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Top 5 Mower Troubleshooting Tips


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How To Fix It Yourself, Fast!

It happens to the best of us, and to the best of lawn mowers: Suddenly, your most important landscaping sidekick experiences a slight setback. Regular lawn mower maintenance helps prevent problems, plus lengthens the life of your lawn equipment. But even with plenty of TLC, normal wear and tear from hours of mowing the lawn increases the chances of hitting a glitch from time to time.

But first a word: Always refer to the operator's manual before starting any maintenance project on your equipment.

Here are some of the most common forms of mowing interruptions and what you can do if...

The Starter Rope is Hard to Pull or Seems Stuck:

A typical cause for this is that the engine flywheel brake (the bar you hold down on the handle that stops the engine when released) is engaged. Be sure to bring the bar down all the way to the handle before pulling.

This can also happen if your mower blade is dragging in grass or clogged with grass clippings. Move your mower off your lawn to a hard surface. With the mower turned off and the spark plug wire disengaged, clear the underside of the mower of excessive clippings, then resume a safe mowing position, and give it another yank.

Your Mower Won't Start:

Believe it or not, many homeowners experience this frustration for one very obvious reason: the gas tank is empty. So be sure you're filled up first. Old gas can also lead to problems starting. If you have last season's gas in your mower, drain your fuel tank and fill with fresh gas. Other possible causes include:

Loose, Dirty or Disconnected Spark Plug in Your Lawn Mower: Check it out, clean off debris, re-connect and tighten.
Dirty Air Filter: Clean or replace.
Fuel Not Reaching the Engine: Tap the side of the carburetor to help the flow of gas. If this doesn't work, you might need a new fuel filter.

You Lose Power in the Middle of Mowing:

Ah, the source of familiar sounds in the neighborhood: a puttering engine that's suddenly quiet. Here's why this happens and what you can do:

Dirty Air Filter on Your Lawn Mower: Clean or replace.
Cutting Tall Grass: Raise the cutting height on your lawn mower
Dirty Spark Plug: Clean or replace.
Build Up of Clippings & Debris: Clean underside of your lawn mower deck as noted above.

You're Getting an Uneven Cut:

If you're noticing this, you might be noticing some mower vibration, too. What could be happening?

Build Up of Clippings & Debris: Clean the underside of the lawn mower deck (see instructions above). Also, check to make sure your side discharge shoot is clear.
Dull, Bent or Loose Mower Blade: Sharpen or replace.

Whoa! Your Mower is Smoking:

This might look a little scary, but it's usually not serious. Your lawn mower's engine can smoke if your oil chamber is too full, or if oil leaked into the exhaust muffler when you tilted your mower to the side. It's simply burning off while the engine is hot. But if you're seeing lighter colored smoke, plus have trouble keeping your mower running, it's time for a serious look by a professional.

Of course, there are those cases when special tools or skills are needed to make a fix, or DYI attempts aren't doing the trick. When it's time to call a pro to get the job done right, find a Briggs & Stratton Service Dealer near you.


I have a craftsman riding mower that cranks up and as soon as you try to engage the blades or take off the brake and move,it shuts off.Can you help

Asked by: Kevin99

i have a 3.5 classic very old but it starts perfectly but when i let go of trhottle it goes faster and goes into idle and will not stop unless i pull spark plug out can you help?? 

Asked by: hoggieee123

How do you clean the carburetor

Asked by: kyron

How can you relieve compression in an engine that will not catch. Turning engine by hand is extremely hard because of the compression.Starter also will not crank the engine. 

Asked by: TOM66

New mower / ready start engine (128M02) prepped per manual, started 1st pull, mowed for half hour, sat for 15min. would not start. Hours later after completely cool, it started. Choke thermostat?? If so, how do I adjust? I'm retired mech. Far from town.

Asked by: motorEd

My mower will start but wont stay running.  what is the cause of this and how can I fix it

Asked by: jjjj

I replaced a 2004 18.5hp with a 2012 17.5hp engine. It was working for 30 mins then it stopped. One week later, I tried to start the engine and all I get is a clicking of the starter as it attempts to turn the engine over. Battery is fully charged.

Asked by: Needsummowendone

My 128M02-0133-F1 starts then stops immediately. Will only start after several pulls. I ran the gas tank before storing it for the winter and NEW fuel was added this week. Carb cleaner not helped.

Asked by: myrthmaker







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