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Troubleshooting your ailing mower.

Being a lawn guy means, that having a downed lawn mower is not an option. Over the years I have learned how to fix all the problems that a lawnmower can throw your way. I am going to touch base on some of the most common problems that I see most homeowners face with their mowers.


Lets start with some common simple mistakes. Riding mowers will not start if there is nobody sitting on the seat, for there is a safety sensor under the seat that will prevent starting. Riders will also not start if the blades are engaged, so make sure the blades are off. Most mowers also require the petal to be pushed down all the way to start as well. If all these are done and it is still not starting then your mower does in fact have a problem.


Mower does turn over, but wont start.


First check your air filter, for if a mower does not get enough air to the carburetor then it will not start. If the filter is dirty then it will need replacing. You can try starting the mower without the filter but do not run it without filter.


Over time spark plugs will go bad, causing a mower to not start. Get a spark plug wrench and take plug out. If the plug has black soot or oil on it then it is bad and will need replacing.


Mowers that sit for long periods of time without starting are prone to getting gummed up carburetors, especially now that regular gas has Ethanol in it. You will need to get some Ethanol shield to treat the gas and some carburetor cleaner.


Mower starts but wont stay started.


This could still be an air filter, when a mower is under strain then it sometimes needs more air, but it is more likely a fuel filter. When a mower sits the fuel filter will fill with gas but once it is started it will draw the gas out of the filter faster than it can put it in, which can cause sputtering or stalling. It will usually start after a few minutes and do it again. You will need to replace your fuel filter.


Mower will not turn over.


It is common at the beginning of spring to pull your mower out to find that the battery is dead. Mowers often sit unused for months at a time only to slowly lose its charge. When choosing a battery, there are a few things to look for. The battery cables are not long enough to cris-cross, therefore make note of which side each terminal is. There are a few different size batteries. We carry a 145 cca battery which is designed for lower horsepower motors (9-12) and a 300 cca battery, designed for higher horsepower tractors. There is a couple other possibilities that I have dealt with. The starter could be going out, which if you suspect this to be a possibility then get a hammer or something metal and "ping" the starter by tapping it on the side. Hit it as hard as you would knock on somebody's front door.


Mower smokes profusely.


Push mowers do not like to be tipped on their side, especially when it is dipstick over muffler. If you have to tip it always tip it with the dip stick on the bottom. If you have not tipped your mower then you probably have too much oil in it. Too much oil is very common when people change their oil. Most push mowers take about 20 ounces of oil, not a quart. Most riders take about 2 quarts or a little less. Check your owners manual for exact amounts.


My Mower vibrates when the blades are engaged.


Just like a wheel on your car that is out of balance, the blades on your mower will come out of balance when bent. The more the blade is bent, the worse the vibrations get. Time for some new blades.


Mower cuts uneven.


The most common problem with a mower that is cutting uneven is that one of the tires is under inflated (usually a rear tire) so be sure that tires are all at proper pressures. This will also show itself easiest when cutting a Bermuda yard. When cutting I have found that a mower will cut best when the antiscalping wheels are on the ground, so if problems persist then drop antiscalping wheels to lower settings. The deck of some mowers will come out of level and will require parking on a level area and can be fixed by loosening the deck wingnuts and dropping the deck on the ground and then tightening wingnuts.


Mower starts but will not move.


Hydrostatic mowers have a lever to disengage the transmission so you can push the mower. This is usually on the back of the mower for riders and under the engine for zero turns. Simply push this lever in and you will be ready to go. If this is not the problem then more than likely you have broke a drive belt.


Mower starts but blades will not spin.


This could really only be a broken blade belt.


The Home Depot does sell most of the aforementioned parts for most mowers. Stop by and let our professionals get you what you need. If you bring the part that you need then we can get you fixed up in a more timely fashion.





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Posted 2011-07-28T15:15:35+0000  by Ingar_HD_ATL Ingar_HD_ATL