Why Won’t My Cub Cadet Riding Mower Start? 5 Common Reasons.

A potential reason why your cub cadet riding mower won’t start is due to a dead battery or a disconnected spark plug wire. Ensure both are properly connected and charged before attempting to start the mower.

Riding mowers are an essential tool for homeowners with large backyards and gardens. They save time and add efficiency to your mowing tasks. However, it can be frustrating when your riding mower won’t start, hindering your mowing ability. The problem can be caused by several factors such as a dead battery, a clogged air filter or fuel filter, a malfunctioning starter motor, or a disconnected spark plug wire.

Troubleshooting the issue requires a diagnostic process that involves identifying the source of the problem and resolving it. This article will outline some steps to help you figure out why your cub cadet riding mower won’t start and how to fix it.

Why Won't My Cub Cadet Riding Mower Start? 5 Common Reasons.

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The Battery Is Dead

The battery plays a vital role in starting your cub cadet riding mower. A dead battery can cause your mower to fail to start. Symptoms of a dead battery include the starter motor not turning over, dimming headlights, and slow engine crank speed.

To test the battery’s charge, use a voltmeter. Remove the battery and connect the positive and negative leads. If the voltage is less than 12. 4 volts, recharge the battery. Keep in mind that discharging the battery to less than 50% can harm the performance of the battery.

Ensure that the battery is clean and the cables are tightly secured. If the battery is damaged, replace it with a new one and dispose of the old battery properly.

The Ignition Switch Is Faulty

The ignition switch is a critical component in starting a cub cadet riding mower. Signs of a faulty ignition switch may include difficulty starting the mower or the engine not turning over. Checking the ignition switch is relatively simple – start by disconnecting the battery and removing the ignition switch cover.

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Use a multimeter to check the switch for continuity and replace it if necessary. To replace, remove the old switch by disconnecting the wires and unscrewing it from the mower. Place the new ignition switch in the same position and reconnect the wires.

By following these steps, you can easily diagnose and resolve issues related to the ignition switch of your cub cadet riding mower.

Dirty Air Filter

The air filter in your cub cadet riding mower plays a crucial role in starting the engine. A dirty air filter can prevent air from getting into the engine and cause issues with starting. Symptoms of a dirty filter include engine sputtering and a lack of power.

Luckily, cleaning or replacing the air filter is an easy task. To clean the filter, simply remove it and tap it on a hard surface to remove debris. If it’s too dirty, replace it with a new one. It’s important to keep the air filter clean to ensure your cub cadet riding mower starts promptly.

A dirty filter can also cause long-term damage to the engine.

Bad Spark Plug

The spark plug in your cub cadet riding mower has an essential role in starting the engine. Signs of a bad spark plug include difficulty starting the mower and a lack of power while mowing. To remove and replace a spark plug, start by removing the spark plug wire and then use a spark plug socket and ratchet to unscrew the old spark plug.

Clean the spark plug threads and gap with a wire brush before installing a new spark plug, tightening it with a torque wrench. Be sure to reconnect the spark plug wire securely and test the mower to see if the issue has been resolved.

Regularly checking and replacing spark plugs can help ensure your cub cadet riding mower starts easily and runs smoothly.

Fuel System Issues

The fuel system is crucial to starting and running your cub cadet riding mower. It’s responsible for delivering clean and regulated fuel to the engine. Signs of fuel system issues can include low fuel pressure, dirty fuel filters, or a faulty carburetor.

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Diagnosing the issue may involve checking the fuel pump, lines, and filters for clogs or leaks. The carburetor may need cleaning or adjusting to restore proper fuel flow. If you suspect fuel system issues, it’s best to have a professional mechanic inspect and repair it.

Regular maintenance and adherence to manufacturer guidelines can prevent fuel system issues from occurring in the first place.


If your cub cadet riding mower won’t start, don’t panic. There are several common reasons why this might happen. You may need to do simple maintenance, such as checking the fuel level or adding fresh fuel, cleaning the air filter, or charging the battery.

Alternatively, you may need to address more complex problems, such as fixing a clogged carburetor or replacing a damaged spark plug. By troubleshooting the issue based on the symptoms you’re experiencing, you’ll be able to diagnose and fix the problem so that your cub cadet can start running smoothly once again.

Remember to always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for maintenance and troubleshooting, and always prioritize safety precautions when working on your mower. With the right care and attention, you can keep your cub cadet running smoothly for years to come.