starting a lawn mower

There is nothing more frustrating than taking your lawnmower out of the shed, and then it does not want to start up. It happened to me a few times in the past, but luckily I know what to look out for now; some people ask: “How do you start a lawnmower successfully?” so I will answer it in this post.

Expert landscapers suggest regular maintenance on lawnmowers to ensure that the machine starts up successfully. To start a lawnmower requires the choke to be on for a cold start; you need to open the gas line and pull the starter cord. If a machine is maintained, then it should start right away.

People usually have a problem starting a lawnmower when it has been standing for a long time or when the owner is not correctly maintaining the functional components.

Sometimes, the carburetor starts acting up because of built-up dirt. In this post, we will explore the workings of a lawnmower to find out how to start it successfully.

How To Start A Lawnmower With Success?

In this section of the post, we will look at starting a walk-behind and a ride-on lawnmower. Each one will have a subheading to make it easier to follow. We will begin with the walk-behind lawnmower.

How To Start A Walk Behind Mower Successfully?

For you to start a walk-behind lawnmower with success, the machine needs to have an adequate amount of fuel and oil in it, the carburetor needs to be clean, and the spark system should function properly. Here is how to start this type of mower:

  • The first thing you need to do is to inspect the lawnmower to ensure that it is safe to start in the first place. Make sure to check the blade, the body, the throttle, the spark components, and all the fluid levels.
  • Move the choke lever into the cold start position and the throttle body into the start position. Make sure that the starter cord handle is secure.
  • Take the starter cord into your hand, and with a firm grip, pull the starter cord upwards and release the cord when you feel the end of the recoil take place. It should pull the cord back into its housing.
  • If the lawnmower does not start, try pulling the starter cord again. If the lawnmower does not start up after the 5th pull, you need to stop and ensure that you did everything according to the guide.
  • Once the lawnmower’s engine runs for about two minutes, you can put the choke lever in the off position and then start cutting the lawn. Adjust the throttle body according to the desired running speed.

Now that we know how to start a walk-behind lawnmower successfully, we can look at starting a ride-on lawnmower.

How To Start A Ride On Mower Successfully?

A ride on lawnmower uses a different set of user guides to get it started successfully; here is how you do it:

  • Once again, it is imperative to do inspections before starting a lawnmower. Make sure that you check the liquids as part of these inspections.
  • Next, you need to make sure that the gas valve is open; otherwise, the fuel will not go through the lines.
  • You must be in the driver’s seat before starting a ride-on lawnmower; a sensor in the seat stops the engine when the operator is no longer in the seat. It’s a safety feature most ride-on lawnmowers have.
  • Ensure that the parking brake is on and the gears are in neutral; this is another safety feature on a ride-on lawnmower. If the parking brake is not on and is not neutral, the mower will not start.
  • You must turn off the lawnmower blade; it can be hazardous if the blade starts to turn immediately. Sometimes the choke needs to be engaged when the machine is still cold; a snowflake indicates the choke.
  • Turn on the ignition and make sure that all the indicator lights on the instrument panel are working; turning the key further will start the machine; run the engine for about 2 minutes and then use the throttle to the desired speed.

Remember, this does not mean that there won’t be times when you will struggle to start a lawnmower, so in the next section, we will look at some factors that lead to lawnmowers not starting.

What Causes A Lawnmower To Not Start-Up Successfully?

Whenever a lawnmower is not starting successfully, there could be many causes to be aware of, but the following are the culprits in most cases. Here are the main culprits:

  • As we all know, fuel or gas is by far the biggest reason for a machine not starting. Sometimes the filter is blocked, sometimes the fuel lines are blocked, and sometimes there is no gas inside the machine.
  • Problems with the spark, when there are problems with the spark, it could be an electrical problem or the spark plug itself.
  • Battery problems; when the battery is not charged correctly, the lawnmower will not start up, so keep the battery charged. It is advisable to disconnect the battery terminals when not using the lawnmower.
  • When the brake is not engaged, or the machine is not in neutral, it will not startup. So make sure of that.

The troubleshoot section inside a manufacturer’s manual or guide is a valuable resource when a lawnmower refuses to start, so it is good to consult it.

Remember that any machine requires maintenance, so make sure you properly maintain the lawnmower.


This post was a lot of fun to write, and the expert advice on starting a lawnmower with success was beneficial to me; most people forget to take the battery terminals off on a ride-on lawnmower in the times that you don’t use it so that in itself helped me a lot. It turns out that a little TLC and some maintenance go a long way in successfully starting a lawnmower.

By following this info, you will not only start a lawnmower with success, but you will also learn the importance of servicing and maintaining this helpful piece of machinery.

You must read this post – Honda Lawn Mower Self Propelled Slow – Causes & Fixes

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