Riding lawn mowers have a safety switch under the seat. The switch senses the weight of a person sitting in the seat and closes an electrical circuit for the ignition switch to start. This switch will also turn off the mower if a person moves and falls off the seat.
It may be necessary to bypass or disable the safety switches on your riding mower. Always after repair, reset all safety switches to full working order before using your ride-on mower again.
What is the safety switch on a lawnmower?
Lawnmowers and tractors have a safety mechanism that prevents the machine from starting when no one is sitting on it. This safety switch is made up of a set of pins that connect to another set of pins. One of the pins is attached to the seat and the other set of pins is from a wire connected to the electrical system.
When the user sits on the mower, these pins are disconnected. This turns off the switch, allowing the machine to turn on.
But when no one is sitting on the mower, the pins will stay connected, which will also keep the safety switch on and prevent the machine from turning on. If the mower is running and the user gets off, the engine will stop.
This is why the solution to bypassing a seat safety switch on a lawnmower is to simulate a person sitting on it. And for that, you just have to unplug it.
How to bypass a seat safety switch
Unplugging the safety switch so that you can start using the mower more freely is an easy task. While it may seem like hard work, it actually requires less time and effort than you might think.
Nevertheless, we recommend that you be fully prepared to avoid any mistakes and get the job done faster. Below is everything you need to get started.
Things to consider:
It may take 5 to 20 minutes to bypass the safety switch. If you are inexperienced, don’t rush. Try to do the job correctly by following each step exactly.
The safety switch is located on the machine for a specific purpose. Therefore, you need to know why it is there and the implications of removing it. Whether it’s injuring yourself, damaging property, or even void your warranty, it’s all possible without a safety switch.
This process works with Husqvarna mowers and Craftsman manual mowers. Other brands may have a different safety switch mechanism, so this guide may not work for you.
Items you will need:
Flat / Phillips head screwdriver
Brush or feather duster
Once you’ve gathered all the tools for the job, you can start bypassing the safety switch.
Ignoring this safety feature can create conditions for property damage and/or personal injury. Permanently disabling this safety feature may void the manufacturer’s warranty.
Most ride-on mowers and tractors have a factory-fitted safety mechanism that prevents the operator from rolling back the machine when the deck is lowered and/or the blade is engaged. This safety feature is designed to prevent an operator from cutting without having a full view of the obstacles behind him. This safety switch can be bypassed on a lawnmower with just a few tools.
Prepare the mower
First of all, you need to prepare the mower for the job. Remember, lawnmowers have tons of electrical parts, so getting them ready can prevent damage and accidents:
Start by recovering the ignition key. Also, adjust the brake lever and make sure the mower cannot move while you are working on it.
Proceed by lifting the seat and cleaning with a brush or cloth. This will prevent dust or debris from slowing you down.
Finish by disconnecting the battery cables. We recommend that you secure the negative terminal of the battery with a socket wrench. This will avoid unwanted electrical issues.
You should now be ready to ditch the bypass switch.
Discover the switch
While the switch is usually visible once you open the seat, you may still need help identifying it. Here’s what to do:
First, remove the seat from the sliding mechanism. You can do this by using the socket wrench and finding the bolts that connect it to the seat plate (some mowers do not have this plate).
When you remove the seat plate, the seat remains up, but the luggage rack remains down. This will give you direct access to where the switch cable and the seat connect.
Now you should see a cable running from the bottom and connecting to the seat. It usually starts at the negative terminal of the battery and has a plastic harness on top.
Once you locate the switch, you are ready to remove it.
Turn off the switch
The cable connects to the seat. You will need to unplug the cord from the seat, then remove the pins inside the cord plug.
This plastic cable (or harness) should slide out of the seat when you remove it. It may take a little force, but be careful not to break it. You can use the pliers for this.
Once you’ve removed the cable from the seat, it’s time to remove the pegs. Take a look at the cable plug (the part that connects to the seat) and look for a 3-pin part.
Use the pliers once more, but this time to remove the pins from the cable plug. This should deactivate the safety switch, allowing you to start the machine without sitting on it.
After removing the plugs from the cord plug, you are almost done.
Without the pins, the mower should start effortlessly. But before you test it, you need to reassemble everything first.
First, connect the cord or plug to the bottom of the seat plate. You can attach it with a zip tie or with a lanyard. The goal is to prevent it from hanging down and making noises.
Then you are ready to slide the seat back onto the seat plate and connect them. Use the screwdriver and socket wrench as needed.
Finish by reconnecting the battery to the terminal. Lower the seat and you are ready to try it.
Check everything one last time to make sure everything is in place. It can save you time later.
Does everything appear clean and in place? Then test if the safety switch is deactivated.
Test the mower
Testing the mower will let you know if the process worked. This will allow you to continue with any changes or activities you wish to perform:
Start the mower by sitting on the mower seat and inserting the ignition key into its place to start the mower.
Lower the platform and disengage the brake lever. Drive the mower a few feet, and then come to a stop.
Put the brake lever back so the mower does not move. Then get off the mower and see if it stops.
If not, you have successfully passed the safety switch. You are ready to do whatever you want.
If the mower won’t start, you can check out our guide on how to start a lawnmower with a faulty starter.