Why Won't My Tractor Start? (Part 1)

If you’ve ever been ready for a full workday and your tractor doesn’t start, you know just how frustrating that can be.  What can be even more frustrating is then trying to identify why. There are many things that can contribute to your Jinma, Farm Pro, or other Chinese tractors not starting properly or possibly not starting at all; however, there are a few common issues that can be quickly checked first. 

To begin with, it’s best to look at the electrical side of starting your tractor and the typical problem areas to troubleshoot. Although the following may not be every issue, these do account for around 90% of common problems.

Troubleshooting a Tractor that Won’t Start

If you’re getting absolutely no power to your starter (meaning nothing at all happens when you turn the ignition key), then you’re having an issue in the circuit which sends electricity to the solenoid. The first thing to check is your clutch safety switch, which is located underneath your clutch pedal and completes the circuit when your pedal is depressed.

If you discover there aren’t any issues with the clutch safety switch, move on to your ignition switch. The ignition switch has five key positions: off, on, heat (glow plugs), and two start positions. Begin with a visual inspection of the wiring of each one of the posts. If you can’t get your starter to do anything, it may be that your ignition switch isn’t diverting power down to the solenoid when you move the key into the start position.

You can use a multimeter to check the voltage at your solenoid post; the key will need to be in one of the start positions for this test. If you are getting action from your gauges in the on position but are not able to get any power to your solenoid, it is likely that your ignition switch needs to be replaced.

Battery & Alternator

The next thing you will want to check is your battery. It’s often fairly simple to diagnose your battery because you won’t be able to get power to anything on your tractor if it’s completely dead. A dead battery may be the result of something continually drawing power from it, and not a problem with the battery itself. If you aren’t able to test the battery yourself, it’s recommended to get it tested free of charge somewhere like AC Delco or AutoZone.

You can do the same for your alternator—if your battery checks out, you should check your alternator to make sure it is functioning properly and charging your battery.

On occasion your starting issue will stem directly from the starter itself; you can read more about diagnosing that particular problem in our article “How to Test the Starter and Solenoid.”

Most of the time, the problem with your tractor not starting will have to do with a faulty ignition switch or clutch safety switch. If you check these different parts and still aren’t able to figure anything out, check out more reasons why you’re tractor isn’t starting. If you need any further assistance, feel free to give us at (615) 315-5686 and we would be happy to help.