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Frequently Asked Questions

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Braking System

How does my engine's brake function?

Braking System

In the old days, you could leave your lawn mower or tractor idling while you stepped into the garage for a rake. Today's small engine contains an automatic shut-off system designed to protect you and others in the area by stopping the engine any time you let go of the controls or climb off of the equipment.

Many small engines contain a brake that applies pressure to the smooth surface on the flywheel. The brakes surface area varies in size, depending on the equipment. Some models use a brake pad. Others use a brake band, applied to a larger area on the flywheel's surface. Both are highly effective when properly maintained.

Most engines contain one or more stop switches wired between the engine's ignition system and equipment components. You can trigger the switch by releasing the brake bail or removing the grass discharge unit on a lawn mower or by standing up from a seat of a lawn tractor, triggering a switch under the seat.

The switch cuts power to the engine by grounding one of the copper windings in the ignition armature (see "Ignition System"). When the brake bail is released, a wire attached to the armature is grounded against a metal engine part, stopping the engine. If the engine is equipped with a brake, the brake pad or band simultaneously applies pressure to the flywheel. When properly maintained, the two components, of the braking system stop the engine within three seconds.



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