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7 Reasons a Honda Riding Mower Won’t Turn Over or Crank

When the starter motor can’t turn over the engine you need to look for items that can keep the motor from getting the power it requires to function.

A Honda riding lawn mower won’t turn over or crank due to a bad battery, loose or corroded wiring and electrical components, faulty ignition switch, bad safety switch, blown fuse, bad starter solenoid, or a bad starter motor.

Take safety precautions when working with your Honda mower. This includes removing the negative battery cable before making repairs to the electrical system. You can find a list of safety precautions in your Honda operator’s manual.

Riding mower

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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 Honda Mower Won’t Turn Over

Dead or Bad Battery in Your Honda

A weak battery won’t provide enough power to turn over a Honda mower engine. It’s important to keep it fully charged, especially when you are storing the mower for extended periods, to make the battery last longer.

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 camps 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 Wires and Connections in Your Honda

The wiring and electrical components can shake loose from the normal vibration of a Honda mower. Inspect these items and ensure they are securely attached making good connections.

Look for corrosion buildup due to moisture on the components. Corrosion can affect continuity and needs to be removed.

To clean the components, first, remove the battery cables. Next, remove the corrosion using a wire brush and a baking soda solution (2 cups water to 3 heaping tablespoons of baking soda).

Replace the terminals or other components if you aren’t able to get them clean.

Bad Fuse on Your Honda Lawn Mower

A fuse is installed to protect your Honda’s electrical system from a power surge or short. 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 Honda to your lawn mower dealership or lawn mower repair shop to troubleshoot the root cause.

Bad Ignition Switch on Your Honda Lawn Mower

The ignition key switch can be the culprit if you insert the key and turn it to find nothing happens. Your Honda 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 Honda Lawn Mower

Your Honda has an operator presence control system installed to keep you safe. A safety switch can be defective and cause your Honda 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 switchNever 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 Honda Lawn Mower

A starter solenoid is an electromagnetic switch that, when engaged, initiates the starter motor to turn over your Honda 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 Your Lawn Mower Solenoid is Bad”.

Bad Starter Motor on Your Honda Lawn Mower

Once you have ruled out the battery, cables, wiring, ground, and starter solenoid as being the reason your Honda 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 Honda mower.

Common Honda Lawn Mower Problems & Solutions

There is a price that comes with homeownership including the upkeep of your lawn. You invested in a Honda lawn mower to assist with your lawn care.

Lawn mowers, no matter what brand, are subject to breakdown and become troublesome as they age.

While regular routine maintenance of your mower can prolong major repairs, you will still encounter problems. To help you identify items that may be causing problems in your Honda mower, I have put together a hand reference guide: Common Honda Lawn Mower Problems & Solutions