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Fixing a Lawn Mower That Won't Start

The lawn is getting taller by the minute and your mower won't start. This is a guide about what to do when your push lawn mower won't start.

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May 10, 2013 Flag

We have a Craftsman mower (with a Briggs and Stratton engine) that we have not taken very good care of. Not only did we not remove the gasoline before wintering it over, but we also did not maintain the air filter or spark plug. So it was not surprising that when we went to use it this spring it wouldn't start. However, with these simple steps we were able to get it running as good as new.

Total Time: 20 minutes

Supplies:

  • spark plug
  • air filter
  • fresh gasoline
  • carb cleaner
  • gas siphon
supplies

Steps:

  1. Begin by siphoning out the old gasoline into a container for proper disposal. It is best to use one intended for this purpose, instead of using your mouth and a hose.
  2. siphon out gas
  3. Now add fresh gasoline and put the cap back on the gas tank.
  4. add fresh gas
  5. Remove the spark plug using a spark plug socket. Put the new plug in and reattach the wire.
  6. remove spark plugold and new spark plugs
  7. Open the air filter housing and remove the filter. Some air filters can be washed and reused, however if it has been a long time you may want to just replace it.
  8. take out old filterdirty air filter
  9. Once the filter is out you need to spray carb cleaner directly into the carburetor. A few good sprays should do.
  10. spray carb cleaner
  11. Put the new air filter in and close the housing door.
  12. put in new filter
  13. Now is a good time to try starting the mower. Be sure to prime the mower with the priming button. It may take a few tries to get the mower going.
  14. start mower
  15. I suggest running it for a few minutes the first time you start it. This will help get the new gas running through everything. Happy mowing!
  16. mowing the lawn
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May 16, 2013 Flag
2 found this helpful

We have a Craftsman mower (with a Briggs and Stratton engine) that we have not taken very good care of. Not only did we not remove the gasoline before wintering it over, but we also did not maintain the air filter or spark plug. So it was not surprising that when we went to use it this spring it wouldn't start. However, with these simple steps we were able to get it running as good as new. View the full project here: Fixing a Lawn Mower That Won't Start

Comment On This PostWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

March 17, 2015 Flag
3 found this helpful

I created a video blog on fixing a mower. It is a step by step process. It was much simpler than taking a thousand pictures and typing all that I wanted to say. It is very professional and you can use the description to find any specific part of the mower to fix. This particular mower I found in the trash. Hope you enjoy!

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January 6, 2015 Flag
0 found this helpful

I have a Briggs and Stratton classic/sprint/quattro, model series 90,000-100,000. I just need a belt, but what size is it?

By Mike from Morbihan, France

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January 7, 20150 found this helpful

Try this Briggs and Stratton parts site:

http://www.briggsandstratton.com/us/en/shop/parts-and-accessories

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June 29, 20160 found this helpful

I have a troy built, Briggs and Stratton, 6.50 self-propelled mower. What size spark plug do I need?

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March 23, 2006 Flag
0 found this helpful

I'm looking for assistance in getting my gas lawn mower to start more easily. Last year I had minor back surgery. After that I had trouble pulling the cord hard and fast enough to get the motor to "catch" and run. I often ended up needing to pull the cord over and over to start - probably as many as 20-25 times.

It was maddening, frustrating, painful, and exhausting. I'm 58 years old and not in the best physical condition. The mower is 7 years old. I do all the recommended maintenance. Last year my neighbor was able to get it going in 6 or 7 pulls, so I don't think there's a mechanical problem. It's probably just me. I'm not currently in a financial position to buy a new mower or to hire a lawn care service.

Does anybody know anything I can do to make it easier for me to get the mower started? Thanks for any help.

Hardiness Zone: 5a

Amy from Lafayette, IN

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Anonymous Flag
January 23, 20160 found this helpful

I did this when my pull cord reel broke. Removed the pull cord reel assembly. There was a 3/4"nut under there in a cup. The pull cord catches on the cup when you pull the cord. I put a 3/4"socket on an extension that fit in a 1/2" chuck drill. Set the drill on clockwise , hold or secure your mowers brake cable handle and use the drill to turn your engine over. It wont take long so get ready to quickly pull the drill/socket off.

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Anonymous Flag
May 24, 20160 found this helpful

Push the primer about 10 to 15 times before pulling the rope. I know people will poo poo this saying you'll just flood the engine, but I do that every time I start my mower, and it NEVER takes more than two pulls, and usually starts with just one pull.

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March 22, 2010 Flag
0 found this helpful

I tuned up my Scott 6.5hp push lawnmower. I changed the oil, spark-plug, put in fresh gas and a new air filter. The mower started, ran for 1 min, then shut off and will not start again. Can anyone tell me what might be the problem? Thanks.

By Mike from Houston

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March 23, 20100 found this helpful

Hi Mike, I have had the same trouble. Make sure spark plug is tight. The right oil is in. The lever to lift mower is not down low. Leave a while as might be flooded. Michelle.

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March 24, 20100 found this helpful

Maybe the tiny hole in the gas cap, the one that lets the gas breath by letting the air in and out, is stopped up.

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August 6, 2007 Flag
0 found this helpful

Lawnmower problem. Bought a new Poulan self-propelled in June 07. Briggs and Stratton engine. Very hard to start. Have used twice. Requires maybe 30 compressions of the primer (3 is recommended). I think it's a lemon--but are mower lemons returnable? My guess: needs some carburetor adjustment. Anyone have advice?

Robert

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August 13, 20070 found this helpful

Anything is returnable - it just depends on the policy of the store and the sympathy of the store manager from which you bought it!

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June 8, 20090 found this helpful

What can cause this is a primer bulb or the line going to it has a air leak. I've seen a bunch of these bad. Cost about five dollars at Lowes for repair kit. That's if the store won't take it back.

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August 20, 2012 Flag
0 found this helpful

I haven't used my mower in about 2 months. I tried to start it today, no luck. I dumped the old gas out and cleaned the filter just like the internet said to do. I just purchased it in May of this year. What do I do?

By Larry

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August 27, 20120 found this helpful

Take back to store for replacement or at least get help to return to manufacturer. Most equipment has one year manufacturer's warranty against defects.

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June 18, 2012 Flag
0 found this helpful

My Honda HGR 536 lawnmower is not starting. I have tried all the normal things, ie. change spark plug, checked the spark, and made sure it has enough fuel and oil. I also checked that the cut of fuel tap is in the correct position.

By S Jarratt from London, England

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June 25, 20120 found this helpful

The man who works on my lawnmower told me that gasoline with ethyanol added has been wreaking havoc with small engines.

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January 31, 2011 Flag
0 found this helpful

I have a mower and when I pull the string sometimes it will jam up. This is killing my hand and shoulder and it also does not want to start. It tries to start, but all you see sometimes is white smoke coming out.

By Bryce from Round Rock, TX

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February 3, 20110 found this helpful

Glen had the same problem with a mower last summer...after discussing it with his 80 year old father we all discovered that the 'jets or jet openings' inside of the mowers carberator were plugged up from trash that had been in the gas. They pulled the carberator, cleaned out all of it around inside and out, reassembelled it and the mower has run smooth since. Good luck though if your like me and not mechanically inclined you may need to go to someone who does this sort of thing on the side. IT would be less costly then replacing the mower itself though!

Good luck and keep us posted on what you end p doing with your problem mower! Have a great day!

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