How to start a riding lawn mower with a screwdriver? Simple methods with videos

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A sharp lawnmower helps you maintain the garden work easily. To start the engine, you need a key. However, you can lose this for some reason. Or, in some cases, you break it when having a spark ignition. Knowing how to start a riding lawn mower with a screwdriver gives you a lot of conveniences. 

Don’t be scared! Because the article can help you start your lawnmower with a screwdriver. Just keep your cool mind and go through the content. 

Some effective methods are ready for you. Follow the step-by-step guide and start your lawnmower again.

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Pros & Cons of using a screwdriver

how to start a riding lawn mower with a screwdriver

Advantages of starting the lawnmower with a screwdriver:

  • You can start the engine without a key.
  • One screwdriver can start every kind of lawnmower.
  • You can do it yourself.
  • It’s easy for you to succeed.

Disadvantages of starting the lawnmower with a screwdriver:

  • You can damage the ignition wire by a sudden burn.
  • The process can cause electric shock.

The safety feature is necessary. Because you can catch an electric shock when starting the machine. Let’s wear a pair of rubber gloves to protect ourselves. 

How to start a riding lawn mower with a screwdriver?

With just one tool, you can start the lawnmower. The methods are salvations in An Emergency. There are two options for you:

Option 1: Connect the mechanism by the screwdriver

The necessary tool:

  • A two head screwdriver.

Step 1: Set the lawnmower in parking position

The lawnmower’s brakes can help you do that. After you start the engine with a screwdriver, your hands are inside the lawnmower. If it drives, the lawnmower can cut your hands. Each type of lawnmower has a different way to lock. However, the two main ways are:

  • The lawnmower has a level. You can engage the parking brakes by pulling the level.
  • If there is a brake pedal in the lawnmower, press it to set the parking mode.

Step 2: Lock the blades

Do not force or press when you disengage a cutting blade. You can lock it easily by the following steps:

  • Find the blade engagement lever of your lawnmower. 
  • Push the lever slightly to set the LOCK position.
  • Push the lever back against the control panel to make the LOCK sure.

When you want to unlock the blade, do the following steps:

  • Push the lever forward.
  • Push the lever to the right until the lever is in a stable position.

Step 3: Check the battery and the ignition wire

Most lawnmowers have a battery under the chair. Others have the battery placed on the left or the right side. If you can not find a battery in that place, let’s read the instructions book and find. 

You can find the battery and the ignition wire by following the below steps:

  • Use the screwdriver to remove the nuts.
  • Remove the casing.
  • Find the battery.
  • Then you can find the ignition wire is connected to the battery.

Before starting work, don’t forget to wear safety gloves. This protects you from electric shock. 

Step 4: Connect the mechanism

To start the engine, you should connect the starter and the solenoid. Use your two-head screwdriver to engage the bridging mechanism. As you engage, the engine immediately starts.  Now, it’s the performance time of your lawnmower.


You should have a high concentration of things. This method can harm both the battery and the ignition wire. If you think that the first method is dangerous, you can check the second one. It’s safer and easier.

Option 2: Rotate the ignition hole

The necessary tool:

  • A strong flat head screwdriver.

Step 1: Engage the brake and lock the blade

The first thing to do is similar to the previous option. Because of precaution, you need to set the brake and the blade in the lock position.

Step 2: Choose a right screwdriver

The success of this method comes from a suitable screwdriver. 

Here are the features of a right screwdriver:

  • Having a wedge-shaped flat tip.
  • The head of the notch is straight.
  • The flathead should be a little bigger than the ignition hole.

Step 3: Set everything in a ready position

In this method, the screwdriver role is the same as a key. Place the screwdriver in the position that the key is placed. Be careful and do the thing politely. Do not force or push because you can break the ignition chamber.

Step 4: Start the engine

Using the screwdriver is like a key. You rotate the ignition hole. If it is right, you can see the engine roaring. You continue rotating the hole until the lawnmower starts. 

However, this method can not be applied to the lawnmower that has a security mechanism. Because it’s a security key, a lawnmower can differ the key to a strange thing. 

Advice on starting a riding lawn mower with a screwdriver

We suggest that you shouldn’t use a screwdriver in every situation. You can use the following methods in an emergency. Starting the engine with a screwdriver can cause hot wiring. It can lead to some problems such as the electric shock or damaging spark plug. 

Some tips for you:

  • Review the engine a couple of times to make sure that everything is working.
  • Let’s try it one more time if the process does not work.
  • If the engine doesn’t start, check the battery and the fuel. The aim is to make sure that they are in ready condition.
  • You should clean the screwdriver. A dirty one can harm the ignition and the ignition hole.  

Final thoughts

We write the above article following the knowledge from an experienced farmer. Both two methods have pros and cons. It is fast and convenient in the case that you don’t have a key. However, starting the engine with a screwdriver can damage the ignition wire and cause electric shock.

Before starting your lawnmower with a screwdriver, it is smart to have protection. A pair of rubber gloves can prevent you from catching electric shock.

How to start a riding lawn mower with a screwdriver method shouldn’t apply in every case. If you lost the key, let’s make a new one. This can help you extend the lifespan of your lawnmower.

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