How To Jump Start Lawn Mower With Screwdriver (4 Easy Steps)

How To Jump Start Lawn Mower With Screwdriver

When faced with a stubborn lawn mower that refuses to start, you may find yourself considering unconventional methods to get it running.

One such method is figuring out how to jump start lawn mower with screwdriver. This technique involves using a screwdriver to complete an electrical circuit, thereby bypassing the usual ignition system.

However, this method is not without risks, it involves high voltage and can potentially cause damage to the mower, start a fire, or even result in personal injury. Therefore, it should only be considered as a last resort.

We’ll provide an overview of this process, outlining the necessary precautions, the detailed steps involved, and when it might be more appropriate to seek professional assistance.

Understanding The Mower’s Electrical System

The electrical system of a lawn mower is central to its operation and primarily consists of three key components: the battery, the ignition switch, and the solenoid.


The battery provides the electrical power needed to start the engine. Once the engine is running, the battery is charged by the engine’s alternator.

It is essential to ensure that the battery is in good working order before attempting to jump-start the mower. Signs of a failing battery may include dim lights or an engine that cranks slowly.

Ignition Switch

The ignition switch is the component that you typically turn with a key to start the mower. It connects the battery to the starter solenoid when the switch is turned on.

Understanding its location and role in the electrical system can be helpful when attempting a jump start. However, in this process, we’ll bypass the ignition switch using the screwdriver.

Starter Solenoid

The starter solenoid is an electromagnetic switch that essentially connects the battery to the starter motor when you turn on the ignition.

The high electrical current required to start the engine is thus passed through the solenoid, instead of the ignition switch.

This is the component you’ll be interacting with when jump-starting with a screwdriver. Usually, it’s a cylindrical object with two large post terminals and one or two smaller terminals.

Role Of The Screwdriver In Jump-starting

The screwdriver is used to connect the two terminals on the solenoid, effectively bypassing the ignition switch.

When the connection is made, electrical current flows directly from the battery to the starter motor, initiating the engine start process.

Safety Precautions

When dealing with the electrical system of your lawn mower, it’s important to be cautious. Electricity can cause severe injury, or even death, if not handled properly.

Always ensure that the mower is off before you start, wear rubber-soled shoes, and use insulated tools where possible.

Do not touch any metal parts of the tool you are using to the frame of the mower. Always remember, if you’re not comfortable with performing such tasks, it’s best to contact a professional.

Preparing For The Process

Before you jump-start your lawn mower with a screwdriver, there are several things you need to do to prepare:

Gathering Necessary Tools And Materials

  • Flat-head Screwdriver

Choose a screwdriver with an insulated handle to protect against any possible electrical discharge. Make sure the screwdriver’s head is large enough to bridge the gap between the two solenoid terminals.

Positioning The Mower For Safety

Ensure the mower is on a flat and stable surface to prevent it from moving unexpectedly.

Keep the mower away from flammable materials, as sparking can occur during the process.

The mower should be positioned in an open area for proper ventilation.

Checking The Mower’s Condition

Check the general condition of the mower to ensure there are no visible signs of damage, especially to the battery, cables, and solenoid.

Ensure the mower’s engine is cold before you start working.

The mower should be in ‘neutral’ gear and the parking brake should be on to prevent sudden movement.

Wearing Appropriate Safety Gear

Wear rubber-soled shoes to insulate against potential shocks.

Use gloves to protect your hands not only from electrical shock but also from any sharp or hot surfaces on the mower.

Safety glasses will protect your eyes from sparks or small debris.

Preparation is crucial to ensure your safety and the successful jump-start of your lawn mower. If at any point you feel unsure or uncomfortable, it’s best to seek professional help. Remember, bypassing the usual starting process should only be a last resort.

How To Jump Start Lawn Mower With Screwdriver (Executing The Jump-Start)

Executing the jump-start involves creating a direct connection between the battery and the starter motor using a screwdriver. This bypasses the typical ignition switch and forces the mower to start.

Locating The Ignition Switch

Find the ignition switch, which is usually located near the steering wheel on riding mowers or near the motor on push mowers. Though you won’t use the switch in this process, it’s good to be familiar with its location.

Locating The Solenoid

The solenoid is generally near the battery and has a positive wire running from the battery to one of its larger terminals. It’s typically cylindrical with two large posts and one or two smaller ones.

Establishing The Connection

Make sure the mower’s ignition is in the ‘off’ position to start.

Take your screwdriver and touch one end to the post on the solenoid where the battery’s positive wire is connected.

Carefully touch the other end of the screwdriver to the other large post on the solenoid. This creates a bridge, bypassing the ignition switch and creating a direct electrical path from the battery to the starter motor.

Observing The Mower’s Response

If the mower’s electrical system is in good condition and the battery is charged, the engine should turn over and start. Be ready for a small spark when the connection is made.

If the engine doesn’t start, remove the screwdriver immediately to break the connection. Persistent attempts could lead to a drained battery or damage to the electrical system.

Remember, this process involves working with a high amount of electricity, so caution is required. Always keep your body and loose clothing away from the engine and moving parts to prevent injury.

If the engine does not start after one or two attempts, it’s likely that there’s a different problem, and professional help should be sought.

After Jump-Starting

Following the successful jump-start of your lawn mower with a screwdriver, there are several steps to ensure safety and verify the proper operation of your mower.

Removing The Screwdriver Safely

Once the engine starts, immediately remove the screwdriver from the solenoid posts to break the connection. Be careful not to touch any other metal parts of the mower with the screwdriver to prevent electrical shorts or shocks.

Checking The Operation Of The Mower

Allow the mower to run for a few minutes to ensure it’s operating normally. Check for any unusual noises, smoke, or erratic behavior.

Make sure that the mower can be turned off using the normal ignition switch. This is important as it confirms the switch is functional, at least for stopping the engine.

Try using the mower as you typically would, ensuring all functions like driving, cutting, and stopping are working as they should.

Understanding When Professional Help Is Needed

If the mower doesn’t function as expected, or if there are any warning signs like smoke or strange sounds, turn off the mower immediately and seek professional help.

If the mower needed a jump-start due to a problem with the starter or ignition system, consider taking it to a professional for a proper repair.

Bypassing the regular start process is not a long-term solution and can lead to more significant problems down the line.

Once you’ve finished using the mower, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper shut-down and storage. Remember, regular maintenance is the best way to prevent the need for jump-starting in the future.

Preventing Future Issues

Preventing future issues with your lawn mower, especially with the starting system, involves regular maintenance, safe storage, and knowing when it might be time for a replacement.

Regular Maintenance Of The Mower

  • Regularly check the mower’s battery and clean the terminals. Replace the battery if it’s old or not holding a charge.
  • Check the spark plugs and replace them if necessary. Poor spark plugs can cause starting issues.
  • Make sure all electrical connections, including those to the solenoid and ignition switch, are secure and free from corrosion.
  • Regularly change the oil and keep the mower’s engine well-lubricated to ensure it runs smoothly.
  • Keep the air filter clean. A dirty air filter can affect the engine’s performance.

Safe Storage Of The Mower

  • Always store your mower in a clean, dry place to prevent rust or corrosion, which can lead to various issues, including electrical problems.
  • During winter or extended periods of non-use, consider removing the battery and storing it in a cool, dry place to extend its life.
  • Never leave fuel in the mower’s tank during storage. Old fuel can clog the carburetor and cause starting problems.

When To Replace The Mower

  • If your mower consistently has starting issues or other operational problems despite regular maintenance, it may be time for a replacement.
  • Other signs of needing a replacement might include excessive smoke, poor cutting performance, or frequent breakdowns.
  • Consider the age of your mower. If it’s reached or exceeded its expected lifespan, a new mower may be a more cost-effective and less frustrating option.

By following these preventative measures, you can avoid many common issues with lawn mowers, including the need to jump-start the mower with a screwdriver.

However, if problems persist, it’s best to seek advice from a professional or consider purchasing a new mower.

Jump-starting a lawn mower with a screwdriver is a method that should only be considered as a last resort, given the potential risks involved such as damage to the mower, fire, and personal injury.

This guide has walked you through each step of the process, emphasizing safety and caution at each stage. However, the most effective approach to prevent such issues is consistent and proper maintenance of your mower.

Ensuring the battery is in good condition, keeping all electrical connections clean and secure, and storing the mower safely can all help prevent starting issues.

If you consistently experience problems with your mower, despite regular maintenance, it may be time to consult with a professional or consider a replacement.

Ultimately, understanding the operation of your lawn mower and taking good care of it will help ensure its longevity and reliable performance.

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