John Deere Tractor Turns Over But Wont Start – What To Do?

John deere tractor turns over but wont start

It’s unfair to wish that you will use an electronic or mechanical instrument, and won’t face any mechanical issues. As far as lawn mower tractors are concerned, many users complain that their John deere tractor turns over but wont start.

In this DIY age, there are hardly any minor technical or mechanical problems that don’t have a solution online. With little knowledge about the parts of your tractor, you can fix the problem without much effort.

But, before jumping on to the solution, let’s see why this issue occurs so that you stay alert for the next time.

Why Does This Happen?

The most common reason why mowers cranks but don’t start is because of the gas factor. Either there is no gas, or the gas is responsible for clogging the carburetor. Other than these two common reasons, your tractor may not start due to clogged fuel filter and dirty air filter. This is also common in cars, as well.

A dirty or disconnected spark plug can also contribute to the issue. If you are not lucky, then a faulty carburetor might not be allowing the tractor to start. Other mechanical faults such as a dead battery, coil failure, bad engine compression, etc. can also be responsible for the problem.

John deere tractor turns over but wont start – Solution

John deere tractor

In this section, I will address the reason behind your tractor isn’t starting, followed by a solution to that problem.


If you are still using the same oil of the previous year or season, then you are to blame. When you leave the mower with old gasoline for too long, the tractor will have an issue with starting. Gasoline loses its volatility as the season passes. Consider emptying the gas tank fully, and refill it with fresh gas.

Check Oil Level

This is the reason why most John Deere tractor owners face such an issue. If someone checks the oil level and refills it at the very beginning, the problem is solved.

You need to measure the oil level and notice the color consistency. Refill the tank if it’s empty. If the container already has enough oil in it, and it appears black, you need to empty the tank and refill it with new fuel. The rule of thumb is to change the oil after 25-50 hours of use.

Older oil contains ethanol, which causes corrosion. The fuel leaves deposits of gel, gum, and varnish when it evaporates, which clogs and sticks internal parts. If you are to store the fuel, consider using STA-BIL stabilizer, it will keep the oil fresh for longer. You can also use this oil to start the mower.

Set the Throttle Control to Its Full Revs Position

Your mower has a device known as choke, which blocks the air intake. This choke is automatic on some machines. It initially turns off when you start the engine. If the choke is manual, the throttle requires to set choke’s initial position to turn it on. On other mowers, you need to turn on the choke manually.

If your tractor has a separate choke, consider turning it on when you start the engine and turn the choke off when the engine is in a running state after 5 seconds — no need to use the choke when the engine has been rolling for around 10 minutes.

Press the Primer Button

There is a primer button in the engine; it’s like a small pump. The primer sends the fuel into the carburetor from the tank. When you manually press the button, it will pull fuel from the tank and fill the carburetor and aid running to the tractor.

Air Filter

Ensure regular maintenance of the air filter. A clogged air filter can affect the machine. As it fills up with substances, your mower will run less efficiently. It also causes the carbon to build upon the cylinder as well as a spark plug, which will not allow the spark plug to work correctly, sometimes it will stop working.

If the air filter is too difficult to clean, consider getting a new one. It will cost around $3-$10.

Connect the Spark Plug

If the spark plug is disconnected, the mower will not be able to start the engine. Before buying one, make sure it matches your engine. Using a spark plug gauge will make sure which one will fit your engine.

Pull Out the Starter Rope

You may need to pull the cord to let it gently return to its state. Repeat doing this until the engine starts. Don’t do it more than 4 times. If the engine still doesn’t start, be sure to pull the primer button a few times again. The engine should start by now unless the fuel needs to evaporate.

Checklist to Get the Engine Started

If you tried above the things that I have mentioned earlier, and still your mower doesn’t start, be sure to go through this checklist, as well.

  • Replace old gasoline with fresh gas. Make sure the tank has enough fuel in it. Unblock the vent that is located in the tank cap.
  • Attach the spark lead firmly to the plug. Screw the plug if necessary. If it doesn’t work, consider getting another spark plug.
  • The dead man’s handle should be held opposite to the mower handle. Also, check whether the cable is okay or not.
  • If the choke is manual in your tractor, be sure to turn it on. Don’t keep it turned on when the engine runs for more than 5 minutes.
  • Press the primer bulb about 4 times.
  • Be sure to clean the air filter before you attempt starting the engine. Foam type air filter requires washing and rinsing. You may consider replacing the dirty paper of the filter as well.
  • The carburetor should be well-screwed to the engine.
  • The bottom of the gas tank should be free of water lodge.
  • If the cord feels harder to pull than usual, the bottom of the deck might be clogged by some clumps of grass.

Final Words

If you follow the article correctly, you should be able to start the engine again. And, if you come across someone who is complaining about John Deere Tractor Turns over but won’t start, suggest the same steps as well.

Resources & References


Hi, I’m Adam Vachon, an avid learner and working in the product marketing niche for the last few years. The problem I faced when marketing products for manufacturers made me interested in starting GearsLoft.

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