How to Hotwire a Riding Lawn Mower

How to Hotwire a Riding Lawn Mower

A problem with your lawn mower can be disheartening. For some reason, a riding lawn mower’s engine may fail to start. Some of the things include a burnt ignition coil or the solenoid. Others include faulty or damaged wires in the engine. The battery might have exceeded its useful life.

When you face such problems, hotwiring becomes an option. Though it is a difficult task, you can handle it, albeit with proper precautions and by using the correct safety measurements. Here is the procedure for accomplishing the work and making your riding lawn mower beautiful again.

The tools of work

Before beginning the task, you must have the proper tools for work. Some of these include jumper cables, rubber gloves, and a screwdriver. If you do not have the jumper cables, you can use any thick wire with rubber coatings to keep you safe from power shocks.

There are a few alternatives or methods that you can use to hotwire. They include the use of:

  1. Jumper cables.
  2. A screwdriver.
  3. A plugin relay box.
  • By use of jumper cables.

The steps

Step 1.

Switch your loan mower gear system to neutral. The setting will prevent the mower from moving.

Step 2.

Put on your protective gear, more so the hand gloves. Try to locate the solenoid of the mower. It can be in two places. Look beside your seat, or look under the front hood.

Step 3.

Locate a red wire in the solenoid that goes into the battery. There is also another wire going to the relay box from the solenoid.  It has different colors depending on your system. Locate it too. It is heading directly to the ignition switch.

Step 4.

Using the jumper cables, touch the red wire using the head of the jumper cable. Remember that the red one goes straight into the battery, so it carries power. Take the other end of the jumper cable with the wire that goes to the ignition switch.

Your riding lawn mower should now start.

  • By use of a screwdriver.

A screwdriver can function if you do not have jumper cables or a thick wire. However, you will perform the first three steps in the procedure above.

The two wires on the solenoid, the battery, and the ignition switch should be close. Use the screwdriver and connect them. The engine of your riding lawn mower should start.

  • By use of a plugin relay box.

You will need to locate the relay box in the system. You can see the red wire that goes to the battery. On the other side of the box is another wire which is of another color, depending on your system. It goes to the ignition box.

Connecting the jumper cables to these two holes will finally complete the current from the battery to the ignition box. The engine will eventually start because the electric current is now available.

A point of precaution

Though the task seems to be simple, it has its repercussions. Hotwiring the lawn mower can be risky, as it might lead to burns and other damages. You have to be ready and capable of maintaining any arising risks. If you do not understand the process of hotwiring, there is no need of hotwiring.

Engage your brakes and ensure the mower’s gear system is neutral before connecting wires. It might move unexpectedly and dangerously when the engine ignites.

Be ready to encounter sparks when connecting wires. Do not be afraid, as it is bound to happen. Even when igniting the engine normally, the sparks do occur, only that you cannot see them from outside the box.

Finally, and when using the alternate method, you need to connect the jumper cable and the other two wires to switch off the mower.

Is there a possibility of hotwiring but failing to start?

Yes. Sometimes, you can perform all the above tasks, steps, and procedures, and the mower fails to start. It can happen when there are parts that are beyond repair. An example is when the solenoid is no longer working or the wires are out of service. The battery could have used up all its cells.

When this happens, you will not have many options apart from replacing these parts. In the alternative, you have to get a new riding mower.

Before doing replacements, and the engine has failed, first, contact the local engine mechanic. They could help a lot in resolving the problems, and even advise you further.


If the riding lawn mower is not yours, never hotwire it. Secondly, do not carry out the procedure if your tools are not rubber coated. The risk of electrical shock is high.

Finally, call for help if you are unsure of what to do.

How long can the hotwiring function?

Once your mower ignition system fails, the problem could be deep and requires diagnosis and repairs. Failure to perform this will render it non-functional within a short time. However, when hotwiring begins, you should start budgeting for a new machine.

The problem can be a revelation of several underlying issues. It could also mean that the machine is approaching the end of its useful life.

How long can the mower last before hotwiring begins?

It depends mostly on how you maintain and service your machine. If you do not carry out regular maintenance, it will break down soon. On the other hand, a regular service will keep it strong, and you will enjoy the services for a long.


It can be disappointing to know that you have a working lawn mower, but starting it is a problem. However, you do not need to stop caring for your garden because of such issues. Hotwiring can solve the problem by following the steps above in this document.

However, you should replace the faulty parts as soon as you can.

Finally, observe safety precautions when performing the task because it can lead to harm and injuries.

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