How to Start a Lawn Mower

How to Turn on a Lawn Mower and How to Turn It Off

When you look at a push lawn mower for the first time, you may get a little confused because there’s no starting button or a key like a car and it has so many levers you do not know what these are for.

However, once you know your way around this machine, you would realize it’s just a simple, old-fashioned machine with a carburetor available in two-stroke and 4-stroke engines.

So basically, if somebody asks  you how to start a lawn mower or how to turn on a lawn mower you will know exactly how to do it.

How to Start a Lawn Mower

Lawn Mower Parts

Lawn mowers only have basic parts and we are talking here about.

push lawn mowers.

There is the housing that protects the engine while the engine houses the combustion chamber, crankshaft, chassis, axles, flywheel and under it are the wheels.

Attached to the engine is the carburetor which is the most important part in the internal combustion system that mixes the fuel and air.

The air filter is also an important part that allows clean air to enter the carburetor so that the proper proportion of air can mix with the fuel.

The spark plug produces the spark to create combustion inside the combustion chamber while the lubrication system keeps all the parts of the engine lubricated and properly maintained.

The blade is just a piece of metal that is under the lawn mower but without it, what’s a lawn mower for?

So you have to take care of the blade and keep it sharp always.

These are just the basic parts of any push lawn mower so let’s learn now

How to start a lawn mower.

You should refer to your User’s Manual first before attempting to turn on your lawn mower

However, this should be easy and here hows it goes.

How to Turn On a Lawn Mower

1. Bring the lawn mower on a grassy area

where there are no rocks or solid objects that the blade can hit.

Rocks, metal pipes and plastic toys can cause damage to the blade itself or to you as the operator.

2. Check the gas and oil reservoirs to see if these are full.

3. Check the spark plug.

See if it is firmly seated in its chamber by wiggling it a bit. Also, check its lead cap if it is also firmly attached to the spark plug terminal.

4. If your lawnmower has a prime button,

which is actually a round, squishy rubberized button, pump this 3 or 4 times.

Priming allows the fuel to go into the fuel line.

Just avoid pumping more than 4 times or this can cause your machine to flood.

If your machine does not have a prime button, go to the next step. 

5. Open the choke.

The choke is either on the handlebar or on the side of the engine.

Push down the lever on the handlebar and pull the cord to start.

If there’s no lever on the handlebar, just pull the cord in jerky motion to turn on your lawn mower while the gas is in the choke position.

6. Once the engine comes alive, position the choke switch to “Run” and you are ready to go.

What is a lawn mower choke?

The choke allows the entry of more gas on the carburetor so that when a lot of gas enters the combustion chamber the engine is forced to burn more gas and forces the engine to come alive.

 That’s why once the engine comes alive you have to switch the choke to Run or this would cause your carburetor to flood with excess gasoline and the result is engine stalls.



Always refer to your manual on how to operate your lawn mower or if you experience a hard start-up or even when it stalls while operating it.

So don’t get intimidated when you see the features of a lawn mower.

It’s not complicated as a sports car and definitely just a very simple machine that is easy to learn.

How To Turn Off A lawn Mower

Now as a reminder, there are two kinds of 2-stroke and 4-stroke lawn mowers and these are the walk behind and push lawn mowers.

The “push lawn mowers” needed to be pushed in order that they move forward.

So in particular, you can find their starting cords positioned on the top of the engine.

To turn the engine off, you just switch the throttle to “Stop” position and the engine dies. 

On the other hand, the “walk behind lawn mowers” has single levers on their handlebars and its main function is controlling the gas that is being distributed on the combustion chamber.

If you want to start the engine, you turn the choke on and hold down the lever to let the stream of gas coming into the carburetor.

Then switch the choke to “Run” after the engine starts.

If you want to turn off the engine, just release the lever and the engine will quickly die and then switch the choke to “Stop” or “Off” position.

And this is how to turn off a lawn mower in the simplest manner.

Some times, for example, your engine doesn’t want to be turned off, as a last resort, you can switch its “choke to full position” to flood the engine and you’ll see that it will sputter and dies.

As soon as the engine dies, turn off the choke and rest the engine for 15 minutes to let the flooded gas dissipate then see what’s wrong with the engine why it won’t stop.

Sometimes this could be a mechanical problem on the lever or the choke switch is malfunctioning.

Walk Behind Lawn Mowers

Now, how do walk behind lawn mowers  move forward?

Most lawn mower models have extra levers on their handles which are connected to the axle and to the crankshaft.

If you push the lever downward, this will engage to the crankshaft and if you release it, the machine will stop moving forward.

The newest models of Honda have these levers with speed so you can control the movement and speed of the machine while mowing.

Lawn Mower Maintenance

How to start a lawn mower up to how to turn off a lawn mower are just two pretty simple things you can learn. 

The problem, however, is if you will not follow the proper maintenance system for your lawn mower, it will experience hard starting and stalling.

That’s why you must always be ready with a new spark plug and an engine cleaner to clean out your engine in and out.

If you will be replacing your oil, your selection of engine oil must be of the proven brand with a quick positive effect on your machine.

A carburetor cleaner will also come in handy if ever you need to clean the carburetor  dirt  can cause a blockage.

So have a gas can and spark plug wrench ready not only for your maintenance needs but also for DIY troubleshooting.

Lawn Mower Safety

One last note.

Don’t forget that once you start the engine of the lawn mower, its blades also automatically rotate.

So be careful out there where you position your feet when operating a lawn mower.

Don’t ever tilt the machine sideways or peek under it while the machine is running.

Wear appropriate clothes and shoes and also protective eyewear while mowing and make sure you clear out your mowing area from any large solid objects before mowing.

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