Lawn Mower Starts Then Dies: Solved!
A stalled lawnmower motor is a more common issue than you might think, and most mower owners are likely to experience this problem. Here’s what you need to know if your lawnmower starts then dies.
When you bring out your trusty lawnmower and start it only for it to sputter and stalls out, it can be very frustrating.
Your first instinct might be to call a pro and have them give your lawnmower a checkup, but that can be expensive and cost you a couple hundred dollars for a diagnosis. Besides, there might be another solution. The issue might be something common that you can handle and fix yourself.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common issues that can cause your lawnmower to start up, then stall and die. We will also offer some tips and advice on how you can fix these issues.
What Is the Most Common Lawnmower Issue?
Stalling lawnmowers are fairly common. That being said, one issue is way more common than any of the others. If your lawnmower is starting and then stalling, the most likely issue is the carburetor.
The most common issue is that the carburetor is dirty. Here’s what you need to know about how a dirty carburetor can cause a lawnmower to start, then stall out and die.
A Dirty Carburetor Can Cause a Lawnmower To Start Then Die
By far, the most common issue that causes a stalled motor is a dirty carburetor. The carburetor on your engine is the thing that draws in air and mixes it with the fuel. Contrary to what the movies might make you think, gasoline itself is not very flammable. It only becomes extremely flammable when it’s mixed with air.
The carburetor draws in air from the surrounding environment and mixes it with fuel in the right ratio. If your carburetor is dirty, then it is not mixing air properly, and the gas won’t combust. This will mean that your engine will sputter a bit, but it won’t really kick into gear.
There are a few things you can check that signify a dirty carburetor. If the motor starts initially but then won’t stay running, that means it’s getting a good initial injection of gas from the primer bulb, but then the carburetor starves off the oxygen it needs to keep combusting.
When your carburetor is clogged, the cause is likely to be evaporated gas that has gummed up the pores. When gas is left in the tank, over time it will evaporate. Gas contains ethanol, which can settle in your carburetor’s pores, which are supposed to channel air. The evaporated gas can then condense inside the carburetor, gumming up the works and making it unable to do its job. In most cases, cleaning and resetting the carburetor will fix the problem, and your mower will start running properly again.
Your best bet is to remove and clean your carburetor. Here are some tools you will need to fix it.
How To Clean a Dirty Lawnmower Carburetor
To clean your lawnmower’s carburetor, follow these steps.
Inspect the Air Filter
The first thing you’ll want to do is to take a look at the air filter. If the air filter is dirty, you can scrape the gunk off, and your carburetor should start working properly again. One common symptom of a dirty air filter is black smoke coming from the exhaust.
Check the Connections
If the air filter is not the culprit, then next move on and check the connections: The connectors between the throttle and choke plates can get sticky when dirty. The screws can also be worn down from the constant vibration. If the screws are too stripped, you might have to replace your carb with a new one.
Clean the Carburetor
If the connectors are not the problem, you will probably have to remove the carb and give it a thorough cleaning. Detach the choke and throttle linkages from the lever and gently slide the carburetor off its mounting bolts. At this point, you might need to unscrew some parts to take the entire carburetor apart. Detach the primer from the base and remove the metering plate and gasket. Now that you have the internal components exposed, take your carb cleaning solution and spray the inside of the ports to clean out any residue. You can also take a soft cloth and give it a thorough wipe-down once you are done.
Examine the Carburetor’s Fuel Bowl
You should check the bowl of the carburetor as well. The fuel bowl contains a small reservoir of gas that feeds the engine to keep it burning. Over time, the fuel bowl will collect stale gas, which will evaporate and form a residue. The fuel bowl is usually located behind the air filter. It has a distinctive bowl shape so you can’t miss it.
Clean Off any Rust
You might also find that your carburetor has some rust built-up. It’s probably a good time to clean off this rust. You can clean it off with some sandpaper to remove the rust.
Reassemble the Carburetor
Once all the components are spic-and-span, you can reassemble the carburetor and reattach it. Ensure that all the diaphragms, gaskets, metering plates, and primer are attached properly before you reattach it back to the engine. If something is off, you might still experience the same problem as your engine starting and sputtering out.
Reattach Everything and Fire Up the Lawnmower
Once the carburetor is reattached, put the fuel line back in and reinstall the air filter housing. Once everything is back together, put some gas in your lawnmower and give it a rip to see if that fixed the issue.
If your lawnmower still has issues due to the carburetor, check to see that all the components have been reconnected properly. If the issue still persists, then you might want to look into getting a new carb to replace your old one.
How To Stop Your Lawnmower Carburetor From Clogging
The best way to prevent a clogged carburetor is to take it off and clean it relatively frequently. Try to clean your carb once after every couple of uses or after you have left your mower in storage for a while.
You can also prevent clogging by buying a high-quality mower. Briggs and Straton is a well-known brand whose lawnmowers are made of quality components that are resistant to rusting and gumming out from dried-up gasoline.
Here’s What To Do If Your Lawn Mower Won’t Start
Most of the time when a lawn mower won’t start the cause is a problem with the gas or the lawn mower carburetor.
Whatever kind of lawn mower you’ve got, the last thing you want once winter finally lifts and spring has sprung is a lawn mower that won’t start.
If you’ve taken the proper steps to winterize your lawn mower, you’re far less likely to be dealing with such issues. It’s also why you should tune up your lawn mower at the start of every season. However, it’s not out of the ordinary to find your gas-powered lawn mower not starting from time to time, so it’s important to know why your lawn mower isn’t starting and how to fix it.
Project step-by-step (6)
Check the Gas Tank
Let’s start with the obvious. Before you have a heart attack pulling on the rip cord, you’ll want to check the fuel. Like any gasoline-powered engine, lawn mowers run out from time to time. Maybe you forgot it was running on fumes when you finished mowing last time. It sounds simple, but we’ve all overlooked the gas tank from time to time.
Even if there is gas in the mower, if the fuel’s been in there more than a month, that could be the problem. Gas sitting around too long in the tank can get contaminated with dirt and extra moisture.
So if your gasoline has been in the mower for more than month, drain the gas properly, dispose of it correctly, and fill up the mower with new gas. It may take quite a few pulls to suck the new gas into the lawn mower carburetor, so be prepared to clean and dry the plug a few more times.
Add fuel stabilizer when you fill up the tank to help protect the gasoline in there from dirt and moisture.
Check the Spark Plug
Start by making sure the lawn mower spark plug cable is connected to the plug itself. It’s quite possible that it got pulled off there over the winter while the mower was being stored in the garage.
If that’s not the issue, the next step is to remove the spark plug to see if it’s wet. There’s no way the engine will start if it is. So clean the plug with carburetor cleaner and let it dry. Cleaning it with compressed air isn’t enough; you need a solvent to remove oil residue. If it’s really grimy and dirty, it might be best to change the spark plug.
Husqvarna Mowers Troubleshooting
Troubleshooting a Swedish Husqvarna lawn mower depends upon what’s wrong. Whether it’s because the mower will not start, runs with poor performance, or won’t cut the grass properly, successfully troubleshooting the problem is half the process of getting back to work. The other half, of course, is repairing the mower. The sooner you troubleshoot the damage, the sooner your day taking care of the lawn is done.
It’s easy to check the fuel level, but did you check the oil? When the oil sump goes dry the engine won’t start. Look on the bottom of the Husqvarna engine and find the oil fill cap. A small dipstick will tell you if it’s low or empty. Fill with the recommended oil for your engine. Wait, though, until you are done troubleshooting the mower before adding more oil. Also, check the spark plug and the spark plug lead wire. These are located right on the front of the engine. Remove the lead and make sure it’s clean and with no corrosion. If it is, clean it with a piece of rolled up sandpaper. Remove the spark plug with a spark plug socket and check the electrode on the bottom. Make sure it’s clean and free of soot and buildup.
If your Husqvarna lawn mower doesn’t have enough power or starts and stops, you may have a fuel or carburetor problem. If necessary, empty the fuel tank and let it dry completely. It’s rather easy for water to get in the gasoline. At the bottom of the fuel tank is a small rubber hose that connects to the Husqvarna engine. Make sure it’s free of any clogs or crimps that could affect fuel flow. The fuel line attaches to the carburetor. Remove the air filter cap and the air filter housing by taking out the set screws that hold it in place. Underneath is the carburetor. Make sure the carburetor is clean and free of any debris. While you’ve got the air filter disassembled, clean the sponge air filter completely with some warm water and a good degreaser. Let the filter dry completely, then reassemble the air filter housing.
Husqvarna Push Lawn Mower. Carb Issue. Leaking Gas??
Bought a Husqvarna Push lawn mower last season thinking better quality and it will last. The KOHLER Engine on it started leaking gas like crazy and dealer says on the phone, without looking at it, that the carburator is no good. He says the ethanol gas apparently ruins these carburetors on the Husqvarna equipment. Means it is a KNOWN Issue! Does anyone know who or how I get this fixed at no cost to me? Husqvarna posts an Ethanol Test Challange and a short video, so they must KNOW there are issues. Does anyone know who or how I get this fixed at no cost to me? Recall for repair of a good carburator. I would think Husqvarana would stand by their equipment being so expensive.
That fuel ruins all small engine carbs. I have the same issue with my power washer engine, my generator and a few other small lawn engine mowers that I have. You need to drain the fuel every year at end of season, including the small drain plug in the bottom of the fuel bowl on the carb. If not it will gel up, cause corrosion on the white metal used to make the carb and soften any rubber hoses and gaskets that remain in contact with the stuff. Bottom line, there is nothing you can do to stop this unless your using the engine every few weeks or so. It is the additives that are used in the fuel that cause all this stuff. In fact that is why some fuels sold in the mid-west with higher ethanol cannot be used in older cars or trucks it will destroy the fuel lines in them.
You can use a product such as Staybil to prolong the life of the carb, otherwise plan on rebuilding/replacing it at the end of every season.
How awful! But welcome to the world of “green” “organic”, “environmentally friendly” etc. the ethanol gas is filling up our dumps because it is not as good as proclaimed. actually sugar going into the tanks! I hate my new washing machine and dishwasher. Easier to just wash the dishes and a rub board with a clothesline is beginning to look good!
trade it in for a pair of goats. LOL I would think that there would have been a big warning label in the owners manual about not used this type of fuel.
Morning KMS: Actually, they tell you to use it, with 89 octane. I do use 89 octane for thepush mower. Husqvarna actually has a ethanol challenge site and also a specific page to tell the user how to use the gas with ethanol. I think there must be so many issues, that they recognize and are trying to cover liability by providing this website. SEARS guy told me about the SEARS blowers that the gas mix they use are so problemmatic, that they recommend buying a SEARS specifc mix (at 4.00 quart!). I’ve written Hohler engines AND Husqvarana.
At Woodbridge, Four seasons, Jennatte. thanks for the notes. I’ll pay the 150 to get this 250 mower fixed, but complain relentlessly to Kuohler and Husqvarana till they both admit the issues and someone reimburses me!
@Jim G have you reported this to CPSC? Sounds like a real safety issue to me. If they investigate and find an issue, they can force a recall and a fix to the issue. Takes time but perhaps it is time for this company to be accountable. Would also recommend you encourage others to report on what ever forums there are. Here is the online form to report. https://www.saferproducts.gov/CPSRMSPublic/Incidents/ReportIncident.aspx
Contact the Manufacture. Not the dealer. Did they give you a warranty? All products with a engine have a code that you give to the manufacture service department that tells you what year and month they were made. If there is a problem with it, there will usually be several that came out of the same line which they have access to with the product information. We did warranty work for manufactories. And the serial numbers and the the model numbers and vin have the info you need to deal with them, if you have a receipt even better.
The real culprit is the government forcing this crappy fuel on us. I swear by Husqvarna equipment, its the fuel.
The worst gas is the E-15 and it has been known to cause issues for years. Normally the E10 or less is not so bad, but EITHER way, gas must be fresh, not left in the tank or gas cans ( alcohol absorbs h20 and h20 will wreck the carb, bec. it has alum. and steel, and they react in water) and also alcohol will degrade or attack fuel lines and gaskets. Free fix? I doubt it. Caveat emptor and all that. I’d bet your needles and float are stuck and the gas is overflowing out a vent on the carb.
@Jim G The Canada Product Safety Act was enacted in the last couple of years and closely mimics the US Consumer Product Safety Act. It is correct you should contact the manufacturer and they are required to report to the CPSC, but it is a good idea to file with both at the same time. either cc them on you e-mail of complaint or file an online complaint. Companies that do not report are fined for not reporting safety complaints and there are companies who do get fines. In addition a product sold in both countries they share info and investigation with the other so that the same action can be taken in both countries. They grade the seriousness of a complaint and I would think that leaking gas will rank right up there as fire risk. Let us know what your results are. but do keep in mind it does take time to compile the information and work with the company.
I hate to say this but blaming the manufacturer isn’t going to fly I highly doubt anyone is really going to call it a safety issue. as @Spheramid Enterprises points out, the issue is with the ethanol what it does to rubber other gaskets (especially if the equipment sits for a while). The second part of the issue is that ethanol absorbs water moisture. The best way to avoid this is to find a gasoline station that sells “corn-free” gas. If you can’t find one, you can try adding a special additive which will help with the moisture issue help reduce the other issues. The final one is to make sure before you park any small engine (which includes boat engines) for more than two weeks, drain the tank and lines. As for the great ethanol lie. sorry the only thing supposedly environmentally friendly about it is one or two supposedly reduced emissions. Of course when you calculate that it takes essentially 4 gallons worth of gas to make 1 gallon of ethanol, 4 gallons of water (a lot more if it is an irrigated field), and you lose 3-5 MPG @10% it is worse than the status quo was. I know the boat engine manufacturers are dreading the new 15%, though some shops are gleefully rubbing their hands.
Husqvarna push mower carburetor
Lawnmower Parts Online is an Irish owned company who’s goal is to provide a one-stop shop for parts and service kits for all your garden machinery. We provide these parts at great factory-direct prices.
Thanks for your inquiry! We will get back to you shortly!
When you visit any website, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences or your device and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalized web experience. Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. However, blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer.
These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work. These cookies do not store any personally identifiable information.
These cookies allow us to count visits and traffic sources so we can measure and improve the performance of our site. They help us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.
These cookies enable the website to provide enhanced functionality and personalisation. They may be set by us or by third party providers whose services we have added to our pages. If you do not allow these cookies then some or all of these services may not function properly.
These cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.
Q: I can’t seem to figure out why my lawn mower won’t stay running. There’s plenty of gas and oil in it. Can it be repaired, or is it a lost cause?
A: Lawn mowers seem like simple machines, yet they require some TLC to operate smoothly—especially if they’ve been sitting in the shed for a while. A full gas tank and oil reservoir are the essential first steps when checking why the lawn mower won’t stay running, but the problem could also be a dirty filter, clogged carburetor, improper fuel mixture, or a dirty spark plug. If you’re ready to get your hands dirty, check out these troubleshooting tips to get your lawn mower running again. However, you may need a lawn mower specialist to get you back to trimming your grass. Alternatively, a landscaping professional can take care of it for you.
The fuel might be old and dirty and needs to be replaced.
Fuel that has sat in the motor for a while can evaporate and leave a sticky residue. The inlet and outlet ports leading to the carburetor could be clogged, as well as the fuel filter. In cold, wet winter seasons, condensation can collect inside the tank, which doesn’t mix with the fuel. Replace old, dirty, or diluted fuel; adding fresh fuel to it won’t solve the problem. Drain the old fuel out of the tank and collect it to be disposed of safely per local requirements. Clean off the carburetor ports before refilling the tank.
The air filter might be dirty, which prevents it from getting enough air.
Motors have air filters to collect and trap dust and debris that could clog the machine’s inner workings. Over time, they become clogged and need to be replaced. If an air filter isn’t working correctly, the motor can’t get enough air to prevent overheating. Inspect the air filter for carbon deposits or oil, and replace it if it’s contaminated. Paper filters always need immediate replacement if they’re contaminated, but a dusty foam filter could benefit from being washed and dried at least once before replacement. It’s recommended to replace the air filter after every 25 hours of use.
The carburetor might be clogged and dirty.
One inconvenient reason a lawn mower won’t stay running is a problem with the carburetor, which mixes the air and fuel for internal combustion. The carburetor bowl may be clogged, or the inlet and outlet ports are slimy from fuel residue. Remove them and spray them with an aerosolized carburetor cleaner (not water). You can try disconnecting the fuel lines and spraying them out with cleaner to remove any sitting sludge as well. Replacing the fuel filter is also recommended if the carburetor is showing signs of contamination. If the lawn mower has a gas cap vent, open it to clear any visible clogs. If none of these steps solve the problem, it’s worth having the carburetor replaced by a pro.
You forgot to reset the choke, so the fuel mixture is too rich.
Most lawn mowers have a choke to modify the fuel-to-air mixture, which keeps the engine running until it’s warmed up. Unless you’ve had cool weather for a while, the choke should be off to prevent overloading the motor with the wrong mixture of fuel. If the choke is left on for too long, excess fuel flows into the combustion chamber, causing it to seize up and stall. If this happens, the lawn mower will need to sit idle for several hours to allow the fuel to drain out of the chamber. Turn off the choke and try again later. If the problem still isn’t solved, a faulty choke switch could be the problem. Clean it with carburetor spray or replace it entirely.
A dirty spark plug is misfiring and needs to be replaced.
A faulty or dirty spark plug could be the reason your lawn mower won’t stay running. It might produce the initial spark, but the spark won’t be enough to keep the engine running if the plug is clogged with dirt and oil. Spark plugs are usually located on the front of a push lawn mower and connected to a black cable. Remove it with a socket wrench and clean with a wire brush and some brake cleaner. A dark, sticky carbon residue indicates a need to replace the spark plug. Especially if you have repeated times when the lawn mower won’t stay running, scheduling regular tune-ups can help keep spark plugs in great shape all year.