Riding Lawn Mower Won’t Start After Sitting

Riding Lawn Mower Won’t Start After Sitting“? Read on for the solution!

Your lawnmower is the key piece of equipment that keeps your yard looking neat and clean all throughout the summer.

A long winter in storage, or failing to put away your lawnmower without some basic maintenance can make it difficult to start.

Even a well-maintained mower can still run into problems during the peak season. So, what do you do when your lawnmower won’t start?

Of course, there’s no one size fits all answer to a lawnmower that won’t start. The following is a list of possible options to help you troubleshoot and fix a lawn mower that won’t start.

Riding Lawn Mower Won’t Start After Sitting – Here’s How To Fixed It

Sometimes it’s the littlest things that cause big problems. Checking some of the common little foibles is a good place to start, before digging into more major questions like the carburetor or bad spark plug.

Follow the throttle control cable down from the handle to make sure it isn’t getting compressed somewhere along the line.

If you like to collapse or fold your lawn mower handle when not in use, the throttle cable could have gotten pinched in one of the handle joints.

When this happens it can impede its the ability to affect the throttle or choke.

While you are at it, carefully check the underside of the mower deck.

If you have a bad habit of forgetting to clean out old grass clippings and gunk from the mower deck, it could cause the blades to bog down, which in severe cases can bog the motor down so much that it quits.

The gas cap also deserves a good hard look. Most push mowers have some type of breather hole in the gas cap.

This allows a small amount of air to replace the gasoline being taken into the system. If one or all of those holes are plugged by grass clippings or other debris it can hamper gas entering the system.

During the course of your look through, check for loose bolts, rusted or jammed springs or things that have tightened up due to rust.

Sometimes a little corrosion on the throttle control can cause it to stick in place. A little spray with a penetrating lubricant like WD40 can help loosen things up.

Is It A Problem With The Fuel?

Riding Lawn Mower Won't Start After Sitting

Lawnmower engines are inherently simple, especially compared to the sophisticated engine in your car.

Don’t let this tempt you into thinking that the mower’s engine is crude or invulnerable. Fuel quality matters. Especially if you are taking the lawnmower out for the first time in the year.

Gasoline has a nasty habit of degrading over time. Gasoline in the United States that has a trace amount of ethanol in it is also prone to separating which leaves a small amount of water in the fuel tank.

If your lawnmower has been in the garage all winter, chances are there is a little water in the tank.

Ideally, when you put it away at the end of each summer, you should put some fuel stabilizer in the tank. This will help prevent fuel degradation and water separation.

If you didn’t put fuel stabilizer in it, then you should consider treating the old gas in the tank with some Iso-Heat or a similar product. Then top up the tank with some fresh high-octane gasoline.

What Kind Of Oil Should I Use In My Lawn Mower?

Did I Mix The 2-Cycle Oil Wrong?

These days newer lawnmowers come with four-stroke engines, that need periodic oil changes just like a car.

Yet there are some older lawnmowers out there, and a few new lawnmower manufacturers who still run on a two-stroke engine.

Two-stroke engines typically need to have the fuel mixed with a small amount of special two-cycle oil.

It’s worth bearing in mind that two-cycle oil is a little bit different from the SAE 10W 30 that you put in your car. 

Make sure to double-check the owner’s manual for the type of two-cycle oil recommended by the manufacturer.

If you don’t have the manual anymore, your best bet is to use a two-cycle oil that is rated for “Air-Cooled Engines.”

Now even if you have the right oil in hand, you don’t just dump some into the tank. It needs to be mixed to the proper ratio with fresh gas. If you have old gas in the tank it’s best to siphon it out and start anew.

It’s best to mix the oil and fuel in a separate gas can. Most 2-cycle lawnmowers will tell you the proper mix ratio on the top or it will be stamped on the fuel tank.

Pour the specified amount of two-cycle oil into the empty gas can. Then add one gallon of fresh, high octane gasoline.

Seal the can and gives it a modest swish to make sure the oil and gasoline are thoroughly blended.

Is My Lawn Mower Battery Dead?

How to Know When a Lawn Mower Battery Is Dead

Most push mowers have a pull cord or an electric starting assistant. However, most riding lawnmowers have a small 12 Volt battery that provides the initial spark.

Just like the battery in your car, it can get older, suffer from corrosion and internal components can degrade.

This can impede its ability to hold a charge, to the point where it simply can’t turn the motor over enough to get it started.

If you live in an area where winter temperatures dip below freezing the fluid inside an older battery can freeze.

Sometimes the problem can be so severe that it even damages the battery. If you didn’t take it out and store it indoors at the end of the last summer, the battery may be out of charge or dead.

Sometimes a dead battery will cause the motor to make a clicking sound when you turn the key. A totally flat battery might not even make a sound!

How To Fix A Battery That Will Not Charge

At the start of every season, you should put the battery on a smart charger the night before.

Set it for trickle charge, this will slowly charge the battery up to its maximum possible level. In the case of a damaged or degraded battery, this level might still be too low to turn the motor over.

If you’ve tried charging it for several hours and it still won’t go, chances are you need to totally replace the battery.

You can write down all the information on the battery tag, or simply take a picture of it on your phone.

Most box hardware stores carry replacement mower batteries that already have a significant amount of charge.

Is It The Air Filter?

Remove Air Filter Then Clean It

Another thing to check while you are poking around the mower is the air filter. If it’s clogged with dust, pollen, or other debris it won’t let enough air through to the spark plug.

Sometimes a simple air filter cleaning is just the ticket for getting a stubborn lawnmower to start.

There are different types of filters. Newer mowers might have a replacement filter for sale.

Older mowers and mowers with small engines sometimes have a simple foam air filter which can clog up. A meticulous hand cleaning can usually get it cleared up again.

You should never try to soak an air filter in gasoline, ether, or starting fluid in hopes of getting the lawnmower to turn over.

This old fashioned air filter “Hack” might work once or twice, but it is very dangerous and could cause a very serious fire!

Is It A Problem With The Carburetor?

How To Clean A Carburetor On A Lawn Mower Without Removing It

Most push mowers use a carbureted engine, where air and fuel mix. Any time a carburetor is left to sit too long unused it can be at risk for gumming up.

As time goes on residue and other tiny pieces of debris can gradually start to build up inside the carburetor.

An air filter that has gone too long without cleaning can also contribute to carburetor debris.

As residue and other unwanted materials build-up, it can make it increasingly hard to start the lawnmower.

In a severe case, the pull cord might wear your arm out before the mower even hints at starting.

There is a way to check if it is indeed the carburetor at fault.

If there’s gas in the tank, the fuel valve is on, and you feel confident that the spark plug is still good, you can try spraying a one-second burst of carburetor cleaner or aerosol lubricant straight down the throat of the carburetor.

Then quickly engage the handle control and give the pull cord you best yank. If the engine sputters and struggles, then dies, it is likely a fuel problem.

If you pull the cord in earnest for three or four times and it still sits there, stone dead and mocking you, then chances are something more serious. Most likely the carburetor or spark plug.

If you shine a flashlight down the throat into the carburetor and you see a fair amount of corrosion, chances are there’s no bringing it back to life.

You would be better replacing it yourself, or if you aren’t all that handy, call around to get some quotes for a carb replacement from local lawnmower repair shops.

Checking The Fuel line

Look At The Connecting Wires In The Carburetor

If the engine fired up then died, you might want to check the fuel line. If you gently disconnect it below the carb and a little fuel leaks out, you can rule out a fuel line problem.

If, however, the fuel line is looking relatively dry, then it’s likely a fuel line problem. In many of these cases, it turns out to be an old or clogged fuel filter that needs to be replaced.

Why Should You Change the Fuel Filter?

Just like how the air filter helps prevent airborne contaminants like pollen and dust from reaching the carburetor, the lawnmower’s fuel filter helps prevent debris and contaminants from passing through the fuel line.

When gasoline sits for too long in the gas tank, it can develop gummy tarnished debris which can move through the fuel line to clog the fuel filter.

This is even more likely to be a problem if you have grass clippings or other debris happen to fall into the fuel tank when you refill during a long cutting session.

Where is My Fuel Filter Located?

How Do I Replace My Lawnmower’s Fuel Filter

Most of the time the fuel filters are located either inside the fuel tank or it is attached directly to the fuel line in between the fuel pump and the tank.

There are a few manufacturers who produce mower engines have an internal, fuel filter, which is simply not serviceable without professional help.

If your fuel filter is one that can be accessed easily and you have a modest amount of mechanical sympathy, you might just be able to replace it yourself.

The first step in this somewhat complicated process is making sure you can find the right replacement filter.

A quick flip through the owner’s manual is certainly called for. If you don’t have the manual, you might be able to look up the part number for your particular model online.

With the correct information in hand, call up the local auto parts store, or anywhere that sells replacement lawnmower parts.

They might have it currently in-stock or they can special order it for you. In the case of a special order, double-check the manufacturer or another online vendor’s pricing.

With free shipping deals becoming more and more popular, you might be able to order it for yourself for less than what the parts store is offering!

It’s not always the case, but you might just be able to save yourself a couple of bucks along the way.

Safety First!

How Do I Drain And Change The Lawnmower Oil_

Replacing a fuel filter is exactly the sort of thing that protective eyewear was invented for. The filter and fuel line itself has a nasty habit of accidentally spraying a little gasoline in your eyes.

Even the fuel vapors themselves can start to cause severe irritation of the cornea. Believe me, gasoline in your eye is a whole new threshold of suffering that will derail the project and possibly the rest of your day.

Before you get started it’s also a good idea to have a dry cloth handy or some clean shop rags.

I personally like to set aside an old plastic container, like the cut off the bottom of a milk jug, just to hold the filter and clean up any little fuel drips.

In a situation where the filter is inside the tank, yet easily accessible, you need to thoroughly drain the gas tank to get at it.

How Do I Replace My Lawnmower’s Fuel Filter?

It is usually located near the base of the fuel tank, by the gas line. If your tank doesn’t have a fuel valve, you will have to clamp the gas line.

There are hardware stores and auto parts stores who sell a special fuel line clamp. It works perfectly.

Unfortunately, it’s what’s called a “Uni-Tasker.” If you aren’t the kind of person who is frequently tooling around with small engines, you might use this thing two or three times a decade.

Chances are you’ll lose it after a year and need to buy a new one!

If you are a fisherman, or there is a bait and tackle shop relatively nearby, you can make do with a cheap surgical clamp. It’s meant to help firmly grasp a hook in a fish’s mouth.

However, if your mower is a little old, or the fuel line looks a bit on the brittle side, this is not the best option, as it could damage the fuel line. So, embrace this “Hack” with caution!

For a fuel filter that is connected to the fuel line, you will need to carefully remove the metal clips on each side of the filter.

Needle-Nose pliers are typically the tool of choice for doing this, but you might also need the help of a flathead screwdriver. Once it is loose from the clips you should be able to slide the filter off of the fuel line.

Give the filter a little shake, and then use a clean shop rag to wipe out any lingering fuel. If there is stuck on residue or varnish it might take a little extra elbow grease with a second clean rag.  

The bottom side of the filter housing should have a mesh screen. When it’s properly clean you should be able to see light passing through it.

If you can’t then there is likely still residue in the mesh. Pouring a small amount of fresh gasoline through the mesh might be all it needs to clear.

At that point, you can remove the old filter. Then carefully insert the new filter. When you reinstall the filter, make sure that the metal clips on both sides of the filter are securely reconnected.  

Once this is done you can carefully release the clamp on the fuel line. Then look everything over to check for any obvious leaks.

If your lawnmower has a primer bulb, you can give it two or three pumps to run fresh fuel through the filter and fuel line. If you do find a leak, you will need to address it before using the lawnmower again.

Is It A Problem With The Spark Plug?

What Are Some Signs Of A Bad Spark Plug

The spark plug is the first thing to check. A dirty or loose connection can impede the spark, which is necessary for the engine to run.

At the same time, a faulty spark plug can also lead to problems with the motor flooding with too much gas.

When this happens there is simply too much fuel for the air to ignite, and the mower sputters or doesn’t turn over at all.

Sometimes a clogged carburetor is the primary cause or is contributing to the spark plug’s inability to ignite the fuel and air mixture in the combustion chamber.

To tell if this is a factor, you should carefully remove the bad spark plug. 

In the case of a riding lawnmower, the battery could also be a factor. If the battery lacks sufficient charge to start the motor, it will simply sit there.

Perhaps you’ll hear a little click, or it might even spin the starter slowly with a sort of slowly wheezing groan.

In a case like this, you can connect the battery to a charger for an hour or two and it should have enough charge to fire up.

If it still doesn’t then chances are either the battery itself has died, or there is a loose connection. Double-check the battery’s ground wire for any rust or corrosion.

What do you do when your lawn mower starts smoking?

What do you do when your lawn mower starts smoking?

Gas-powered lawnmowers can smoke from time to time. The type of smoke they produce can sometimes help you diagnose an underlying problem.

This can go a long way toward figuring out what you need to repair, replace, or simply adjust.

White or blue-tinged smoke is usually a sign that the lawnmower is burning oil.

If it’s a stroke-lawnmower, a little bit of smoke at startup is nothing to worry about. If it persists, then it likely means that you mixed the oil and fuel a little too rich.

This essentially means there is excess 2-cycle oil in the gas tank. Adding a tiny amount of straight, high octane gasoline, may help resolve the problem.

When in doubt, you can empty the tank and refill it with properly mixed fuel.

If you are certain that the fuel to oil was properly mixed, or you have a 4-stroke engine, persistent smoke could be a sign of a more significant malfunction.

Usually, this is a sign of a failing seal or gasket that is allowing the oil to enter the combustion chamber.

If you aren’t mechanically adept, you will likely need to take the lawnmower to a certified mechanic.

Black smoke is often the sign of a clogged air filter that is altering the fuel to air ratio. Taking out the air filter and giving it a thorough cleaning will usually help clear this up.

How to Prevent Your Lawnmower From Not Starting After Winter Storage

You shouldn’t let a lawnmower’s basic nature lure you into thinking it’s invulnerable. The truth is, it needs much of the same basic maintenance that your care does!

Putting fuel stabilizer in the gas tank and always using fresh gas will go a long way toward preventing carburetor and fuel filter problems.

Changing the oil periodically or making sure to mix two-cycle oil in the proper ratio helps prevent smoking and makes sure that the moving parts in your lawnmower’s engine are moving the correct way.

Keeping an eye on the air filter, and occasionally peaking at the carburetor helps make sure that the lawnmower’s engine is getting the air it needs to fire properly.

A seasonal inspection of the spark plug will also go a long way toward catching a bad plug before it leads to even more complications.

You also might need to sharpen the mower’s blades and clean the underside of the mower deck to ensure that it doesn’t bog down or stall when you need to cut a path of tall grass.

How To Lift, Remove And Change Riding Lawn Mower Blade

Changing blades on a riding mower is important when they become dull, Here how to remove and replace riding lawn mower blades safely and easily.  

As kids, driving a riding lawn mower with our father was a fun experience. Now as adults, we have our own lawn to manage but riding a lawn mower can still be fun and relaxing.

Riding lawn mowers are convenient, easy to use, and trims your lawn evenly. Compared to a self-propelled lawn mower, it’s safer to use since the blade are not exposed in the open.

As with any expensive machine with a lot of moving parts, it requires periodic maintenance. A badly maintained machine can be expensive (sometimes, even more expensive than to buy a brand new and cheaper model) to repair and replace its parts.

You are also risking yourself to injury. That is why it’s important to keep a routine maintenance for your riding lawn mower.

Maintaining your riding lawn mower is no easy work. You need to pay special attention to detail and keep yourself safe while doing it. Riding lawn mowers have multiple moving parts, fixtures, and interchangeable parts.

One of the basic ways to maintain your riding lawn mower is to keep its blade sharp. To keep it sharp, you must remove or change the blade on a riding lawn mower. Read this guide to properly and safely remove riding lawn mower blade.

Why Do I Need To Change My Lawnmower Blades?

How To Remove And Replace Riding Lawn Mower Blade

Before we start, we need to understand the lawn mower blade. The mower blade is the cutting component of a lawn mower.

The engine provides power to the blade, where the latter spins in high speed via the rotor attached to the spline. Size and material of the blade vary from each manufacturer.

The blade is an expensive part of the lawn mower due to its material and size. That is why it’s advisable to have it maintained rather replace it from time to time. Here are some benefits of a well-maintained blade:

  • Extended Life. Maintaining your blade will lengthen its use. Depending on the materials used and the frequency of maintenance, the blade’s service life may extend to years.
  • Fuel Efficiency. A well maintained blade means it cuts through grass evenly. This means no fuzzes or stray grasses once it passed through your riding lawn mower. If stray grasses do appear, this means that the blade is dull. You need to pass that area again to make sure the lawn is evenly cut. This means additional fuel being burned.
  • Improved Performance. With continuous periodic maintenance, the blade can still be as good as the day you bought it. Wear and tear will reduce the blade’s performance. But if you follow a strict maintenance regimen, the effects of wear and tear can be mitigated.

How To Remove And Replace Riding Lawn Mower Blade

1. Safety Is Priority

heavy-duty gloves

Start your maintenance by practicing safety measures. The lawn mower’s blade are large and can do serious damage if you fail to observe proper safety measures.

Wear heavy-duty gloves and safety glasses. If you have overalls, better wear it over your regular clothes.

Park your lawnmower in a bright, well ventilated area. Make sure that the lawnmower is in park mode. Remove the keys from the ignition.

For extra measure, remove the spark plug. This will disable the whole lawn mower. There is no chance that the blade will suddenly turn on while you start your maintenance.

If you still have your lawn mower’s manual, study it. Ready your tools as indicated by the manual.

2. Lift Your Riding Mower For Easy Blade Access

There are multiple ways to raise the deck of your mower. Lawn mowers have a ride height configuration which you can adjust with a pull of a lever.

You can fit yourself when adjusted to its maximum ride height. But most of them require additional support.

The ride height adjustment might just not be enough to expose the whole inner frame.

You can lift your lawn mower using a jack lift. Once lifted with the jack, you can add wood to support the lift.

For extra safety, you can also have it lifted with a hydraulic and pneumatic lift if you have one available. Lawn mowers are heavy and can cause serious bodily harm if it falls upon you so better secure it properly.

3. Picture For Reference

With the blade in plain view, take a picture of how it is fixed from the lawn mower. Dismantling the lawn mower is already a challenge but it is more difficult once you are finished cleaning and need to put it all back together again.

Machines, after a maintenance, won’t start or work properly due to improper reassembly. There might be some parts missing or parts being attached to the wrong places.

This could lead to serious problems for you and your lawn mower. With a picture, this can all be avoided. The picture will serve as your reference once you reassemble your lawn mower.

4. Keep The Blade In Place

Once the lawn mower has been lifted, its blade will move as it has no lock on its own. You can have someone hold the blade in place while you remove the bolts.

If no one is available, you can wedge in any strong material like wood or PVC. Make sure the wood or PVC is levelled to the ground and wedged between the blade so you don’t need to hold it.

5. Remove The Nuts

Remove The Nuts

Get the correct size of the wrench to remove the nuts and bolts of your lawn mower. Your manual may indicate what size of the wrench to use.

If you lost your manual, most likely there is an online source material from the manufacturer. If you don’t have any wrench that might be suitable, you can use locking pliers to twist them out.

Turn them in a counter clockwise. Remember the saying “left loose, right tight” when loosening and tightening nuts and bolts.

Once you remove all of them, store the nuts or bolts in a receptacle so you won’t lose one and you have them ready once you reassemble.

6. Remove The Blade

With the bolts removed, you can now remove the blade. To remove it, gently pry the blade away from the spline. Feel how tight are the blade snuck into the end of the spline.

Once you determine how tight it is, apply reasonable force when removing the blade. You do not need to rush when trying to remove the blade.

Continuously pry the blade gently away from the spline. Once the blade is fully removed, place it in a well ventilated area.

7. Inspect The Blade

Once you removed the blade, inspect it thoroughly. Look for chippings, damages, and other deformation. Consider the years you have been using your blade.

If there’s no substantial deformation appeared upon inspection, sharpen it using a grinder. Any grinder would do, but there are specialized grinders dedicated to lawnmower blades. You can also have a professional grind if for you.

If your blade is already dull and looks that it could break at any moment, consider replacing it. Before heading to your nearest hardware store, check your owner’s manual for any freebie or policy for your blade.

Once you have that sorted out, go to your hardware store along with your blade and owner’s manual.

The blade and the manual will serve as a reference for you and the sales attendant for an easy transaction.

Your hardware store should sell the blade that you need. In the instance that there are no blades for sale within your area, consult your manufacturer.

Ask whether you can use other brands or have them send you a replacement.

8. Do An Overall Checkup

Inspect The Blade

Check the interior of your lawn mower before installing the blade. Since it is still exposed, it’s the perfect time to check the overall health of your lawn mower.

Here are the parts of a riding lawn mower that you should check:

  • Spark Plug. Check your spark plug. If you have a hard time starting your riding lawn mower, the engine doesn’t sound right, or dies in the middle of mowing, then it’s time to replace your spark plug. Spark plugs are inexpensive. It is recommended to replace your spark plug/s every two years.
  • Undercarriage. This can be the greenest or dirtiest part of your riding lawn mower. The undercarriage catches most of the grass and can clog the chute if not cleaned often. Clean the undercarriage by spraying it with a hose and brush the surface. For the tight and difficult to reach areas, use a wire brush and spray.
  • Oil. Check the appearance of your oil. If your oil has some impurities and having a darker hue, you better it change it. On some riding lawn mowers, there is a drain plug underneath. Open the drain plug and make sure it’s flowing to a container. Consult your manual on which type of oil to buy. It is advisable to change your oil annually or every 50 hours, whichever comes first.
  • Air Filter. The lawn mower’s air filter protects the engine from debris that might get sucked in from the carburetor. To clean your air filter, find and remove the air filter cover. Once you opened it, there should be the air filter itself. If it’s a paper filter, check it under a bright light. If light can barely pass through the filter, then better change the filter. If it’s a foam filter, yellow stains are the indicator that you need to change them. After removing the filters, clean the air filter system with a damp cloth. Once you cleaned and replaced the filters, close the air filter cover.
  • Belts. Riding lawn mowers have two belts, the upper and the lower belts. If any of the belt falls of the mower completely without even operating it, then you need to replace it. If not, then remember if there are times when you use your lawn mower and you can smell burning rubber and hear loud squealing noises. If there are no issues like the ones cited earlier, then check for any frays or signs of wear and tear.
  • Idler Pulley. Better check the structural integrity of your Idler pulley. It may be a single pulley, but it’s the one that drives the belt system of the lawn mower. The pulley is actually sturdy but inspect for any wear and tears.

9. Refit/Install The Blade

Once you finished the additional checkups for your lawn mower, it is time to refit or install your blade. Before you start, consult the picture you took of the mower earlier.

Remember which part of the blade is facing the ground. If you have a new blade, consult the packaging.

The blade may also have a written instruction on which side to face. Slide it fully to the spline to prevent any damages.

10. Tighten The Nuts And Bolts

Get your nuts and bolts you stored in your receptacle. Make sure you tighten them properly. Once again, use your wrench to secure the nuts into its place.

As soon as you finished securing the nuts in place, check your picture again if everything is in place. Have some stress tests to make sure that it will properly hold.

11. Lubricate Bearings

Add some finishing maintenance to your lawn mower’s interior. Lubricate its bearings and parts which has grease fittings.

Consult your manual which part requires lubrication. It can be messy, but it will surely extend the lifespan of your lawn mower.

12. Finish Up

Lower down the mower slowly and carefully. Clean your lawn mower and your tools. Finish up by cleaning your workplace.

13. Test Run

Test Run

Put in the spark plug/s and run a diagnostics. Attempt to start the lawn mower. If it started, try to feel if there are any changes with the sound of the engine.

Then try to drive your lawn mower slowly. Once again, check if there are any unusual noises. Try to mow the lawn.

Observe if it can mow the grass evenly. Keep your ears open for any weird sound. Test your lawn mower until satisfied.

Conclusion On How To Remove Riding Lawn Mower Blade

Riding lawn mower maintenance is not easy, but it can be done. Removing the blade of a riding lawn mower can be dangerous for those who do not know what they are doing.

But after reading this full guide, you now only need to be careful when you disassemble and reassemble your riding lawn mower.

Not only did you save hundreds of dollars, you also know more how your lawn mower works.

Since you’ll be removing your lawn mower blade, take time to do some checkups on the other vital parts of your lawn mower.

It is extra work, but if you have the time to check, then you just gave your lawn mower the care it needs.

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