Lawn mowers are relatively simple machines, but the fact that they operate outdoors will lead to problems with some. In light of this fact, there are a few things that every homeowner should know about lawn mower repair. Problems can manifest themselves in a variety of ways, from the engine not starting, to white smoke in the exhaust. Some basic knowledge and safety tips can go a long way toward extending the life of a mower.
The first thing to know about lawn mower repair is that safety is the paramount concern. It’s a good idea to wear eye protection and work gloves, as well as to disconnect the mower’s spark plug before beginning. This ensures that there is no chance that the engine will accidentally start. If the problem is that the engine won’t start, or stops soon after difficult starting, it may not be necessary to go any further than this. A worn, discolored, or damaged spark plug will need to be replaced, and this alone may solve the problem. In any case, resist the temptation to take apart the whole engine right at first.
If the spark plug is in good condition, then another part to check is the carburetor. The carburetor is the number one culprit of lawn mower problems, and this is an crucial point to know about lawn mower repair. The carburetor is highly sensitive to dirt, and must be very clean in order to work properly. Since lawn mowers often sit idle for many months, gasoline can sometimes leave harmful deposits in the carburetor. This may well be the problem if a mower won’t start for its first use after a long winter.
Another possible cause for an engine that refuses to start, is that the gas has gone bad. Sometimes during the winter months, water can leak into the carburetor or gas tank. This is not a serious problem, but it will require draining all of the gas and replacing it. Since this is the easiest type of mower repair, it may be a good idea to try it first, especially if one suspects this may be the problem. The best way to keep water from getting into the gasoline is to park the mower in a garage or shed for the winter, if possible.
Perhaps the most important thing to know about lawn mower repair is that the solution is likely a simple one, such as a dirty carburetor or air filter. Problems with the engine wiring, valves, or ignition system can get slightly more complicated. These will be solved best by a professional or by following a detailed repair manual.