Lawn Mowers

Trouble Shooting Lawn Mower Starter Problems

Lawn Mower Starter ProblemsIt is always a good idea to keep your lawn mower tuned up and ready to go for the summer lawn cutting season. But sometimes they just will not start and you need to know what to do before calling for expensive repairs or just chucking it and buying a new one. There are 4 or 5 steps to take before you raise the flag so to speak and call in someone to help. We will cover these issues regarding Lawn Mower Starter Problems for you in the following post.

Of course if you are handy then you can take it a lot further, but for now we will settle for these simple steps to get your lawn mower started.

  • Check the Choke and Throttle
  • Make sure there is Gasoline in the Tank
  • Clean Your Spark Plugs
  • Clean the Carburetor
  • Change or Clean the Air and Fuel filters
  • Call a Mechanic or a Good Friend

These are all pretty basic, but one word of caution, before you look underneath, always disconnect the spark plug to prevent the engine from accidentally starting while your hands are underneath.

Dealing with Lawn Mower Starter Problems

Check the Choke and Throttle

Most lawn mowers have a choke and throttle which must be in specific positions depending on whether the engine is hot or cold. Check your manual and make sure they are in the right position when you are trying to start the engine. Some of the newer lawn mowers have chokes that are automatic so all you need to do is make sure the throttle is in the right position. Pretty easy for most people.

Make sure there is Gasoline in the Tank

You might laugh at this one. Who would not make sure that there is gasoline in the engine. Well it happens more often than you might imagine.  I have worked around lawn mowers for many years and it has even happened to me. In my case I never checked the lawn mower after finishing the lawn one day. Apparently the gas tank was empty and so next time it started and only ran for a minute or two. It took me about five minutes to figure out that I should check the gas tank to make sure there was gas in it. Some people get as far as taking their lawn mower to a mechanic only to find out that all it needed was gas in the gas tank. So make sure that there is gas in the tank.

Clean Your Spark Plugs

If your lawn mower is a few years old or even older, spark plugs will get dirty and corroded. Sometimes they get so bad that the corrosion stops the spark from igniting. If you cannot get your lawn mower to run, take out the spark plug, clean it up, file the metal contacts a little bit so there is shiny metal showing and re-gap it. If you are up to it make sure that there is a spark.

Put on a pair of gloves, make sure the spark plug wire is connected and hold the spark plug engine end against a meal object. Make sure sure there is no gasoline around that could accidentally be ignited. Crank the engine slowly and you should see a spark between the two electrodes. If you are not holding it right, you could also get a good shock!

Clean the Carburetor

This may not be for everyone, however if your carburetor is dirty or gummed up from  old gasoline left over winter, you will need to clean the carburetor. Check your manual for the proper procedure and then reset all of the settings for the lawn mowers carburetor.

Change or Clean the Air and Fuel filters

Sometimes it is very dusty when you are cutting the lawn and the filters can get dirty preventing the engine from running smoothly. It is a simple matter, following your instruction book, to change the filters so that your engine is getting sufficient air and clean gasoline. Most engines will run with dirty filters, but they may sputter or back fire occasionally and they will run rough. This could be one of the reasons!

Lawn Mower Starter Problems – Call a Mechanic or a Good Friend

If none of the above worked for you, it might be time to call in a professional mechanic. Or perhaps a good friend who knows their way around a lawn mowers engine. While you are at it, make sure they change the oil in the engine as well. Always ask for an estimate of the repairs to make sure there are no surprises. If they are high, you may want to consider buying a new lawn mower instead of getting expensive repairs completed.

Our next post is going to discuss whether it is cheaper to buy or get your old one repaired. Man perfectly good lawn mowers are being thrown out because the cost to repair them is just too high. check out next weeks post, “Repairing Your lawn Mower vs Buying New”, if you would like more information on this subject.


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3 Responses to “Trouble Shooting Lawn Mower Starter Problems”

  1. i always have trouble starting my lawn mower, it is my own fault because I leave old gas in the lawn mower over the winter and they say old gas makes a mess out of the carburetor. What can I do besides get a new one?

  2. My JS36 starts and runs for a couple of minutes then stops and will not restart.
    Air filter, spark plug and fuel all new and fresh.
    Any idea what could be the problem?

  3. Items to check-in situations like the situation the person who left a comment are as follows in no particular order:
    – clean fuel
    – dirty spark plug
    – dirty fuel filter (inside the tank on some models)
    – dirt in the carburetor
    – check the spark plug after trying to restart, if it is dry, fuel is not getting to the plug.

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