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My Tractor Is Dead and Won’t Start

We want to help you understand how to troubleshoot a tractor that won’t start.

And as a quick aside --- we are here to help you purchase a new tractor and implements when the time is right.

Let’s get started.

Tractors Die

Tractors withstand heavy use and sometimes even abuse.

Over time --- the parts wear, breakdown, and need service.

Sooner or later, if you have your tractor long enough --- you will try to start it and it will be dead.

This is inevitable --- which is why this short article will prove helpful.


When you go to start the tractor --- does the engine whine a bit?

If so, you may be simply out of fuel.

Check the fuel gauge.

If you can't tell whether the tank is dry, then simply add a gallon of fuel and try to start it again.

Spark System

Many times a tractor will not start because the electrical system is not sending a spark to the igniter.

There’s an easy way to test this

Remove a plug wire from the spark plug.

Hold it less than an inch from the metal of your engine block.

If it is working correctly --- a spark should arc from the wire to the metal block. If it is not working correctly --- the problem could be with the wires or the battery.


The starter is supposed to turn over the engine when you use the ignition key.

If you turn the ignition key and hear an unpleasant grinding noise or only a single click ---then the problem could be a bad starter.


If you can’t get any of the electrical devices (driving lights, work lights, etc.…) to come on, then it is most likely a dead battery.

A jump start may help.

If the battery is completely discharged --- it may require an hour or two attached to a charger to get the engine to start.


If the battery continues to die after recharging --- you likely have a bad alternator.

The alternator is a small generator that is turned over by the running engine.

It keeps the tractor battery fully charged.

When the alternator fails --- the battery will keep discharging and prevent the tractor from starting.

Hopefully, this brief article has helped you better understand what typically is happening when your tractor won’t start.

If you need any further help or have any questions about service, tractors, implements, or anything else equipment-related, please contact your dealer, local mechanic, or call us at 602-734-9944. Please ask about our current new and used tractor supply.

If you are looking for old, vintage, classic, or new tractor parts, send us a part request.

Team Tractor Ranch - #1 Tractor Dealer in Arizona. We sell and service most major brands of tractors including Yanmar, Kubota, John Deere, TYM, Mahindra, Kioti, Case, New Holland, Massey Ferguson, Ford, Deutz, Case IH, Farmall, International Harvester, Branson Tractors, LS, Shibura, Claas Tractor, McCormick Tractors, Valtra, Solis, YTO, Montana, and Nortrac.

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