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 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

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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.

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Total Time: 20 minutes

Supplies:

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

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.
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  3. Now add fresh gasoline and put the cap back on the gas tank.
  4. Remove the spark plug using a spark plug socket. Put the new plug in and reattach the wire.
  5. 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.
  6. Once the filter is out you need to spray carb cleaner directly into the carburetor. A few good sprays should do.
  7. Put the new air filter in and close the housing door.
  8. 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.
  9. 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!
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May 11, 20130 found this helpful

Thank you so much! I am sharing this on facebook for my friends to see! I enjoyed the helpful pictures and I am saving this on my computer.

Blessings,

Robyn

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Anonymous Flag
April 23, 20160 found this helpful

Thank you a thousand times over! I am s 73 year old grandmother. After trying to start my mower (1 year old) for two days and getting nothing, I found your blog. After following some of you'd instructions (l don't have all of the necessary tools) my mower started on the first

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Anonymous Flag
May 16, 20160 found this helpful

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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March 31, 20150 found this helpful

Excellent tutorial! Great job explaining every detail.

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June 19, 20160 found this helpful

Great Video! I didn't realize all the parts that needed to be checked.

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November 29, 2016 Flag
0 found this helpful

I have a Craftsman LT3000. It has been sitting since July. I cleaned the tank and changed the filter and replaced the gas. It will not start and stay running unless I hold my hand over the carburator. When I move my hand away it dies. What can I do?

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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

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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September 7, 20160 found this helpful

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 22, 20100 found this helpful

You need to find out if the mower is getting a spark from the coil as it could be a bad coil. It could be the carburetor orifices.. Take a small wire from the bread tie or garbage bags and clean it off then run the wire through the orifice and take nozzle from air pump and blow it out better. Also check to see if the float valve is working as it could be stuck.

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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

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

August 7, 20070 found this helpful

Ok, there's a reason why we used to call them "Briggs and Scrap Iron"!!! Where did you buy it? Any place with any kind of reputation to uphold should take it back or offer service for the lemon. Personally, I avoid Briggs etc..like the plague!

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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

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.

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