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Fixing a Lawn Mower That Won't Start

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




  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.
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  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.
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  10. 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.
  11. 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.


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April 23, 20162 found this helpful

Thank you a thousand times over! I am a 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 your instructions (l don't have all of the necessary tools) my mower started on the first pull.

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May 16, 20160 found this helpful

it should not make any difference whether it is a push or self propelled should it? it's the engine, well I'm going to take your steps here and see what we come up with and thanks for posting this info.,I bet you are a veteran

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