Craftsman Riding Mower Won’t Start (6 Causes & Fixes)

Craftsman Riding mowers are ideal for larger grassy areas such as parks, golf, or other sports fields. However, one of the most typical problems with Craftsman mowers is they often fail to start or won’t start. But why?

4 most common reasons why your Craftsman Riding mower won’t start:

  • Any potential problem with the Fuel system.
  • Any defective issue with the Spark Plug.
  • Faulty Air Intake & Exhaust.
  • Potential issues in the Carburetor.

Besides those four, other factors may cause your Craftsman to fail to start. Thus, keep reading to learn why your Craftsman riding mower won’t start and how to fix it.

Why Is My Craftsman Riding Mower Not Starting?

When a Craftsman mower fails to start, one of the following scenarios will occur, with the true cause differing based on the situation.

Craftsman Riding mower Engine won’t start due to:Craftsman Riding mower Tuns over yet does not start due to:Craftsman Riding mower Cranks normally but won’t start due to:
Old or bad GasInsufficient Gas or FuelBattery problem
Faulty Spark plugDamaged spark plugFailed Starter motor or Solenoid
Defective Air or Fuel filterDirty FiltersIncorrect Oil viscosity
All of the Safety Cutoff Switches are not engagedFlooded mower EngineBad Safety switches
Battery or Solenoid problemClogged & dirty Carburetor
Internal Electrical issues

6 Necessary Things to Check If Craftsman Riding Mower Won’t Start:

No matter which scenario you are dealing with always starts diagnosing with the most fundamental. It will either fix the problem or direct you to the source of the problem_

1. Checking the Fuel

First, check your mower’s fuel tank to confirm it is not empty or filled with old/bad fuel.

If the tank is empty or does not have enough gasoline, fill it with an adequate amount of recommended fuel type.

If the gas has been sitting for a long time and turned contaminated, you should drain all fuel out and refill it with fresh gas.

Tips-1: While you are still there, scan for any cracks or leaks on the tank and repair those cracked or leaked areas.

2. Inspect the Engine Oil levels

Some Craftsman models are designed in a way that it won’t start when the oil level in the engine crankcase is lower than standard.

The manufacturer has developed those models to protect the engine and increase its shelf life.

So, check the oil level in the crankcase and if needed, refill it.

3. Ensure the Battery is fully charged & the Connections are Secured

Inspect how fast your mower cranks over when you try to start it.

If the rate is approximately 350 RPM or lower, it is obvious that the internal battery has run out of charge or has a connection issue.

Note: Before breaking inside the mower to inspect the battery assembly, try to jump-start your mower if it does not or fails to turn over at standard speed.

Recharge the mower battery, and if that’s not enough, look for build-up corrosion around the battery, its terminals, and cables. Clean them, if necessary.

You might have a loose connection over there so check that and tighten the loose ends. If the battery looks too old or damaged, it’s better to replace it.

4. Make Sure that the Gas Valve is Turned on

Certain Craftsman riding mowers include a Gas tap or valve to stop the flow of gas to the carburetor.

So, check whether your mower has that valve or not.

Also, if you have not used the mower for a while, it might have been turned off. Thus, turn that valve on and try again.

5. Check the Spark Plug & Plug Wire

Another typical error that causes the mower to not start like it is supposed to be any issue related to the spark plug or plug wire.

Therefore, check whether the spark plug is fouled, broken, or damaged.

If the spark plug looks a little dirty, you might just have to clean it and put some oil into it, and it will start working again.

You can test the plug to confirm its state and replace it if required.

Also, check the plug wire’s condition. If it looks damaged or worn out, you should replace it.

6. Look for dirty or Clogged Filters & Leaked Lines:

If the air intake and fuel filters are dirty or clogged due to excess build-up debris, your riding mower will not turn or start normally.

So, clean or replace the air and fuel filter.

Tips-2: Inspect and clean the air & fuel filters of your mower after every 25 hours of operation.

Also, do not forget to check the fuel lines for leaks and replace them if required.

Related Post: Reasons Craftsman Riding Mower Deck Belt Keeps Coming Off

Why My Craftsman Riding Mower Still Won’t Start and What’re the Solutions?

If you’ve checked all the basics mentioned earlier, the problem remains the same and your Craftsman still won’t start, use the ways listed below to fix it_

1. Check the Carburetor

A dirty carburetor can prevent the engine on your Craftsman from starting. So, perform a thorough inspection to confirm if that is the case.

2. Look for Plugged Fuel Cap Vent & Faulty Fuel Pump

Most Craftsman models are equipped with a vent in the gas or fuel cap and sometimes it gets jammed. When that happens, your mower will starve for fuel and won’t start.

There are two ways to get rid of this, either you should clean the gas gap or replace it.

Next, check the fuel pump for any signs of cracks or gas leaks. If the fuel pump has turned bad, you need to replace it.

3. Check the Safety Cutoff Switches

These riding mower models have two safety Cutoff switches to prevent your mower from accidentally starting.

One switch is located beneath the driver’s seat, while the other is beneath your mower’s foot brake controls.

This design requires the brake to be depressed to disengage these switches so that the mower can start when you turn the engine.

But if the cutoff switches are not engaged properly, it will prevent your mower from doing that.

Thus, ensure that all switches are engaged as needed.

4. Make sure there’s no Issue with the Solenoid or Starter

The solenoid on the Craftsman models is located on the base of the carburetor. Any problems with the solenoid can potentially cause your mower to fail to start.

First, perform a Volt DC and a Continuity test by using a digital multimeter to find out the current condition of your mower solenoid.

During the testing of the existing solenoid, if you can’t hear a click or notice that the solenoid ground looks bad, replace the solenoid.

Similarly, a defective starter can gradually lead you to encounter a similar problem.

So, follow this simple step-by-step tutorial to troubleshoot and replace the starter of your riding mower:

Related Post: 5 Lawn Mower Bad Spark Plug Symptoms to Look Out For!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does a Craftsman riding lawn mower last on average?

With correct maintenance and care, a Craftsman riding mower can approximately last 6 to 10 years.

Which company makes Craftsman riding mowers? 

All Craftsman riding mower models are manufactured by MTD.

Who is the new owner of Craftsman?

Currently, the Craftsman brand is owned by Stanley Black & Decker company.

Are Craftsman riding mowers powered by Briggs & Stratton engines?

Some specific models like- Craftsman T1300 42-in riding mower are powered by Briggs & Stratton engines.

Are Craftsman mowers just sold at Lowes?

No. Besides Craftsman’s original website, these riding mower models are also available in other retail stores, including Home Depot, Walmart, and other online stores.

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