5 Reasons Why Your Lawn Mower Might Not Be Working

If you’ve pulled your lawnmower cord over and over and the machine won’t start, it could indicate a number of problems. Typically, lawn mowers are difficult to start in the spring following a long stint of storage during the winter. However, a few different factors such as poor maintenance and improper care can make starting your lawnmower difficult any time of the year.

When this happens, it can really put you behind on lawn maintenance and grooming, but there are a few issues to look for that can potentially get your mower up and running again. Before shopping for a whole new lawnmower, investigate the following.

Here are a guide on figuring out why your lawn mower might not be working:

1. Check Out The Spark Plug 

If your lawnmower has been sitting in the garage all winter or if you’ve been using it over one hundred hours, the electrode on the spark plug may burn out or get contaminated. This will cause the plug to not spark properly when pulling the start cord. In addition to too much use or not enough, damp, rainy weather can cause the electrode to become too moist.

This is especially problematic if the mower is older, because oil from the combustion chamber can collect on the plug, mucking up the system even further. Luckily, checking the plug is a breeze since these pieces are easy to remove. When cleaned gently with a rag, the electrode should be able to spark again.

Check out the awesome video from More350Power for simple spark plug replacement:


2. Check Out The Intake For Deposits

If the electrode is covered in lots of black carbon deposits, it could be an indicator a problem with the mower’s air flow. Usually, a moderate amount of carbon deposits is normal, but when they look thick and black, it means there’s a problem with the air in the combustion chamber. If there’s not enough air, the fuel burns poorly, causing the mower to smoke. When trying to get your lawnmower started, this restricted air flow can be a huge problem because the fuel won’t be able to ignite even if a spark is present.

Fortunately, this problem is also easily fixed: change or clean the air filter and clean the spark arrestor with a wire brush.

3. Look Into Changing Your Oil & Adding Stabilizer

If you did not empty the fuel tank or add stabilizer before storing your mower for the winter, it could lead to stale fuel once you take it out again. Fuel gets old and stale after a while because moisture will settle in the tank and sink to the very bottom, where it combines with the gas and forms a type of varnish that ultimately clogs both the fuel lines and the carburetor. There are ways to dissolve the sediment deposits, but it’s easiest to just replace the fuel all together. This is also a good opportunity to check the spark plug and air flow lines.

4. Make Sure The Main Jet Isn’t Clogged

If the main jet is clogged, you can be sure your lawn mower won’t be able to start. The best way to deal with this problem is to clean out the jet and remove any dirt and other detritus that may have gotten stuck in it over time. Use a spray carburetor cleaner to get the job done. If this was causing the lawn mower to have trouble starting, the problem should be fixed now.

5. Change Your Starter & Learn How To Start It Properly

If your lawn mower has no problems with fuel, air, or its spark, the trouble could rest solely on the starting procedure. Some mowers have an on and off switch which must be on when attempting to start the mower. Other mowers may have a priming bulb, which you must depress between 4 and 7 times before you can pull the starting rope. Do some research if your mower has a start procedure not mentioned here since many mowers require different starting methods.

You should be able to find directions on how to correctly start your specific mower easily through the manual or online.

lawn mower won't start

If you’re still having trouble starting your mower after checking each of these factors, you may need to call the manufacturer and explain the specific problems you are having. You can also call repair shops and experts to come and take a look at your mower, as they may be able to identify another issue.

The Cutting Edge Landscape Design is a business that specializes in modern landscape and design. They help create beautiful landscapes as well as maintain them, which means they know a thing or two about yard machines. If you wish to learn more about mower problems, landscaping care and design, or just some other tips, give them a call. They are happy and waiting to serve you!

Source: Rafael Castillo/Flickr

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