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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 mower with 6.25 BS engine. It uses oil and smokes. I found a person that wants to sell a new 6.50 BS engine with a 5/8 inch shaft. The model number for my engine is 917.385270. Are these engines interchangeable? Thank you, Howard

Asked by: HowieG
917.385270 is the model number of the mower, not the engine. In order to assist you in locating a replacement engine we will need some additional information. Please use the following link to submit your question about a replacement engine:
Answered by: Nicole
Date published: 2014-01-27

I have a new mower it ism a 550EX and when I pull the cord the engine turns but wont start, have replaced gas and spark plug?

Asked by: metcalfe
Here is a link that will help you troubleshoot a no start engine issue:
Answered by: Nicole
Date published: 2014-01-27

What if the typical spark plug gap for a briggs and Stratton push mower engine

Asked by: leroy
The typical spark plug gap is .030". Some engines require a gap of .020". To ensure you are using the correct gap, take a look at your engine operators manual. To locate any information on your engine, you will first need the model type and code. Please see the following FAQ for assistance in locating these numbers: Once you have this information you can find information on your engine here: Select engine as your product type and follow the directions for entering the model type and trim into the search fields.
Answered by: Nicole
Date published: 2014-01-27

I have a craftsman 13.5 hp riding mower. Starts fine and runs well until I engage the blade. It then dies out. Will rev up and down and then die. Have changed gas and gas filter. have cleaned air filter. Whats Up?

Asked by: glk60
This could be caused by a couple things; carbon build-up on the head, valves not seating properly, intake manifold air leak, blockage in the carburetor, etc. Please take the unit to an authorized Briggs & Stratton service dealer for diagnosis. You can locate one here:
Answered by: Nicole
Date published: 2014-01-27

I have a 5.5 hp briggs and stratton motor 90% air cut off full choke why won't in run right please help

Asked by: dawson
This could be caused a clogged air filter or carburetor. First check the air filter. Next you will want to clean the carburetor. Here is a link that will help you with that:
Answered by: Nicole
Date published: 2014-01-27


Asked by: ELWOOD
It sounds like you are getting vapor lock. Try loosening the fuel cap a 1/4 turn. If this resolves your issue please replace the cap.
Answered by: Nicole
Date published: 2014-01-24

Mower won't start Was mulching the lawn, ran over something, one blade broke (still can't find it), and mower stopped. I replaced all blades and sparkplug. Cord is heavy to pull and doesn't retract fully. Victa 2 stroke mower

Asked by: uni1542
When you ran over the object and the blade broke, you either sheared the flywheel or bent the crankshaft.
Answered by: Nicole
Date published: 2014-01-24

ion my sprint 375 lawnmower the starter rope just frayed and broke off

Asked by: tzsong
Here is a link that will help you replace the rope:
Answered by: Nicole
Date published: 2014-01-24

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