Can I Change the Oil in my Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Transmission?

The short answer is yes you can. These transmissions sometimes leak and the leak will need to be repaired and the fluid put back into the unit.

There are normally 4 or 5 bolts that hold the bottom cover on the transmission. Those will need to be removed and gently remove the cover and empty the transmission fluid. Next, you want to clean the cover and the transmission mating areas of any dirt, debris and fluid.

Now you want to replace the gasket if it has one and fill the bottom cover to nearly the top with 10W-30 or whichever transmission fluid your lawn mower calls for. If you have your mower on a lift, this make the job of putting the bottom cover on the transmission much easier.

Install the bottom cover and start all of the screws and then tighten them up sequentially so that the cover does not tip and spill the fluid out all over the place.

Then as they get tight, you just want to snug them up and don’t over torque them because they will strip out easily. If you used any sealant on the cover, let that dry for a day and then test drive the lawn mower to be sure there are not any leaks.

Blade Locked Up on Push Mower

When a blade on a push lawn mower becomes locked in place and not movable, something is either stopping it from turning or the engine has seized up.

Remove the spark plug boot from the spark plug and then tilt the push mower backwards towards the handles. Look under the mower deck to see if a stick or rock has been caught up between the blade and the deck. Also check to see if the deck has been damaged and the blade is hitting it and stopping it from turning.

The turning lawn mower blade can also be bound by wire, a dog cable or an electrical cable as well as long grass or vines. Make sure that these areas are clear at the crankshaft which is normally where they get wrapped up.

If the deck and crankshaft areas are clear, then it could be an internal problem. You can try to slowly move the lawn mower blade to see if you can free up the crankshaft. If it does move, then check the oil in it to make sure that you did not run it low on oil. You might be able to add some oil and start the engine but more than likely, the damage has already been done.

Lawn Mower Leaves Grass Strips While Mowing

Leaving a grass strip can occur after maintenance or during your mowing session. If your lawn mower blades contact something such as a stump, root or rock, it can bend the lawn mower blade, the blade adapter, a deck spindle or crankshaft in the case of a push or self-propelled lawn mower.

You could also have a loose lawn mower blade and this will create vibration as well as an indication. Check all of the above items to see if they are the cause of the problem and replace any parts to correct it.

Another item that can cause this issue is that your deck is out of adjustment. If the deck was recently removed, make sure that both rear mounts are in the same holes on both sides. Also check the blade height by measuring from the ground to the tip of the blade on the outside and then measure the opposite blade. If one blade tip is higher than the other, then the deck will need to be adjusted to make sure they are both level.

The deck should also have a slight downward angle towards the front of the lawn mower. Think of how a helicopter is in flight with its blades having a downward angle to bite the air.

After you make your adjustments, test mow a section of your lawn to ensure that your changes have resolved the problem.

My Lawnmower Makes a Big Bang or Backfire While Mowing

You are just mowing along and your engine suddenly backfires and then it starts to continue running like normal. What could be causing this and how do I resolve it?

An engine backfire can be caused by an electrical problem or a mechanical one. In most cases it can be tracked down to an electrical problem, more specifically in the ignition system. If the ignition coil becomes too hot or has an internal breakdown, the spark will become intermittent and the combustion chamber can be ignited at the wrong time and cause a backfire out of the intake or exhaust.

The ignition kill wire could also have been compromised and partially broken because of rodent damage or heat and vibration. So you want to check it and is usually a black or gray wire that is attached to the ignition coil.

There could also be a problem with the ignition switch.

If the ignition system is working normally, then the search begins on the mechanical portion of the engine. A leak down test will need to be performed initially to determine if the intake or the exhaust valve is leaking. If one of them is leaking, the burning gasses will pass through them and cause a backfire while the engine is running and particularly under a load such as cutting the grass.

If you need a lawn mower repair shop near you to fix your mower, visit our Locations page for assistance.

Riding Lawn Mower Freewheels Down Hill

It is quite a scary ride when your lawn mower decides it wants to descend down a hill uncontrolled all on its own. But why is it doing this?

Normally your riding lawn mower will go down a hill at the speed you have your gear or hydrostatic transmission set at. If it doesn’t there is a problem in either the transmission or the belt drive that may be the issue.

Transmission problems are something you want looked at by a lawn mower repair shop to determine the exact cause of this problem. Transmission issues can be complex by nature and troubleshooting them is not recommended unless you have experience working on them.

You can of course check to see if your drive belts are loose or if something doesn’t look right with a pulley, spring or belt hanger. These things can also cause your lawn mower to freewheel. Also check your tow bar rod to make sure that it is fully pushed in.

A lawn mower repair shop will perform  a series of tests to determine the exact problem and recommend a corrective action for you. You can find a riding lawn mower repair shop near you on our Locations page.

Push Lawn Mower Won’t Start With Fresh Gas

So you just put some fresh gas in your lawn mower and it refuses to start when you pull the cord. You pull and pull and pull and it still won’t start or it may sputter a little. But how can that be when you just put fresh gas in your lawn mower?

Well, it could be that your lawn mower sat all winter long and the gas that is in it has gone bad. The gasoline with ethanol in it today only lasts about 90 days before it starts to go bad. Once it goes bad in the carburetor, it begins to plug up the idle and main jets and then the lawn mower is not going to run at all or barely run.

A mixture of fresh and bad gas doesn’t solve the problem either. It will still cause the same non starting problem and you will be pulling until your arm wears out and have the same results. The carburetor must be removed and cleaned and all gas emptied from the system and fresh gas added before you attempt to start the lawn mower once again.

Lawn Mower Engine Making a Knocking Sound

Are you hearing an unusual noise coming from your lawn mowers engine? Does it sound like a knocking, banging or thumping sound?

If you have an internal engine knocking, this can be a sign of low engine oil or it could be a sign of catastrophic damage about to occur. More than likely a connecting rod is wearing out and causing it to slap against the crankshaft and eventually it will break and cause a part of it to come through the side of the crankcase.

The first thing you want to do is to check the engine oil level. If it is low, add some oil and then run the engine to warm it up. Then change that oil and look for metal particles in the old oil. If you see metal, you can be certain that your engine is wearing in an area and this will not fix itself.

At this point, the engine will need to be torn down and inspected for the cause of the problem to determine whether it is repairable or not. Some repairs on small lawn mower engine are not cost effective and a new engine or new lawn mower is the best course of action.

If you need a lawn mower repair shop in your area, visit our Locations page for assistance.

Riding Lawn Mower Won’t Move When I Press the Pedal

Are you all ready to get your yard cut and you press the old go pedal and there is no go in the pedal?

This does happen on occasion and let’s check the easy stuff first. Some mowers have a parking brake, so check to be sure that it is not on. If it is on, disengage it and then try to go pedal once more.

If the parking brake checks out, move to the rear of the lawnmower and make sure that the tow bar rod is pushed in. It is normally at the bottom of the metal plate that is between the rear wheels.

If the tow bar rod is functioning correctly and you still have no go in your go pedal, then take a look under the mower and see if the drive belt has either broken or has come off of the drive pulleys. If it has come off the pulleys, reinstall it and then test the mower to be sure that everything is working correctly.

If the belt is broken, replace it with a new one and an OEM is preferred as aftermarket belts tend to be sized a little differently depending on who makes it.

If you need a riding lawn mower repair shop in your area, visit our Locations page.

My Lawn Mower Has Red Gas in It

There are a couple of things that will cause your gas to look red or orange in color. One of them is someone has put fuel stabilizer in it. One particular fuel stabilizer that goes by the brand name “Stabil” is red in color while their Marine Grade is a green color. Too much Stabil added to your gasoline will cause it to look red.

If your lawn mower runs fine, then the Stabil is doing its job and keeping your gasoline stabilized. A fuel stabilizer prevents the gas from separating into different components and drying up in your carburetor bowl. This process of phase separation degrades the fuel and it begins to go bad in as little as 90 days.

If however, your lawn mower doesn’t run at all, there is a good possibility that you have off-road diesel in the tank. Off-road diesel is red in color on purpose. This is only meant for things like construction equipment and equipment that is not driven on the road, hence the name off-road.

You will need to drain all the diesel out of the lawn mower and put fresh gasoline in and the lawn mower should fun fine once again.

I Ran My Lawn Mower Low On Oil And Now it Won’t Start

Running an engine low on oil can have a small to significant impact on it.

It depends on how low the oil was and for how long it was run low on oil as to what damage has been done to your lawn mowers engine.

If the engine will hardly turn over, you can assume that there is considerable damage. If the engine will not turn over at all and is locked up, then that engine may have been destroyed.

It is not uncommon for someone to buy a new lawn mower and forget to add the engine oil that came with the mower. Then they begin to mow the lawn and either the engine completely locks up or the connecting rod snaps in half. With the heat buildup and lack of lubrication, something has to give.

The first thing you should do if your lawn mower engine will not turn over is to check the oil. Does it even touch the dipstick? If it does, is it black in color? Those are two tell-tale signs that you have run it dangerously low. You can also try to move the flywheel and see if you can get the engine freed up. If you can, add the proper amount of engine oil and then see if it will start. If it does start, warm it up and then change the oil once again.

If the engine is seized up and won’t turn over, it’s time to take your lawn mower to a professional small engine repair shop for analysis. You can find one by visiting our Locations page.