Push Mower Takes a Lot of Pulls to Start

It sure can be frustrating when you have to pull your lawn mower pull cord more than 2 times to get your mower to start. You pull and pull and nothing until finally it fires back to life. A normal push lawn mower should start in 2 pulls. If it doesn’t, then it is having a problem and that problem needs to be discovered.

It could be something simple such as a bad spark plug or that you might not have any gas in your lawn mower. It could also mean that your carburetor is getting plugged up and needs to be cleaned. Stale gas can also sit at the bottom of the float bowl and not have enough volatility to light easily.

The timing and valve adjustment could be incorrect as well. Check the clearances on both the intake and the exhaust valves to be sure that they are within specifications. Also check the flywheel key to be sure that it is not sheared. A partially sheared flywheel key puts the engine out of time and will make it harder to start.

By systematically eliminating what it is not, you can resolve the problem with your push mower taking a lot of pulls to start.

Push Lawn Mower Won’t Start

An engine that won’t start won’t get much grass cut today. Your push mower has a single cylinder engine that is pretty basic. There are not a lot of fancy electronic controls for the electrical or governor systems and it is just a plain gasoline engine.

Every gasoline engine needs these things to run. It requires fuel, compression, air and spark and to troubleshoot why your engine will not start will require a systematic approach to figuring out why it won’t start.


Today, we always start out with the fuel you are using. Is it good and clean fuel? Does it have water in it? Is it older than 90 days? Good clean fuel makes all the difference in the world when it comes to starting your engine. As fuel ages, it becomes less volatile and harder to ignite as the vapors evaporate that ignite easily.


Without a compression gauge, it is hard to tell exactly how much compression your engine has. You can however get an idea of the compression that the engine has by how hard it is to pull the engine over with the pull rope. If there is a good bit of resistance, then you should have good compression.


A dirty air filter will cause your engine to run rich or get too much gas. You need the right mix of fuel to air for the engine to start properly. Check that air filter and if there is any doubt, replace it.


Obtain a spark tester and attach it to the spark plug and spark plug boot. Pull the starter rope and observe the spark. You should see a bright blue or orange color depending on what spark tester you have. If you have good spark, remove the spark plug and check its condition. Also check to see if it is wet with fuel. If it is, replace the spark plug and try to start the engine again.

If you are still struggling to get your lawn mower started, visit our Locations page for a small engine shop near you.



Lawn Mower Hit Something and Now Won’t Start

A “blade strike” as it is called can do some damage to the lawn mower, but engineers have built in some safety features that help contain that damage.

What happens during most blade strikes is when the blade contacts a rock or root, the impact causes the blade to stop and a shear key located on top of the engine to shear either partially or fully. This causes the ignition timing to fire incorrectly.

The result could be that the pull cord wants to rip out of your hand on a push or self-propelled lawn mower. If you are lucky, you will not injure your hand or shoulder!

The only way to tell if the flywheel key has been sheared is to remove the flywheel cover and in most cases, the flywheel as well. Then you can see if the square key has been partially sheared or is fully sheared.

Replacing the sheared flywheel is solves this problem. It must be the factory key as it is made of a material that will shear away and not solid steel that will damage parts if you hit something else.

If you need a professional lawn mower repair shop to troubleshoot and correct this problem, visit our Locations page for help.

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.

My Push Mower Won’t Stay Running


It is frustrating dealing with a push mower that won’t stay running. You need to get your yard cut and looking great but it just doesn’t want to run right or run at all.

Well, of course the first thing you want to do is make sure there is gas in it. This obvious thing can cause a lot of push mowers from staying running. You would be surprised at how many people overlook this one.

The quality of the gas could also be another problem. It could be old and stale gas or it could have water in it. Both of these will cause your lawn mower to run rough or not at all. Someone could also have put the wrong kind of fuel in your push lawn mower. I have seen them come in with kerosene, diesel and 2-cycle mix.

Check your air filter to ensure that it is not plugged with grass. If it is, replace it with a new one.

You could also have an ignition coil going bad or your carburetor needs cleaned and those items will need to be checked out by a push mower mechanic.

To find one in your area, visit our locations page.