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Having a yard, large or small, means maintaining it. Good yard maintenance starts with having a lawn mower. Lawn mower season is here for many homeowners, and it’s time to pull it out of the garage. However, if it doesn’t work when you are ready to mow, consider these common lawn mower problems and how to fix them. 

Safety first

A person driving a lawn mower, which could have an issue so it is important to know common lawn mower problems.
Lawn mower | Getty Images

The weather is warming up, and the grass is starting to grow again. However, you pull your lawn mower out of storage, and it won’t start. Don’t lose your temper. There are plenty of lawn mower problems that can be fixed at home. But proper safety is necessary.

Before you start, you need to consider these safety steps outlined by Tractor Supply.

First, ensure you have any items that could ignite a fire away from the lawn mower. Gasoline and oil are very flammable and can’t be anywhere near sources of ignition. 

Removing the spark plug is important as well. If you are working near the blade, you don’t want the lawn mower to start accidentally. If you are using an electric mower, disconnect it from the power source. 

Working in a well-ventilated area is essential. The lawn mower can put out unhealthy vapors you don’t want to inhale. You always need to check the owner’s manual of your lawn mower for any specific manufacturer recommendations for your model. 

 1. Your lawn mower won’t start

There are two main reasons a lawn mower may not start. The easiest fix is gas. Your lawn mower may need new gas. This can be a problem, especially when it has been in storage for the winter. Gas can lose its combustibility in as little as a month. 

If new gas doesn’t get your lawn mower running, check the spark plug. Your spark plug could be damaged, or there may be dirt or debris preventing the spark plug from working. 

2. The starter cord is hard-to-pull or stuck 

Start by checking the starter cord. Remove the cord cover and untangle it. If it’s damaged enough it may be necessary to replace the cord. 

Make sure the flywheel brake is fully depressed before pulling the cord. You may need to replace the cable that attaches the brake to the engine. If this doesn’t start the mower clean the mower deck of any clogged clumps of grass clippings. Clogs can cause the starter cord to be hard to pull as well. 

3. Your lawn mower loses power while mowing

Your mower may be losing power while mowing due to three reasons: a dull blade, a dirty air filter, or grass. A dull blade makes your lawn mower work too hard. An easy fix is to replace the blade. Replacing or cleaning your air filter to help your mower be more efficient could be necessary as well. When grass is concerned, raising the cutting height of the mower so it doesn’t have to work so hard on too-tall grass may be a good idea. These are all easy fixes that could help you get through that first spring mow.

4. Your lawn mower is smoking

If your lawn mower is smoking, the most probable reason is that oil splashed onto the hot engine or muffler or from an overfilled oil chamber. 

To check the oil, wait for your mower to cool all the way and clean any spilled oil. Check the oil chamber to see if it’s filled correctly. If so, check the chamber for any leaks. Finally, tighten or replace the cap on the oil chamber. 

5. Your lawn mower has excessive vibration

Your lawn mower may be vibrating too much due to a damaged or bent mower part. This can be a worn belt that is easily replaced at home. It can also be due to a bent, damaged, or off-balance blade. You can replace or balance your blade at home, as well. 

When to call a professional

Sometimes, no matter how much diagnostic work you do on your lawn mower, you just can’t figure out what’s wrong. If nothing seems to be working it may be time to call in a professional. Not to mention, calling in for extra help can also be the safer option depending on how comfortable you are working on a mower.


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