Lawn Mower Troubleshooting Guide

In most regions, the grass is growing. Now is a great time to tune up your lawn mower for this year's season. It's important to perform a tune-up on your lawn mower at least once a year to make sure all parts are running correctly.


If you are experiencing engine or starting issues, try these troubleshooting tips:


Check the fuel cap. The fuel cap is a source of ventilation for the fuel tank. If the fuel cap is not venting properly, the unit can vapor lock, causing the engine to stop running. This can be tested by loosening the fuel cap and starting the engine. If the engine continues to run, the fuel cap is not venting correctly and will need to be replaced to fix this problem.


Test the fuel. Check to see if fuel is even reaching the engine. Remove the air cleaner and spray a little bit of starter fluid into the air cleaner opening. Pull the starter rope; if the engine starts and then stops, you have a fuel delivery problem or carburetor problem.


Check fuel delivery. Drain all the gas from the fuel tank and inspect the line for any cracks or damage. If the fuel line looks cracked or worn, replace the line. After the fuel is drained, add fresh fuel and try to start the engine.


Check the ignition coil. Remove the wire from the spark plug and then remove the spark plug from the engine. Using the spark plug, connect the spark plug wire to the spark plug and lean the base of the spark plug against a metal piece of the engine. Pull the starter rope; if you see a blue spark, the coil is working correctly. If you do not see a blue spark, use a new spark plug and repeat the procedure. In most cases, the spark plug has fouled out, causing the engine not to get the correct ignition.


Deep clean the carburetor. Remove the carburetor and clean out the main fuel jet, bowl area, float and throttle plate with a can of carburetor cleaner. This should remove all bad fuel and dirt from the carburetor.  Something as simple as a clogged main jet can cause problems.


Check your oil level. Running your mower on low engine oil can result in serious internal damage to the engine. Among other things, it can lead to low compression, which will result in making the engine hard to start or not start at all.


If you've completed the troubleshooting steps and still cannot detect the problem, take your lawn mower to an authorized dealer to have it inspected and fixed. Visit Troy-Bilt's Service Locator to find a service center near you.


If your lawn mower is on its last leg, you might consider purchasing a new one this year. Not sure which one is right for you? Check out this article to determine the right lawn mower to fit your needs.