Lawn Mowers Starts Then Dies

Lawn mowers are amazing! The level of satisfaction I get after seeing a freshly mowed lawn is priceless. Even while I’m writing this, I can feel that aroma. I’m sure you can relate with me. How beneficial are these mowers as they maintain the lawns. Mowing gives a healthy tuft of grass, removes the weeds. The grass that’s regularly cut becomes resistant to drought. I love the sight of freshly cut grass; it gives me a refreshing feeling.  

But sometimes lawn mowers don’t always work well and it can get very frustrating. A very common and irking thing happens with the cutting blades. All of a sudden, they decide to stop and hence there are disruption and delay in your work, there’s more that meets the eye and one needs to find the underlying cause.

Lawn Mowers Starts Then Dies

  1. Check your Spark Plugs.

Spark plugs are an important component of ignition systems. Spark plugs basically ignite the mixture in the engine of the mower. 

The spark plugs could either be clogged or damaged. These kinds of spark plugs prevent the mower from starting, thus resulting in the mower dying few minutes after starting.

What can you do?

Find the spark plug of your mower. It is present at the front of your mower and covered by a black cable in most of the walk-behind mowers. Remove the plug with the help of a wrench. In case the spark plugs are coated with massive dirt, clean them with the help of a wire brush and a reasonable cleaner. Shot-blasting is a no-no. 

You’ll need to replace the spark plug in case you see a dark-colored carbon residue over the plug. Spark plugs are inexpensive and replacing them is quite an easy job as well. Replacing them can be a bit technical for first-timers. You can make use of YouTube videos or a blog guiding you for a proper demonstration. I’ll try to brief down as simple as I can to help you understand better.

What you need to do is, unhook the old spark plug wire from the socket of the plug. Using a plug gauge, the inter-electrode gap can be measured. The gap varies in different models, so always check your model specifications to know the gap size. The distance is measure from the tips of the electrodes. Using a spark plug gauge, the gap can be adjusted as well. After correcting the gap, install the new plug connect the lead of the spark plug. Keep in mind, not to over-tighten the installation.

  • Check your Carburetor.

 Carburetors should never be looked away, whenever you face a problem with the working of your lawn mower. You must be thinking about why a carburetor is important? Basically, carburetors are necessary to create the combustion in the right amount. It mixes the gas with oxygen to ensure the working of the machine. It maintains a steady flow of fuel coming in. The combustion unit is attached to the crankshaft of the mower which ensures its rotational movement.

The basic problem that arises from the carburetor is that either it’s clogged or dirty. In some areas, where winter lasts for most of the time and the use of a lawn mower is almost negligible, the carburetors easily lose their purpose. The carburetor begins to lose its function as a result of sitting idle for months. The engine may ignite but won’t run that far. It’ll lose its connection and will die shortly after pulling the cord.

What can you do?

 Dirty carburetors are best cleaned with carburetor cleaners. These cleaners consist of solvents that clean out and de-clog the carburetors. It removes any kinds of grease or gum. Every time before pulling the cord, put some solvent cleaner in the carburetor and 

You are good to go. I’ll explain down below how you do it.

How to Clean the Carburetor?

 First of all, you need to remove the carburetor bowl; you can remove it by unscrewing the screws, clean the screw holes. Use the cleaner for cleaning the carburetor bowl and screw holes. You need to have a good seal of screws while closing after cleaning the bowl and screws. Make sure not to over tighten the screw, this could damage the threads of the screw. Maintain the carburetor and screw to better preventing the mower to die out.

  • Excess Oil in the Reservoir.

One thing we often overlook is the use of excess oil. Your carburetor would be clean, there would be no issue in the spark plug and still, you’ll be wondering what could be the reason for your mower dying out.

You might not realize it yourself and would tend to over-fill the oil reservoir of the mower. But don’t worry this can be sorted out as well and is not a big deal.

 Here’s a little hint, if you see white smoke coming out of the mower’s engine that means there’s excessive oil. The excessive oil literally drowns the engine, that’s why even after starting; it runs for few minutes but dies out.

What can you do?

You can simply take out the excessive oil. In the case of walk-behind mowers, you can tip it on one side and drain the excess to where you want to keep it. Other than this, you can use a siphon to drain the reservoir.

You need to keep that in mind, not to drain out large quantities as not enough oil is another problem. So better to keep a dipstick for this purpose, you can measure the oil with the help of a dipstick in the reservoir before drawing out the excess. In this way, there would be an ample amount of oil left behind for the engine to work.

Now that you turn your mower on after the correction of oil, if the white smokes have halted and the engine is running smoothly congratulations! You’ve done it right.

  • Worn out Old gasoline.

 As I mentioned above how the quantity of gas matters, similarly, the quality equally matters as well. Old gasoline running in your engine tends to kill it over time. Fuel that has been in the reservoir for a long time evaporates inside it creating a residue that damages the engine. The evaporated residue clogs the internal parts of the mower. Clogged parts reduce the efficiency of the mower as gas doesn’t flow steadily.

 What can you do?

 If the old gas is significant in amount, you’ll need to drain it with the help of a siphon and add fresh gas afterward. You can add new gas to your engine if the level of old gas is very little, it’ll dilute the impurities.

You can add stabilizers for better stability; they prevent the residue from clogging up. Care should be taken to add it in appropriate proportions.

When is the Time to Call a Professional? 

When you’ve analyzed and tested out all your problems and their solutions, and still the mower doesn’t seem to work, it’s definitely time to call a professional. Usually, there’s a warranty with these machines and you can contact the company for that purpose, they’ll facilitate you to their best. In case of no warranty, take it to a well-reputed mechanic in your area. Some problems that are well sorted by professionals are;

  • In the case of a worn-out carburetor, that doesn’t seem to work even after cleaning it, it’s probably time to replace it. And for that, you’ll need to call a professional.
  • A recurrent blockage in the flow of gas is also a problem that all for the help of a professional.
  • This problem is related to the faulty choke of the mower. This problem can be diagnosed and taken care of well by professionals.

How do mowers work and what are the types of Lawn Mowers? 

Let’s just get into simple mechanics, how a lawn mower works. It is a simple mechanical machine working with blades that revolve around and the grass surface. The blades can be adjusted according to the desired length of the grass. There is a single lever for the purpose of adjusting the height of the grass. 

Lawnmowers come in different designs and mechanics. There are many types of mowers, these include, self-propelled lawn mowers, electric mowers, or robotics-based lawn mowers.  

Parts of a Lawn Mower

There are multiple parts of a lawn mower. These parts include an engine, a side discharge, a rear discharge, and a discharge bag. These are the basic features that unify to form a lawn mower. These features can vary in different styles of lawn mowers but the basic function remains the same. Let me just brief you about few main parts of a basic lawn mower.


A framework of the machine is the basic supporting skeleton. Conventional mowers were made of wood supported by steel. Modern lawn mowers are composed of steel plastic that covers the rest of the body is crafted of heat-resistant resin material. Mowers have wheels for their movement; these also vary from design to design.


Conventional mowers had multiple blades that used to rotate around a fixed axis. These blades were slightly curved and affixed horizontally. Prior to this, modern blades have complex arrangements of blades placed on a vertical axis. These blades are more efficient as compared to old-fashioned mowers due to their thicker blades, and high velocity. They have long handles that provide a good moment arm to handle the machine.

 For larger fields, mowers with big and multiple blades are used, that are fitted inside tractors. These are great for commercial cutting jobs.

Power Source:

Modern-day rotary lawns mowers are engine-driven, conventional mowers were simply hand-driven. They worked manually and required a lot of energy to move around. It was truly tiring to mow lawns using manually-handled machines. With advancement, machines have become efficient and user-friendly.

Engine-driven mowers use different sources as power supplication. They either use gas, battery, or electricity. Electric mowers require an external electrical source or they run on batteries. Gas engines work in a two-cycled process where it contains gas and a two-cycle oil mixture. 

Additional Features:

Apart from basic features, there are different options present in varying designs of lawn mowers. These features include holding brackets, blade height adjusting options, and speed control, holding containers for personal belongings or food items. 

How do Lawn Mowers work? 

It is essential to know the type of lawn mower you have so that you can understand its mechanics better, and whenever there’s some issue you can easily get it fixed. Lawn mowers can be gas-powered, electricity-driven, or battery-powered. The most commonly used mowers are the walk-behind mowers and the riding mowers.  

Walk-behind mowers: 

Walk-behind mowers are ideal for smaller lawns, as they require your energy as you’ll need to move it around the lawn with your hands. This sure is hectic, therefore I advise you to use it in smaller areas. 

Riding Mowers: 

Riding mowers are good and economical for your lawn, as they are comfortable and conserve your energy as well. You can ride on it, sit back and easily mow your lawn in a shorter period of time as compared to walk-behind mowers. Riding mowers are specifically ideal for large areas of lawn or grass surface. 


Lawn mowers are amazing machines for maintaining your lawns. However, there could arise few technical issues and they can be easily corrected. It’s good to go for maintenance of your lawn mowers annually. Get new air filters and keep on changing oil from time to time. Knowing your mower is the best policy, in case you cannot sort out the problem, time to call a professional.

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