How to test a lawn mower solenoid

Metal in Motion explains how to properly and accurately test the starting solenoid on a riding lawn mower.

To learn how to test lawn mower key switches click here:
To learn how to test blade and seat safety switch click here:



40 thoughts on “How to test a lawn mower solenoid

  1. i have a Poulan Pro Lawn Mower I have a 4 Pole starter solenoid are you supposed to have power on the black wires on the solenoid if not does that mean I have a short on the solenoid thanks Billy

  2. I have a Honda Harmony 2013 riding mower, unsure what year. Th battery is charged, hit the key, and it'll take 2 or 3 attempts to turn over. Once turned over, it turns slow for 2-3 seconds then started gear kicks down. Eventually it might start. Can anyone tell me what to check? thank you.

  3. So basically here is the bottomline: For a 4 post Solenoid lets say Post 1 and Post 2 are the ones he is putting the batteries to test. These are the two posts that a black/purple wire clips on and off. You can pull those out easily on the mower. Next is Post 3 which goes to starter. Post 4 is directly connected to Positive of MOWER battery.

    Test: Connect Post 3 with Post 4 directly – with a screwdriver or wire and see if starter cranks. If it does then both battery and starter is good. Lets assume starter and battery is good.

    Case 1. With Key in ON position if you have 12 V across Post 1 and 2 (test with Multimeter) and starter wont start then you have a bad solenoid. As this guy in the video correctly explains you should have continuity between Post 3 and 4 when there is 12 V between Post 1 and 2. With a working solenoid this would mean a 12 V between Post 1 and 2 with key on ON – this would connect Post 3 with Post 4. Post 4 is live battery from mower and with continuity Post 3 would connect to 4 and would become live and start the starter. So with a bad solenoid you would have 12 V with Key ON and no continuity between Post 3 and 4.

    Case 2. With Key in ON position if you DO NOT have 12 V across Post 1 and 2 this means Solenoid is not getting the power to close the switch or provide continuity between Post 3 and 4. This does not say anything about the solenoid. Could be good or bad. But tells you that you have problems elsewhere with 1. Loose connections. 2. Bad wires. 3. Bad Seat switch 4. Bad RIO switch. 5. Bad Brake/Clutch Switch 6. Bad IGNITION/KEY switch 7. Bad Blade Engagement Switch. Fix all those until you get 12V across the top posts of the Solenoid or Post 1 and Post 2.

  4. Performed all the checks and I found my problem to be a defective blade safety switch that would not allow the engine to start. Thanks for the Help!

  5. Have a craftsman riding mower, won't start. Makes a clicking noise or whining noise when trying to start. Tested solenoid, 12 volts coming into solenoid from battery and none going out to starter. Put new solenoid on and same thing, no start and 12 volts coming in and none going out. Will a bad ignition switch cause this problem? If not, what could be the problem? Please help, trying to fix this to save money.

  6. Im kinda in the same situation as Robin Wrobel that posted a year ago. New starter, new solenoid, new battery,
    checked the safety switches…replace the blade switch and still nothing. Im thinking a ground for the solenoid, but not sure if the 4th post should be grounded specifically to something.

  7. I replaced the siloanoid a while ago now it works but it only works some times so I looked to see if there was a lose wire there was not so I sprayed it with where cleaner it still has the same problem

  8. Do you think that you could learn to properly pronounce the English language? It is not s sill-in-oid. It is a SOLinoid. Drives me nuts!

  9. I just wanted to thank you for this video! I cleaned up the ground connection on my 3 pole solenoid and my mower started the first time!!

  10. Great Video. Had a 99 John Deere LT 155 with a non-crank situation. Checked the battery first, key switch, (another video) then the solenoid and got 12 volts exactly as noted. Once this was good followed another video of yours regarding testing the safety switches. The brake safety switch tested good but had dirty connections.That is all it was. Thanks!

  11. Another way is to Hook a Battery or 12V Car Charger at BOOST 50AMPS directly with a Car Jumper Cable to the FRAME (NEGATIVE CLAMP) and the POSITIVE CLAMP directly to the STARTER POSITIVE to see if it will Spin :))). Also, I just bought a NEW Solenoid for $7.85 including Shipping (2016 Price). Save time and Money, just JUNK it… LOL. Good TESTING Video tho :)))

  12. I have 12.75 volts going into the solenoid. but 0 coming out, and have 0 on the small wire connected to the third pole. it's a 3 pole solenoid btw.

  13. Sorry, the page you were looking for does not exist or is not available. We performed a web search for “Metal In Motion Shop” and here's what we found.

  14. I have MTD lawn tractor. I replace solenoid and safety switch. it has spark and gas. the engine turn but does not start. I hope you can help me.

  15. Thanks! I tested my 4 pole solenoid and am now off to test the switches. Your videos are very useful and give a lot of information to help people with all different models or testing equipment.

  16. Your terns "three pole" and "four pole" are incorrect. "pole" is the number of switch sections – so most if not all lawnmower solenoids are single pole, or one pole. The coil wires, whether there terminals for both ends, or one is connected to the frame of the solenoid (sometimes called "grounded," ) aren't counted. You could call them four terminal or three terminal, but "three pole" or "four pole" is incorrect.

    There are three, four or more pole solenoids, most typically called relays in that case, but I've never seen them used on a lawnmower.

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