Lawn mower starter rebuild. How to Start a Lawnmower with a Bad Starter


At Simon’s ACE Hardware, we’re able to do all kinds of repairs and maintenance on small engines including lawnmowers, snow blowers, lawn trimmers, chainsaws and more.

Simon’s ACE Hardware is an authorized service center for Toro, MTD, Murray, Lawnboy, Briggs Stratton, Tecumseh, Poulan/Weedeater and Echo.

Call us today or check out our seasonal packages below to find out more about our small engine services.


Pick Up Delivery – 30 Each Way Grill Recycling – 25 Lawn Mower Recycling – 25 Riding Lawn Mower Recycling – 50

Recoil Tire Repair Recoil Off Machine – 40 Recoil On Machine – 60 Tire Repair – 30 Rates may vary by models and do not include any additional parts needed.

Special Orders Prepayment Required 20% Restock Charge on All Returns Electrical Items Not Returnable

Warranty Repairs Proof of Purchase Required Warranty Coverage Determined After Diagnosis and Manufacturer Discretion

Blade Chain Sharpening – Next Day Service

Blades Off Mower – 11.00 Blades On Mowers – 25.00 Six Edge (Snapper Ninja) Blades – 25.00 Saw Chains Off Bars – 10.00 Saw Chains On Bars – 25.00 Express One Hour Service – 2.00 Extra

ACE Professional Lawn Mower “Get Ready” Package: 74.95 Parts

Oil Change Sharpen Balance Blade Inspect Throttle Control Service Air Filter Clean Under Deck Inspect Starter Rewind Inspect Drive System Replace Spark Plug Check Governor System

This may NOT fix performance related problems. Repair or replace at extra cost. Package averages 100 – 150 with additional costs. We reserve the right to change the price of this package without notice.

ACE Professional Lawn Mower Tune-up Package: 94.95 Parts

Change Oil Inspect Starter rewind Clean Cooling fins Overhaul Carburetor Inspect Governor system Inspect Ignition System Replace Spark Plug Inspect exhaust System Inspect Throttle Controls Inspect Drive System

Repair or replace at extra cost. Package averages 150 – 200 after additional costs. We reserve the right to change the price of this package without notice.

ACE Professional Riding Lawn Mower “Get Ready” Package: 150.00 Parts

Oil Change Sharpen Balance Blade Inspect Throttle Control Service Air Filter Clean Under Deck Inspect Starter Rewind Inspect Drive System Replace Spark Plug Check Governor System

Repair or replace at extra cost. We reserve the right to change the price of this package without notice. Pick-up and delivery is available for all power equipment for and additional fee of 30 each way or 60 round trip.

ACE Professional Riding Lawn Mower Tune-up Package: 170.00 Parts

Oil Change Clean Cooling Fins Inspect Exhaust System Inspect Drive System Service Air Filter Clean Under Deck Check Governor System Replace Head Gasket (if needed) Inspect Starter and Rewind Replace Spark Plug Inspect Throttle Control Inspect Ignition System Sharpen and Balance Blade Overhaul Carburetor

Repair or replace at extra cost. We reserve the right to change the price of this package without notice. Pick-up and delivery is available for all power equipment for and additional fee of 30 each way or 60 round trip.

ACE Professional Single Stage Snow Blower Tune-Up Package: 94.95 Parts

Change Oil Inspect Starter rewind Assembly Overhaul Carburetor Inspect Governor system Inspect Paddle Rotor System Inspect Scraper Bar Inspect Ignition System Replace Spark Plug Inspect exhaust System Inspect Throttle Controls Inspect Belt

Repair or replace at extra cost. Package averages 140 – 325 after additional costs. We reserve the right to change the price of this package without notice.

How to Start a Lawnmower with a Bad Starter?

All homeowners with lawns know pretty well that lawnmowers are unmatched machines for tending your yard. But it is only fun when the mower is working fine and smooth. When a mower is not running correctly or having problems, mowing becomes tedious and rather unenjoyable. Lawnmowers, like all machines, run into all sorts of issues. But could there be a more frustrating problem than the mower not starting at all? One of the reasons for this could be a bad starter. But don’t worry, even with a bad starter, there are ways to start your mower.

How to Start a Lawnmower with a Bad Starter:

  • Clean the battery leads and seal any leakages, then try again. Replace the battery if it is faulty beyond repair.
  • Bypass the solenoid and start the mower using the starter motor only.
  • If the starter motor is faulty, you’ll have to get a new starter motor.
  • Replacing the entire starter with a new one is better than replacing just the motor.
  • In case of a faulty ignition switch, try to make its connections tight. If it is defective beyond repair, get a new ignition switch.

Reasons for a bad starter:

The starter is responsible for using the energy of the battery to start the engine. A bad starter won’t do this job, and the ignition system won’t get any energy, which means that there will be no spark and the engine will not start. A starter can go wrong because of these causes:

The final solution to a bad starter can be to replace one or more parts, but techniques like bypassing the solenoid can let you start the mower for now, and you can do the replacement later. To do that, you’ll need to get some basic information about a starter and its working. This article will surely help you in this regard.

What is a Starter?

The starter is an essential component in a lawnmower that transfers electricity from the battery to the ignition system, thus allowing the engine to start. A starter has two main components, a starter solenoid, and a starter motor.

Starter Solenoid:

Solenoid gets current from the battery and transfers it to the motor. When the ignition button is pushed, a current is sent from the battery to the solenoid through the wiring and then from the solenoid to the motor.

Starter Motor:

The starter motor is the starter component that is linked directly to the spark plugs. It sends current from the starter to the engine.

These two components are independent but work together to power the spark plug so that a spark can be generated in the combustion chamber, producing power from fuel. Though the starter solenoid and motor are independent, the chain is disrupted if one fails, and the engine won’t start when you push the ignition button. But because these two components are separated, the mower can still be turned on if one goes bad.

Before making any repairs or changes, you need to know what’s wrong. A lawnmower with a bad starter will show specific symptoms that can help you see the problem’s root cause.

Symptoms of a Bad Starter:

A satisfying rumble sound is always expected when starting the engine, but a mower with a bad starter will make abnormal sounds when it is being started. The sounds can be used to judge the nature of the underlying problems.

Abnormal Solenoid Clicking:

When the ignition button is pushed, the solenoid transmits an electric spark that starts the motor. The motor starts rotating a smaller gear that engages with a larger gear of the engine. This is how the engine is jump-started. When this process goes normally, a clicking sound is produced, followed by a whirring sound that indicates that the starter motor is engaging with the engine.

If you push the ignition button and only the clicking sound is produced, it is a sign that something is wrong and the motor is not engaging with the engine’s gear.

Whirring sound, but no Catch:

When the whirring sound is produced but is followed by a loud rumbling sound, it is a sign that the starter is not engaging with the engine in the normal manner. This is a sign of the starter’s smaller gear not correctly engaging with the engine’s gear. Another sign of this issue is when the engine starts but stops after just a moment. Broken teeth basically cause these problems on the starter motor’s gear or worn motor brush brushes. If this is the case, these faulty components will have to be replaced.

Not Starting Even with a Fully Charged Battery:

If your mower does not start even though there is no battery-related issue, it is the clearest and obvious indication that the starter isn’t working fine. When this happens, start looking for the cause of problems right away.

Solenoid Not Clicking:

If there is no solenoid clicking sound when you push the ignition button, it is an indicator of loose connections to the solenoid. This means that the current is not reaching the solenoid. If this is the case tightening solenoid connections will get your mower running.

Starting a Mower with a Bad Starter:

A bad starter is caused by electrical problems that can be fixed. Here’s a guide on how to do that.

lawn, mower, starter, rebuild

Flat or Faulty Battery:

The first thing to get in order when your mower is not starting is the battery. If the battery fails to provide electricity, there is no way your mower will start.

Start by looking for leakages. Charge the battery with a charging cable, and if it becomes wet, then the battery is leaking. Small leakages can be sealed, but if the leak is too big, replace the battery. When dealing with leaks, wear safety gloves and glasses to avoid acid burns.

lawn, mower, starter, rebuild

Check the battery voltage too. The battery voltage should be 12V. If the voltmeter reading is less than 12.4V, it is a sign of a faulty battery that needs to be replaced.

Ignition Switch:

Loose connections of the ignition switch wire or corrosion on the back part of the switch can also cause a bad starter. If the issue is not of a severe nature, you can fix it yourself. If the ignition switch has become so bad that it can’t be repaired, it should be replaced with a new one.


The starter solenoid is a mounted switch that provides current to the engine’s starter motor. The solenoid has four threaded electrical lugs connected to the battery, ground, ignition switch, and starter motor.

Different lawnmower models have their solenoids at different locations. You can locate the solenoid in your mower by following the red battery wire. After locating the solenoid, check its connections and screws and tighten them using a wrench or a plier. Rotate the ignition key. If the solenoid clicks without starting the mower, the solenoid needs to be replaced.

Starter Motor:

The starter motor is attached to the crankcase of the engine. If you have already checked the components mentioned above and they are fine, but your mower is still not starting, the chances are that its starter motor is faulty.

To check the starter motor, connect it to the battery using a jumper cable while attaching a negative terminal screwdriver. You’ll see some sparks, but there is no danger of shock from a 12V battery. If the motor doesn’t start and gives clicking sounds, the motor is faulty.

Sometimes the winding, magnet, brushes, etc., inside the mower can get dirty or burn during use. Fixing them can solve the issue too.

A faulty motor can be rebuild. But this has to be done by a professional electrician.

lawn, mower, starter, rebuild

Bypassing the Solenoid:

Like said before, the starter solenoid and motor are two independent components. If you have determined that only the solenoid is faulty, you can try to start the mower using the starter motor only.

A solenoid has wire connections from the battery/ignition switch. To bypass the solenoid, connect these wires to the motor using a metallic connection. Then try to start your mower. If it produces a whirring sound, it means that the mower can be started. You’ll need to try a couple more times to start the mower.

Use protective equipment while bypassing the solenoid.

Final Remarks:

The lawnmower not starting on a potentially enjoyable mowing day is very frustrating. Mowers fail to start when their starters go bad. But most of the time, starter problems are not too complicated and can be fixed by the user. Follow the guidelines mentioned in this article to get your mower running once again. Checking other electrical components such as spark plugs will help too.

Lawn Mower Engine Rebuild Cost (Worth It?)

A rebuild is a decent way to save money when your engine is problematic. Before repairing your engine, you should understand how much it costs. It’ll make you evaluate your options to know the best one.

The amount you’ll spend on an engine rebuild depends on the magnitude of the problem and your type of mower.

This article will educate you on everything that you may need to know about your engine rebuild cost. You’ll get an estimated price for your specific mower and battery type and other essential information on whether or not you should repair the engine.

What Causes Lawnmower Engine Problems?

There are many reasons your lawn mower engine could experience a breakdown. It could happen if an abrasive material gets into it. When an abrasive material enters it, it can travel through the carburetor and cause internal damage. In more severe scenarios, it will enter the piston and damage it.

Insufficient lubrication could also be the reason your lawn mower engine breaks down. When you fail to lubricate the engine, its piston and the cylinder wall might grind together, which can cause issues. Overheating is also a major cause of engine breakdown.

Breakage of certain parts can also cause the engine to stop working, which happens when it vibrates excessively or is past its lifespan.

How much does it Cost to Rebuild a Lawn Mower Engine?

The amount that you’ll spend on repair depends on the type of lawn mower and engine that you have. Push and riding mowers are the two most common types. Push mower engines are the cheapest to repair because they’re smaller and less powerful.

Briggs starter rebuild

However, among push mowers, some engines are stronger than others. Therefore, their rebuild will cost more. The same thing applies to riding mowers. It’ll cost you less to repair a 17hp engine than a 27hp one.

Additionally, the extent of the damage is another factor that can affect rebuild cost. A faulty carburetor will cost less than issues with the crankshaft or valve. Therefore you should carefully evaluate these factors before you prepare the budget for repairing your engine.

The price for repairing lawn mower engines can be as little as 20 to upwards of 100. As mentioned earlier, the price depends on your type of machine or engine. The best way to know your engine’s repair cost is to check the price of the defective part(s) online.

You can also take the machine to a technician who will give you the estimated amount it will cost you to repair your engine. If you take it to a technician, you’ll have to pay higher fees because they’ll charge you for workmanship. However, it’s best to take it to a technician if you can’t repair the engine to avoid damaging it.

Saving Money on Engine Repairs

A great way to save money on engine repair is to check the warranty on your mower. If it’s still under warranty and you didn’t violate the terms, you can get a rebuild or replacement free from the company.

Most residential lawnmowers have a 2-3 year warranty, but commercial models can have more. You can check with your manufacturer to know the exact warranty period for your mower.

You should approach two or more reputable repair shops when determining the cost of rebuilding your engine because you could get it considerably cheaper in some than others at the same repair quality. Referrals are among the best ways to get good repair shops, so you should ask your friends or family.

It’s best to educate yourself about regular engine maintenance if you have a mower. Sometimes, the issue with it is a minor one that you should be able to fix yourself with little money. However, you get to pay more if you take it to the store because you don’t know how to do it yourself.

Rebuild or Replace: Which is Cheaper?

Whether or not you should rebuild or replace your lawn mower engine depends on how much each will cost compared to the other. Do the rebuild if it costs far less to repair it than the engine. It’s best to buy a new compatible one if the amount it’ll take you to rebuild it nears the price for a new one.

Additionally, the period you’ve been using the mower can give you an insight into whether you should repair the engine. Manufacturers design lawn mower engines to last 8-10 years, and you shouldn’t have problems using them for that long if you maintain them well.

If the engine use time is close to the end of its lifespan, you should buy a new one if the repair cost is high. However, you can keep using it if the repair cost isn’t exorbitant and the engine still functions well.

How much does a new Lawn Mower Engine cost?

Nothing beats having laid your hands on your dream mowing machine. When this happens, it looks to you like it’s the best mower in the world, and no one can work better. When the engine gets damaged after years of use, you prefer to replace it, thus prompting the question; How much does it cost?

The cost of the mower’s engine depends on the size and model. In this time and era, most engines you’ll have to buy will cost upwards of 100. You’ll have to spend up to 500 or more to purchase engines for riding mowers.

If buying new mower engines seemed out of your budget, you can make do with used ones. Of course, used ones won’t last as long as new ones, but they work well and will last you for years if you get them in good condition. You can get used engines from popular online stores or a local dealer willing to sell them.

If you want to buy a used engine, test it properly to avoid purchasing a problematic one. Also, you can check the price of the new one you want to buy online to ensure you aren’t overpaying for the used model.

How many times can you Rebuild your Lawn Mower Engine?

Engines don’t need frequent repairs. You can use them for years without significant issues if you maintain them properly.

It’s best to consider buying a new engine if you’ve rebuilt it more than thrice. The main reason is that you’d end up overspending on repairs which aren’t worth it in the long run.


There’s all you may need to know about rebuilding your mower’s engine. Remember that the price varies depending on the engine type. Smaller ones are more expensive to repair than bigger ones.

Take your engines to a qualified technician if you can’t repair them yourself. You could cause more damage to the engine if you attempt to fix an issue that’s past your capabilities. Take advantage of your warranty if your mower is still under it.

Understand that you don’t need to purchase a new mower anytime the engine gets damaged. You can replace the engine in your mower two-three times before you get a new mower. If you’ve used the mower for nearly ten years or more, you can consider getting a new one instead of repairing or replacing the engine.

Starter Replacement Guide – John Deere Lawn Tractor

The starter on my John Deere LX172 lawn mower finally gave up the ghost. Here is a quick and easy picture guide for replacing the starter on this lawn tractor. I’ve included photos of the steps as well as the socket sizes needed for all the nuts and bolts, I hope this helps make this job go a little quicker for someone out there!

If you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission – at no cost to you. I do not put any other type of ads on this site because I think they are annoying. Thank you.

Part Numbers for Replacement Starters

Check the model number of your John Deere tractor. Depending on the engine and model number, you may need one of the following starters:

  • OEM part numbers: 12498-63010, 128000-4020, 21163-2073, 21163-2073A, AM104559
  • Specifications: Type: DD, 12v, 0.7 kW, CCW rotation, 9 teeth/splines
  • OEM part numbers: 390838, 391423, 392749, 394805, 491766, 497594, 497595, 693054, AM122337, AM37352, AM39137, LG497595, SM01965, 410-22003, 410-22003R, SBS0001, 5742, 5742N
  • SPECIFICATIONS: 12 Volt, CCW, 16-Tooth Pinion, PMDD, 12v, CCW rotation, 16-teeth

How to Replace the Starter on a John Deere Lawn Tractor

Here is a quick summary of the steps, I go into more detail with the photos below, but sometimes it is good to have a summary with the nut and bolt sizes:

  • Turn the key to the “off” position.
  • Open the hood of the lawn mower.
  • Remove the negative battery terminal.
  • Locate the starter and disconnect the wiring harness by pressing the plastic tab and pulling it off.
  • Disconnect the battery cable going to the solenoid using a 14mm socket.
  • Remove the 2 starter mounting bolts (12mm).
  • Slide the starter off of the engine.
  • If you are only replacing the solenoid, remove the two 10mm nuts to remove it and swap with the new solenoid.
  • Put the new starter on by reversing the steps.

Step by Step Instructions for Changing the Starter on a Lawn Mower

The unit I am working on is a John Deere LX172. Here it is with the hood already removed.

Turn the key to the ‘off’ position and raise the hood.

Here is a closer view of the Kawasaki engine.

Disconnect the negative battery terminal.

Locate the starter. This is a closer view of the starter location.

lawn, mower, starter, rebuild

Disconnect the plastic wiring harness. It has a clip you should press, then pull it down and off.

Remove the positive battery cable using a 14mm socket or wrench.

Remove the two 12mm mounting bolts from the top of the starter. Slide the starter down and away from the engine.

Here is a picture of the starter once it is removed.

The part number for the new starter is 21163-2073, and here is the link:

Make sure you order the correct starter.

The correct starter for my tractor was the 21163-2073, which is stamped on the original:

I mistakenly ordered the wrong on originally. Here is a photo of the original starter (top) alongside the incorrect starter (bottom):

The starters look the same from the bottom. The main difference is the mounting hole spacing, and the fitment ring which is too big on the lower one in the picture.

For reference, the starter I needed was the 21163-2073.

The incorrect starter for me (bottom one in the picture) was this style.

Joke Break…

The teenage son walks into the living room and tells his father, “Dad, the car won’t start, there’s water in the carburetor.” The father, knowing that the son is not very mechanical, looks confused, “Water in the carburetor, that’s ridiculous!” But the son insists, so the father continues, “You don’t even know what a carburetor is, but I’ll check it out. Where’s the car?” The son replies, “In the swimming pool.”


If you only need to replace the solenoid, remove the two 10mm mounting nuts, and the 14mm grounding nut at the bottom. The correct solenoid is this one:

How to test a Lawn Mower Starter on a John Deere D100 100 series Briggs and Stratton 17.5hp

Here are some photos of the solenoid.

The solenoid removed from the starter:

To put on the new starter, reverse the steps described.

I hope this helped save you some time and effort!

Replacement Parts and Tools:

| Denial of responsibility | Contacts |RSS | DE | EN | CZ