Troubleshooting Your Lawn Mower

It's time to get back out in the yard and start mowing again.  Before you begin, it's important to perform a tune-up on your lawn mower to make sure everything is running properly.  If you're experiencing starting or engine issues, you can try different troubleshooting techniques before taking your lawn mower into the shop.


Here are some things to check when troubleshooting your lawn mower:

Check the oil level.  The oil is the most important fluid in your lawn mower.  If you change your oil more often, the engine will last longer.  Running your lawn 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.


Check the gas cap.  The gas cap is a source of ventilation for the fuel tank.  If the gas cap is not venting correctly, it will make your fuel tank vapor lock, causing the engine to stop running.  Test the gas cap by loosening it and starting the engine.  If the engine continues to run, the fuel cap is not venting correctly.  The fuel cap will need to be replaced to fix this problem.

Test the fuel.  Check to see if the fuel is 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.  To ensure perfect fuel every time, look for ethanol free 4-cycle TruFuel® in cans at Lowe's®.  It allows for easier start-up, smooth idling and quicker trigger response.


Check fuel delivery.  Drain the gas from the tank and inspect the fuel line for any cracks or damage.  If the line looks cracked or worn, replace it.  After replacing the line, 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 process.  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 will help clean all bad fuel or dirt from the carburetor.  Something as simple as a clogged main jet can cause problems. Try one of the products from Sea Foam for deep engine cleaning.


If you still cannot detect the problem after conducting these troubleshooting tips, 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.