Lawn Mowers


Starting a Lawn Mower

Starting a Lawn MowerThis is how to, in general, start a push lawn mower that runs on gasoline. Obviously, how to start your individual lawn mower will vary according to the brand and model of lawn mower you have. Some lawn mowers have a choke that you need to engage, while others need to be primed. On the more expensive models, there will be a key or button which you turn or press to start the lawn mower. Consult your instruction book for details about your lawn mower. Always follow all proper safety precautions before starting your lawn mower. They can be found in your lawnmower’s manual and reading your manual is the first thing you should do when you purchase a new lawn mower. It could save you a lot of trouble and make it more safe for you when using your lawn mower if you practice some of the safety recommendations.

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Safety Considerations when Starting a Lawn Mower

Engine Oil –  Make sure you have enough engine oil in your mower. Usually there is a cap on top of the mower body, smaller than the gas cap, that says “oil” or something similar. The cap will probably have an oil gauge attached, so check the oil as you would in a car, that is, judge the level of oil on the gauge against the depth of the reservoir (the length of the gauge). Compare the level of oil to the marks on the dip stick. Always perform this check at the beginning of each day that you use the lawn mower.

Gasoline –  Make sure you have enough gasoline. There should be a clearly labeled cap on the gas tank. If you open it, you should be able to look down into the tank and see the approximate level. Add more (preferably using a funnel) if needed. If you spill some of the fuel, wait until it has evaporated before you start the lawn mower. never fill the gas tank while the engine is running and wait till it cools before filling the tank to avoid the potential of a fire.

Prime the Engine –  Locate the prime button, usually red or black, a squishy button somewhere on the mower’s body. Push it between 3 and 4 times in order to force the gasoline into the lines. Some models will have a choke, which you need to open and then close once the engine is running. Some of the newer models now have automatic primers and chokes, so you may be able to skip this step.

Safety Lever – You may need to pull and hold a starting lever (a safety feature), or the lawnmower will not start no matter what you do. All modern lawn mowers now come with this feature.

Position – Brace your arm holding the starting lever, and pull upward on the pull chord, which you should find on top of the mower body. You may have to do this several times before the motor starts up.

Will Not Start –  If you are still unable to get your mower started, try the lawnmower inspection and troubleshooting steps at How to Repair a Lawnmower.

If you have made sure that there is gasoline in the gas tank and have not flooded the engine, wait for about five minutes before trying to start it again. While you are waiting visually make sure that the spark plug wire is attached to the spark plug and that the safety start is engaged. If it still fails to start, you may have to take to a lawn repair service to have the engine serviced. We suggest that you do this early in the season to avoid having to wait in line at the repair shop to have your lawn mower tuned up or repaired.


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One Response to “Starting a Lawn Mower”

  1. sounds so simple to start a lawn mower, but when they do not work it can be really frustrating. we had some problems with ours and it really needed a tune up badly and once we changed the spark plug, it made a huge difference.

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