What To Do When Lawn Mower Starts Then Dies? | 5 Steps Detailed Guide

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Lawn mowers are an excellent asset for those who love to maintain their garden with clean-cut grass. However, the situation where your lawn mower starts then dies situation could get frustrating. There could be multiple reasons for your lawn mower not working correctly. Right from the carbonator being dirty to the broken multi-functioning plug, many reasons can cause the lawn mower to malfunction.

Let us understand the most common causes of a faulty lawn mower. If your lawn mower does not stay running, then these could be the probable reasons.

The Faulty Spark Plug

Okay, so let us start from the most common causes of why your lawn mower starts then dies after a minute. The lawn mower, but most of the electricity run items, can cause trouble if the spark plug is faulty.

How Do I Fix It

To ensure that the spark plug is in perfect working condition, start with cleaning it yourself. To clean the spark plug, you will need to remove the plug first because it is almost impossible to clean the spark plug while still attached to the lawn mower. While most lawn mowers come with a standard single spark plug, there could be more than one in specific models. In that case, you will need to clean both the spark plugs.

To take out the spark plug, detach the black wire and remove the cap on the spark plug’s end. Now take a wrench and try removing the spark plug by turning it anti-clockwise. After removing the spark plug, clean the dirt, corrosion, debris, and grime. Now, spray the brake cleaner on the plug and leave it for a few minutes. Gently scrub the spark plug with the wire brush without touching the tip. Repeat the process if necessary to bring back the spark plugs in perfect condition.

Other methods to clean the spark plug area with the help of a blow torch, or you can buy the devices specifically available in the market for cleaning the spark plugs.

What I Do

You should change your lawn mower’s spark plug once a year or maximum after two years of use. There are many indications to know that it is time to change the spark plug. If your lawn mower is having a hard start or your notice more than average fuel consumption, then it is time to change the spark plug. Before purchasing the new spark plug, make sure that you know the model and specifications.

Faulty Ignition Coil

In the lawn mower, the ignition coil transfers the current to the spark plug that is necessary for igniting the fuel in the combustion chamber. Since the entire process is also dependent on the process of flywheel magnets spinning over the inductors, the engine would not start in case of time lag.

How Do I fix it

You need to start with a simple test to know if the ignition coil is faulty by performing a spark test. Take a spark tester and connect it up with the spark plug boot and the spark plug. You can learn if the ignition coil is transferring any current to the spark plug through this process. If you see the spark plug not receiving the current, it is time to repair the ignition coil or replace it.

Start the process of removing the ignition coil by removing the spark plug and the starter recoil assembly. You will need to keep the magnetic parts at bay by spinning the flywheel. After that, take off the screws from both sides of the ignition coil. Lift the ignition coil with the utmost care and disconnect the kill switch wire.

What I Do

You can replace the faulty ignition coil with the new one by using the mounting screws. While doing so, place the shim between the ignition armature and the flywheel. It would be best to turn the flywheel enough to ensure that the magnets are directly adjacent to the armature. You will realize that on loosening up the screw, the magnets will pull the ignition armature against the flywheel and shim. After that, tighten the mounting screws and turn the flywheel just enough to free up the shim. Reconnect the stop switch, and you are done.

Air Filter

Yet another factor that might be the reason your lawn mower starts then dies after a few minutes could be a faulty air filter. The air before it reaches the engine should be clean of dirt and debris. If the air filter in your lawn mower is defective, it could end up breaking the carburetor and other engine components.

The good news is that air filters are one of the most comfortable fittings in lawn mowers that can be cleaned easily. Most of the lawn mowers will have fiber element filters, pleated paper filter, or foam filters.

How Do I Fix it

Cleaning different types of air filters in a lawn mower is a relatively more straightforward task at hand. Before starting with the cleaning, make sure to remove the plug wire. While you can clean the foam filter, it is better to replace the paper filter with the new air filter. Reconnect the spark plug wire, and you are done.

What I Do

It is advised to replace the air filter and clean it or replace it after every 100 hours of use. There are various air filters available online and offline that you can use for your land mower. One of the best ones is air filters from DMYDHY available on Amazon for just $9.59.

However, not one air filter can be generalized for different types of land mowers. You can select the perfect one for your land mower and replace the old one with it.

Carburetor Issues

Issues in carburetors are also one of the common problems in lawn mowers. Over time the carburetor gets corroded and causing troubles in the smooth functioning of the mower. Now, there are so many reasons for carburetor going bad apart from the rust. Even the excessive oil in the reservoir can cause the carburetor to act funny. Then the damaged parts, such as internal seals, head gaskets, or cylinders.

How Do I Fix It

You can clean the lawn mower carburetor on your own at home if the replacement is not required. Before starting the cleaning process, make sure that the carburetor has cooled off. You will also need to remove a few things, such as the fuel valve, engine cover, float pin, and so on. Also, check all the connections from the throttle and the choke plates of the carburetor.

Once you have checked and removed the parts, it is time to get a carburetor cleaner and remove the carb’s debris and deposits. These deposits notoriously clog the passage of air and fuel, therefore, downgrading the performance.

What I Do

Picking up the right cleaner for the carburetor makes all the difference. There is a range of carburetor cleaners available in the market. While the cleaner available in the market will cost you less, a standard cleaning service will cost you somewhere around $200-$300.

However, if you are not well aware of the fittings, parts, and connections in the carburetor, take professional cleaners’ service for the first time.

Excessive Oil in The Reservoir

Too much of anything is wrong, and the same is true for excessive oil in the mower’s reservoir. There are many side-effects of excessive oil in the mower. If you see the white fumes when running your lawn mower, then the chances are that the oil inside is more than required. Too much oil can even damage the mower’s motor and the other parts as the oil will start spilling over these parts. Leakage of excessive oil also makes the lawn mower a misfit for the garage. If the oil keeps spilling on the floor, it might very well cause a fire hazard.

How To Fix It

Once you have noticed excessive oil in the land mower with the white fumes coming out, it is time to remove the oil. To do that, remove the oil tube and release the oil from the reservoir. Make sure you are not spilling the oil all over the place. Before doing it yourself, also access if there is too much oil in the crankcase because then you will need a professional to help you out.

What I Do

While taking out the excessive oil from the reservoir, ensure that the carburetor is facing upwards. Generally, this will prevent any excess oil from going into the combustion chamber. Once the excessive oil is removed, rerun the Lawn mower and check if the white fumes have stopped.

To avoid putting too much oil in the first place, start with reading the user manual. The directions in the manual do tell how much oil should be added to the carburetor. If you are looking to change your mower, then pick the electric mower instead of the oil mower.

The Lawn Mower Starts Then Dies After A Few Seconds

Above, we discussed some of the common issues that occur with the Lawn Mowers more frequently. To some extent, these issues can also be fixed by you at home and bring back the mower in working condition. There could be a more severe problem with your land mower where you might even need to change the machine and get a new one.

Here are a few signs to know when you should change the Land mower.

Broken Engine

Let us agree that it would be more comfortable and economical to get a new Land mower rather than fixing the engine issues. Even if you replace the blown engine with the new motor, it will bill you around $600. A Land mower will also cost around the same or even less. There are so many varieties of Land mowers available in the market. You can pick the lighter and electric version of the land mowers. There are different types of Land mowers available such as riding mowers, walk-behind mowers, and so on to pick from.

Crankshaft Is Not Working

The crankshaft can get broken if the lawn mower’s blade hits a rock or any other hard object. While even after the crankshaft damage, the lawn mower can start, it will stop abruptly. The reason could be a broken or bent blade, and repairing could be costly. It would be more sensible to change the lawn mower rather than blowing up a hole in your pocket trying to repair the blades.

Knocking Sound

The knocking sound in an engine could be very well because of a bent crankshaft or a bent rod. The worse part will be if there is no clear reasoning behind the funny sound your Land mower is giving. Like in the top two issues, you would need to change the lawn mower because it is a more feasible option than getting it changed rather than repairing it. However, before you have decided on replacing your old cranky lawn mower with the brand-new shiny piece, make sure that the less amount of oil does not cause the knocking sound.

Exhaust Is Fuming

Smoke coming out of the exhaust is not a good sign. The excessive fume out the exhaust could be repairable by a head gasket, which does not cause much. However, if the rings are damaged, it would be more economical to replace the Land mower with the new one.

No More Covered By Warranty

Be it a high-end brand or a mediocre one, the land mowers are covered under warranty. The extend of warranty could be a couple of years to up to 5 years or even beyond that, depending on the brands. However, once the warranty period is over and then there is some major fault in the machine, you should also consider replacing it with the new one. Over time there will be normal wear and tear in the engine and other parts. Weigh out the options and see what would be more economical to buy a new Land mower or get the old one repaired.

Maintenance Tips To Prevent Mower From Breaking

Regular Cleaning Of The Deck

Due to continuous use, the land mower’s bottom could be clogged with debris and grass. Over time that could muddle with the land mower’s performance, and the deck could even start corroding. Very few are aware that the deck can even be a super spreader of disease in the plants in your lawn if it remains without cleaning for long. Regular cleaning and maintenance can unclog the deck, and therefore, your lawn mower functions smoothly.

For effective cleaning, start with disconnecting the spark plug wire and empty the gas tank. You will need the garden hose to wash the deck of the lawn mower thoroughly. After that, with the help of a brush and soapy water, remove the debris and the dirt. Let the mower dry by putting it onto the side. Once the mower is dry, coat it with a thin layer of vegetable oil, keeping the debris from sticking frequently.

Air Filter And Oil

The frequency at which the air filter gets dirty also depends on the area you live in. For instance, a land mower in a dusty area will be prone to dust clogging compared to other areas. Often it is advised that changing the air filter and the oil of the mower every spring will extend the durability of the lawn mower and perform the work more efficiently.


An essential part of the entire lawn mowing mechanism, blades should be in perfect condition for the grass’s trimming. The inefficient or blunt blade can bring down the land mower’s efficiency even with the rest of the parts working just fine. You can get the blades sharpened from any hardware store with the right equipment to sharpen the blades. Make sure that before taking out the blade for sharpening it, remove the spark plug wire to ensure safety. After that, remove the blade with the help of a wrench.

Professional Servicing

While we have been talking about most of the services and maintenance tips that you perform on your own, you should get a professional tune-up of the Land mower once in a while. Also, for those who are using the mowers for the first time, a professional tune-up is suggested.

A typical professional service will perform the necessary steps such as draining the old gas and oil, replacing the spark plug, etc. Apart from that, these professional stores also perform an essential diagnosis to ensure that the mower works correctly. You can expect the service ranging anywhere between $50 and $75.

Lawn Mower Starts Then Dies White Smoke – Tips For your Next Buy

Size and Drive system of your Lawn – Depending on how big your lawn is, you should decide on the Lawn mower. For instance, the push mowers work just fine on flat lawns. On the other hand, if your property has a slope or uphill, then a self-propelled mower will be better suited. A self-propelled mower will also come with certain useful features such as variable speed, rear-wheel-drive options, and so on—the more challenging the terrain, the more features you need for effective mowing.


There are different types of engines in different lawn mowers that you can choose from. Depending on the intensity of the task, you would need to select the engine power. For instance, for tall grass, you have land mowers like the one from Husqvarna with a 24 HP Kawasaki engine with a fabricated 11-gauge steel cutting deck.

If you are on to buying a lawn mower for the first time, then the choices could be overwhelming. There are different types of engines, such as side-valve engines, direct overhead valves, etc. The type of engine also plays a detrimental role in the overall performance of the Lawn mower.

Size of the Deck

If you want big blades, then the deck size will also be more prominent. The average size of the deck ranges between 20” to 70”. For the home purpose, mostly the users go for a width between 30” and 60”. The size of the deck has its significance in respect to the time taken for mowing the lawn. However, the width of the deck also depends on the terrain. For instance, if your lawn is flat, more sweeping decks can propel smoothly, giving the best results. On a slope or uneven terrain, you would need something sleeker.


Last but not least, you need to decide whether you want a lawn mower compatible with different attachments. There are various attachments available in the market, such as rakes, fertilizer spreaders, lawn rollers, etc. Depending on the extent of service that you are planning, you can select the lawn mower.

Summing Up

Lawn mowers are a great help for those who want their terrane in perfect condition. However, calling for professional services could be costly. Therefore, a lawn mower in good condition and do the job and save you dollars. Regular maintenance and care of the lawn mower ensure the machine’s longevity and a perfectly mowed lawn delivered to you.

For the best performance, regular maintenance is essential for lawn mowers. For the first-timers, you can always ask for professional help when fixing your lawn mower. However, if you are interested in DIY fixing, our discussion could be a good starting point. Moreover, you can also find a host of DIY videos to help you out.

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