There are a number of reasons, mechanical and otherwise, why a mower won’t run. The good news is that fixing most all of the issues is easy enough for a DIYer to handle.
By Tony Carrick and Manasa Reddigari | Updated Aug 8, 2022 4:03 PM
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Lawn care can be tedious, but once the grass starts growing in the spring, mowing becomes a fact of life in most neighborhoods. When you finally muster the strength to tackle that first cut of the season, there are few sounds as disheartening as that of a lawn mower engine that turns over but doesn’t start.
Before you drag the mower in for repairs or invest in costly replacement parts, first make sure that a clogged air filter, soiled spark plug, damaged safety cable, clogged mowing deck, or contaminated gas isn’t to blame. Work through the following steps, and you may be able to get your puttering grass guzzler up and running again in no time.
A lawn mower repair professional can help. Get free, no-commitment repair estimates from pros near you.
Change the lawn mower carburetor filter.
Your lawn mower’s air filter guards the carburetor and engine from debris like grass clippings and dirt. When the air filter becomes clogged or too dirty, it can prevent the engine from starting. To keep this from happening, replace paper filters—or clean or replace foam filters—after every 25 hours of engine use.
The process for removing the filter depends on whether you are operating a riding or walk-behind lawn mower. For a riding mower, turn off the engine and engage the parking brake; for a walk-behind mower, pull the spark plug wire from the plug. Then, lift the filter from its housing.
The only choice for paper filters is replacement. If you’re cleaning a foam filter, wash it in a solution of hot water and detergent to loosen grime. Allow it to dry completely, and then wipe fresh motor oil over the filter, replace it in its housing, and power up the mower—this time to the pleasant whirring of an engine in tip-top condition.
Check the spark plug.
Is your lawn mower still being stubborn? The culprit may be the spark plug, which is responsible for creating the spark that ignites the fuel in the engine. If it’s loosened, disconnected, or coated in water or carbon residue, the spark plug may be the cause of your machine’s malfunction.
Locate the spark plug, often found on the front of the mower, and disconnect the spark plug wire, revealing the plug beneath. Use a socket wrench to unscrew the spark plug and remove it.
Check the electrode and insulator. If you see buildup, spray brake cleaner onto the plug, and let it soak for several minutes before wiping it with a clean cloth. Reinstall the spark plug, first by hand, and then with a socket wrench for a final tightening. If the problem persists, consider changing the spark plug.
Clear the mower deck of debris.
The mower’s deck prevents grass clippings from showering into the air like confetti, but it also creates a place for them to collect. Grass clippings can clog the mower deck, especially while mowing a wet lawn, preventing the blade from turning.
If the starter rope seems stuck or is difficult to pull, then it’s probably due to a clogged deck. With the mower safely turned off, tip it over onto its side and examine the underbelly. If there are large clumps of cut grass caught between the blade and deck, use a trowel to scrape these clippings free. When the deck is clean again, set the mower back on its feet and start it up.
Clear the vent in the lawn mower fuel cap.
The mower started just fine, you’ve made the first few passes, then all of a sudden the mower quits. You pull the cord a few times, but the engine just sputters and dies. What’s happening? It could have something to do with the fuel cap. Most mowers have a vented fuel cap. This vent is intended to release pressure, allowing fuel to flow from the tank to the carburetor. Without the vent, the gas fumes inside the tank begin to build up, creating a vacuum that eventually becomes so strong that it stops the flow of fuel.
LAWN MOWER REPAIR~CLOGGED FUEL LINE TRICK
To find out if this is the problem, remove the gas cap to break the vacuum, then reattach it. The mower should start right up. But if the lawn mower won’t stay running and cuts off again after 10 minutes or so, you’ll need to get a new gas cap.
Clean and refill the lawn mower fuel tank.
An obvious—and often overlooked—reason your mower may not be starting is that the tank is empty or contains gas that is either old or contaminated with excess moisture and dirt. If your gas is more than a month old, use an oil siphon pump to drain it from the tank.
(It’s important to be careful as spilled oil can cause smoking, but there are other reasons this might happen. Read more about what to do when your lawn mower is smoking.)
Add fuel stabilizer to the tank.
Fill the tank with fresh fuel and a fuel stabilizer to extend the life of the gas and prevent future buildup. A clogged fuel filter is another possible reason for a lawn mower not to start. When the filter is clogged, the engine can’t access the gas that makes the system go. If your mower has a fuel filter (not all do), check to make sure it’s functioning properly.
First, remove the fuel line at the carburetor. Gas should flow out. If it doesn’t, confirm that the fuel shutoff valve isn’t accidentally closed. Then remove the fuel line that’s ahead of the fuel filter inlet. If gas runs out freely, there’s a problem with the fuel filter. Consult your owner’s manual for instructions on replacing the filter and reassembling the mower.
Inspect the safety release mechanism cable.
Your lawn mower’s reluctance to start may have nothing to do with the engine at all but rather with one of the mower’s safety features: the dead man’s control. This colorfully named safety bar must be held in place by the operator for the engine to start or run. When the bar is released, the engine stops. While this mechanism cuts down on the likelihood of horrific lawn mower accidents, it also can be the reason the mower won’t start.
The safety bar of a dead man’s control is attached to a metal cable that connects to the engine’s ignition coil, which is responsible for sending current to the spark plug. If your lawn mower’s engine won’t start, check to see if that cable is damaged or broken. If it is, you’ll need to replace it before the mower will start.
Fortunately, replacing a broken control cable is an easy job. You may, however, have to wait a few days to get the part. Jot down the serial number of your lawn mower, then head to the manufacturer’s website to order a new cable.
Check to see if the flywheel brake is fully engaged.
The flywheel helps to make the engine work smoothly through inertia. When it isn’t working properly, it will prevent the mower’s engine from working.
If it is fully engaged, it can make a mower’s pull cord hard to pull. Check the brake pad to see if it makes full contact with the flywheel and that there isn’t anything jamming the blade so the control lever can move freely.
If the flywheel brake’s key sheared, the mower may have run over something that got tangled in the blade. It is possible to replace a flywheel key, but it does require taking apart the mower.
Look out for signs that the mower needs professional repairs.
While repairing lawn mowers can be a DIY job, there are times when it can be best to ask a professional to help repair a lawn mower. If you’ve done all of the proper mower maintenance that is recommended by the manufacturer, and gone through all of the possible ways to fix the mower from the steps above, then it may be best to call a pro. Here are a few signs that indicate when a pro’s help is a good idea.
- You see black smoke. The engine will benefit from a technician’s evaluation, as it could be cracked or something else might be worn out.
- Excessive oil or gas usage. If you’ve changed the spark plugs, and done all of the other maintenance tasks, and the mower is consuming more than its usual amount of oil or gas, consult a professional for an evaluation.
- The lawn mower is making a knocking sound. When a lawn mower starts making a knocking sound, something could be bent or out of alignment. It may be tough to figure this out on your own, so a pro could help.
- A vibrating or shaking lawn mower can be a sign of a problem beyond a DIY fix. Usually something is loose or not aligning properly.
How to Clean a Lawnmower Fuel Line?
When your lawnmower does not start, it can be a real mood destroyer. Similar to when the mower starts but stops running after a few minutes. There could be many possible reasons behind these problems. A a faulty spark plug, no gas or bad gas, oil-related problems, a carburetor issue, a defective starter, or a dirty and clogged fuel line. In this blog post, we will explain what to do when the fuel line is the cause of the problem. In gas mowers, the fuel line connects the gas tank with the carburetor. A dirty or clogged fuel line means a disruption in the fuel supply and problems with starting or running. The fuel line is one of the most critical fuel system components and works together with the fuel filter. This blog post will show you how to clean the fuel line and the components connected to it. Most of the work is fairly simple and does not take a lot of time.
How to clean the fuel line of your gas mower:
Locate the fuel valve and turn it off. If there is not fuel valve, empty the fuel tank. Empty the fuel line after disconnecting it from the carburetor. Use a flashlight to check for holes, dirt, and debris in the fuel line. Use a fuel cleaner to clean the dirty fuel line. If that does not help you have to replace the fuel line. Check the filters and vents for any dirt and debris and clean if needed.
This blog post will show you how to clean the individual components of a gas mower’s fuel system in more detail.
Small Engine Fuel system:
The engines of most gas mowers can be regarded as small engines. Most small engines have similar fuel systems, only the location of the components will differ from type to type. The job of a fuel system is to store fuel and deliver it to the carburetor. The carburetor prepares the fuel-air mixture, also called power charge, to the combustion chamber, where the mixture is compressed and combusted to produce power.
TRY THIS TRICK to get your lawnmower started after sitting! Briggs Troybilt spring start up guide
It is quite common for small engines’ fuel systems to become dirty and clogged after extended use. When the fuel system becomes clogged, the carburetor’s supply is disrupted, and the carburetor fails to prepare the right fuel-air mixture. When the fuel-air mixture with wrong ratios is fed to the combustion chamber, its combustion is improper and incomplete. This results in less power. Therefore, a small engine with a faulty fuel system will fail to run smoothly and efficiently. A defective fuel system can also cause other problems, such as not starting.
The most common fuel system components of a small engine include the fuel tank, fuel pump, fuel valve, fuel line, fuel filter, air cleaner, carburetor, and governor. The fuel system should be checked, serviced and cleaned regularly.
Before starting with any fix, ensure that the mower is turned off. Disconnect the spark plug cables to make sure that the engine can not start unintentionally. Use safety goggles to protect your eyes. In general, cleaning the fuel line is not a big job for users that are familiar with the fuel system. If you are less familiar, it is good to learn more about the fuel system first. This helps to find the location of the various components and how they are connected. Often you can find detailed information in the manufacturer’s manual.
A fuel line is a hose responsible for the supply of fuel from the tank to the carburetor. Fuel lines of small engines are usually made of synthetic rubbers such as neoprene. Fuel lines can become dirty and clogged over time, and when this happens, they must be either cleaned or replaced.
Fuel line servicing:
To service a fuel line, the first step should be to turn off the fuel valve. If your lawnmower does not have a fuel valve, empty the gas tank. If your lawnmower has a fuel valve, it is often located near the gas tank base, at the location where the fuel line is attached to the fuel tank body.
Once this is done, disconnect the carburetor’s fuel line from the carburetor. Empty the fuel line and inspect it for hairline cracks or damage on its surface. If the fuel line is cracked or damaged, there is no point in trying to repair it. It would be best if you replaced it with a new one.
Use a flashlight to inspect the fuel line for any accumulation of dirt and debris in it. Dirt and debris can reach the fuel line because of dirty fuel or a dirty fuel tank. You can remove dirt from the fuel line by blowing air through it or using a thin wire to push it out. If you use a thin wire to clean the fuel line, be careful because it is easy to rupture it.
Gas sitting in the tank for an extended period of more than a month or longer can produce a sticky gum-like substance that can clog the fuel line and the carburetor. You can use a fuel cleaner to remove the substance. We will provide details on using a fuel system cleaner in a later section in this blog post.
For your fuel system’s health, never let gas sit in the tank when your store the mower. Remove it before storing your mower, or use a fuel stabilizer.
The fuel filters clean the gas before it goes to the carburetor. There are different types of fuel filters, depending on the brand and model. Some lawnmowers use a fuel filter at the bottom of the fuel tank, while others use a fuel filter that is present somewhere along the fuel line’s length. Some lawnmowers even use disposable in-line fuel filters that are made of folded paper.
Just like a dirty fuel line, a dirty fuel filter can also disrupt fuel flow. Cleaning fuel filters is usually not very easy, and the best approach is to replace them.
-Fuel filter located at the fuel tank bottom:
The first step to clean a fuel filter located at the bottom of a fuel tank is to close the fuel valve. Then take off the sediment bowl by loosening and removing its retainer nut. Empty the sediment bowl and clean it. Then clean the filter screen.
Once cleaned, fill the sediment bowl with fresh fuel and install it back, tightening the bowl retainer’s lock nut.
-In-line fuel filter:
An in-line fuel filter usually cannot be cleaned and must be replaced for undisrupted fuel flow. To replace an in-line fuel filter, shut off the fuel valve, or clamp the fuel line to block flow. With this done, remove the fuel filter from the fuel line, and install the new one. The new in-line fuel filter should exactly match the one being replaced. Once the new filter is installed, turn on the fuel valve, or unclamp the fuel line.
A clean fuel tank is crucial for an unclogged fuel system. A fuel tank may be pressurized or unpressurized depending on whether the mower has an onboard fuel tank or a fuel pump, respectively.
Gas tank servicing:
To service your gas tank, the first thing to do is ensure that there is no vapor lock. The fuel tank’s gas cap has a small hole in it to escape hot gases and entry of fresh air. If this hole gets clogged, it will result in a situation that causes a vapor lock. Vapor lock can prevent gas flow from the tank to the fuel line and cause the fuel to flow back from the carburetor into the fuel line. So, take off the gas cap and check if its hole is dirty. If it is dirty, clean it.
The next step is to drain the gas out of the tank. You can do this by disconnecting the carburetor’s fuel line and allowing gas to drain through it into a bottle or a pan. Once the tank is empty, use a flashlight to examine its bottom surface for a buildup of sediments and debris. Clean the tank thoroughly with soap and a slim brush and allow it to dry before refilling it.
If the gas tank is cracked, it must be replaced.
Using a Fuel System Cleaner:
Gas sitting in the tank for a prolonged time can cause a gummy buildup at various locations in the fuel system. Depending on the gas type, this can already start from a month. The best way to remove this gummy material is by using a fuel system cleaner. Make sure you use a cleaner suited to your lawnmower. In this regard, consult the manufacturer.
Using a fuel cleaner is to fill up the tank with a gallon of fresh fuel and add two tablespoons of cleaner to it. Start your mower normally, and run it with a normal throttle. Use the mower until the added gallon of fuel is used. Then fill your tank with fresh gas for later usage.
We recommend adding a fuel system cleaner to your mower’s gas tank once every 30 to 60 days to keep the fuel system clean.
A small engine’s fuel system is an essential part of your gas lawnmower. A clean fuel system is necessary to deliver an undisrupted supply of fuel to the combustion chamber. Keeping the fuel system clean and clear requires regular maintenance, which is not too difficult and can easily be performed by the user. In addition to regular maintenance, using a fuel system cleaner can also ensure a clean fuel system.
How To Clean Lawn Mower Fuel Line?
Is your lawn mower hard to start, does it randomly misfire, or does it surge or sputter? If so, you may have an issue with your fuel lines. Debris or imperfections are typically the cause, which can lead to the engine not getting enough fuel. So, let’s talk about how to clean the lawn mower fuel line.
You can clean a lawn mower fuel line by hand or with additives. Cleaning additives (sometimes called fuel treatment) are preventative chemicals that will stop gunk from building up. Cleaning by hand removes anything that made its way into the fuel line.
In this content you’ll learn:
What Are The Signs That Lawn Mower Fuel Lines Need Cleaning?
Lawn mower maintenance is an important part of lawn mower performance.
There are several signs that lawn mower fuel lines need cleaning. First, starting the engine may be a problem since it doesn’t have the required fuel. Fluctuating revolutions per minute (RPMs, which are a measure of how fast a machine is working) at either idle or power tells you that the engine isn’t getting enough fuel.
Further, without enough fuel, the engine will have to work harder. Dirty fuel lines cause overheating, which could get hot enough to cause some damage to your lawn mower.
What Causes A Lawn Mower Fuel Line To Get Dirty?
The main causes of dirty fuel lines come from imperfections in fuel. Fuels, unfortunately, are not as clean as we would hope. Tiny particles in the fuel will, over time, collect and build up.
Debris will also find its way into the fuel tank and then into the fuel lines. Grass, other plants, and dirt are common debris found in fuel tanks. A fuel tank can also wear down over time, and there’s also the possibility of a poor fuel source being the cause.
How Do I Clean My Lawn Mower Fuel Line?
Now that you know the signs and reasons behind dirty fuel lines, let’s talk about how to clean them. We’ll start with using additives.
Cleaning With Additives
Additives (also known as fuel treatment) come in two main types: cleaners and stabilizers. Both are designed to prevent dirty fuel lines. Running the lawn mower engine will allow these additives to pass through the system and do their work.
They should be used according to the product recommendations.
Cleaning By Hand
Cleaning by hand becomes necessary if the additives aren’t working. Before starting this maintenance, we recommend putting on safety goggles and work gloves. Work in a well-ventilated space and make sure the lawn mower is on level ground.
Let’s start with removing the fuel line. Above all else, if you don’t feel comfortable doing anything below, we recommend contacting a professional for help.
Removing The Fuel Line
- Remove the fuel line starting from the lowest part of the fuel system.
- Loosen the pipe clips.
- Drain the fuel into a fuel can.
- Remove all other fuel lines between the carburetor and fuel tank.
- Remove the in-line fuel filter if present.
- Remove the in-line shutoff valve if present.
- Clean up any spilled fuel.
- Warning: be careful with flammable liquid and vapors.
- After removing the fuel line, use a pressurized injection cleaner to work cleaner through the fuel line.
- You can use a rigid wire instead to dislodge larger obstructions.
Replacing The Fuel Line
- Install the in-line fuel filter to the fuel line if present.
- Install the in-line shutoff valve to the fuel line if present.
- Reattach the fuel lines.
- Reattach the pipe clips.
- Refill the fuel tank.
- Look for any fuel leaks.
- Start the engine.
- Check again for any fuel leaks.
- Warning: be careful with flammable liquid and vapors.
How to Prevent Fuel Lines from Getting Dirty
Aside from using additives, there are other ways you can prevent your lawn mower’s fuel lines from getting dirty. One way is ensuring you purchase clean fuel. When pouring fuel, use a funnel with a filter to catch any debris, and if you find anything that looks out of place, we suggest using a different pump or gas station.
Additionally, check your surroundings before you start filling your lawn mower. Ensure that no debris can make its way into the tank during filling. For example, it’s never a good idea to fill a lawn mower when someone is using a leaf blower nearby. Filtering while filling will also help keep debris out.
Finally, check the inside of the fuel tank. Metal fuel tanks will degrade over time. Flaking coatings and rust will work their way into your fuel lines and cause problems. If your fuel tank doesn’t pass inspection, it’s best to replace it.
The best time to inspect your fuel tank is when it’s empty. Use a flashlight to give you better visibility, and look for signs of rust and flaking coating. As always, be careful when working with flammable fuel, vapors, and the equipment that uses such fuel.
What Happens If I Don’t Clean My Fuel Lines?
If you don’t clear fuel lines and choose to ignore the signs, the situation will only continue to get worse. Difficulty starting, random misfires, and engine surges will worsen, eventually resulting in a non-functioning lawn mower. This may lead to irreparable damages.
Conclusion: How To Clean The Lawn Mower Fuel Lines?
In conclusion, the process for how to clean a lawn mower fuel line is easy using additives or tools and a little labor. Keeping contaminants and debris out of the fuel line reduces the frequency of having to clean them. Following these steps will keep your fuel lines clean and your lawn mower running smoothly.
Once you get a chance to use some additives, let us know which ones you like best in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев below!
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The John Deere Easy Change™ 30-Second Oil Change System
Never drain engine oil again.
We’ve changed the oil change. Revolutionized it really. See how fast and easy changing your oil can now be on 100 Series Riding Lawn Tractors with the John Deere Easy Change™ 30-Second Oil Change System. Only from John Deere. Included on the E120, E130, E150, E160, E170, and E180 models.
Step One. Take it off.
Lift the hood. Make sure the engine is cool, then, twist to remove. It’s that simple.
Step Two. Twist and lock.
Grab the new Easy Change™ Canister, twist and lock into place. Make sure the arrow on your Filter System aligns with the arrow on your engine.
Step three. Done.
Close the hood and mow. John Deere recommends the Easy Change™ 30-second Oil Change System every 50 hours or at the end of your mowing season. Don’t drain engine oil ever again.
Draining engine oil is so 2017.
The engine modifications and new technologies are in. The re-envisioned oil filter with a media designed to resist breaking down in oil over time is here. The thousands of hours of testing are done. The end result is an all-in-one, oil and oil filter system like no other. The first of its kind. And thanks to the new John Deere Easy Change™ 30-Second Oil Change System (“System”), you’ll never have to drain the oil from 100 Series Riding Lawn Tractors again.
Here’s why: The new System captures contaminants and recharges your engine with nearly a quart (0.8qt) (0.76 l) of new oil. In fact, this System increases the amount of oil in the engine by nearly 40%. 2 Your engine likes that.
What do you mean, I will never have to drain oil from my engine again? How is that possible? The answer is simple. We have developed a better filtration system and filter design for our 100 Series Riding Lawn Tractors 1. This fully synthetic filter media has greater surface area which increases its capacity to hold harmful contaminants. What’s more, the filter media is designed to resist breaking down in oil over time. Which means you’ll get a cooler running engine. And a cooler running engine and better filtering helps increase engine oil life. John Deere’s recommended oil service for 100 Series Riding Lawn Tractors 1. is to change the System every 50 hours or once a season, whichever comes first. Remember, the System replaces a portion of your engine oil. And that’s plenty.
The System uses John Deere Turf-Gard™ Oil. Using John Deere Turf-Gard™ Oil ensures you are using the exact oil specified by John Deere engineers.
Testing. Testing. Testing. Thanks to thousands of hours of rigorous and extensive testing, you can feel confident your engine will run for years to come.
1 The John Deere Easy Change™ 30-Second Oil Change System is available on E120, E130, E150, E160, E170 and E180 Lawn Tractors today.
2 Compared to similar V-Twin engine models that do not have the John Deere Easy Change™ 30-Second Oil Change System. That includes equivalent Deere 2017 models and 2018 models without the System.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is new with John Deere Riding Lawn Equipment?
We are excited about the exclusive John Deere Easy Change™ 30 second oil change system. Exclusive to John Deere and only available on certain models of the new 100 Series Lawn Tractors. These tractors are designed for ease of use for both operation and maintenance. The John Deere Easy Change™ System (“Easy Change”) allows the user to easily complete the recommended engine oil and filter maintenance in 30 seconds.
What is this new oil change system?
We changed the oil change. The all-in-one oil and oil filter system gives the owner the ability to change a portion of the oil and the filter in less than 30 seconds.
What happens to the rest of the oil in the engine when the Easy Change system is replaced?
The Easy Change system replaces.8 quart of oil. The remaining oil in the engine is refreshed by the charge of new oil included in the replacement Easy Change system. Combined with 40% more engine oil capacity, improved filtration and cooler running temperatures which help extend oil life, it is no longer necessary to remove and dispose of all the oil in your engine during service.
What makes the Easy Change system unique from other filters?
It is not just a filter. It is a newly developed technology system that allows a new “filter” to come already charged with oil and allows you to remove an existing filter and the contaminants inside without tools and without making a mess. Beyond the filter, technology within the canister and on your engine makes this possible.
Models with the Easy Change oil system use a fully synthetic filter that has more capacity to trap and hold contaminants. The larger surface area of the Easy Change canister acts like a radiator helping the oil to stay cool.
Does the Easy Change system somehow decrease the life of the engine?
The John Deere 100 Series lawn tractor models, with and without Easy Change, are specified for the same lifetime and are rigorously tested to the same standards to ensure the life of the tractor meets expectations.
Can I add the Easy change system to an existing tractor?
Because this system also requires unique features within the engine, the Easy Change system cannot be added to an engine that was not equipped with it at the factory.
Can I change all the oil if I choose to?
You could if you wanted to. There is an oil drain plug. It is not required for maintenance.
How often do I need to change the Easy Change canister?
Every 50 hours or once a year. The 100 Series Lawn Tractors with and without the Easy Change system have the same maintenance schedule.
What type of oil is recommended?
We recommend only John Deere Turf-Gard™ 10W30 Oil. The Easy Change canister comes pre-filled with John Deere Turf-Gard™ 10W30 oil.
How do I recycle the old oil?
Many local government recycling programs, authorized retailers, auto repair stations, and auto parts stores will puncture and recycle used oil filters and oil.
Do I ever need to add oil?
Yes. Consistent with our service recommendations for this product, you should check oil level daily and add oil if required.