How To Bypass the Safety Switch On Snapper Mower?

Safety switches on lawn mowers are there to protect you at all times from injury. However, at times you may be having problems with the kill switch on your lawn mower. You may also need to test other systems making the kill switch a nuisance. If you need to bypass the safety switch, how can it be done on a Snapper mower?

Though bypassing the safety switch on a Snapper Mower is not advisable for normal operation it can be done. For testing other functions it my be necessary to unhook and cap off wires leading to the switch. There are seat safety switches and handle kill switches all of which can be manually bypassed.

In this article, we will discuss how to bypass the snapper safety switch, how to check a lawn mower safety switch, and how a lawn mower kill switch works.

Caution: This is for informational and repair purposes only. Disengaging the safety and kill switches on any mower is not advised while being used. They are incorporated in the design of the mower for good reason.


How To Bypass the Safety Switch On Snapper Mower?

Bypassing the safety switch on a snapper lawn mower is a simple process-one that you can do at home by yourself for about 10-15 minutes. You don’t need any special skills to make this happen.

Some of the tools you will require include:

  • Pliers
  • A ratchet
  • Gloves
  • Goggles

With all the tools on hand, follow these steps:

  • Take the snapper mower to a flat surface, preferably your garage, so that you can work on it. Working with mowers over grass or gravel could cause you to lose small parts that may be dropped.
  • Enable the parking mode of your snapper and disconnect the spark plug from the lawnmower.
  • There are screws attached to the mower front hood; remove these. Pull the hood upwards.
  • Locate the battery cables and disconnect them from the terminal. Using the ratchet, disconnect the negative cable from the terminal. After this, disconnect the positive cable from the terminal.
  • You’ll find the safety switch beside the negative terminal of your mower battery. The safety switch is the part made of the plastic harness. There are two wires attached to this harness.
  • Using one hand, hold the plastic harness and pull the wires with your other hand. If you can’t disconnect the wires by hand, use pliers. You just grab the wires with pliers and pull them outward.
  • After you remove the wires, tie them together and cover them with electric tape for safety purposes.
  • Afterward, reconnect the battery cables. Take care to reconnect the positive cable first in this instance. Proceed to reconnect the negative cable too.
  • Replace the hood of the mower and attach the screws.
  • Sit on the mower and power it. To test the mower, lower the mower deck and engage the mower blade.

If you can move the mower easily in reverse, then the safety switch bypass was successful.

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Why Would Someone Disengage Mower Safety Or Kill Switches?

The main reason for bypassing a mower’s safety switch is when the mower needs to be serviced and testing needs to be performed without the mower or blades disengaging. This should be done by an experienced professional or an owner that follows safety precautions at all times.

Accidents can happen and these switches are designed to minimize or eliminate many injuries that can occur.

One reason that is not applicable here is the desire to keep the blades or mower running while multiple stops are necessary. Sometimes picking up papers and sticks in the mowers path repeatedly can tempt a landscaper to bypass these safeties in order to save mower pull ropes and starters.

This is not advisable and can lead to some serious injuries.

Jerry McMillan gives an example of just why this is such an important feature on any mower.

I enjoyed several weeks of recovery when I had a walk behind mower. The blades where designed to cut off by a handle lever. I turned it off as I should but left the engine running. I turned the mower a little to the side to adjust height without turning the engine off and the switch caused the blades to come on while I had my hand on the blades. As I said… several weeks of recovery. It’s not a good thing to happen. Any safety switches are for your safety.

How Do You Check a Lawn Mower Safety Switch?

Riding lawn mowers have a safety switch that is located under the seat. This is commonly called the “kill switch,” which turns off the engine when the mower deck is engaged, and you get off the seat. If you fall off while operating the mower, this prevents injury.

In this section, we will give you a step-by-step directive on how you can check a lawn mower safety switch.

  • Lift the seat and locate the switch. The seats on most mowers will typically have hinges to give access to the battery. If yours does not, use a wrench set to remove the seat.
  • Find the pressure witch, which usually looks like a metal dome pressed against the seat.
  • Have a look at the wires connected to the pressure switch and if you find any dislocated wires, reconnect them to the wire terminals on the switch. Replace any broken or frayed wires.
  • Consult your manual to see if the mower will turn off if you get off the seat, even if the mower deck is disengaged. Depending on the brand and model of your lawnmower, this may differ. Some turn off while some stay running if you engage the mower deck.
  • Proceed to sit on the seat and start the motor. Confirm that the mower deck is disengaged and then get off. If the lawnmower responds appropriately, then the switch works when you have disengaged the mower. If the mower doesn’t respond as the manual says it should, then the switch is defective.
  • Engage the mower deck. Leave the mower in neutral or park.
  • After this, get off the mower. The mower should turn off properly. However, if the mower is still running, then the switch doesn’t work properly.

How Does a Lawn Mower Kill Switch Work?

In lawnmowers, a kill switch is a safety feature that works in conjunction with a lawn mower flywheel brake. So how does it work?

When the kill switch is connected, it will stop the ignition coil from sending any current to the spark plug. This will effectively stop the lawnmower.

In most countries, the kill switch is required by law to be fitted and properly working. This is so that you don’t leave a lawnmower engine running and blades spinning unattended. To disengage the kill switch and allow the lawnmower to start, you have to operate the safety lever on your lawnmower’s handle.

When you let go of the safety lever or dead man’s handle, the switch will connect and cut off the spark. This is how lawnmower engines are stopped from running.

Without a kill switch on a lawnmower, the engine would keep running until the fuel runs out. 

How Do You Bypass a Lawn Mower Safety Switch?

There are 3 safety switches on most lawn mowers that can be bypassed. One is found under the seat, another one for the brakes, and the other for backing up.

Bypassing the Safety Switch Under the Seat

This safety switch is used so you can’t start the lawnmower without sitting on it. To bypass this safety switch:

  • You simply cut the switch off. Pliers would come in handy.
  • After cutting it, you’ll see wires. Tape these together with electrical tape.

How To Bypass the Safety Switch for the Brake

This safety switch allows you to start the lawnmower by pressing the brake. The brake switch is found with all other wires behind the engine.

To start the mower, you have to hit the brake. This may be troublesome when testing or repairing your equipment, so to bypass it:

  • Connect the purple wires and seal the whole switch with electric tape. Use metal clips to block the switch nozzles, so the switch isn’t triggered in any way. Make sure to seal the switch completely and properly.

How To Bypass the Safety Switch for Backing Up

This safety switch is found with all other driving switches. The process of bypassing this switch is the same as bypassing the brake safety switch. Seal it completely with tape, connect the purple wires and block the switch nozzles with a metal clip.

Final Touches On Bypassing The Safety Switch On A Snapper Mower…

All in all, bypassing a lawnmower switch is a simple task even though most people don’t recommend it as it’s there for a reason. So if you do bypass it, take extreme care and only do so for testing and repair purposes.

I have had some close calls with kill switches and safety switches not working as intended. Much of the time they are not needed, but the few times in a career in landscaping that you will encounter their intended purpose will make you appreciate that they are there.

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Mathew Booe

Mathew has worked in landscaping professionally for over 10 years. He is a grandpa and frequently interviews other experienced landscapers and lawn care experts who are also grandpas for these articles.

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