Lawn Mower Not Starting: Troubleshooting A Lawn Mower

Just like any other appliance that operates on gas or electricity, your lawn mower may run into slight setbacks. One of the most common of these drawbacks is your machine refusing to start. This problem can occur even to the best of lawn mowers. Performing regular maintenance of your machine is a great way to lengthen its life, as well as avoid such circumstances. However, even so, some breakdown is bound to happen at one point or the other due to long running periods.

Lawn Mower Not Starting: Required Tools to Troubleshoot a Lawn mower

Your lawn mower may break down due to a variety of reasons. Each reason may call for different tools, depending on the mower and situation. They include:

  • Gloves – a good pair of sturdy gloves will protect your hands from injury as well as improve your grip on various elements
  • Screwdriver – it is advisable to have a variety of these since you may be dealing with screws of different sizes. Preferably, go for a screwdriver that features four-in-one functionality
  • An adjustable wrench – it beats the purpose of having to use numerous wrenches for various required tasks on your lawn mower
  • Rags – these will come in handy if there will be any oil change required. You can use old clothes or towels. Also, have a sealable metal can where you can store them after use. Gasoline-soaked rags tend to be a fire hazard
  • Needle – nose pliers
  • Ratchet or socket set

All these tools will save you a lot of time and frustration that comes with fixing your device.

white smoke lawn mower

Ways to Troubleshoot a Lawn mower

Before you can begin working on anything, it is crucial that you read the instruction manual that came with the device. If you do not have one, because you purchased used for example, conduct an online search for the manual of your specified device. Going through the owner’s instructions will help you better understand the engine and help you avoid injury to yourself and other property. It is advisable to visit a certified lawn mower dealer and consult them on any additional questions you may have that were not covered by the manual.

A lawn mower can have trouble starting due to a variety of reasons. The cause of the problem will determine how to go about fixing and starting your machine. Below are some of the causes of a lawn mower stall and the ways you can solve them:

  1. Inadequate fuel

This is one of the most common reasons a lawn mower will not start. Luckily, it is one of the simplest to resolve too. All you have to do is check the fuel tank, and if you find it empty, refill it using clean fuel. If the machine was running when the fuel depleted, wait for at least ten minutes before refilling the tank. This gives the machine some time to cool off since any gas spills on hot lawn mower parts could result in a fire.

lawn mower fuel pump

  1. Dirty fuel

Filling your lawn mower’s fuel tank with fuel that has gone stale, is dirty, or has debris could result in your engine refusing to start. Ensure that the container that you use to store your fuel is well cleaned to avoid contaminating it.

Additionally, make sure that the fuel you purchase to use on your lawn mower is well treated. Untreated fuel could end up causing great damage to your engine, which could cost you a lot to fix or be irreversible altogether. You can use a fuel stabilizer to avoid your fuel from causing such issues with the engine.

  1. Shut or dirty fuel-shut valve

If you check the tank and see that it still has enough oil, inspect the fuel shut-off valve. A closed fuel-shut valve will block the fuel from reaching the engine, which will cause it not to start. If it happens to be shut, open it. Also, ensure that it is free of any dirt and debris which could contaminate the fuel and cause engine failure.

lawn mower troubleshooting

  1. A stuck starter rope

This problem is only experienced with gas-powered lawn mowers. The most common cause for a stuck starter rope is an engaged flywheel brake. Ensure that the bar has been pulled all the down to the handle before you can try again.

If it still doesn’t budge, check the blades to see if there is any grass or debris that is blocking them from rotating. If the blades cannot rotate the rope will be hard to pull. Turn off the machine completely, and clear any clogs that are blocking the blades. Also, if the mower is on a hard surface where the blades cannot freely rotate, the rope will not move. Therefore, take the lawnmower out to the lawn or any other soft surface and try starting it there.

  1. Dirty carburetor

The purpose of a carburetor in a lawn mower it to regulate the movement of air and fuel in the engine to ensure that the machine operates efficiently. If the carburetor is full of dirt or debris, it will fail to perform its duty effectively, resulting in poor machine performance, or the mower failing to start altogether. Here is how to clean the carburetor:

  • Inspect the air filter – this element brings air into the carburetor. If it is clogged with dirt, it is most likely sending dirt to the carburetor. Therefore, it has to be cleaned
  • Inspect the linkages – these are the elements attached to the choke and throttle of the carburetor. The vibrating motion of the lawn mower could cause alterations in how the screws are set
  • Use a carburetor cleaner to clear any dirt – with all the dirt and other garden elements that the lawn mower works on, it comes as no surprise that some of it ends up in the carburetor, and manufacturers understand this. For this reason, carburetor cleaners are made readily available on the market. They come with spray cans and other equipment that help you easily get rid of any residue in the carburetor

lawn mower not starting


In some cases, even these simple fixes will not work, and your lawn mower will refuse to start. If that happens, you should consult the services of a certified expert to check what the problem is and fix it for you. Maybe It is time to buy a new self-propelled lawn mower. Also, ensure to practice good maintenance habits from time to time to keep your machine from breaking down. A lot of troubles described in this post can be avoided by going battery-electric. It might be time to step in to the future and get rid of your gas powered mower.