It’s finally that time of year when April showers are making your lawn grow thick and lush, and you know what that means. You need to get that lawn mower out of storage where it’s been sitting all fall and winter long. Sometimes you luck out, and your mower will start up quickly without any hassles just after adding a bit of fresh gas, and other times, you may find that your mower is being rather difficult.

Best Reference Source

The first source that you should turn towards is the operator’s manual for your particular brand of lawn mower. This is a great guide that will help you in troubleshooting whatever is wrong with your machine, and how to fix your particular model. Every mower is configured just a little bit differently than other brands, so there may be some more specific information in your owner's manual than what a general guide can provide.

If you happen to be one of those people that don’t hold on to the materials that come with your new appliances and gear, don’t despair. Very often you can do a quick Google search and find your operator’s manual online either through the company’s website or other online sources.

Starter Rope Issues

Starter cord mower

Your starter rope can develop a number of issues while it sits in storage. If the rope is hard to pull or seems stuck, your engine flywheel brake might be engaged. This is the bar that you let go of at the handle for stopping the engine. You’ll want to lift it all the way to the handle before trying to pull the cord again.

If this doesn’t seem to be the problem, you should make sure that your mower isn’t clogged with grass clippings or that you’re trying to start it when it’s sitting in the grass. Ensure your own safety before removing excessive clippings by disengaging the spark plug wire so the mower won’t turn on accidentally. Once the underside of your machine is clear, try to yank the cord again.

A broken starter rope will need to be replace. Be sure to follow the exact instructions for your lawn mower model on how to open it up, remove the broken starter rope, and put in the replacement.

Lawn Mower Won’t Start

Sometimes you’ll break your mower out of storage only to find that it won’t start. Start with the most obvious solution and check the gas tank. It may seem simplistic but it could save you a lot of trouble if it winds up being the source of your problem.

Even if the mower has gas, it may not be viable. Old fuel can cause problems as well, so it you don't remember the last time you refilled your machine, it's probably time to drain the tank. Use your owner's manual to figure out how to open the mower to get to the tank, and then drain and dispose of the fuel properly. Next year, you may want to invest in an additive that goes into your gas tank to keep the fuel fresh longer.

Lawn mower gas can

If this isn't your issue, there are a few more things that you’ll want to check out. The first is the spark plugs. They may be disconnected, dirty, loose, or bad. Take them out, check them, clean them, and tightly re-connect them into your mower before testing it again.

Your air filter could also be too dirty due to several months worth of dirt and dust buildup. Clean or replace it to help restore the air flow into the engine that makes it possible for your lawn mower to run.

Your fuel filter is another potential problem. Tap along the side of your carburetor to get the flow of gas going in your mower. If this tapping is not effective, a new fuel filter is probably the next fix.

Mower Starts but Stops While Mowing

This is one of the most frustrating things that can happen when doing yardwork. You think everything is going well, and then, kaput. No more power to finish the rest of the yard.

There are a number of things that could cause this, and some of them are similar to what stops your mower from starting in the first place: a dirty air filter, dirty spark plug, and a loosened spark plug for example. However, you may also find that this happens when your mower is tackling really high grass. Likely the grass is just too thick and is stalling the engine. Raise the cutting height on your mower and go over the patch a little at a time, lowering the mower gradually to get it to the height you want.

You may also find that there are too much debris under your mower deck. Cleaning this out will help in getting your mower started again.

Cleaning lawn mower

Smoking Mower

This can be one of the scariest issues to troubleshoot because where there is smoke, there is fire, but it’s not necessarily a very serious issue. First, you'll want to check that your blade is not loose, bent, or broken. It may be time to have it sharpened or replaced especially if never has been before. Also, clean up any clippings and debris that have caught in the deck and check that the discharge shoot is clear on the side of the mower.

Your oil chamber may also be too full, or you may have had an oil leak into the exhaust muffler of the mower. However, lighter colored smoke may be a sign that something else is going on with the engine, in which case it's time to get a professional’s touch.

Getting your lawn mower running is one of the first things on your spring agenda. Follow these tips on dealing with a problem mower, and it will be up and running in no time.