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

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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.
  2. Now add fresh gasoline and put the cap back on the gas tank.
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  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. Related Content(article continues below)
  7. Once the filter is out you need to spray carb cleaner directly into the carburetor. A few good sprays should do.
  8. Put the new air filter in and close the housing door.
  9. 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.
  10. 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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Videos

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January 5, 2017 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. View the full project here: Fixing a Lawn Mower That Won't Start

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3 found this helpful
March 17, 2015 Flag

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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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

0 found this helpful
November 29, 2016 Flag

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 9, 20170 found this helpful

Hopefully you have found a "fix" for your mower - or - better yet - you have not needed it and can take your time finding a solution.

I have always found that I could get help/remedies for most of Sears products at their Sears Parts & Service departments.

If this information is still needed maybe you could check Google to see if there is a Sears parts store anywhere near you. You might get some help over the telephone but asking a question in person always seems to get a better response. Besides that, they have books (with pictures!) and that is always a help.

I did find a video on YouTube that may help and also a site to download a manual for your model (look before printing 27 pages).

Good luck with your mower.

https://www.you  ch?v=FEVU3gb4lvg

http://www.lt3000manual.com/

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January 6, 2015 Flag

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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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

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
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 20, 2015 Flag

I own a 6.5 horsepower Craftsman lawnmower, model number 917.377662 which has a Briggs and Stratton 4-cycle engine. It won't start without using a starting fluid spray. I changed the air filter, fuel, spark plug, and serviced the carburator using a carburator kit, with the same results as before. I needed to use starting fluid. Suggestions? Thanks!

By Allan J

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January 9, 20170 found this helpful

Have you found a solution to your problem?

I have always found that I could get help/remedies for most of Searss products at their Sears Parts & Service departments.

If this information is still needed maybe you could check Google to see if there is a Sears parts store anywhere near you. You might get some help over the telephone but asking a question in person always seems to get a better response. Besides that, they have books (with pictures!) and that is always a help.

This site has lots of parts listed but not much else:

http://www.brig -and-accessories

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0 found this helpful
May 11, 2016 Flag

I have purchased a used, well kept Husqvarna self-propelled push lawn mower from a friend. It worked fine last year and this year I changed the dirty air filter, spark plug, and added gasoline and oil. It worked a couple of weeks ago and last night started in order for me to cut for 5 mins. or so. It puffed out white smoke and conked-out. I primed it, but to no avail, it will not start.

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March 22, 2010 Flag

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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August 6, 2007 Flag

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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August 20, 2012 Flag

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

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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May 2, 2015 Flag

I adjusted the valves on my 22 Kawasaki engine. It turns over, but it acts likes it has no fire.

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March 16, 2015 Flag

I have a Craftsman 6.5 HP self propelled mower. It is maybe 10yrs old and runs great once I get it started. I have the problem every week. I have to prime 15+ times, then pull the thing until my arm is about to fall off. I have had it serviced, oil, plug, carbkit, and the base air cleaner replaced. This one has the primer bulb. It is not bad gas, I drain and run it out every year. Once I have it started it will run and restart without an issue. A week later, same issue.

By Ken

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January 31, 2011 Flag

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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December 3, 2010 Flag

I have a Troy Bilt push mower with a 6.75 engine. It has no spark from the plug wire. Any ideas?

By parkercarsfly from Columbus, OH

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December 3, 20100 found this helpful

If your not getting fire to your plug check your coil pack.

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November 14, 2013 Flag

I have a Craftsman mower, model #917375622. I cleaned the carb and it starts for about 8 seconds then dies. It's fairly new, but I can't get it to keep running. It has a good plug and filter; choke works. What now? Should I try recleaning the carb again?

By Matt

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July 20, 2013 Flag

So what is the next step, when the primer doesn't seem to be working properly?

By Cynthia E.

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March 10, 2013 Flag

My Yardman push mower won't start. I went to start it up, but it won't start.

By Alex

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September 3, 2011 Flag

My mower has 12 volts at the starter, but it will not engage the starter.

By Bob

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January 31, 2011 Flag

I have a pretty new lawn mower that won't start. The blade won't move and the cord won't pull freely.

By Dec from Ireland

Answers:

Mower Won't Start

It could be a bent blade. If the blade is bent it won't allow the cord to be pulled out smoothly. Also clean the bottom of the mower, if it caked with dry grass it won't let the blade spin either. If you bent the assembly the blade is attached to you will have to buy another mower. (10/07/2010)

By Firedancer67

Mower Won't Start

If when you try and pull start the blade is hard to move or jams it is the coil jamming on the flywheel. It will need to be moved back. That's what I think is the problem. If the mower has hit something it can shear the keyway, as this throws the timing out more likely to be the coil, it happens sometimes. (10/08/2010)

By rustyreks

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October 7, 2010 Flag

I have a 2010 Briggs and Stratton push mower that won't start. It has new gas, the carburetor is clean, and it has a new spark plug. It has been taken apart and put back together to see if it was the timing key, but it wasn't. Before it stopped, it was acting like it wasn't getting enough gas, but was still cutting the grass. Then it died and wouldn't start back up. Could it be the fuel filter, and where is that located? I'm running out of ideas. It was only used 4 times.

By Mac from Altus, OK

Answers:

Mower Won't Start

On my riding mower the gas filter is located on the gas line just before the line enters the carb. Not every mower has a filter. Do you have the owners manual to look at for this info. With ethanol in the gas and if the mower is not used often the gas can be a problem. I would look to see if the gas is getting to the cylinders. If not the gas line may be clogged. (06/17/2010)

By foxrun41

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June 17, 2010 Flag

I have a Troy Built lawn mower. I have already used it this year, but when I went to use it today, it just sputtered and wouldn't start. There is gas in there, so I know that's not it. Any suggestions?

By L. Flood

Answers:

Mower Won't Start

We got it. Thanks anyway.

L Flood (05/16/2010)

By flood831

Mower Won't Start

I have this trouble all the time. I remove the spark plug with spanner and see if the end is open and spray with CRC. Mine always works when I do this. Good luck. (05/18/2010)

By shellmax

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May 16, 2010 Flag

I just tried to start my push mower and the cord is sticking, not pulling out all the way. Also gas is squirting out of the carburetor every time I try. The mower ran fine last week. What could this be?

Hardiness Zone: 8a

By Deji from Augusta, GA

Answers:

Mower Won't Start

My hubby says that the cord probably needs replacing. It could have grease on it or be worn. He also said that the diaphragm in the carburetor may need replacing. You might want to take it to a small engine place. (09/08/2009)

By quiltmum

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September 8, 2009 Flag

When I try to start my mower the first few times it seems to try to start, then the next time it's silent. What's wrong with it?

Shooter

Answers:

Mower Won't Start

Clean out the gas line; if this mower has been sitting awhile unused, it's possible the carburetor needs cleaning. (08/02/2008)

By Lorelei

Mower Won't Start

If you do have a fuel problem (like leaving gasoline in the Lawn Mower for one winter season), flush the tank and lines preferably off of the engine. Remove the nut or bolt at the bottom of carb float bowl (leave carb on engine, if you can). Flush carb with fresh gas starting at where the gas comes into the carb till it comes out the bottom hole in float bowl. If the float bowl falls off, don't get excited. Clean it out while it's off and just make sure that you get the big round gasket back on the right way so the float bowl will not leak and put the nut or bolt back on.

Do not over tighten it. Finger tight, and if it still leaks use a 1/2 wench to snug it a little tighter till the leak stops.
If you have left gasoline in longer than one season then you will most likely have to put a kit in the carb and that is not a problem, and they cost less than $5.00 (I paid $3.65 for mine). (08/13/2008)

By gas219

Mower Won't Start

If it is a Riding Mower, such as a Craftsman, you might have to have the valves adjusted. They tend to loosen in a season. Some mowers may need to have carb. seated again. (10/06/2008)

By mike l

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July 31, 2008 Flag
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April 15, 2008 Flag
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