3 Reasons Why Your Lawn Mower Won’t Start

Mowing the lawn isn’t always the most enjoyable chore. It can be made even more frustrating if your lawn mower won’t start. Before throwing in the towel and buying a new lawn mower instead, you might want to consider these three reasons why your lawn mower won’t start. After all, if it’s an easy fix, who says you have to buy a new lawn mower?

Your lawn mower won’t start because it sat unused for too long

Mowing the lawn isn’t a year-round task for everyone. In fact, mowing the lawn can be more of a seasonal task depending on where you live. For many, that means putting their lawn mower in storage for a decent portion of the year. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, if your lawn mower sits unused for too long, it could have trouble starting.

If your lawn mower won’t start and has been sitting unused for a few months, SFGate suggests checking your mower’s oil as it might need to be replaced. Next, prime the mower’s engine by pushing its priming bulb three times. Then, try starting the engine. Finally, check on your mower’s spark plugs too. If they are loose or worn, it might just be time to replace them.

When was the last time you refueled?

Two people trying to start a lawn mower, if your lawn mower won't start, there's likely a reason why
Lawn mower | Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Now, this one is pretty easy but, according to Bob Vila, it’s often overlooked. If your lawn mower won’t start, first ask yourself when was the last time you filled its gas tank? If it’s been a while since you last topped off your lawn mower’s gas tank, it might be time to refuel. And if that’s not the issue?

An empty fuel tank isn’t the only reason your lawn mower might be having trouble getting started, Bob Vila reports. As a matter of fact, the problem could also point to old or contaminated fuel. Try using an oil siphon pump to drain the old fuel from the tank. After that, refill it with fresh fuel. 

A dirty filter could keep your lawn mower from starting

Say it’s only been a couple of weeks since you last used your lawn mower, and its tank is stocked with fuel. What then? If that’s the case, the problem could be with your lawn mower’s air filter, Bob Vila reports. Your mower’s air filter is designed to protect its engine from all kinds of debris and dirt. If the filter becomes dirty or clogged, chances are your lawn mower won’t start. Fortunately, changing a lawn mower’s air filter isn’t very difficult.

To replace your lawn mower’s air filter, first make sure that the mower is off. Then, disconnect the mower’s spark plug wire before removing the air filter cover. Next, The Spruce recommends undoing the clips or screws that keep your mower’s air filter in place. Once those have been removed, you can remove the air filter and either clean it or replace it. To prevent this from happening again, The Spruce suggests cleaning or replacing your mower’s air filter after every 25 hours of use.

Keep your lawn mower in top shape with regular maintenance

When it comes down to it, regular maintenance is the key to keeping your lawn mower in good shape. But if your lawn mower won’t start? These issues are easy enough to fix without having to replace your mower with a new one.

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