Lawn Mower Won’t Start After Sitting All Winter? Here’s What To Do First
If you forgot to properly winterize your lawn mower before storing it for the winter, you may notice that it doesn’t start properly. There could be a number of reasons why your push or riding lawn mower won’t start after sitting all winter.
A dirty carburetor is one of the most common causes for a lawn mower not being able to start after sitting unused for months or years at a time.
While cleaning the carburetor is a fairly straightforward task, if you’re not sure if this is the culprit or you’re not mechanically minded enough to clean out the carburetor, you can take your mower to a local mower repair shop to get fixed.
If you’re in the southeast Pennsylvania area, come visit us here at Eagle Power Turf Tractor and our repair technicians will be happy to assist you! We’re located in Doylestown PA (Bucks County) near Philadelphia and Allentown PA and Trenton NJ. Click below or call 215-348-9041 to schedule a repair service appointment. We even offer pickup and delivery for our local clients!
Important Things To Check First
While a dirty carburetor is one of the most common issues that causes a mower to not start up, it’s not the only culprit. Before going to the bother of removing and cleaning the carburetor, there are a few things you should check first.
First of all, check to make sure the gas tank is not empty. I know, it’s the most basic thing to check but you’d be surprised how many people forget.
Also check the oil to make sure it’s not too thick, and of course to make sure that there’s enough oil in the tank.
Another thing to check is the spark plug. To do this, you’ll need to remove it by pulling off the rubber cover, then using a socket wrench to loosen the spark plug and remove it. Once removed, check the end of the spark plug that screws into the mower. If it’s very dark, rusted, or has corrosion, you’ll need to replace it.
Tried all of the above and the mower still isn’t turning on? It’s time to either take it into a repair shop or try cleaning or replacing the carburetor. Keep reading to learn how.
Next, Clean The Mower’s Carburetor
After you’ve ruled out the basics (empty gas tank, thick fuel, rusted spark plug, etc), the next thing to check is the carburetor. Why could the carburetor be the culprit? If you left gas in the mower tank over winter, some of it may have evaporated leaving residue in the tank and in the carburetor, which can make it difficult or impossible to start the mower before addressing the problem.
This is easiest to fix on a push mower. In a nutshell, start by unscrewing and removing the carburetor cap, which is near the primer button. Then spray the carburetor with a carburetor spray, and while you’re at it spray the cap as well and clean it out with a paper towel or cloth. Screw the cap back on, and you’re all set!
It’s much more difficult to clean a carburetor on a riding mower, so unless you are already very mechanically minded, at this point you should probably take your mower in for a mechanic to work on. They’ll not only be able to clean or replace the carburetor if needed; they’ll also be able to continue troubleshooting to find the problem if the dirty carburetor is not the cause.
If you do decide to clean the carburetor on your riding mower by yourself, consult your mower’s manual for instructions since it varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. It’s not just as simple as unscrewing something on the outside of the mower. You’ll likely have to pull up the hood, remove some covers and unscrew several parts before eventually getting to the carburetor.
What To Do When Your Mower Turns Back On
Once you’ve fixed the root issue that was preventing your mower from turning on, it’s important to perform maintenance on your mower regularly including oil changes, replacing filters, cleaning and sharpening the blades, etc.
There are many upkeep tasks you can do at home to save some money, including checking the filters and adding oil when needed. Other tasks are best to be done on a routine mower tune-up session at a local mower service center. If you’re near our shop in Doylestown PA (close to Philly, Allentown, and Trenton), schedule a time to bring your mower in for a tune up or repair!
Cub Cadet XT1 Lawn Tractor won’t turn over
2018 Cub Cadet XT1 LT 42 with 18HP Kohler engine. Suddenly with no warning of any kind, I get NOTHING when I turn the key. No click. Nothing.
Battery tested12.9, so I replaced the solenoid. Still nothing.
Disabled the seat safety switch. Still nothing.
Re-enabled the seat safety switch. Still nothing.
I think the next thing to check is the brake pedal safety interlock switch, but I think I could spend days on YouTube trying to find the right video.
try resetting brake switch. try rocking the mower and resetting at the same time. mine does this sometimes and its always the brake switch.
No corrosion anywhere. Always meticulously maintained and stored indoors. Never even been wet. 2. How does one reset the brake switch? I searched, found nothing useful. 3. How can I test the ignition switch? Hot wire it? New ones are around 80 and electrical parts aren’t returnable.
I would verify that the neutral safety switch plunger is fully depressed. If it isn’t adjsut so that it is. If it is try jumpering it out
Engine fails to start 1. PTO/Blade Engage knob engaged.2. Parking brake not engaged. 3. Spark plug wire disconnected. 4. Throttle control lever not in correct starting position. 5. Fuel tank empty, or stale fuel. 6. Blocked fuel line. 7. Faulty spark plug. 8. Engine flooded. 9. Fuse(s) blown.1. Place knob in disengaged (OFF) position. 2. Engage parking brake. 3. Connect wire to spark plug. 4. Place Throttle lever to FAST position. 5. Fill tank with clean, fresh (less than 30 days old) gasoline. 6. Replace fuel line. See a qualified service dealer. Replace fuel filter. See the Service and Maintenance section.7. Clean, adjust gap or replace plug. 8. Crank engine with throttle in FAST position. 9. Replace fuse.
But OW mentioned no click. nuthin’ Electrical! Switch or safety switches (neutral, blade, brake. )
Try! Cub Cadet Lawn Tractor Cranks But Won’t Start? 
Are you worried about your Cub Cadet lawn tractor? Well, I suggest you not to worry at all as the tractor can face some small issues. Cub Cadet lawn tractor cranks but won’t start is one of the most happening troubles. The solutions are as quick as its starting problem. Then, why does a Cub Cadet lawn tractor crank but won’t start? A Cub Cadet lawn tractor cranks but won’t start due to dirty carburetor filter, faults in fuel filter, unplugged safety switch, damaged spark plug or weak connection, and old or expired fuel. I guess the reasons have already given you a brief idea. Well, a broad and informative discussion is explained below with solutions. Stick to the end of the article to fix your tractor and cut your lawn again.
Quick Overview: Cub Cadet Lawn Tractor Cranks But Won’t Start?
Going through the highlights of reasons and solutions will make your precious time worthy. These will offer you a fast manner to detect the issue. Therefore, let’s take a glimpse of them listed below.
|1||Dirty Carburetor Filter||Change or Clean it|
|2||Faults in Fuel Filter||Fix or Replace it|
|3||Unplugged Safety Switch||Inspect and Plug it|
|4||Damaged Spark Plug or Weak Connection||Replace it or Connect Properly|
|5||Old or Expired Fuel||Add Fresh Fuel or a Stabilizer|
For any homeowner, Cadet Cub lawn tractor is truly a blessing to keep the garden and lawn tidy. Unfortunately, sadness with worries arrives if it fails to start even while cranking. Therefore, I will assist you with the most significant reasons that you will encounter often. Luckily, I have prepared the solutions ready for you. Continue reading to know more.
Reason 1: Dirty Carburetor Filter
The air filter or carburetor filter in the lawn tractor is essential for balancing the air flow to the engine. As it works with air, it easily catches dirt and dust. As it remains uncleaned, debris appears gradually. over, a clogged carburetor filter is responsible for preventing the engine from operating and starting like before.
Solution: Change or Clean
When was the last time you changed or cleaned the carburetor filter? I guess you missed this part as I experienced the same in my case. I recommend you clean the air filter and if it is way too dirty, replacing it will be the best option. You can clean the foam filter after every use with warm water. In the case of a paper filter, replace it after 25 to 30 hours of running the tractor.
Reason 2: Faults in Fuel Filter
Not all Cub Cadet lawn tractors have fuel filters. If your tractor has one, it can invite trouble for starting the tractor. The fuel filter needs to be perfect so that the fuel can get in touch with gas. When the fuel filter gets jammed or clogged or has any defects, it creates a barricade between the fuel and gas. Thus, the tractor cranks as usual but can not run or start.
Solution: Fix or Replace it
First, you can try changing the fuel and filling the filter with fresh fuel. If it doesn’t help, try adding a fuel stabilizer. Last but most important task is inspecting the fuel filter if it is leaking gas. If you feel gas getting out through its inlet, you need to fix the filter. I suggest replacing it for better performance if it is old enough.
Reason 3: Unplugged Safety Switch
A Cub Cadet lawn tractor requires the safety switch to be plugged while operating the tractor. Sadly, most of us forget to plug it before switching on the tractor. Usually, the safety switch remains plugged but anyone can unplug it or it can happen accidentally. As a result, though the tractor cranks like always, it fails to start.
Solution: Inspect and Plug it
If you have checked other probable reasons and did not find anything, you should check the safety switch. You will find it below the driver seat. Inspect if it is unplugged or not plugged properly. Placing it thoroughly will surely solve your tractor’s starting issue.
Reason 4: Damaged Spark Plug or Weak Connection
Spark plug is one of the most essential parts of a Cub Cadet lawn tractor as it helps the engine to get power from fuel. Anything can happen or it can get old with time. As a result, a weak or damaged spark plug fails to produce sparks like before. Thus, the tractor can not start. over, the spark plug can face a weak connection problem. As the tractor runs in the lawn, the connection can become loose easily. Therefore, the engine does not get enough power to operate the tractor.
Solution: Replace it or Connect Properly
In my opinion, inspecting the spark plug will tell you where the problem is and what to do. If you find it damaged or old, I would suggest you replace it. It is because fixing it won’t let you remain safe as it can carry carbon buildup which can invite more defects. So, replace it to avoid fixing it again and again. In case you find it unplugged or a weak connection, plug it accurately and check if everything is alright.
Reason 5: Old or Expired Fuel
Yes, you read the exact thing, buddy. I was even shocked for the first time when I encountered this situation. As we do not use the lawn tractor regularly, the fuel inside it tends to reach expiry date or becomes too old or spoiled. Thus, the fuel or gas loses its efficiency. That’s why your Cub Cadet lawn tractor is unable to receive the support of fuel and remains still.
Solution: Add Fresh Fuel or a Stabilizer
When did you add new fuel? Never use the same fuel after 30 days. It is because the proficient quality of fuel fades away within this period. Therefore, add new and fresh fuel every month. For a longer freshness of fuel, you can switch to fuel stabilizer. Fuel additive is renowned as an effective stabilizer to hold the capability of fuel for a long time. Hopefully, you will get rid of the trouble.
How to Start a Cub Cadet Lawn Tractor?
Starting a Cub Cadet lawn tractor may seem difficult to a newbie or a new user of Cub Cadet. Frankly speaking, it is not so different from other conventional tractors and you can start it by moving ahead with a few steps. Scroll below to see the brief concept of the process. Set everything ready to start Set the parking lever Turn off the PTO and the blades actions Position the choke lever Go with the ignition key Place the choke lever and fasten the throttle I can assume that you are already set to start the tractor. To do that without any confusion, don’t miss the following steps.
Step 1: Set Everything Ready to Start
An important task before starting the Cub Cadet lawn tractor is checking the major parts of it. The engine oil, fuel level, and charge of the battery are those parts. For example, without enough fuel, the tractor may not start or not run for longer. So, fill the tank and ensure the battery is fully charged. And, make sure the engine oil is fresh enough to run the tractor.
Step 2: Set the Parking Lever
Next, the parking mode needs to be set in the mode to function. Shifting its lever and keeping it in the parking mode is all you have to do. Before that, do not forget to keep the ignition key in the switch. over, place back the parking lever in the previous position when the tractor starts running.
Step 3: Turn Off the PTO and the Blades Action
Then, turning off the PTO is your next job. Its switch is easy to shut off. Be cautious to turn it off, otherwise there can be problems. Along with it, the blades demand to be kept in off duty. Find the lever of the blades on your right side and keep it in the ‘Off’ position. It ensures the blades won’t move without your command.
Step 4: Position the Choke Lever
Most Cub Cadet lawn tractors have a choke lever and see if your tractor model has it or not. If yes, take its lever to the higher positions of it and placing in the highest one can be great in starting the tractor.
Step 5: Go with the Ignition Key
At this point, take a look at the gearbox and find its Neutral ‘N’ gear and switch it on. Now comes the most important step and it is turning the key that you kept on the ignition to its starting mode. Within a few seconds, the engine will start and two tiny duties are left to run the tractor.
Step 6: Place the Choke Lever and Fasten the Throttle
As the tractor’s engine has already started, placing the choke lever is essential. Keeping it on while running the tractor is not recommended. So, move its lever to its earlier position to turn it off. Now, the last step is moving the throttle control to a fast position to run the Cub Cadet lawn tractor.
Should I Inspect the Cub Cadet Lawn Tractor for Cranks?
Answer: Making cranks is pretty normal for a Cub Cadet lawn tractor. You should not inspect it after every cranking. But, when the tractor won’t respond to starting or it makes weird noises or the engine stops suddenly, you should inspect it thoroughly.
Answer: A faulty or damaged spark plug is the most occurring reason behind the lawn tractor won’t start. It happens due to getting in touch with dirt and gradually, debris appears. over, zero maintenance is also responsible for its damage.
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Is It Bad for A Lawn Mower to Run Out of Gas?
Spring is here. The April sun melts the snow and ice, and before you know it, it’s time to prep your yard for summer. That means busting out the lawn mower to give your grass a much-needed trim.
Unfortunately, lawn mowers don’t have fuel gauges. So, it’s difficult to tell when it’s time to fill up on gasoline. You’d think that the solution to your problem is simple, right? You simply have to refill the tank, and you’re good to go. But, for some reason, your mower won’t start even after you fill it.
Don’t worry. Keep reading to learn what the problem may be and how to get your mower running like new.
Your Lawn Mower Has a Dirty Carburetor
So, your lawn mower isn’t starting after running out of gasoline. One of the first things you should check is your carburetor.
When you run through your gas tank, your mower will start sucking up the debris that’s sitting at the bottom of your fuel tank. While your mower should have a fuel filter, the sediment lying at the bottom of the tank is usually so fine that it can get through the filter.
All you have to do is clean the carburetor bowl to fix this problem. Typically, you can locate the carburetor bowl just behind your mower’s air filter.
If draining the carburetor bowl doesn’t work, you most likely have a failed carburetor that needs to be replaced for your engine to start correctly.
There Is an Airlock in Your Lawn Mower’s Fuel System
An airlock is one of the common causes why your mower won’t start after running out of fuel.
An Airlock occurs when air replaces fuel in the fuel lines. As you refill your fuel tank, you could push the air towards your mower’s carburetor, which keeps the new fuel from reaching the engine.
To fix this problem, ensure you fill your fuel tank to the very top with new fuel or try draining the carburetor bowl as described above.
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My Lawn Mower Starts Then Dies: What’s Wrong?
Ahhh…the smell of fresh-cut grass. There’s really nothing like it. However, it’s pretty frustrating to be all ready to tackle those tall green blades only to have your mower fire up and then sputter out. If your lawn mower starts then dies, you want a quick answer about what’s to blame, and what to do to fix it. I’ll share the 4 most common causes to this mower problem and what you need to do to address each.
When your mower starts then dies it can feel like you’re alone, but this problem is more common than you might think, and the fix can be an easy one.
Let’s take a look at the four most common reasons behind that false start and how to fix them.
Causes for Lawn Mower Starting then Dying
If your lawn mower starts, runs briefly, then dies these are the four most common reasons that’s happening:
- Dirty carburetor / clogged carburetor bowl
- Old gasoline that has gone bad
- Dirty or defective spark plugs
- Too much oil in your resevoir
Below I’ll get into each potential problem, why it can result in a mower that starts then dies, and what you should do to fix it.
Dirty Carburetor or Clogged Carburetor Bowl
When your lawn mower starts then dies, your carburetor is most likely involved somehow.
Think about it. If you live in a northern region, your mower sits all winter … waiting months without any action.
And, if you live in a more temperate zone, your mower works hard year-around.
What’s so important about the carburetor?
Your engine needs a steady flow of gasoline to run correctly. The carburetor is responsible for mixing gas with just the right amount of oxygen to create combustion.
This combustion supplies a continuous rotation of the crankshaft that is necessary to run the mower’s engine.
If your carburetor is dirty or the carburetor bowl is clogged, the process above is compromised, and your engine may start up, but it will not run properly and may die shortly after you pull the cord.
How do I fix it?
Your dirty carburetor needs a good blowout with an aerosol can of carburetor cleaner. This will cost you less than 10 and will last for a season or two. I use the WD-40 Specialist Fast Acting Carb/Throttle Body Parts Cleaner (Amazon link). This cleaner uses a solvent formula to breakdown carbon contaminants, leaving your carburetor clean and gum-free. I give my mower a shot of that every time a mow, right before pulling the cord, and recommend that you do the same.
The only drawback to this particular cleaner is it does not have a straw for targeted spraying. If you need a more precise application, Gumout makes a cleaner (Amazon link) that will do the trick with its jet spray applicator.
You can purchase either product locally, or online.
Unscrew the carburetor bowl and give it a once over with the cleaner. Be sure to clean the screw and hole with the carburetor cleaner as well. This is where the directional spraying straw is particularly handy. When reattaching the bowl, don’t over-tighten the screw. This could strip the threads enough to distort the seal.
What I Do
For carb maintenance, give a light spray near the air intake hole for your mower’s engine just before you start it up. This is typically just behind the air filter. Remove the filter, give the hole a spray, then replace the filter.
When you start the mower, it’ll be pulled into the engine and clean deposits in your carb.
Old Gasoline in Your Mower
You know your mower can’t run without gasoline, but the quality of the gas is equally important.
If the gas in your mower has been sitting inactive for a while, evaporation has most likely created a damaging residue.
This residue leaves particles that clog your mower’s internal parts.
The end result is restricted gas flow, which means your mower can start and die shortly thereafter. Sometimes, your mower won’t start at all.
How do I fix it?
If your mower tank is less than half full of old gas, you might try adding new gas to dilute the impurities. If the old gas is more than half of a tank, it would be best to siphon it out and fill the tank with fresh gasoline.
In both cases, adding a stabilizer such as Sta-bil Fuel System Stabilizer (Amazon link) is a Smart idea. Stabilizers prevent the clogging residue for up to two years, and at around 10 a bottle, they are an inexpensive additive that can keep your mower running like a champ.
Always read the directions to know the proper fuel to stabilizer ratio for your mower.
What I Do
I used to mix Sta-bil into my fuel, but now I just pay a little extra for 4-cycle TruFuel – an ethanol free gas product that can sit for years without going bad.
It’s more expensive than regular gas mixed with Sta-bil, but a couple of larger cans will get my Honda self-propelled mower (this one from Home Depot if you’re curious) through the mowing season up here in New England, and I like the peace of mind that comes with knowing my mower and snow blower always start on the first pull, and I don’t have to worry about bad gas giving me problems when I’m ready to mow or need to clear the driveway.
You can buy it online, or locally at Home Depot or some local hardware stores.
Dirty or Defective Spark Plugs
Spark plugs supply the “spark” that ignites the air/fuel mixture in your engine.
This small explosion makes your engine produce power.
The spark plugs are an essential component of your mower’s ignition system. If they are dirty or faulty, they will not spark, and your mower will not start, or may start and then quickly die.
How do I fix it?
Your mower’s spark plug(s) are easy to find. In most walk-behind mowers they’re covered with a black cable and right in the front of your mower.
You’ll need a socket wrench of the right size to remove your plug (check your manual to find the correct size for your mower/spark plug).
If your spark plugs are not too heavily coated with build-up, you can try cleaning them. You should never clean a spark plug with a shot-blasting cleaner. A wire brush and appropriate cleaner will do the trick if the plug is just dirty.
Lawn Mower Starts Then Dies: When it’s Time to Call a Professional
If you have tested all of the methods I’ve shared for fixing your lawn mower that starts and then dies, hopefully your problem is solved.
But if not, it might be time to throw in the shop towel and call a professional.
The following are other issues that could be keeping your mower from running properly.
Serious Reasons Your Lawn Mower Starts Then Dies
- Worn out carburetor: If your carburetor is more than dirty, it might be time to replace it.
- Faulty choke: Unless you are extremely handy, identifying this problem and restoring the delicate balance necessary to get your engine purring like a kitten is another issue for the experts.
- Gas tank or gas line blockage: Anytime your gasoline is not getting to the engine, your mower will not run properly. A blockage of any kind that prevents the constant flow of gas is a problem that might take a trained eye to identify and fix.
The average weekend warrior with limited knowledge on the matter will probably feel more comfortable hiring someone with the experience and the tools to get the job done right.
I recommend that you start by checking your mower’s warranty. If it’s covered, a repair may not cost you anything. Some companies will send someone right to your home, or come to pick up your mower to save you time.
If your mower isn’t covered by warranty, find a local small-engine repair shop that has good reviews. These guys can fix almost anything, and their are typically lower than you’d expect.
Preventing Mower Problems
The best way to ensure your mower will fire up and run like a champ is to put preventative measures in place.
I have tips for winterizing your mower, and a spring maintenance checklist that you can check out if you’d like to learn more.
- Clean your air filter regularly (replace it annually).
- Change your spark plugs every 1-2 years.
- Keep stored oil and gasoline clean. Use a stabilizer in your gas to keep it fresh for up to two years, or pay extra for 4-cycle TruFuel.
- Keep your engine clean with an engine degreaser.
- Use the dipstick and don’t overfill your oil reservoir.
- Keep your carburetor clean with a carburetor cleaner spray.
Performing regular maintenance on your mower is the best way to keep it running smoothly, and investing a few bucks per year in this is worth it.
You’ll avoid headaches, repair costs, and your mower will last a long time, starting right up when you need it.
If you do encounter a problem with your lawn mower, decide if you are comfortable with trying to fix it yourself.
If the issue seems to be something beyond the basics, don’t hesitate to call a professional. There’s no shame in this, and sometimes do-it-yourself repairs are just not worth the time, energy, or frustration.
But if you are up for the challenge of fixing the problem yourself, the above guidelines provide a good starting place, and online videos may also be useful. I think YouTube is a great resource.
The main thing is that you get your mower fixed so you can get out there and make your lawn the envy of the neighborhood.
The Cub Cadet must be adjusted properly to cut the grass evenly. Ensure that each wheel on the SR621 is set on the same notch or position. A dull blade will also cause the mower to cut the grass unevenly. A dull blade will also not allow the SR621 to mulch the grass correctly.
Overheating is a common problem with the Cub Cadet SR621. The engine will overheat if it is run with a low oil level. Check the dipstick to ensure that enough oil is in the Cub Cadet. A carburetor that is not adjusted properly will also cause the engine to overheat under normal operating conditions. Check the air cleaner and airflow to the SR621, because if the air cleaner is dirty, it can restrict the airflow into the carburetor, causing the engine to run hot.
- The Cub Cadet must be adjusted properly to cut the grass evenly.
- A carburetor that is not adjusted properly will also cause the engine to overheat under normal operating conditions.