How to Start a Riding Lawn Mower with a Screwdriver?

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  March 20, 2022
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To cut extensive grass in the garden quickly riding lawnmowers are the first choice among professionals. It is a complex garden machine. But if you take proper care it will serve you for 10 or more years. The riding lawn mower comes with a key that you use to start the machine. But losing the key is a common human trait – no matter it is a car key, house key, or the key of a riding lawnmower. You may also break the key.
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Then what will you do? Will you change the entire machine and buy a new one? In such a situation, a screwdriver can be your problem solver. You either can use a two-headed screwdriver or a flat-headed screwdriver to start a riding lawnmower.

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Method 1: Starting a Riding Lawn Mower with a Two-Headed Screwdriver

Screwdriver head with different shapes mainly distinguishes one type of screwdriver from another. In this operation, all you need is a two-headed screwdriver and knowledge about the location of certain parts of the mower. If you don’t have the first one then purchase it from a nearby retail shop and I am sure you don’t lack the second one.

5 Steps to Turn on a Riding Lawn Mower with a Two-Headed Screwdriver

Step 1: Engaging the Parking Brakes

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Some lawnmowers come with brake pedals that will allow you to engage the parking brakes by simply pressing those pedals. On the other hand, some lawnmowers don’t have the brake pedal feature rather they come with a lever. You have to pull this lever to engage the parking brakes of the mower. So, based on the feature available to your lawnmower follow the instruction to engage the brake of the lawnmower into the parking position.

Step 2: Disengaging the Blades

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Disengage the cutting blade so that the brake cannot start all of a sudden and an accident occurs. This step must not be ignored for your safety.

Step 3: Locate the Battery of the Mower

Usually, the battery is positioned under the hood of the mower. So, open the hood and you will find the battery either on the left side or on the right side. It varies from brand to brand also from model to model.
Starting a lawnmower
But if you cannot find the battery under the mower’s hood then check under the chair of the driver. Some lawn mowers come with their battery located under the chair though it is not so common.

Step 4: Locate the Ignition Coil

You will notice some cables on the battery. The cables are connected to the ignition coil. So, you can quickly locate the ignition coil following the cables.
lawnmower motor
The location of the ignition coil is also mentioned in the user’s manual. You also can check the manual to ensure the position of the ignition coil. Since you already have located the battery and ignition coil you are almost done. Go to the next step to engage the bridge mechanism and turn the mower on.

Step 5:  Turn on the Mower

Check the engine compartment and you will find a small box. The box is generally hooked on one side of the compartment.
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There is a space between the starter and the ignition coil. Pick up the screwdriver and touch both the connectors to engage the bridge mechanism. When the bridge mechanism is established the mower is ready for mowing.

Method 2: Starting a Riding Lawn Mower with a Flathead Screwdriver

The Flathead screwdriver has a wedge-shaped flat tip. It is generally used to loosen screws with a linear or a straight notch on their heads. If you lose the key of your mower then you can start it using a flat head screwdriver. The size of the screwdriver should be a little bit smaller than the ignition hole of your mower. If its size is bigger than the ignition hole then it won’t come to your help. Keep this information in mind before purchasing a flat-head screwdriver to turn on your mower.

4 Steps to Turn on a Riding Lawn Mower with a Flat-Headed Screwdriver

Step 1: Engaging the Parking Brakes

Some lawnmowers come with brake pedals that will allow you to engage the parking brakes by simply pressing those pedals. On the other hand, some lawnmowers don’t have the brake pedal feature rather they come with a lever. You have to pull this lever to engage the parking brakes of the mower. So, based on the feature available to your lawnmower follow the instruction to engage the brake of the lawnmower into the parking position.

Step 2: Disengaging the Blades

Disengage the cutting blade so that the brake cannot start all of a sudden and an accident occurs. This step must not be ignored for your safety.

Step 3: Place the Flat-head Screwdriver in the Keyhole

Place the screwdriver in the keyhole. It will work as a substitute for the key of your mower. While performing this step be very careful so that you don’t end up damaging the ignition chamber of the mower.

Step 4: Turn on the Lawnmower

Now rotate the screwdriver and you will hear the sound of the engine. Keep rotating the screwdriver until the engine starts. Now, you have turned on the lawnmower using a flat-head screwdriver. Like one rotates the key in the ignition chamber, turn the screwdriver alike. The engine will start to roar. Keep it rotated until the engine start. You have now used a flat head screwdriver as a substitute for the key and started your machine.

Final Words

There is a possibility of creating a short-circuit in the first method. So, be careful and confident when you are using a two-headed screwdriver to start your mower. And yes, don’t start the work with bare hands rather wear rubber gloves to ensure safety. On the other hand, some lawnmowers come with a highly protected ignition chamber. You cannot open it without the special key manufactured by the company. If yours is such one the second method won’t work for your mower. No matter which method you choose if you feel nervous and cannot understand the steps properly take help from a professional rather trying yourself.
Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new equipment, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.
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