It happens to the best of us, and to the best of lawn mowers: Suddenly, your most important landscaping sidekick experiences a slight setback. Regular lawn mower maintenance helps prevent problems, and lengthens the life of your lawn equipment. Even with plenty of TLC, normal wear and tear from hours of mowing the lawn increases the chances of hitting a glitch from time to time.
But first a warning: Always refer to the operator’s manual before starting any maintenance project on your equipment. If all else fails, swallow your pride and take your lawnmower in for professional repair. I wasted 2 weeks and 50 dollars trying to “fix” something on the lawnmower that took the repair shop less than 10 minutes (and 40 dollars).
Here are some of the most common forms of mowing interruptions and what you can do
The Starter Rope is Hard to Pull or Seems Stuck:
A typical cause for this is that the engine flywheel brake (the bar you hold down on the handle that stops the engine when released) is engaged. Be sure to bring the bar down all the way to the handle before pulling.
This can also happen if your mower blade is dragging in grass or clogged with grass clippings. Move your mower off your lawn to a hard surface. With the mower turned off and the spark plug wire disengaged, clear the underside of the mower of excessive clippings, then resume a safe mowing position, and give it another yank.
Your Mower Won’t Start:
Believe it or not, many homeowners experience this frustration for one very obvious reason: the gas tank is empty. So be sure you’re filled up first. Old gas can also lead to problems starting. If you have last season’s gas in your mower, drain your fuel tank and fill with fresh gas. Other possible causes include:
- Loose, Dirty or Disconnected Spark Plug in Your Lawn Mower: Check it out, clean off debris, re-connect and tighten.
• Dirty Air Filter: Clean or replace.
• Fuel Not Reaching the Engine: Tap the side of the carburetor to help the flow of gas. If this doesn’t work, you might need a new fuel filter.
You Lose Power in the Middle of Mowing:
Ah, the source of familiar sounds in the neighborhood: a puttering engine that’s suddenly quiet. Here’s why this happens and what you can do:
- Dirty Air Filter on Your Lawn Mower: Clean or replace.
• Cutting Tall Grass: Raise the cutting height on your lawn mower
• Dirty Spark Plug: Clean or replace
• Build Up of Clippings & Debris: Clean underside of your lawn mower deck as noted above.
Whoa! Your Mower is Smoking:
Your spouse may make a big deal about it, but it’s usually not serious. Your lawn mower’s engine can smoke if your oil chamber is too full, or if oil leaked into the exhaust muffler when you tilted your mower to the side. It’s simply burning off while the engine is hot. But if you’re seeing lighter colored smoke, plus have trouble keeping your mower running, it’s time for a serious look by a professional.