Are Lawn Mower Keys Universal?

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If you own a rider lawn mower, this is one question that has likely popped up in your mind. Are these keys interchangeable? And I understand why this is a concern. Losing the key to your rider mower is not fun, especially if you have a lot of work to do. This is why I decided to write this post and give you the answer.

Manufacturers often use the same key for their rider lawn mowers. If you lose the key, you can use another key made by the same brand. Lawn tractors often use the same keys for decades to ensure compatibility.

What Happens if I Lose Lawn Mower Key?

If you lost the keys to your rider mower, it is easy to buy a replacement. This is not like losing your car keys which can be big trouble. With lawn mowers things are easier because manufacturers often use the same key for their products.

Since 1992 for example, John Deere has been using the same key for their lawn mowers. So if you misplaced it, you can use any key from any of its lawn mowers. I want to add though, this only works with John Deere lawn mowers, not their tractors. Those require different keys.

There are also other popular brands that provide universal keys for their lawn mowers. These include Bobcat, Coleman, Craftsman, Delta, Kohler, Hinkel and Terramite. So if you have a RYOBI RY48130 rider niwerm you can use the key from any of its models.

Once you have a lawn mower, buy several keys for it. You can get them from the manufacturer or a third party. When you have several of these, you can still run your rider mower even if you lose the key.

Now that you have a key, you can start your lawn mower again. I am assuming of course that the machine is in good condition and you have the right blade on.

Manufacturer vs Third Party Universal Keys

There are two types of universal lawn mower keys. Those that are made by the manufacturer for their products, and those made by third parties to support various models.

We have already gone over the first type, those made by manufacturers. These are universal only for that brand. John Deere keys work for all their lawn mowers, but not for Troy Bilt or any other brand. This applies to other companies too.

Third party universal keys are meant to be compatible lawn mower models from different brands. The Jeenda Lawn Mower Ignition Switch Keys for instance, is compatible with various Craftsman, Cub Cadet, MTD, Ariens and John Deere lawn mowers.

Again, note that I say “various”, not “all”. While these keys work with a lot of lawn mowers, it is not universal. These keys can start a lot of lawn mowers, but not all of them.

Both manufacturer and third party lawn mower keys are not entirely universal. They will work with many models, but not all. But between manufacturer and third party keys, you should be able to find a key that works.

Do Push Behind Lawn Mowers Have Keys?

Push lawn mowers have keys, but it is not universal. If you lost it, you have to buy one that is designed specifically for that make and model.

If you lose the key, go to the manufacturer site and enter the lawn mower model and number in the search box. From the products that appear, look for a key that is compatible with your mower.

You can also do this in any hardware store. Just tell the vendor the make and model and they should be able to find a key. Other lawn mowers do not have keys so this will not be an issue.

Tips on How to Protect Your Lawn Mower Key

Taking care of your lawn mower and the key is easier than you might think. If you store it properly you don’t have to worry about misplacing it or someone stealing it. Here are some of my suggestions on how to do this.

A universal key is convenient, but it also means anyone with the key can start your rider mower too. But there are steps you can take to protect it.

Store your lawn mower in locked garage or shed. Padlock it if you must. If you leave the rider exposed outdoors, the risk of theft goes up. Yes it is heavy, but if the thief has a key, all they have to do is find a way in and start the engine. If the mower is in locked up, this becomes difficult.

If possible, engrave your name onto the lawn mower. This way if it gets stolen, you can prove that it is yours.

Install an alarm security system in your property. This will go far in deterring would-be burglars from going after your mower.

Do not leave the key lying about. Put the key in a box and place it somewhere secure. This way you can easily access.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do all lawn mowers have keys?

No, not all of them do. Rider mowers and tractors have keys, but lighter lawn mowers do not. If yours came with a key, get another in case you lose it. Most brands offer universal keys so you can buy one there. Or you can get one from a third party supplier if the key is compatible with your mower.

Will a universal key work with Brand X?

Most rider mower keys are interchangeable. If your rider is made by Cub Cadet, Toro, Husqvarna or any of the top brands, it will run on the manufacturer’s universal keys. What this means is that their rider mowers use just one type of key.

This is not always the case. Husqvarna has a universal key for its rider mowers, but it won’t work on its push mowers. This might also be the case with other brands. The easiest way to find out is to check the manufacturer website or manual.

Do all lawn mower manufacturers offer a lawn mower universal key?

Not all, but most of the major brands do. Among them are John Deere, MTD, Husqvarna, Sears, Scat Track, Polaris, Oregon, Cub Cadet, Stens, Vermeer and many more.

What this means is one key can operate most of their models. It may not work 100% on all of them, but on the most popular ones it will.

Will my universal key run my lawn tractor?

Yes it should. Manufacturers often use the same key for their tractors, even the older models. It is not unusual for a modern lawn tractor to have the same key as a tractor from the 1990s. This is practiced by a lot of companies. Toro for instance, uses the same key for every one of their 7400 series models.

Will a universal lawn mower key start my car?

No. These keys will not start a car, ATV, truck or any other vehicle. The only thing they have in common n is that they are used to start an engine. But the design is very different.

I have a universal key but my lawn mower will not start. Why?

Check what kind of key it is. If it is a John Deere key for instance, it works only for JD lawn mowers. If will not work with their tractors or lawn mowers from other brands.

If you are sure the key is compatible, the lock might need some lubricant. Apply this and that should help the key work.

Should I leave the key in my lawn mower?

You should only put the key in the lawn mower if you intend to use it. That is what you do with your car (or should do) and it’s the same here. Remove the key if you are not going to use the lawn mower.