Despite care and maintenance, machines can suddenly develop a problem that needs to be fixed. Your lawn mower is a hard-working machine and sometimes that hard work results in damage that needs to be undone.
Knowing how to do minor repairs on your lawn equipment yourself can save you some time and money. With that in mind, we’ve created this guide on lawn mower repairs for you. To get your lawn mower serviced by experts, come to one of our John Deere dealership locations throughout Central and Southern Florida.
If your mower isn’t starting or starts and stops, then you probably have a clogged carburetor. The most common way to end up with a clogged carburetor is to leave fuel in the mower when it’s not in use for a long time. The liquid parts of the fuel evaporate, leaving behind a sticky, gooey mess that clogs your carburetor and prevents the engine from starting. Use a carburetor cleaner to clean it thoroughly.
Another culprit behind starting issues in lawn equipment is a damaged spark plug. Check to see if it has any signs of wear or damage. Use a spark plug tester to check if it’s defective; if you don’t see a strong spark between the tester’s terminals then it’s time to replace the spark plug. If there is carbon buildup in the electrode, an electrode is damaged, or the porcelain insulator is cracked, replace the spark plug.
If your lawn mower battery keeps dying on you, one or more cells in it may have died. Use a charger to charge the battery. If it doesn’t hold the charge, you need to get a new battery. Sometimes, though, it may be that other components are at fault, not your battery. Use a multimeter to check that the charger is giving proper voltage output. A multimeter will also let you check the alternator which recharges the battery and gives voltage to your mower when in use.
If the blades on your lawn mower do not engage, you could have a problem with the PTO switch. A multimeter will let you check if the switch is damaged and needs to be replaced. If your switch is fine, the problem may lie in your PTO clutch. This clutch manually disconnects the engine from the blades. When the clutch solenoid is powered, it uses the drive belt to move the rotation of the mower blades. If there is anything wrong with the PTO clutch, it will need to be replaced as it can’t be repaired.
One common lawn mower repair involves gas leaks. To determine what you have to fix, you need to check where the leak is happening. If the bottom of the carburetor is leaking fuel, the carburetor bowl gasket might be missing or dried out. Replace this gasket. Another reason behind a gas leak could be the float needle not shutting off fuel. This needle opens and closes the float valve to allow fuel into the float bowl. If it’s damaged, the fuel will fill the carburetor until it overflows. Replace it if it’s damaged.
If neither of the above is the problem, examine the fuel shut-off valve. The fuel lines should be tightly affixed to the valve and shouldn’t have any cracks, tears or holes in them. If a fuel shut-off line or the fuel shut-off valve is leaking, replace it immediately. Do not attempt to patch or cut and rejoin a fuel line.
Overheating is another common issue that occurs in lawn mowers but it is easily avoidable with a little care. Your mower has an air-cooled engine with cooling fins fixed into the engine’s cylinder head and short block. These fins keep the engine cool while your mower is busy at work. Sometimes bits of grass, leaves, and debris can clog these fins so you need to clean your mower at proper intervals or after heavy use to ensure this doesn’t happen to your machine.
It can be scary to see your lawn mower start to expel thick black smoke but what this indicates is that your carburetor is ‘running rich’, i.e. it is getting too much fuel. Check to see if the carburetor float is jammed in the open position and fix it if it is. Another reason behind black smoke is the carburetor choke valve being closed. It needs to be open once the engine is running or the engine won’t get enough air to create the right fuel-air mix.
We hope this list helps you identify and perform common lawn mower repairs. If you can’t really tell what’s wrong with your mower or want to purchase quality lawn equipment, come to Everglades Equipment Group at one of our 17 locations in Florida. We’re always happy to whip old machines into good shape and help people choose the right machines for their needs. We are proud to serve the areas of Central and South Florida!