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Frequently Asked Questions

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Engine Starts and then Shuts Down

Why does my engine start and then shut down?

Many engine performance problems can be linked to maintenance issues such as stale fuel, dirty air filter, fouled spark plug, and deteriorated oil.

A great way to help avoid these problems would be to perform an annual tune-up using a Briggs & Stratton engine Maintenance Kit.

If untreated fuel is more than a month old, this fuel will start to break down and engine stalling (in addition to fuel system component gumming) can result. That's why it's important to either drain the gas from your outdoor power equipment before it sits idle during the winter, or add a fuel preservative/stabilizer to the fuel.

For a typical example of how an engine may sound when it stalls due to lack of fuel flow, please listen to the following:

To prevent the fuel from going stale purchase a replacement Fresh Start Fuel Cartridge for your Fresh Start Fuel Cap, OR purchase our Advanced Fuel Treatment and mix the prescribed amount with your gasoline.

Even better, keep a gas can solely for your outdoor power equipment filled with gasoline treated with our Advanced Fuel Treatment. That way, you will always have a supply of fresh, treated fuel used specifically for your outdoor power equipment.

If you've got stale gas in your equipment, drain the gas from the fuel tank completely and dispose of it properly, following your local municipalities' regulations. NOTE: In most cases, this older fuel can be added to your car's fuel tank with no harmful effects.

Sometimes removing the old fuel and replacing with fresh, treated fuel may just solve the problem. If not, drain the old fuel and spray the inside of the fuel tank and carburetor with some carburetor cleaner. Finally, remove any sediment from the fuel tank (see "Servicing the Fuel Tank") and add fresh, treated gas.

Another thing to consider is that certain equipment manufacturers place a plastic packing plug between the gas cap and gas tank. In order for there to be proper venting, ensure that this plug is removed.

If stale fuel is not at fault, next look at the ignition system. Did the engine suddenly stop after striking an object? If so, you likely sheared the flywheel key, which upsets the engine's ignition (spark) timing.

For related information regarding poor engine starting/performance, please visit the following FAQs:

Your best source of information would be to consult your local Briggs & Stratton Authorized Dealer.

Your Briggs & Stratton Authorized Dealer has all the information relating to Briggs & Stratton warranty information, replacement engines, short blocks, parts, pricing, service/repair, specifications, etc.

For your convenience, we offer three easy ways to locate your nearest Briggs & Stratton Authorized Dealers:

  • Use our website's Service Center Locator.

  • Visit and enter "Lawn Mowers" or "Engines-Gasoline" in the Category search field and your Postal Code in the Location search field.

  • Call the Briggs & Stratton Automated Hotline at (800) 444-7774. This hotline is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week and features voice recognition technology to assist you in finding the Briggs & Stratton Authorized Dealers in your area. Automated maintenance tips, product information, and FAQs are also offered through voice activated menus.

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