Lawn Mower Starts Slowly

When you have a hard starting or slow starting lawn mower, the engine begins to turn over slowly and then it finally gets up to speed. This is a sign that the lawn mower is developing an engine problem and it should be checked out as soon as possible. If not, you will have a lawn mower that does not want to start up.

If your lawn mower doesn’t start, well, you won’t be getting much grass cut today! There could be many different things that prevent your lawn mower from starting normally. The grass could be clogging it up if it is a self-propelled or push lawn mower or your could have a carburetor choke problem that is giving you a slow start.

Check both of these items to ensure that you the choke is closing when you try to start and that there is nothing slowing down the lawn mower blades or the PTO shaft on a riding lawn mower.

The choke should gradually open if it is an automatic choke as the engine is starting. If it does not and hangs in the closed position and you see black smoke coming from the exhaust, the choke is definitely the problem here.

Push Lawn Mower Will Not Start

It depends on the time of year that this is happening as to whether or not it can be a fuel or mechanical issue.

If it is the first time you try to start the push mower for the season, then it most likely is a fuel problem. If it is during the season, then it could be a fuel problem or a mechanical one.

Always check the fuel first to see if it is good or may have some water in it. If the fuel is good, then check for spark and to see if you are getting fuel into the cylinder. The spark plug will have a slight wet appearance if fuel is getting into the engine.

By narrowing these items down, you are troubleshooting them one by one to find out the cause of the problem. Once you have narrowed it down to the component that is causing the problem, change it out or adjust it and retest to see if it resolved the problem.

If you need help with your push mower not starting, visit our Locations page for a lawn mower repair shop near you.

How to Start a Hard Starting Lawn Mower

You are struggling to start your lawn mower and you just feel like pushing it over the nearest hill…well that is, if you have a hill!

Lawn mowers can be a real pain if everything is not working properly and a hard starting one can be frustrating. So, let’s see if we can take some of that frustration out of it for you.

A hard starting lawn mower can either have a fuel issue, ignition or a mechanical one.


You can check if the lawn mower is getting fuel by trying to start the engine and then removing the spark plug after you stop cranking. See if there is any gas on the plug. If not, it could be a fuel delivery problem such as a plugged up carburetor or fuel filter.


You can also install a spark tester at this time to see if you have good spark.


A choke that will not fully close is another issue that causes hard starting. Engage the choke fully and make sure that is closes completely.

Improperly adjusted valves is another item that will cause hard starting. Check the valve clearances to ensure they are in specifications.

Low engine compression can also cause this problem.  Check for the proper PSI that your engine should have.

These are some simple things that you can check and see if you can resolve your lawn mower problem. Perform these steps and hopefully you will find the problem!


My Lawn Mower is Hard To Start

A hard starting lawn mower can be a real pain to get started and it can be even harder to start after you shut it down for a minute or so to pick something up from the yard.

Hard starting is generally a carburetor choke problem or a valve issue. But there are other things that can cause it and they will be covered here as well.

Choke springs or incorrect setup of the choke can make your engine very hard to start. It will not be resolved until the choke is repaired properly and tested when the engine is cold and hot.

A valve issue is a little more complicated. A valve could have a lot of carbon buildup on the valve stem causing it to stick open or closed. Or the valves could be out of adjustment. A good lawn mower mechanic can adjust the valves and get your engine starting much better and easier. A pull start lawn mower should start within 2 pulls of the starter cord. A riding lawn mower should start within a few revolutions of the engine. Another thing that can cause hard starting is a valve seat that is coming loose and not sealing well. The seat will have to be replaced to correct this issue.

One more possible scenario is that your air filter could be so clogged that the engine is not getting enough air to start. Check the air filter to see what condition it is in and replace it if it is suspect.

Your engine could also have a leaking head gasket. A compression and leakdown test will need to be performed to see if that is the issue here.

Lastly, you could have water in your fuel or the wrong fuel in the fuel tank. It is not uncommon to see diesel fuel filled gasoline tanks, so if the fuel is in doubt, drain the tank and carburetor and refill with fresh fuel.  Check our locations page for a shop nearest you.

I hope these tips will help you get your my lawn mower is hard to start back up and running once again.