Symptoms of a Bad Solenoid on Riding Lawn Mower!

In most cases, a bad solenoid is the main culprit when you are trying to start your lawn mower but it won’t start! Probably, you may want to make pretty sure if it’s a bad solenoid, battery issue or faulty wiring system.  Here, you need to know the symptoms of a bad solenoid, right?

The common symptoms of a bad solenoid are the mower engine won’t start, a rapid clicking sound when starting the ignition key, smoke from the mower, and a bad battery. If the signs match, you need to replace the solenoid.

Knowing the bad symptoms will typically give you the right direction to fix them fast. Therefore, learn how to identify and test the bad solenoid through this full article. 

Symptoms of a Bad Solenoid on Riding Lawn Mower

4 Symptoms of a Bad Solenoid on Riding Lawn Mower: 

Your riding lawn mower is suddenly not working! It won’t start and make rapid clicking sounds. These things assure you that solenoids get faulty. Including this, there are also the most common symptoms that give you a clear indication that your mower solenoid is bad! These symptoms are-

1. The Engine Won’t Start

The lawn mower engine won’t start when it clicks. You turn on the ignition key but it doesn’t show any sign of starting. That means a bad solenoid prevents the engine from working. 

2. Rapid Clicking Sound 

You turn on the ignition key, and you hear a rapid clicking sound or humming. From this sign, it’s almost sure that a solenoid gets bad. Until your solenoid isn’t replaced, the clicking sounds will irritate you. 

3. Smoking

When you try to turn your lawn mower, you’ll see some smoke coming from the mower. The wires inside the mower are melting and hence smoke is coming off! The bad solenoid can melt itself or can melt wires which causes smoking. 

4. Bad Battery

Although, people ignore the symptom of a bad battery

for a faulty solenoid. But, when your solenoid gets inactive, your battery also goes wrong. In many cases, the battery runs faster when the solenoid gets bad. 

How to Tell if a Starter Solenoid is Bad on Riding Mower? (Step-by-Step-Guideline)

Well, you can’t ensure that the mower solenoid is bad with just a little sign. There are also many reasons behind it why your engine won’t start or the mower function goes wrong. The best option is to test the starter solenoid to check if it gets bad or not. So, the easiest way to test the solenoid is described below step by step. Follow this one-

Step 1: Check the Battery

Many people make this mistake and face the no-crank situation. They don’t check the battery level. Hence, they can’t identify what’s wrong. That’s why first check if your mower’s battery is fully charged or not.  The battery charge should be 12v. Whether you charge your battery one day or a few hours ago, still don’t forget to check it out.

Step 2: Check the Breakdown, Blades & Transaxles Function 

Before moving to the next step, make sure that the break is pressed down and it’s in the lock position. Next, turn off the blade position and also make sure the transaxles are in a neutral position.

Step 3: Detect The Location of The Solenoid

Each mower brand has a different design. So, identifying the location of solenoid in a lawn mower is quite tough.

In general, a solenoid locates on the steering column underneath the gas tank. And also, mounted under a panel. Whereas, you can find the solenoid under a panel between the legs if you’re sitting on the mower.  And, some solenoids are located under a panel below the back seat in some models. Check where is the location of your solenoid.

Step 4: Determine The Type of Solenoid

There are two types of solenoids- 3-pole solenoids & 4-pole solenoids. In a 3-pole solenoid ground wire is on a metal base. Again, in a 4-pole solenoid ground wire is grounded through the tab.

Step 5: Set The Multimeter 

Now, you’ve to disconnect a wire that’s on the bottom left-hand side of a 4-pole solenoid. If it’s a 3-pole solenoid, you need to disconnect only one bottom little wire. Set the multimeter on DC volts twenty and next set above 14 volts. Take the positive side of the multimeter and connect it with a disconnected wire. Then, connect the negative side with the ground.

Step 6: Turn on The Start Key

After turning the start key, the reading of the multimeter should be 12V. If it doesn’t show, then the problems on other connections are not the solenoid. If it shows 12v, then move to the next step.

Step 7: Connect The Wire Back 

Now, connect the little wire back to the solenoid. Now, connect the positive side of the multimeter to the top right-hand big red cable. Turn the key on and see the reading if it’s 12v! If it’s 12v then your solenoid is good. If it’s not 12v on the multimeter, then your solenoid is bad. Although, the 12v coming on the solenoid doesn’t come out of the 12v from the solenoid and the function gets wrong.

What to Do If a Starter Solenoid is Bad on Riding Mower?

After you realize that your mower’s solenoid is bad, you’ve fixed it quickly. Therefore, you need to do some basic things like-

  • If the solenoid is a three-pole solenoid, then unbolt it from the frame and clean the metal frame. Then, test it back to see if it’s showing 12v on the multimeter or not.
  • If the solenoid is a 4-pole solenoid, make sure the wire & bolts are clean. Test it also. 
  • Check the wire connection if it gets corroded and make them clean.
  • If the solenoid doesn’t work properly then replace it with a new one. 

What Causes a Starter Solenoid to Go Bad?

Whether you’ve fixed or replaced the bad solenoid, you can face this issue in future as well. Therefore, knowing the very possible causes will prevent the ineffectiveness of your mower’s solenoid. Let’s check the common causes of bad solenoids-

Bad Wiring System

As we know, the solenoid is an electrical component, so bad wiring can cause dangerous problems. A poor wiring system causes inadequate current supply to the solenoid and it gets faulty.

Excess Heat

If there’s a high current flow in the solenoid for too long, there might generate excess heat on the solenoid. And, hence the solenoid gets bad or damaged.

Excess Moisture

If the solenoid gets contact with any moisture, the rust can build up. Hence, the conductivity gets low and the efficiency of the solenoid gets poor. 

Tighten Bolts

Sometimes, putting force or torque to the tightening of bolts causes a break or bend of the solenoid. And, that’s why the solenoid gets damaged and doesn’t work out.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

How do I know if my riding lawn mower solenoid is bad?

First, turn on the ignition key. If the engine won’t start and a rapid clicking sound is heard, then your mower’s solenoid gets bad and it’s confirmed.

What happens when a solenoid switch goes bad?

Simply, your lawnmower won’t start. Because ultimately, the starting circuit will be ineffective and power can’t reach the solenoid. And, this result in the mower won’t start or turning over. 

What can cause a solenoid to go bad?

The higher current goes under the solenoid, the excessive heat, and excess moisture- these are the common reasons why solenoids get bad or damaged.

Final  Word

You can ensure a bad solenoid by identifying the possible symptom or by testing it. Moreover, the replacement of bad solenoids is the best decision to fix this mower starting issue. 

However, proper maintenance is the main task to keep your lawn mower safe from any issue. So, always check and inspect the parts after every use of the lawn mower. It’ll expand its lifespan.

Hopefully, you’ve already got all the answers that you need. If any questions are left, ask me in the comment section. That’s the end for today.

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