What is a PTO Switch on a Lawnmower? 

A PTO, or Power Take Off switch, is an integral part of any ride-on lawnmower. The switch controls the power from the engine to its drive system, as well as other accessories attached to it. Without this switch, the lawnmower would not be able to start up and begin mowing. This article will discuss the PTO switch on a lawnmower in more detail.

What is a PTO switch?

PTO Switch 

The PTO can be found on the dashboard of most electric ride-on lawnmowers. It is a large red switch, which needs to be turned on each time you mow your lawn. The main job of the PTO is to act as a safety feature so that the lawnmower blades won’t go around unexpectedly. 

When the PTO switch is in the “on” position, it sends power from the engine to the lawnmower blades, which allows the grass to be cut. The PTO has metal prongs that conduct the current and pass power from the engine to the blades.

The PTO acts as a clutch on an electric ride-on mowers and is commonly found on lawnmower makes, including John Deere and Ferris. It is commonly referred to as a PTO clutch or switch. 

If the PTO is in the “off” position, it won’t send any power. This is because it will deactivate the clutch and won’t send any power to the blades. The operator can turn the PTO switch off and then work safely on the lawn mower mechanics without worrying about accidentally activating the mower blades. Properly using a PTO switch is essential for safety. 

The PTO switch is also an excellent addition for those who want to use their riding lawnmower as a tractor. It allows you to disengage the blades, meaning that the grass won’t be cut, and the mower will also be safer if it’s running around children or pets. 

How to maintain a PTO switch

PTO Switch 

To maintain a lawnmower’s longevity and performance, it is essential to remember to turn off the PTO switch after each use. This will prevent unnecessary wear or damage to its components and ensure that it works as intended every time you need it. 

To ensure the PTO switch is working correctly, it is crucial to inspect the switch periodically. This can be done by turning off the engine and using a multimeter to test the power source from the battery to the switch. If there is no current flowing through, then it’s likely that the PTO switch needs to be replaced. Additionally, it’s essential to check the safety features on the switch for proper operation. 

Finally, it is important to regularly clean and lubricate the PTO switch to ensure it works properly and safely. Cleaning should be done with an air hose or a soft brush, while lubricating should be done with a light lubricant suitable for the switch.

Following these steps will help ensure that your lawnmower is working safely and efficiently. If the PTO switch has gone bad, it may need to be replaced. PTO switches can be affected by the following problems:


Corrosion can occur when moisture accumulates and creates a thin film that weakens the PTO switch. This weakening can lead to difficulty starting your mower, or it may stop working altogether.

Frayed Wires

Frayed wires are one of the most common problems people face with their lawnmowers. If the wiring around the PTO switch gets worn or damaged, it can cause the mower to not start or become difficult to operate.

Dirt and Debris

If dirt and debris get into the PTO, it can lead to a faulty connection that won’t power up your lawnmower. Cleaning out the area around the switch is often the first step in solving this problem. 

Loose Connections

Loose connections can cause a false connection with the PTO switch, leading to difficulty starting up your mower or other problems. Tightening the screws and connectors around the switch can help resolve this issue.

Blown fuse

A blown fuse can be caused by a faulty connection or other problems. If the PTO is not receiving enough power, it could cause the mower to fail to start or become difficult to use. Replacing the fuse should resolve this problem. 

Bypassed connection

If the connection to the PTO is bypassed, it can lead to a faulty connection that prevents the mower from starting up. Correcting this issue requires identifying and fixing the bypassed connection. 


To summarize, the PTO is an essential part of any lawnmower. It controls the power from the engine to its drive system and other accessories. Without this switch, it would be impossible to start and use a lawnmower. To maintain your lawnmower’s performance, make sure to turn off the PTO switch after each use.