How to Fix a Push Mower


Trying to fire up your push mower and finding that things aren't working as they should can be frustrating. Can you find the problem yourself? Is it something you can fix without needing a professional? Will you have to resort to a new mower?

Thankfully, most common problems fall within the realm of do-it-yourself work. Below, we take a look at the basic steps of troubleshooting and lawn mower repair.

Materials Needed:

  • Wrenches (crescent, socket, etc.)
  • Sand paper
  • Business card
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver

Step 1 - Check The Simple Things First

Ensure that the spark plug is properly connected and there are no signs of damage, such as corrosion. Other things to check include whether you're out of gas, using bad gas, out of oil or the oil needs changing.

Step 2 - Rust Buildup

A common problem is rust buildup between the fly wheel and the coil, which is underneath your lawn mower cover and connects to your spark plug. Use your wrench to remove the cover. Remove the coil and use sandpaper to sand down both the coil and the fly wheel. To put it back together, here's a little trick you can use with a business card: slide the card between the coil and the flywheel. You'll have to turn the fly wheel until a magnet sucks down the coil. Replace all screws removed, pull out the business card, and fit everything else back together to see if this solved your problem.

Step 3 - Replace The Key

If the problem persists, your mower may have hit something and damaged or knocked off the key that holds the fly wheel to the shaft. You'll have to open the lawn mower back up and remove the fly wheel to replace the key. You'll probably need a hammer to do this, and maybe a fly wheel pulley.

Step 4 - Choked Engine/Lack Of Fuel

The first thing to do is to make sure that you actually have fuel in the lawn mower. If there is fuel, remove the breather with a screwdriver and check it for dirt and debris. Clean it off if necessary with carburetor cleaner.

If this doesn't solve the problem, or if the breather is already clean, press the bulb to prime the engine. With the breather off, you'll be able to see if the gas is squirting into the carburetor. If it is, continue priming several times and try to start again.

At this point, you are getting a spark (and you should, if steps 1 through 3 were followed) and you know that gas is being pumped into the carburetor. If your lawn mower still doesn't want to work, you'll have to buy yourself a carburetor kit (most are available fairly cheap) and rebuild the carburetor. If instructions don't come with your carburetor kit then they canfound with a quick internet search.

Be sure to go through these simple steps before completely breaking down your mower or calling a repairman to check it out.