3 Solutions For Rough Running & Non-Starting Lawn Mowers

three products in front of a green lawn mower

Sputtering? Surging? Won’t even start?

You bought a lawn mower to maintain a well-kept yard. So it’s frustrating when the engine runs rough or doesn’t start at all, leaving you helpless as the grass is given that much more time to grow. It almost feels like your lawn and mower made a secret pact behind your back, and this is their way of mocking you.

Take back control of your yard by troubleshooting the three most common reasons your lawn mower runs rough or simply won’t start. After all, you are the master and commander of your domain. Not your outdoor power equipment.

1. Fixing Fuel-Related Issues

bottle of STA-BIL Fast Fix sitting on the floor of garage with lawn mower in background out of focus

Dormant lawn mowers that haven’t seen action over the winter are notorious for starting issues, and there’s a good reason for that.

When old gasoline sits idly in the tank, it can gum up and restrict the carburetor. This piece of equipment must remain clear of debris in order to mix air and fuel to create the combustion necessary for the engine to turn over.

There are two ways to troubleshoot a restricted lawn mower carb. First, use a small engine treatment to clean out the entire fuel system and crankcase. This will clear debris away from the carburetor jet, float bowls, and other fuel system components and allow the lawn mower to start. All you need is one ounce of product per gallon of gas.

The second is a preventive measure to set you up for success the next time you take out your lawn mower. Fill up the tank with fresh gasoline with “fresh” being the key term here. Once added, top it off with a fuel stabilizer to maintain its quality so it won’t harm the engine’s internal components.

2. Addressing Spark Plug Problems

person holding lawn mower spark plug close

Bad gasoline does not only cause potential issues with the carburetor. It can also lead to carbon buildup on the spark plug. In this scenario, it’s likely the piece is in need of replacing, but there are steps you can take to maintain the overall integrity of your lawn mower moving forward.

Start using an additive that will keep the mower’s fuel system clean and operating properly throughout the season. The right multi-system additive can even be used in the oil to lubricate the engine and help it run more smoothly if it has been making a lot of noise.

3. What To Do When Your Lawn Mower Won’t Start

bottle of STA-BIL Start Your Engines sitting on floor of garage in front of lawn mower

Let’s say you push the mower handle firmly, draw the starter cord back, and it’s clear that the engine will not start. In this case, you require an innovative fuel system cleaner that doubles as a starting fluid.

Since the fuel system cleaner liquid is more dense than gasoline, it gets sucked into the engine once you try starting your engine back up. You can almost think of it the same way plumbers use Drano for pipes.

Add this product directly into the fuel reserve of your push mower the next time it gives you trouble starting. It will ensure a quick and easy start by removing the gum and varnish that restricts air and fuel flow.

And that’s it!

Fixing rough-running engines or ones that won’t start is quicker and more cost-efficient than replacing it altogether. If you are ever in a bind, consult the helpful infographic below to better understand what you need for each scenario.

STABIL OPE Comparison Chart 01 2 min 1

To Recap:

It’s a deflating feeling when you find time to cut the grass, but your equipment prevents you from making it happen. But rest assured. If you learn one thing from this article, know that you can troubleshoot a rough-running lawn mower more often than not.

So keep these tips in mind the next time you pull the starter cord, and all you hear are clicks. You now know how to diagnose the problem and when the engine turns over, think of us and this amusing moment from the 1998 comedy, The Waterboy.

waterboy lawn mower meme

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