After sitting through the cold winter months, many things can go wrong with a lawn mower. When spring arrives many homeowners find that their lawn mower won’t start or runs poorly. Here are a few simple things that a homeowner can do to get that lawn mower running well for another summer season without having to take the mower to a repair shop.
In my experience with my own lawn mowers and mowers used by landscaping companies that I have worked with over the years, bad gas is the most common reason that a lawn mower fails to start in spring. If the mower’s tank is not full, it is possible to top off the tank with new gas and get the mower to start. However, it is generally best to drain the old gas and refill the tank with new. To prevent this problem you should either run the mower completely out of gas or add a fuel stabilizer to the gas before storing it for winter.
A mower’s spark plug becomes fouled from the combustion of the gasoline. In addition to combustion, small oil leaks and contaminants in the gas can further add to the fouling of a spark plug. Spring is a good time to pull the plug to examine it for problems. Use a rag to wipe away oil or other deposits on the plug. Use a wire brush or file to clean hard deposits off of the spark plug. You can also simply replace the spark plug, plugs are very inexpensive and can be purchased at hardware stores, home improvement centers and other retailers.
You should check your mower’s air filter in the spring after the mower has sat idle through the winter months. Refer to the owner’s manual for the mower to determine the proper procedure for cleaning the filter and the recommended replacement interval. The most common symptom of a clogged air filter is a mower that starts fine, begins to run poorly and then dies. Even if the filter is not clogged enough to prevent the mower from running, a restricted air filter will lower the efficiency of the mower’s engine. This reduced efficiency will reduce the engine’s power and increase the engine’s fuel use.