Small Engines (Lawn Mowers, etc.)/Starter/clicking noise


Hi Eric-

Bought a used riding lawn mower a few weekends ago. Has a 8hp B&S vertical shaft with both recoil and electric start. Got it running with the recoil start but having troubles with the electric start. Installed a garden tractor size battery (few years old but was on the charger for several hours)and when turning the key I would hear a loud click by where the positive cable goes into a black box and then comes out and goes to the starter. Tried several times and would just click. Thinking that the battery might be weak I pulled the full sized battery out of my old car and hooked it up. Engine started right away. Shut it off and tried again. Click, click, click from that black box. The car battery starts the car fine so I think that has a full charge. Bad starter or something else?


The click is coming from the starter solenoid, the black box.  Low voltage, bad battery, is the most common cause.

If the mower starts using another battery then the mower starter is not the problem.

I would have the battery load tested at you local auto parts store.

Make sure the battery has been on the charger before taking it to get it checked.

Also, when connecting the battery, clean both the battery terminals and cable ends with a wirebrush before connecting the battery.  I have fixed a lot of clicking problems just by cleaning the connections.


Small Engines (Lawn Mowers, etc.)

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Eric A. Jones


Lawnmower Repair . Certified Master Service Technician from B&S. Have 23 years experience on B&S, Lawn Chief, Weed Eater, Echo, Peerless, Wheel Horse, Snapper, Atlas, MTD, McCulloch, Homelite and many other numerous brands. Specialize in electrical repair.


Born and raised in the midwest. Started tinkering with engines when I was about 14 on my Suzuki RM-80. I began lawn mower repair at a small hardware store. I knew absolutely nothing. I read lots of repair manuals and met an older fellow who taught me many lessons. I continued working on small engines through high school and paid my way through college working on mowers at the same hardware store. Decided to get away from the midwest and mower repair so I joined the Air Force. I repaired air traffic control electronic equipment and ended up in Hawaii where I got a part time job at Small Engine Clinic. I gained a lot of experience from the Small Engine Clinic and had a blast repairing small engines. I then took the Briggs and Stratton Master Service Technician test and earned my MST. I then traveled to Wisconsin where I attended the factory update training seminar and received formal training. Continued working on mowers part time as I completed 20 years of military. Retired from the military on a Friday and continued in the lawn and garden industry the next Monday.

MAS Aerospace Operations BA Mathematics AAS Electronic Communications AAS Electronic Technology

©2017 All rights reserved.