When you can’t even get your mower to turn over, you need to begin looking for items that can keep the starter solenoid from energizing the starter to crank the engine.
A Hustler zero turn mower won’t crank or turn over due to a dead battery; loose or corroded cables, connections, wiring, or terminals; a blown fuse, a bad ignition switch, a bad safety switch, a faulty starter solenoid, or a bad starter.
Take caution when working with the electrical system. Remove the negative cable from the battery before performing any repairs.
If you are unsure of your skills working with the electrical system, take your mower to your local Hustler dealership or lawn mower repair shop.
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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.
Why Your Hustler Mower Won’t Turn Over
Dead or Bad Battery
With a dead or low battery charge, your Hustler won’t be able to turn over. Check the battery’s charge. A fully charged 12-volt battery should give you a reading of about 12.7 volts. If you are getting a lower reading, charge the battery.
Keep your battery charged, especially during storage, to extend your battery’s life. Test the battery using the steps in the article “5 Things That Are Draining the Life of Your Lawn Mower Battery”. You will also find information on what can cause your battery to lose charge.
Charging a Mower Battery
Use a battery charger to charge your 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 location 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
Your mower shakes and vibrates while running. This can cause the wiring and connections to come loose so there isn’t good continuity. In addition to loose wiring, moisture will cause connections and terminals to corrode.
Remove the corrosion using a baking soda solution (2 cups water to 3 heaping tablespoons of baking soda). Secure any loose wires and connections.
If you find wires, connections or terminals are damaged or severely corroded, replace them with new components.
A fuse is installed to protect your Hustler 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 fuse as the fuse you are replacing. If you continue to blow fuses, you should bring your mower to your local Hustler mower dealership or lawn mower repair shop to troubleshoot the root cause.
Bad Ignition Switch
The ignition key switch can be the culprit if you insert the key and turn it to find nothing happens. Your Hustler 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 marked “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
Your Hustler has an operator presence control system installed to keep you safe. This is a system that includes safety switches to prevent a mower from starting if certain events are not met like engaging the brake.
A safety switch can be defective and cause your Hustler to fail to turn over. Test your switch using a multimeter. The seat switch, brake switch, and PTO switch may be bad.
Consult your operator’s manual for additional safety switches installed on your mower.
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
A starter solenoid is an electromagnetic switch that, when engaged, initiates the starter motor to turn over your Hustler 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 this article.
Bad Starter Motor
Once you have ruled out the battery, cables, wiring, ground, and starter solenoid as being the reason your Hustler 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 Hustler mower.