply for a corded mower.

5. Battery is Not Correctly Installed

The battery must be inserted correctly and make a good connection with the battery holder. Follow these steps to check battery installation:

  • Wipe around the battery cover before opening it so loose dirt doesn’t fall into the battery compartment.
  • Remove the battery.
  • Wipe the battery contacts and remove any dirt from the compartment.
  • Slide the battery into the guides. On most models, you’ll hear a click when the battery snaps into place and the battery-release button springs into place.
  • Close the battery compartment cover.

6. Battery is Excessively Hot

When the battery gets excessively hot, your mower will shut down and not start. You will need to let the battery cool before you attempt to restart it.

7. Battery Is Dead

Many mowers don’t rely on power from an electrical outlet to run, but rather, they draw it from a battery. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that your lawn mower won’t start if your battery is dead.

Some mowers have a display showing you the charged level of the battery. If your mower doesn’t have a display on the mower, the battery charger may use an LED lighting system to indicate your battery charging status.

You can tell your battery is going bad when you fully charge the battery and it is not holding a charge as long as it once did.

Losing the ability to hold a charge is a sign the battery is dying. Another sign your battery is going bad is when it becomes very hot.

You will want to buy a replacement battery if you begin to notice your battery can’t hold a charge, is charging very slowly, or is getting extremely hot.

Batteries begin to fail because they become old, are exposed to extreme temperatures, or fail mechanically.

8. Power Supply Is Not Connected or Properly Paired (Corded Models)

Some mowers, especially push models, need to be plugged into an electrical outlet to have sufficient power to run.

Because the average U.S. lawn is approximately a 1/4 acre, it is highly unlikely you’ll be able to mow your entire lawn using just the cord length your lawn mower provides.

As a result, most owners will pair their mower with an extension cord which is where a common issue derives.

Sometimes, an electric lawn mower won’t start because it is either improperly connected or paired. The connection part is simple.

Check your outlet and other electrical cord connections to ensure they are all fully plugged in. You might also want to ensure the outlet you are using is capable of providing the amount of power you need for this hefty machine.

If your connections are all correct and you know your outlet is capable of powering your lawn mower, then you should check your extension cord.

The average corded push mower will need an extension cord that can supply somewhere between 13 – 15 amps to run smoothly without risking the machine or cord’s longevity.

If you’re using an extension cord that only supplies, perhaps, 6-10 amps, you might find that your lawn mower is having trouble turning or staying on.

Improperly pairing your mower with an extension cord also increases your chances of overheating both components, resulting in potential damage and creating a fire hazard.

Therefore, it is best to make sure whatever cord you are using is rated for your electric lawn mower and capable of powering it safely.  

9. Tripped the Power Supply (Corded Models)

If you are running a corded mower, make sure you haven’t tripped a power supply. Make sure you are running a good extension cord. One that is able to handle the power of the mower.

Once you’re sure your extension cord is working properly, check the breakers within your home to see if anything has shut off or appears damaged. If everything appears to be in working order, you can test your outlet by plugging in a simple appliance, like a lamp.

10. Bad Safety Switch

If any of your safety switches fail, your mower may fail to start. You can test each switch by temporarily bypassing them with a jumper wire.

Replace any bad switch. For your safety and the safety of others, never operate your mower without all of the safety switches in working order.

Push Mower

  • Switch for the foldable handle.
  • Switch to ensure side rails are fully extended. (if your model has sliding side rails).
  • Switch for the safety bar. The bar must be pulled into the handle to operate the mower. When the bar is released, the mower will shut off.
  • Switch for the safety button.

Read your owner’s manual for any additional safety switches that may be installed on your EGO lawn mower.

11. Loose or Pinched Wires

There are many electrical wires running through your lawn mower. Some of these wires may develop a short because they become loose or pinched.

Wiggle wires to check for a short. You can also use a multimeter to identify a short.

Push mowers are known to develop pinched wires that can prevent your mower from starting. A common place for a pinched wire happens to be in the area where the handle is folded into the machine for storage.

You can repair these loose or pinched connections using a wire nut. Before beginning the repair, remove the battery.

Also, check if you are still covered by its manufacturer’s warranty. Repairing a damaged wire yourself can void the warranty.

12. Plug-Ins Are Not All Connected

There is a vast network of electrical wires running through your lawn mower, especially if you have a large riding mower. Amidst all of these connections, it isn’t uncommon for a plug-in or two to come loose.

This will disrupt your lawn mower’s power supply and prevent it from starting. A great way to check this potential cause off your list is to open up your lawn mower, particularly around the battery, and check to make sure all of your plug-ins are connected.

Do this when the mower is off with the safety mode engaged if your mower has a safety.

13. Excess Grass & Debris on Mowers with a Bagger

The primary purpose of a lawn mower is to cut grass and lots of it. While your mower may cut well, it can take a toll on the lawn mower as it collects excess amounts of cut grass, twigs, leaves, and other trimmings in its cutting bag.

Emptying the cutting bag on your lawn mower is something you should do routinely as regular maintenance. If your lawn mower isn’t turning on and you realize you haven’t emptied it in a while, it’s probably the cause of the issue.

When your electric lawn mower’s cutting bag reaches its full capacity, it will prevent your lawn mower from turning on since it cannot collect any more trimmings. To ensure this isn’t the case, simply remove the detached bag from your lawn mower to check its status.

If it’s full, empty the bag, reconnect it to your mower, and see if the issue is resolved. If not, you’ll have to keep troubleshooting.

14. Debris is Restricting Blade Rotation

Not all lawn mowers are equipped with a cutting bag, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still be clogged with trimmings preventing it from turning on. It is not uncommon for excess grass and other debris to get lodged or stuck in the mower deck.

Whether you have a riding or push mower, you’ll want to check underneath the deck near the blades to ensure there aren’t any trimmings built up that need to be cleared.

Large amounts of grass in the mower deck might be inhibiting your blade’s ability to rotate which can be the root cause of the lawn mower refusing to start.

If the blades on your lawn mower can’t turn properly, the machine will use safety features to prevent itself from turning on. This is to prevent motor damage.

So, make sure you check and clean your lawn mower’s deck after every use. Keep the mower blades sharp. Dull blades can magnify the problem and put more strain on the motor.

15. The Vents Are Clogged

Similar to a gas-fueled lawn mower’s air filters, your lawn mower is built with vents that are an essential component of your machine.

These vents help keep your motor cool and maintain an optimal temperature during use.

Clogged vents will increase the risk of overheating your motor. This is why most mowers won’t turn on when the battery is hot.

You will want to be extremely cautious when cleaning or unclogging your lawn mower’s vents, as you could potentially damage your motor in the process, which will definitely prevent the machine from starting.

Try to use a clean, dry cloth to wipe off anything that might be on the vent, and refrain from using any liquids as they disintegrate your motor’s lubrication.

In the event that you can’t clean or unclog your vent with a rag, opt for an air-related tool, like a compressed air can, to spray inside and dislodge any remaining debris.

16. Damaged Components

Hopefully, your lawn mower starting troubleshooting doesn’t come to this point, but if it does, you might have a pricy solution on your hands.

While it certainly is not ideal it’s inevitable that, at some point or other, components on your lawn mower are going to wear down and will need to be replaced.

Many pieces need to be replaced routinely and come at a minimal cost, but the most problematic pieces might cost you more than the lawn mower is worth after purchasing the replacement and any professional help required to fix it.

Therefore, you will want to check the components on your lawn mower and make a judgment call about whether it’s worth fixing depending on what is damaged.

Some common pieces that often need replacing on an electric lawn mower include:

  • Power cords
  • Batteries
  • Blades
  • Plug-ins

We’ve already discussed most of these components and detailed how they can prevent your lawn mower from starting if they are damaged or out of place.

However, a few components we haven’t mentioned in detail that are relevant here are its start switch and motor.

If you discover that either of these pieces is damaged and likely the cause behind your lawn mower not starting, you’re probably better off taking your mower to a professional repair shop instead of fixing it yourself.

Not only are these components usually pricy, but they are best handled by individuals with extensive mechanical and electrical knowledge who can safely remove the damaged parts and reinstall new ones.

Electric Mower Still Not Starting- Do I Need a Professional?

So your mower is putting up a fight again and won’t start. Hopefully, this isn’t a pattern, but if it is, you might be wondering if the issue is something beyond your abilities and requires a professional. Unfortunately, you might.

Whether you need a professional to get your lawn mower to start truly depends on the root cause of the issue. Thankfully, the majority of common reasons we listed previously can all be fixed by yourself and are likely to be the reason behind your problem.

We recommend you receive professional help for damaged components such as the motor and starter switch.

These components are much trickier to remove and install without proper knowledge and could result in personal injury or damage to your lawn mower if done improperly.

You might want to also seek professional help if nothing on this list appears to be the issue and you are at a loss for what is preventing your lawn mower from starting.

The best thing to do is contact your mower manufacturer for the procedure to have your mower looked at, especially if you are still under warranty. You may have to drop your mower off at a local location or you may have to ship it to a repair facility.

Here are common electric mower manufacturers’ contact information:

ManufacturerRepair Facility LocatorCustomer Service #
EGOEGO locator855-346-5656
GreenworksGreenworks locator888-909-6757
RYOBIRYOBI locator800-525-2579
STIHLSTIHL locator800-467-8445
ToroToro locator888-384-9939
Sun Joe866-766-9563
SKILSKIL locator877-754-5999

How to Prevent Issues with An Electric Lawn Mower Not Starting

It happens to everyone. Your lawn mower was running perfectly fine, and then today, when you took it out, it just refused to start, and you’re now in need of a replacement.

Replacing lawn mowers can be a vicious cycle if you’re doing so frequently, especially considering how pricy they are.

So, if you find that you have trouble getting your lawn mower to start more often than you’d like and are wondering what you can do, the best advice we can give is maintenance.

Regularly maintaining your electric lawn mower will do wonders in preventing common issues, such as the inability to start. A lot of the reasons listed above are just part of general maintenance that you can incorporate into your weekly, monthly, or seasonal use.

For instance, you should always empty the cutting bag and clear the deck of trimmings after every use, so it is clean and ready to go the next time you use it.

You can also keep track of your battery’s age and charge, so you know when it will likely need to be replaced in the future.

If you have a rechargeable battery, try to charge it an hour or two before you intend to use the lawn mower so it is at full power. If you leave a fully charged battery to sit in your lawn mower, it will often lose some of the charges over time.

Simple steps like these, in addition to regularly checking your lawn mower for wear and tear, will prevent most of the reasons listed above that prevent it from starting.

It will also increase your lawn mower’s longevity drastically, so you aren’t constantly purchasing replacements every few years, which of course, is beneficial for your wallet as much as your mental sanity.

So, check and maintain your lawn mower regularly and remember that in the event that where it doesn’t start, the reason is usually something simple and easy you can solve yourself.