Do you have a lawnmower for lawn and garden maintenance? We all know how this machine helps us enhance the beauty of our surroundings. But sometimes the mower stops working as it may click only but won’t start. As a result, we need immediate support from the experts. So, what actually happens when the lawnmower clicks but won't start.

If the lawnmower is clicking but fails to start, you should inspect the battery first if it is dead. Otherwise, figure out any connection issues to the battery and other engine parts like solenoid and starter motor. If everything fails, you may contact local professionals to repair the lawnmower.

I have been writing different content on lawnmowers. Many readers want to know the reasons and solutions for lawnmower problems. Following this, I am here to discuss them with possible troubleshooting. Can I start?

Lawnmower Clicks But Won’t Start – Troubleshooting Guide

I assume your lawnmower makes a loud clicking or rapid clattering noise while the key is at the start position. The main reason can be a dead battery. That “clicking noise” comes from a part of starting circuit named solenoid. However, there are lots of other facts why the error happens. Continue reading the article below to learn them:

• Faulty/dead battery

• Loose connections to the battery

• Faulty solenoid

• Binding starter motor

• Too much valve lash

• Vapor lock/ locked-up engine

• Ignition switch mishaps

• Faulty starter

• Engine seizure

There is no need to check all these reasons. In most cases, the first three reasons are the culprits why the engine fails to start. Now, I am sharing some of the significant causes with detailed explanations:

Battery Connection Problems

Faulty battery connections are widespread problems that restrict the lawnmower from starting well. If the connection has faults, it may resist the power transfer from the battery to other parts of the device.

If your riding mower is vibrating, it means the connections are loosened. Again, battery acid leaks can cause the connections to dirty while high resistance happens due to the crystalized acid. If you see any white chalky substance on the connectors, you may identify it.


Ensure the connections are tight while checking if positive (red +) and negative (black -) are fully clean. Additionally, repair or change any damaged, corroded cables.

You can make a paste with some spoons of baking soda and a minimal amount of water. Then, apply the acid build-up on the battery connections and poles. Here, soda removes the acid while neutralizing it.

After removing the acid build-up, remove the connectors to clean them with sandpaper or a steel wool brush. You may also apply some petroleum jelly to prevent any further acid build-ups.

Flat Battery Problems

The battery is the source of power to start the engine. If it goes flat, nothing more can be so much frustrating. If this problem persists, the best way to solve it is jump-starting the lawnmower. Therefore, you should look for any leaks available on the battery before jump-starting. You may need to install a new or replacement battery in some cases.

Mostly, the wet batteries are prone to leak more. If the leakage is significant, you should not jump-start the device.


If it is a wet battery, you should check the electrolyte level first. Increase it by adding more electrolytes. But you should maintain safety precautions like wearing gloves, eye protection, PPE, etc.

It is better to replace the battery if the leakage is too much notable. Hence, you should not worry about installing a replacement battery as it is very simple and time-saving work. Just ensure the battery is size is fit, and the poles are in the right places.

Solenoid Problems

The starter solenoid functions to arrange connections between the battery and the starter motor. The power from the 12-volt supply activated the solenoid traveling from the ignition switch. Then, the engine cranks while holding the lawnmower key in the right place for the solenoid.

When you hear the clicking noise, the solenoid is working by pulling in the armature and failing to work. There are also some other reasons for the click that are less common.


Identify the solenoid location first, and then you can start solving the problems. Usually, they remain under the hood of a lawnmower. But if you don’t find it there, you can check out below the rear wheel, behind the gas tank, or under the seat. However, the simplest way is to track the red cable that goes from the battery.

Popular brands like Kawasaki and Honda make the starter and solenoid as a single unit. Husqvarna places the solenoid below the rear wheel fender or under the dashboard close to the steering column. Once you find the location, disconnect the battery, and do the rest. If you still hear the clicking sound, you should replace the solenoid. Then again, check out the excessive valve lash if the engine cranks over. Lastly, tighten all the terminals of the solenoid.

Binding Starter Motor

Binding starter motor can be a reason for the bad starter. Solving this issue can help you start the machine flawlessly.

You may have heard about the gear head of the starter motor. It can get jammed against the flywheel. As a result, the engine and starter motor bind together. You will hear a clicking sound when you try to switch on the ignition.


Once, I was worried about why my lawnmower was turning over but not starting. Then, testing the starter motor helped me to start the engine again. At first, turn the engine over by hand anti-clockwise. In some engines, the flywheel is covered. If your device has the same, try to rotate the crankshaft with the help of a ratchet and socket. They will help you access it from below.

If you get the motor is free when you turn the engine, then binding is the main issue. You may spray some WD40 on the starter gear head to fix the problem when it happens. Sometimes you don’t need to remove the cover if you use the straw of the sprayer.

Worn bearings or gear head, misaligned or lost starter motor can also be the possible reasons to bind the starter.

Valve Lash Problem

All the mower engines have valves. They open and close, maintaining sequence to permit the fuel or air mixture in. After that, the inlet valve closes and seals the combustion chamber. Then, the exit valve releases the used gas.

A fit valve lash helps to open the valves properly and release cylinder pressure. It gives the engine proper cranking at enough speed that creates a vital spark. Once the spark is sufficiently strong, the engine starts.

A valve lash is a gap between the valve tip and the rocker arm. When the gap is worn, it gets wider, which you need to adjust. Therefore, the inlet and exit valve lashes are different.


The cylinder pressure is too high for the starter to control if you see the valve opening lately. Accordingly, you will hear the sound of clicks.

You can walk behind the mower and check out the lash. Then, use a feeler gauge to adjust the valve lash.


Every mower has a carburetor fuel supply. It consists of a fuel bowl, float, and needle. The structure is like this: the float is attached to a needle with a rubber tip. The float will lift the needle when the fuel level rises in the bowl. The needle remains pushed against the feed port while sealing it in a full bowl of fuel.

When your lawnmower only starts with starting fluid, then possibly hydro-locking is the reason. You should know that carburetor can be worn over time. A worn carburetor needle can leak gas into the cylinder. Then, the piston cannot move if the cylinder is full of gas. As a result, the engine will often click when you try to start it. The whole scenario is known as hydro-locking.

Some newer carburetor models have a fuel solenoid to the fuel bowl bottom. It stops the fuel supply when you turn off the engine. So, there is less chance to have a hydro-locking condition. But in the old models, the rubber needle seal wears and caused the issue.


First, you should remove the spark plug. Then, turn over the engine to release the gas. Additionally, you should replace the carburetor float valve and engine oil.

You can also consider that the carburetor seal is leaked for these reasons: overflow of oil, smoke, and oil coming out muffler, gas leaking from the carburetor, and a strong smell of gas.

You may also need to replace the carburetor and change the oil if the gas remains in the oil. Adding to these, needles may turn into pink colors when they are worn. So, you should replace the seal or sometimes the carburetor.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How to start a lawnmower with a bad starter?

You can start the mower by changing or repairing the battery, solenoid, carburetor, and other methods discussed in this article.

2. Why is my mower clicking but not starting?

The possible reasons are faulty battery or solenoid; change them to start the engine properly.

3. Why does my lawnmower click when I try to start it?

The battery is flat, or the solenoid is failing to connect the battery and starter motor.

Final Verdict

A faulty lawnmower can make your day terrible. So, it would be best if you troubleshot faster to run the riding mower engine properly. Following the steps mentioned above, there will be no problem like the lawnmower clicks but won’t start. If any of these methods fail, you can contact the experts to solve the problem. Thanks for reading the article.