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Taming the Turf Tiger: Troubleshooting a Push Mower that Won't Start

[Easy!] Fix a Push Mower That Won't Start - YouTube

A balky push mower that refuses to sputter to life can quickly turn a pleasant afternoon of yard work into frustration. But fear not, fellow homeowner! Before you call a repair service, there are several common reasons why a push mower might not be starting, and many of them can be fixed with some basic troubleshooting.

Understanding the Engine:

Most push mowers utilize small, four-stroke engines from Briggs & Stratton or Kohler, known for their reliability. However, even the most dependable engines can experience occasional starting issues.

Common Culprits and DIY Fixes:

  • Fuel Issues:

    • Stale Gas: Over time, gasoline can break down and form harmful deposits in the fuel system. If your mower has been sitting unused for months, old gas is a prime suspect for starting problems. Solution: Drain the old gas and refill the tank with fresh fuel according to your push mower owner's manual and engine manufacturer's recommendations [Source: [invalid URL husqvarna lawn mower manual ON]].

    • Clogged Fuel Filter: A dirty fuel filter can restrict fuel flow to the engine, causing starting difficulties. Solution: Consult your owner's manual to locate the fuel filter for your specific push mower model and follow the instructions for cleaning or replacing it.

  • Spark Plug Problems:

    • Fouled Spark Plug: A dirty, worn, or improperly gapped spark plug can prevent proper ignition. Solution: Check the spark plug for soot buildup or damage. Clean or replace the spark plug according to your owner's manual, using the recommended type and gap setting for your push mower engine.
  • Air Filter Woes:

    • Clogged Air Filter: A clogged air filter restricts airflow to the engine, affecting the air-fuel mixture and leading to starting difficulties. Solution: Clean the air filter according to your owner's manual instructions. If it's excessively dirty or damaged, replace it.
  • Engine Oil Issues:

    • Low Oil Level: An engine with insufficient oil can struggle to start. Solution: Check the engine oil level using the dipstick. If it's low, add oil following the manufacturer's recommendations and type specified in your owner's manual.

Additional Tips:

  • Consult Your Owner's Manual: Your push mower's owner's manual is an invaluable resource. It contains specific troubleshooting steps and maintenance recommendations for your particular model. Refer to it for detailed instructions on checking specific components.

  • Check the Spark Plug Wire: Ensure the spark plug wire is securely connected to both the spark plug and the ignition coil. A loose or faulty wire can disrupt ignition.

When to Call a Professional:

If you've tried these troubleshooting steps and your push mower remains uncooperative, it might be time to seek professional help. A qualified mechanic can diagnose and fix more complex issues like a faulty ignition coil, carburetor problems, or internal engine issues specific to your push mower model.

Preventative Maintenance is Key:

The best way to avoid a non-starting push mower is through preventative maintenance. Regularly clean the air filter, check the spark plug, and change the engine oil according to the recommended schedule in your owner's manual. Using fresh fuel and storing your mower properly will also help prevent problems.


By understanding the common reasons why a push mower won't start and following these troubleshooting tips, you can often get your mower back in top shape and keep your lawn looking neat and tidy. Remember, for complex repairs, a qualified mechanic is your best bet. However, with a little know-how and some basic tools, you might be surprised at what you can fix yourself and keep your push mower running smoothly for seasons to come.

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