A lawn mower is not a complicated contraption. Typically with a two-stroke internal combustion engine, there are far fewer parts than in a car and no computers to deal with. And with professional jobs costing a small fortune, Mower Source recommends doing the most common and easy jobs yourself. That extra time and money you save, we’re sure you can think of plenty of other — and better — ways of using it.
Lawn Mower Won’t Roar to Life
You’re slathered in sunscreen, have your favorite shades on and are ready to give your lawn a quick makeover — but the machine won’t start! Before panicking, run through this mini checklist for what’s probably wrong.
Spark plug: The spark plug does just what it sounds like. It delivers a spark to the cylinder head, which ignites the compressed air-fuel mixture and jams the piston down forcefully. This happens thousands of times each minute, and is essentially what makes your machine run.
Gas and oil: Check the levels to make sure you’re not running on fumes. A quick top-up, and you should be good to go. If the levels are fine, then ask yourself if the machine’s been sitting idle for a couple months. You may have to drain each compartment and refill.
Fuel or air filter: If the fuel filter is clogged, then not enough gas is able to reach the engine. And if there’s not the right amount of gas, then the carburetor can’t regulate the proper ratio of air-fuel mixture and it won’t combust. The same goes for the air filter, where there may be a blockage of air and too much gasoline going in.
Lawn Mower Dies in the Middle of a Job
Depending on the age of the lawn mower, there are several things that can cause this. It’s always best to start off smallest and simplest, so first check these areas. Remember to unplug/turn off your lawn mower, just in case it suddenly comes back on in the middle of the fix (sometimes, the undercarriage just may be clogged).
Spark plug: If it’s damaged or loose, it won’t be able to provide that necessary combustion spark to ignite the air-fuel mixture. These parts are only a few dollars each, so always keep an extra one on standby.
Connector wires: Visually scan each wire to make sure it’s not crimped, frayed, torn or tugged loose. Vibrations from the lawn mower, especially if you’ve got a super grassy or hilly lawn, can cause some wires to move. Using electrical tape to secure them in place is a good idea.
Air filter: It’s easy to skip cleaning or replacing this one item on your regular maintenance checks, as it’s not as crucial to the whole operation as other parts are. If it’s possible, just clean it off so you can finish your lawn, and then ascertain if it needs to be replaced or not.
Lawn Mower Smokes or Smells Funny
The only smells you want to have when the machine’s operational are the sweetness of freshly cut grass and gasoline (if you use a non-electric model). Anything else, like burning, is a sign the following may need to be checked:
Oil levels: When you last changed the oil, did you very carefully measure out exactly how much oil you’d need? Being even just a few ounces over can cause oil to spill out into different compartments, and the smoking is it burning off. Use a dropper and remove some of the excess oil, according to what the dipstick tells you.
Gas-oil mixture: Did you accidentally put oil in the gas tank? It’s not a catastrophe, but check the fuel filter for caught oil. Oil can prevent the gas from igniting, so it’s best to drain the fuel tank, run a fuel cleaner through it and then fill it with the right liquid. If you don’t, you’ll notice a huge belch of white smoke and your lawn mower will have trouble running.
If you think of your lawn mower has a machine with a finite number of parts, then troubleshooting what’s going on with it becomes a lot simpler. Several pieces inside have become likely culprits because of their crucial and far-reaching nature in the operation, which makes it easy what to target first. If you end up needing any parts or accessories, check out our site for exactly what you’re looking for and to score tax-free savings (except in MN) and free shipping.