Anonymous reviews are Internet graffiti.  Angie's List has real reviews from real people.

What is Angie's List?

Angie’s List is the trusted site where more than 2 million households go to get ratings and reviews on everything from home repair to health care. Stop guessing when it comes to hiring! Check Angie’s List to find out who does the best work in town.

Local Discounts

Daily deals up to 70% off popular home improvement projects from top-rated contractors on Angie’s List!

Help! My lawn mower won't start

Failure to perform routine mower maintenance can lead to problems in spring. (Photo by Katie Jacewicz)

Failure to perform routine mower maintenance can lead to problems in spring. (Photo by Katie Jacewicz)

The return of warm weather signals lawns to come out of dormancy and spring into action. But if you have a lawn mower that won't start, you could quickly drown in a knee-high sea of green.

Dan Hale, owner of highly rated Broad Ripple Lawn Equipment in Indianapolis, says most mower problems are the direct result of failure to perform routine lawn mower maintenance at the end of the mowing season.

"People don’t really address the standard maintenance issues that are important to keep a mower running," he says. "It’s a piece of equipment that nobody wants to own for a job nobody wants to do."

"The biggest problem that people have is leaving old gasoline in the mower," he says. "Over the winter months [gasoline] loses volatility - then, in the spring when they try to start it, they have a problem."

To prevent old gas from keeping you from your lawn-cutting duties, completely drain the gasoline at the end of each mowing season, Hale suggests.

One other big reason mowers fail to start in spring: clogged, broken or corroded components. Something as simple as a clogged air filter can compromise the entire mower, Hale says.

"If they don’t clean their air filter, it fills up and the unit runs more inefficiently. Then you get carbon building up on the cylinder and the spark plug to the point it will cause the spark plug to foul and not work," he says.

For those who don't like getting grease under their fingernails, Hale recommends a professional tuneup, which involves replacing the spark plug and air filter, sharpening the mower blades and changing the oil and gasoline. For optimal performance, schedule the tuneup at the end of the season. Then, all it should take is some fresh gasoline in the spring to get it started again.

For a step-by-step guide on tuning up your lawn mower, please read, How to Tune Up and Maintain a Lawn Mower

If you do find yourself with a dead lawn mower and need a professional tuneup, expect a wait. Hale says he always sees a huge influx of needed mower repairs in spring because most people don’t realize their mower won’t start until their grass has already started to grow.

Lawn mower starting tips

Check the gasoline. Is it the same gas you used last year? If the gas is older than 30 days, empty it from the mower and start fresh.

Check the oil. Each mower is different, but you should measure the amount of oil and check color consistency. Change the oil if it appears dark black in color.

Check the air filter. Is it clogged or damaged? Paper filters should be replaced and foam-type filters should be cleaned or replaced annually.

Check the spark plug. Is it corroded? Spark plugs are inexpensive and easy to replace.

Angie's List can connect you with a highly rated lawn mower repair shop in your area. Sign in or join today to read trusted consumer ratings and reviews.


Comments

My lawn mower will turn over but won't start. I replaced the spark plug and I'm getting a spark. The spark plug is wet when I pull it out so its getting gas. There is good compression. The stator spins freely when I'm trying to crank it. It worked fine the last time I mowed which was a week ago. I don't know what else to check.

Is teh second time I had problems with how much oil I put on the lawnmower? I always put too much and it stops. How can I know exactly how much oil to put? How often do I need to add new oil? Please help!

craftsman ,gold series ,6.75 hp wont start when is hot ,cold no problem ,please advise ?????

no spark,put new plug in,checked shut-off switch and wiring.Checked magnet clearance and cleaned faces with sandpaper.Any suggestions?

My mower runs fine the first time I start it up. Then after the bag is full and I stop to empty it, the mower will not restart because the pull cord locks up. Sometime later, (I haven't measured the amount of time exactly) it will start fine again and I can finish the yard. I assume something is overheating and once it cools then it operates fine again. I checked the oil and there is plenty. Anything else I should do?

Could the string be caught up inside of the mower? The mower isn't even a year old yet.

Have petrol and oil in my new tesco lawn mower but it won't start.

If it's a new lawn mower with all of its components, you may just need to prime it before starting it. You also want to verify that you do in fact have a spark plug and the spark plug wire is attched correctly.

My lawn will start and run for 30 one minute then it cuts off. I have changed the spark plug and the air filter and the same trouble occurs. Any suggestions before I take it to the repair shop and any estimates on this type of trouble.

LAWN MOWER STARTS EVERY TIME BUT WILL NOT CONTINUE RUNNING

CHANGE YOUR SPARK PLUG

i need to know how to do when to do and what it takes to do

Lawnmower is new, only used once, but now it won't start after I ran over a piece of fabric that was in the grass. Looked underneath and there's nothing tangled in the blades. Have two others that won't run, that's why I purchased this one. HELP!

Hi there, When I pull the start rope (don't laugh -- I'm sure it has a better name than that), sometimes it pulls okay, but sometimes it won't pull all the way and snaps back (that hurts!!). I almost want to say the mechanism the rope deals with is clogged or something to that effect. Would it help to spray with WD-40? Would that help it not snap back sometimes? I never know when it will snap back. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Also, how much should a normal tune-up cost, approx.?

sounds like 1-3 things could be going on 1st thing i would check is starter there is a small plastic gear on the end of the unit alot of times from low voltage starts it can get stuck or it can also chew up the gear,2nd thing could be your battery does not have cold cranking amps it need to turn the starter.3rd put your hand on the top of the motor [were screen is] with your hand see if it can spin freely if it does'nt spin your motor could be locked up. let me know what you find hope this helped

new battery does not spin the motor over it only moves it one compression and stops, Seems to fall in the 3rd category above.

The battery measures 12 volts (just charged) but turning on the key I just get a "rattling" sound from the engine compartment, with the starter is not turning over the engine. The battery was low, so does this mean I don't have enough charge in the battery, even tho it reads 12 volts?

Motor spins freely bottom pulley turns but doesn't seem to have compression and won't start ?

i would suggest first thing you do is take step back look @ the unit is it leaking oil?,do youneed to change they oil?,is it dirty?,is air filter clogged?,is the fuel old? did you add old gas over new gas?,these are some of the problems u have to look for first then ,does it have spark,do you have compression tester if so i suggest you take a reading let me know what u have.should be between 65-80 or better psi if not,and u have less then what i specified then i would say you should take it to repair shop. if it does have good compression then do those steps i told you let me know what u have achevied.

Add comment