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Riding Mower Won't Run With the Choke Off

Category Lawn Mowers
A mower failing to run without having the choke fully engaged is often the result of a faulty carburetor that either needs to be replaced or cleaned. This page has troubleshooting and repair advice for fixing a riding mower that won't run with the choke off.


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By 0 found this helpful
April 27, 2011

My MTD 15.5HP riding mower won't run unless the choke is pulled out. What could be the problem and how to fix it?

By Ron from Nashville, TN


May 15, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

Ron, I think your carburetor is dirty. Remove and clean it well. Billy Griffiths from South Africa.

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By 0 found this helpful
August 19, 2010

I have an MTD riding mower, 18hp twin power. I have a carburetor issue, if I choke the carb and cover the little hole with my finger, the engine starts right up. If I remove my finger, it will die. I run the rider with choke pulled out fully. I am unable to utilize the throttle control or it will die. If I push in the choke just a little it will die, does anyone have an answer to my dilemma?

By Dano77 from Buckner, MO


April 10, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

You need to replace the carb.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

August 19, 20100 found this helpful

I have Troy Built riding mower, it's fairly new. Lately, it only runs when the choke is open. When I close the choke it dies. Any advice please?


By sam hijazin


Riding Mower Won't Run With the Choke Off

My husband tells me the carburetor needs to be adjusted when mine does that. (05/25/2010)

By Judi

Riding Mower Won't Run With the Choke Off

My husband (who rides one all day lol) says the choke is to stay open while you are mowing, only close the choke for starting the engine. (05/25/2010)

By shasta braack

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May 25, 20100 found this helpful

I have a 16hp Sears riding mower. I got the engine to work fine, but it only runs with the choke on, once the choke is off the engine dies. I tried to drive the mower from its level sitting position, but as soon as I got off the level the engine died.

I looked and the carb was leaking gas from a little hole going up the air filter. I started it again with the choke on and ran it, then I turned the choke off and the leaking started again. I have not messed with the carb any more than cleaning it. What do I do? I am not good with fixing carbs.


By Matthew from Napa, CA


Riding Mower Won't Run With the Choke Off

First, there are safety devices on mowers that run only when someone is sitting in the seat. They can be disconnected. Usually the connection is under the seat. As for the choke, it sounds to me that something is hooked up backwards. When the choke is on there is a limited amount of air going into the engine so the engine will run rougher and maybe smoke coming out of the exhaust. So I think when it indicates the choke is on I think it is off and when the choke indicates it is off I think it is on. (07/23/2009)

By Deanj

Riding Mower Won't Run With the Choke Off

Remove carb from engine. Completely take apart carb; use carb cleaner. Spray and clean each part, all ports and holes. Check float for holes (to check the float for holes, submerge the float under water and watch for air bubbles). If no bubbles, reassemble and put back on motor. (07/27/2009)


By Rachel Chaney

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