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Lawn Mower Won’t Start After Sitting All Winter (Storage & Fix Tips)

Lawn Mower Won’t Start After Sitting All Winter (Storage & Fix Tips)

Lawnmowers are notorious for not starting after being stored for long, and rightfully so! After all, it’s just a machine designed to cut grass.

And, when it doesn’t get to do its job when stored during the off-seasons, various other factors come into play, which might result in your mower not starting the next spring.

Let’s dive deep to find out how you can store your mower, start your mower, and all the safety tips you must keep in mind beforehand.

How to Prepare Your Lawn Mower for Storage?

How to Prepare Your Lawn Mower for Storage

Your lawnmower may not start after being stored during the off-season. It’s an expensive item to buy, so to only use it once after you buy, then it would be a complete waste of money. Here are a few tips which can be helpful to prepare your lawnmower for storage.

1. Use of Gas stabilizer

You can store your fuel by mixing it with a gas stabilizer up to 95% of the tank. The little space is left so that the fuel doesn’t expand and spill up when the temperature rises. You should never make the mistake of draining all the fuel from the mower before storing it.

Doing so might affect the mower’s carburetor, and it can lead your tank towards corrosion by opening the tank to condensate. Similarly, you should avoid the use of fuel containing ethanol as it can gunk up the carburetor.

2. Replacing the oil

It is always a brilliant idea to replace the oil once before starting the mower and once before storing it. You can simply drain the old one out and replace it with the new oil before storing it. You should always use the oil suggested by the company for better efficiency of the machine.

3. Replacing spark plug

Similar to oil, you also need to replace the spark plug once every season. Even though it might seem nice and working, its performance degrades over time due to the carbon buildup. So, it’s better to replace your old spark plug with the new one before storing it for a smoother start for the next season.

4. Removing of battery

If you don’t want your battery to drain in vain, you must remember to remove the battery from your land mower before storing it.

After removing it, clean your battery with a cloth, and use a metal brush and a battery cleaning product to clean the terminals of the battery before storing. You need to store your battery in a cool and dry indoor place away from hot items such as heaters, gases, and furnaces.

5. Clean your mower

You should clean your land mower before storing it safely. And, why not? It would have worked numerous hours during the spring season.

Remember to be careful enough to plug out the spark plug before you start to clean it up. You can simply brush off the grass, leaves, and mud from your mowers before storing it.

After cleaning your land mower, you can store it in a dry and covered location like a garage or warehouse, and it should be ready to use again during the next spring.

How to Start a Mower That Has Been Sitting?

How to Start a Mower That Has Been Sitting

1. Check the gas tank

If you haven’t taken our tips of using a gas stabilizer pre-storage, you might new to add fresh gas into your mower. Gasoline is quite unstable, and if it is more than 30 days old, it should be replaced if you want your mower to start smoothly.

2. Check the oil

Does your mower have enough good quality oil? Or, does the oil look dark and have residues in kt? It’s always a good idea to check the oil level and quality before you start your mower.

Even if it might not be the sole reason for stopping the mower from starting, replacing old oil will ensure that the mower runs smoothly and lasts for a long time.

For the small engine of a mower, a small amount of oil would be enough. So, it is actually quite an inexpensive thing you can do for the better functioning of your mower.

3. Is the air filter clogged?

A dirty or clogged air filter might be the reason why your mower is not starting. But if you try to clean the filter that is perforated, even if it’s tiny, you might be unknowingly letting in the dust into the engine, thus, ruining it.

On the other hand, replacing the filter is very easy to do and doesn’t come with the risk as mentioned above. If your mower starts but stops when you start mowing the lawn, it’s a major indication that something’s wrong with the air filter.

4. Make sure that the spark plug is in good shape

Are the wires that attach to the spark plug in good shape? And, is the connection good there? Then, using a socket wrench, remove the spark plug and check its condition.

Look for any discoloration or corrosion on the spark plug. If the plug seems old and in bad condition, you might need to replace it for the proper functioning of the mower.

5. Dirty carburetor – a common culprit!

A dirty carburetor is often one of the most common culprits for preventing the mower from starting. If fuel was left in the engine pre-storage, it might cause the carburetor to be clogged as the fuel evaporates, thus, leaving behind a sticky residue in the carburetor.

You can choose to clean the carburetor by soaking it in a good quality carburetor cleaner or vinegar. Or, you can simply replace it with a new one.

6. Is your flywheel key broken?

If nothing else seems to work, a broken flywheel key might be preventing the mower from starting. Flywheel key is often known to break when the mower hits a hard object.

So, if your mower had faced some hardship the previous season, it might be the reason why your mower is not starting. Remember that removal of flywheel can be quite tedious. And, most importantly, follow a proper tutorial for the purpose as flywheel key can be quite expensive.

Know These Safety Guidelines Before Starting to Work on Your Mower!

Always keep in your mind – safety first before working on your land mower! Here are a few safety tips you must keep in mind before working on a mower.

1. Remember gasoline/petrol

Remember that the petrol/ gasoline of a mower is highly flammable. So, you should get rid of ignition sources such as cigarettes, flames, sparks, or stoves when working on the tank.

You should also remove the rags moistened with fuel as it is equally flammable. Also, provide adequate ventilation to prevent the buildup of vapor.

2. Remove the spark plug

For safety purposes if you want to work on the underside of the engine, then you must disconnect the spark plug lead and let the engine completely cool down. If you’ve decided to turn the blades by your hands, you must make sure to plug out the spark plug for safety.

3. Check the manual

You should always check the manufacturer’s manual to know how you can change oil, remove blades, and clean decks.

Sometimes manufacturers recommend keeping the carburetor upwards facing the sky. Similarly, sometimes the plug must be uppermost with the handles tipped onto the ground.

You should be careful not to turn your mower such that the carburetor and air filter face downward as the oil in the engine can degrade the carb and filter, which will lead to difficulty in starting your mower.

4. Drain the fuel

You must be careful to notice that the fuel on your tank shouldn’t reach the cap. If you find out that your fuel has reached the cap, then you can simply drain your tank. For draining the cap that has a vent, you can remove the fuel from there.

5. Turn the fuel tap off

You need to turn the fuel tap off and then run the engine until it cuts out if you want your mower to place it on its sides. If your tank is full, you can remove the overflow out of the vent.

The float bowl on engines may not work properly if you don’t keep the engine horizontal. It is known to cause the carburetor to overflow into the engine’s intake manifold.

There may also be a chance to start a fire if the fuel leaks onto the outside of the hot engine. However, if you just want to unclog the deck, you shouldn’t turn off the fuel but always remember to disconnect the plug lead.


Lawnmower not starting can be a big headache. Well, not anymore! With all these tips to store and start your mower, we believe that you can easily fix the problem on your own. All the items you need are the right set of tools, basic skills, and of course, determination!

So, why do you think your mower is not starting? And, did you fix it? Let us know!

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