toro timemaster won't shut off

What a pain in the jacksie! Most mowers have the opposite problem, I don’t know which is worse. Anyway if you want to shut your mower off quickly, pull the plug wire, but you’ll need an insulated pliers. (Insulated pliers is any plastic handled pliers)

So what’s wrong with a Toro Timemaster that won’t shut off? The most common reason a Toro Timemaster won’t shut off is loose wiring behind the push off button switch.

I’m a mower mechanic and I see this problem with Toro Timemaster a lot. I love Toro mowers, they build great machines. This is a minor problem and you can easily fix it right now.

In this guide, I’ll show you all you need to know. Strap yourself in!

Pulling Toro plug wire using plastic handle pliers Pulling Toro plug wire to shut it off

Shut off a Toro

It's safe to remove the plug wire but - You must use an insulated pliers. Otherwise the coil will give you a jolt. An insulated pliers is any pliers with plastic handle sleeves.

Alternatively, see below re checking the push button wiring.

Fixing a toro that won't shut off

While I see this problem many times in a season, it is possible that the cause lies not with the off switch, but else where. No matter, we’ll cover all the other possible causes in this guide too.

I don’t cover how the kill switch system works in this guide as I’ve covered it in this guide “How to turn off a mower”.

But first lets look at the most common cause – Loose wiring at the push button off switch.

Loose wiring at the push button off switch

The push button is as you know located on the handlebar. The button is a simple two wire on/off switch.

The cause – one of the push button push fit wiring connectors simply comes loose and falls off.

The fix – reconnecting solves the issue, however, if the wiring is broken or loose it will need to be repaired.

Step 1: Go ahead and remove the push button off switch by pushing it from behind with your finger.

Step 2: With the switch removed examine the wiring, repair any loose or damaged connections and your good to go.

Toro loose wiring Removing Toro off switch

Loose Wiring

Toro loose wiring repair Toro loose wiring repaired

Wiring Repairs

testing the push button off switch

The next most common cause is a faulty push button switch. They’re usually pretty durable, but moisture is a switch killer.

The cause – all weather plastic shield cracks and corrodes the the contact points.

The Fix – replace the switch.

Step 1: Check the shielding, if the flexible plastic cover is cracked or worn, it’s a good indicator the switch is water damaged, but we’ll need to test it to be certain.

Step 2: To test the switch we’ll need a dvom (Volt meter). The test is a simple continuity test. Check out “Mower repair tools” page to see my recommended volt meter.

Toro off switch test

Switch test

With your volt meter set to ohm's, check for continuity.

If the reading doesn't change (stays at 1) when the button is pressed, the switch is faulty.

Disconnected engine side wiring

The next most common cause is a disconnected engine side wiring. The wiring harness is connected engine side at three points. 

The cause – cutting under fencing or heavy shrubbery can catch and break or disconnect the wiring.

The Fix – reconnect any disconnect wiring.

Step 1: Check all three wiring harness points as per picture below.

Step 2: Reconnect wiring or repair if necessary.

Disconnected wiring Toro Ground side wiring Toro Timemaster

Engine side wiring harness

Toro coil ground wire

Coil wire

Broken wiring harness

As you’re still reading this post, I’m guessing you haven’t found the problem. This is the last likely issue.

The cause – broken wire in the wiring harness.

The fix – find and repair the break.

Step 1: Check for obvious signs of wiring damage, common areas are where the wires bend and turn sharply. Mice and other wildlife like to eat wiring.

Step 2: Using the volt meter check for continuity in each of the wires. A jumper wire may be needed to connect the volt meter. As before, no change in the reading indicates a break in that wire. See pic.

Toro wiring harness check Toro wiring harness check

Checking wiring harness

With your volt meter set to ohm's, check for continuity.

If the reading doesn't change (stays at 1) when the button is pressed, the switch is faulty.

Faulty coil circuit

This is so rare, I have never replaced a coil for this reason, but in the interest of having a complete list of all possible causes, I’ve included it.

The cause – broken grounding wire in the coil.

The fix – replace the coil.

Step 1: Remove and check ground circuit of the coil.

Step 2: Replace the coil.

Honda lawn mower oil check

New Coil

Related Questions

How does a lawn mower kill switch work? A lawn mower kill switch works by grounding the coil, this diverts the voltage away from the spark plug, which shuts off the engine.

Auto Technician and Writer at | Website

John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on I've been a mechanic for over twenty years, I use my knowledge and experience to write "How to" articles that help fellow gear-heads with all aspects of mechanical repairs, from lawn mowers to classic cars.