Lawn mower repair is always tough work. But you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’re going to discuss the intricacies of how to repair a lawn mower, read on.
Knowing how to do things yourself is, unfortunately, a skill that is falling by the wayside, though conversely, it’s easier than ever to learn to do so thanks to the internet. Keeping things in good order can save you money, and it can prevent annoyance further down the line since your appliances and machines won’t malfunction as often.
Lawn mowers are relatively simple machines, though there are many different types, so you’ll need to be acquainted with each variety to know how to repair them. In this short guide, we’re going to discuss everything that you need to know about mower repair, so let’s get right into the details.
Table of Contents
- Why You Should Know How to Repair Your Lawn Mower
- Repairing Lawn Mowers of Different Types
- Your Mower’s Power Source
- When You Need to Repair Your Lawn Mower
Why You Should Know How to Repair Your Lawn Mower
Before we discuss the intricacies of mower repair, you may be wondering why it’s so important to be able to repair your mower yourself. As we mentioned before, the first incentive to do it yourself is that you’ll save money, as you won’t need to hire someone who may even put a markup on the required parts.
However, the usefulness of knowing how to repair a mower extends beyond that, as it can teach you some skills that you can use in other areas. If you know how to repair a gas-powered mower, then you’ll understand the basics of internal combustion engines, and it can be a stepping stone to learning how to repair your car.
Finally, lawn mower repair knowledge will also come in handy when your lawn mower doesn’t have any immediately apparent issues. Since you’ll understand how your mower operates, you’ll be able to maintain it before it ever fails in the first place. This will ensure that your mower is always ready for use.
Repairing Lawn Mowers of Different Types
Cylinder mowers are some of the oldest and simplest mowers still in use, and they’re an excellent option for smaller yards that won’t take too long to tidy up. A cylinder mower is typically powered by the user pushing it, and it features blades arranged in a cylinder that will rotate as it is run over the grass.
Repairing a cylinder mower is typically easier than working with other kinds of mowers since the mechanism is so much simpler and easy to understand. Most of the time, you can see what’s jamming or otherwise impeding the cylinder mower without even having to take it apart.
A push mower is one that you push along your lawn, and it’s also one of the most common varieties for homeowners as it combines efficiency with a relatively small size. Push mowers are the next level when it comes to repair difficulty, and they can either be electric or gas-powered, with each presenting their own challenges.
Keep in mind that repairing a push mower is also more hazardous than working with a cylinder mower. You’ll want to be sure that the mechanism or motor is disabled so it can’t start while you’re halfway through the job. However, within a few days or weeks, it’s relatively easy to be proficient in push mower repair.
Riding mowers are closer to vehicles than the other kinds of lawn mowers, as you will actually sit on them and drive them around. If you still don’t have much idea regarding riding mowers, we’ve prepared a detailed buying guide and zero turn mowers reviews. These kinds of mowers are the best choice for large areas of grass, though since they’re larger, they’ll also be harder to repair than push mowers.
Most riding mowers are powered by a gasoline engine, and there isn’t much of a theoretical difference between the motor that powers a push mower and a riding mower. Unfortunately, the larger size of these mowers may require specialized gear like jacks or cranes so that you can access the components.
The final kind of mower that we’ll go over is the robotic lawn mower, and these are a relatively recent innovation compared to the other options. As you can assume by the name, a robotic mower will head out and trim your grass on its own, following a set of parameters that are set in advance.
The problem with robotic mowers is that they are a lot harder to maintain on your own, as you typically won’t know whether the issue is due to the hardware or the software. You’ll need to have sufficient experience working with electronics to repair a robotic mower.
Your Mower’s Power Source
Gas was the first source of energy that was used for powered motors, and it is used to fuel an internal combustion engine that runs the blades (and optionally, the wheels). As you would expect, a basic prerequisite for working with this kind of motor is knowing how engines work.
Typically, dealing with a gas mower will involve cleaning filters of carbon deposits, making sure that the carburetor is clean, and ensuring that all of the components are running smoothly. Learning how to work with a gas-powered mower is typically easier than dealing with an electric one since the way it works is much simpler.
While electric mowers may seem simpler, in principle, they take a more specific set of skills to repair than their gas-powered cousins. These kinds of mowers derive their power from either an outlet or a battery, and they’re quieter and emit fewer noxious fumes than gas lawn mowers.
When working with electric lawn mowers, you’ll have to contend with a different set of hazards than when you’re fixing a motor that runs on gas. The most important thing is to ensure that the power source is disconnected, whether it’s a battery or a power cord, as that will ensure that the blades don’t start turning when being fixed.
When You Need to Repair Your Lawn Mower
The Mower Suddenly Cuts Out
One of the first indicators that your mower is about to give up on you is when it suddenly stops working while you’re cutting your lawn. Most of the time, you’ll be moving around, cutting each pass of grass, and the machine will suddenly sputter and die (and sometimes it won’t even sputter).
If you have a gas mower, then the most common reason for the machine dying while in use is because the filter is too dirty. This part is designed to filter the air that comes into the mower before it is pushed into the pistons and mixed with air so that it can be combusted.
If the filter on a mower is too dirty, then it won’t let enough air through, and that will starve the motor of oxygen. If a motor has insufficient oxygen, then it won’t be able to create the power that is needed to run the mower. Another potential cause of this issue is the spark plug.
Should your mower suddenly cut out while it’s in use, you may want to see if the spark plug has been damaged over the course of the mower’s life. The spark plug is a relatively affordable part, and you can save a lot of money on an entirely new mower if you elect to replace the spark plug alone.
The Mower Won’t Start At All
If your mower doesn’t start, then you probably have a serious issue to deal with, so you’ll need some experience working with motors, in most cases. The first possible reason why your mower may not start is relatively simple: the gas tank may be empty, so be sure that you refilled it.
Even if you know that you filled the gas tank, if you find it suddenly empty, then you may have a gas leak on your hands. The mower’s gas tank may have started leaking due to a piece of debris that was launched into it while it was trimming the grass, or even a rock that scraped against the underside.
Make sure that fuel isn’t leaking from the mower when you turn it over, as that will be the most obvious hint that you have a gas leak on your hands. Of course, if you have an electric mower, you may have an issue with the battery or power cord, so be sure to thoroughly check their condition.
You’ll also have to make sure that the fuel remains fresh in a gas mower, as it can degrade over time. There are supplements that you can add to your lawn mower’s fuel to ensure that it remains usable for a longer time, and some of them can keep the fuel fresh for up to a year.
Here is also a step-by-step method to take a look at if your lawn mower won’t start.
The Mower is Too Slow
If you’ve noticed that your lawn mower has gotten slower over the course of the last few times that you’ve used it, there may be some problems that you have to fix. The most common problem that affects the speed of a lawn mower is damage to the drive belt.
In a motor, the drive belt (which is also known as a serpentine belt), connects several components and helps transfer motion between them. If there is an issue with the drive belt, then you may have problems reaching the top speed of your lawn mower, but luckily, the drive belt is one of the easiest parts to replace.
Take a look at the drive belt in your mower’s engine, and if it’s too loose then you’ll have to reposition it so that it rests properly against its mountings. Another possibility is that the belt itself is damaged, which means that it will have to be replaced in its entirety.
Thankfully, the drive belt is one of the most affordable parts of an engine, since it doesn’t require the complex production processes involved in machining metal parts. The hardest part of replacing a drive belt is attaching it properly and ensuring that it’s taut across all points of contact.
The Starter Rope is Stuck
If you have a gas-powered motor, then you’ll have to use a starter rope to get the engine running whenever you start it up. When you have trouble with the starter rope, then you won’t be able to get your lawn mower started, and the thing might as well be a paperweight for how useful it is.
The flywheel brake is usually responsible for the starter rope being stuck in place. You’ll have to take the engine apart to look at the flywheel brake to ensure that it’s not stopping it from spinning. If the flywheel brake isn’t engaged, then you’ll instead have to take a look at the blade itself.
If you can’t pull on the starter rope, it’s possible that the lawn mower’s blade is stuck, and this can be caused by a variety of circumstances. It’s possible that the topography of your yard is causing you problems, as a mound of dirt can get in the way of the blade and prevent it from spinning.
Another thing that can prevent your starter rope from working is an accumulation of grass trimmings between the blades of your mower. These can jam the mechanism and prevent the blades from spinning, jamming the starter rope at the same time.
The Mower is Smoking
When you start up your lawn mower and it starts smoking, you immediately know that there’s something seriously wrong with it. Many owners will start to wonder whether or not their mower will spontaneously combust when their mower starts smoking, but this isn’t usually a sign of a severe problem.
A lawn mower smoking can be caused by something as simple as oil spilling over the engine and touching the hot metal surfaces. The first thing that you’ll want to look for is an oil leak. Another possibility is that the oil reservoir was overfilled, so it sloshes out of its container and onto the motor.
This issue can be caused by something as simple as poorly-attached oil reservoir cap. However, if you notice that the smoke coming out of the motor is white, there may be a serious issue with your mower.
We hope that this guide has provided you with all of the necessary guidance when it comes to lawn mower repairs. With this info, it should be a lot easier to maintain and fix your mower when it starts malfunctioning.