If you use your John Deere tractor to assist with snow removal or other winter-related tasks around your property, you’ve likely encountered an occurrence where your equipment won’t start as quickly as it does in warmer temperatures. Sometimes, it may not start at all. There’s a number of different reasons why this may happen, including an improper starting procedure, a cranking speed that’s too slow, or an improper choke adjustment.

John Deere X540

How to Cold Start a Lawn Mower

Here are three steps all John Deere owners should consider when their lawn tractor won’t start in the cold weather:

  1. Proper starting procedure
  2. Proper cranking speed
  3. Adjusting the choke

1. Proper Starting Procedure

If you’re having trouble starting your John Deere lawn tractor, be sure to first put the choke lever in the full choke position. Next, crank the engine for about five seconds. If the engine still won’t start up, pause for 10 seconds, and then crank again for an additional five seconds. Continue this cycle until the engine starts. If the engine attempts to start but doesn’t turn over within five seconds, it’s okay to crank a bit beyond the five seconds until it does start. Properly functioning engines should start in 4-7 cycles at temperatures between 0- and 15-degrees Fahrenheit. After the engine has started and warmed a bit, you should gradually pull the choke lever back. The engine should be able to run without the choke after about 10-15 seconds.

2. Proper Cranking Speed

For the engine to start properly, the cranking speed should be 250 rpm at minimum. Engine oil weight that’s too heavy, low battery output, and corroded battery or starter terminals are all possible reasons for a slow cranking speed. Turning the lights of the tractor on before cranking (for about five seconds) can increase battery power in the cold. Be sure to turn the lights back off before you start the cranking process.

3. Adjusting the Choke

When the lever is in the choke position, the choke plate has to be completely closed. When the lever is in the full throttle position, it must be completely open. Make sure the linkage is tight when checking for this. A simple visual check is usually not efficient enough.

Final Thoughts

Don’t let the cold weather keep you from using your John Deere equipment this year. We hope these steps will help you start your tractor even on some of the coldest days. If you have additional questions about a lawn tractor that won’t start, contact your local John Deere dealer.

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