Lawn Mower Repair

How to take care of the basics

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We all know the grass does not stop growing just because you need lawn mower repair. Whether my mower doesn’t start or just runs rough, trouble with mower repairs is not only a headache but also can be a financial burden.

Many times homeowners just assume they have to send the mower to the repair shop and be hostage to their prices and schedule. When you have lawn mower problems, you can assume many other people are having them at the same time so getting your equipment back usually takes weeks.

Lawn Mower Repair Troubleshooting


lawn mower repairA lot of how to lawn mower repair is trial and error. If you are not an educated mechanic start with the cheapest and most logical thing you can do first. Step back and think the situation through. Troubleshooting lawn mower repair usually starts with common sense.



Whenever working on your lawn mower repair always proceed with caution. Always have a clear head and a clear area to do the work.

  • Gasoline is very flammable – Do not smoke near mower
  • Mower blades are very sharp and will cut you bad – wear gloves


  • ALWAYS UNPLUG THE SPARK PLUG when working on a lawn mower – a mower can start unexpectedly


Lawn Mower Won’t Start

  • Many times just changing the spark plug every spring will ease the burden of starting a mower. There is usually only one of them and it’s easy to get to. For a couple of dollars it is certainly worth giving it a shot first. This is good place to find your spark plugs.
  • Connected to the spark plug wire is the coil. Most lawn mower problems can be fixed by the average homeowner but many times it is sent to the repair shop to replace the coil.
  • Did you empty the gasoline from last year? With the new gas available to consumers now, discarding gas from over a few months old is a must. Yes, gasoline does go bad. There are additives you can add to old gas but for what you spend on the additive you can buy some fresh fuel.
  • Are there any leaks that you can observe? Follow the course from the gas tank, through the hoses and into the carburetor. Make sure all the clamps are tight and no cracks in the rubber hoses. If there are they need to be replaced. Sometimes if it is crack towards the end of the hose you can cut off the cracked piece and refit it if there is enough slack.
  • The carburetor generally leaks when it’s dirty. Many lawn mower repair problems result from dirt getting into the carburetor. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve dismantled my carburetors and blew them out with an air hose or a can of air. Sometimes carburetors need to be replaced or re-built.
  • If your try to start you lawn mower in early spring many times it is difficult if it is too cold. You’ll especially have this problem if it is a pull cord start. Sometimes it’s easier to wait for later in the day to start it or try to get warm the mower engine. Heating coils are available to warm engine blocks.
  • If your mower has a key and is tough to start in the cold it could be the battery. The battery may need to be charged or replaced.


Lawn Mower Runs Rough

A lawn mower that runs rough will usually have a dirty or bad filter. How to lawn mower repair this could be a very cheap. From my observations, usually mowing a nice thick lawn will minimize filter issues. A sparse lawn with sporadic grass and weeds creates a lot of dust, which clogs filters. Having dirty filters are the beginning of many lawn mower repair.

Just like your automobile or any gasoline engine, letting the fuel in your tank run out allows dirt to go into the carburetor. Try not to let the mower run out of gas. Do not fill the lawn mower with fuel while on the lawn as any spilled gasoline will burn the grass.


Troubleshooting a rough running lawn mower
starts with filters.


Air filters are an easy lawn mower repair as they are accessible and not very expensive. If the filter isn’t too old you can try to gently bang the air filter on the ground to knock some dirt out of it. It’s not hard, though you don’t want to ruin the shape of the filter. A lot of times there is foam wrap around the air filter. That can be wash with mild soap and dried. Find your mower air filter.

The casing that encloses the air filter needs to be kept clean also. After removing the air filter wipe it down with a slightly damp rag. It can be oily and dusty in there so it’s important to keep it clean.

Your air filter and the casing it is in are attached to the carburetor. Keeping the filter and casing clean prevents the carburetor from getting dirty which can lead to a bigger lawn mower repair.

An air filter and casing should be cleaned after every use if not every other to prevent other trouble.

A dirty fuel filter will also cause the mower to run rough and sometimes prevent it from starting at all. Usually connected between the gas tank and carburetor the fuel filter is an easy fix.
A couple of clamps removed with a pair of pliers and the job is done.


How to Lawn Mower Repair Can Be Prevented With Regular Maintenance


  • Fill tank with fresh gasoline
  • Replace spark plug with new one
  • Replace or charge battery
  • Observe for any leaks
  • Change oil if it wasn’t done in fall

During Season

  • Check oil and maintain level
  • Don’t let mower run out of gas
  • Routinely clean air filter and casing
  • Clean built-up grass under mowing deck
  • Sharpen mowing blades

After Last Mowing

  • Change oil
  • Empty fuel out of tank
  • Clean under mowing deck
  • Say “See you in the spring”


6 Responses to "Lawn Mower Repair"

  1. Ron  July 9, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    The mower starts without the filter, but won’t start with it out and the filter looks clean. Any other suggestion?

    Thank You,

    • Earl  March 18, 2014 at 2:53 pm

      The lawn mower filter may appear clean but changing it with a new filter is recommended. They are inexpensive and easy to replace. Washing out a lawn mower filter may get you through a pinch but sooner or later the mower will begin to sputter and not start well. Thanks Ron and apologies for the delay answering your lawn mower starting question.

  2. Lawn Care Services Kansas City  March 14, 2014 at 7:50 am

    I am keen to know about the mechanism for lawn mower and you post has given all needed information on lawn mover and also do it yourself tips to repair it effectively. Also a machine requires regular maintenance and points related to that are fruitful for understanding use of lawn mower. Keep Sharing.

  3. Josephine  April 22, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    Pull cord won’t pull out to pull start the lawn mower. I think knot inside is the problem. Can it be
    repaired or does it need to be replaced?

  4. Paul  July 2, 2015 at 1:30 am

    I have a 7hp briggs/craftsman mower and just ordered a new carb for $30 off Amazon, installed it, cranked up first time…fantastic. Until I put the air filter back on. It runs perfectly until I put the air filter on. The airfilter is nearly new, very clean, the filter housing and gasket are on correctly. Help

  5. a.j. sabo  July 15, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    I have an 18 year old 32inch troy bolt walk behind. Oil is coming up through a small hole in the carburetor area after engine runs for about two minutes. Any idea why and what can I do to fix this problem


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