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Lawn Mower Engine Stops After a Few Seconds

The lawn mower small engine often has a separate model number. Use the small engine model number for a complete list of symptoms and parts. Watch our model # lookup video for help finding the model number.

The 6 most common part(s) or condition(s) which contribute to the symptom Lawn mower engine stops after a few seconds are listed below. Check or test each item and watch any available videos. If you are still unable to solve the problem you may need to do additional research and troubleshooting. Remember, with our 365 Days. Period.® return policy you can return any part for any reason. So, go ahead and buy it to try it. No other parts retailer offers this unconditional return policy.


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For the symptom you selected, these are the most common parts or causes, ordered by the likelihood of fixing the symptom.

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Carburetor

If the lawn mower engine stops after a few seconds, the carburetor might be clogged or have bad fuel in the float bowl. If old fuel was left in the lawn mower for a long time some of the volatile ingredients may have evaporated, leaving a thicker, stickier product that is more like varnish or shellac. This sticky fuel can clog up the small jets and ports in the carburetor and it can be difficult to burn allowing the engine to only run for a few seconds. The only solution is to drain the old fuel from the float bowl and thoroughly clean the carburetor with carburetor cleaner. If that isn't effective, replace the entire carburetor.

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Carburetor Kit

If the engine stops after a few seconds it may not be getting enough fuel. The engine needs air, fuel and spark to maintain operation. The carburetor has two inputs, fuel from the gas tank and air through the air filter. The carburetor is designed to mix the air and fuel in a consistent ratio so that the engine can run continuously. If the carburetor is not getting enough air or fuel, or if the fuel is blocked inside the carburetor the engine stops after a few seconds. Rebuild the carburetor with this carburetor kit.

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Gas Cap

If the lawn mower engine stops after a few seconds and then stops running, the gas cap might be defective. All gas caps have a small vent to allow air back into the tank when the engine is running - otherwise as gas is drawn from the tank it would create a vacuum. The vent can be difficult to see and there are many different types of vent. If loosening the gas cap a little allows the engine to stay running, replace the gas cap. It's sometimes possible to clean the vent, but on most newer engines the vent cannot be cleaned, it should be replaced.

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Gas Cap with Gauge

If the lawn mower engine stops after a few seconds and then stops running, the gas cap with gauge might be defective. All gas caps have a small vent to allow air back into the tank when the engine is running - otherwise as gas is drawn from the tank it would create a vacuum. The vent can be difficult to see and there are many different types of vent. If loosening the gas cap a little allows the engine to stay running, replace the gas cap. It's sometimes possible to clean the vent, but on most newer engines the vent cannot be cleaned, it has to be replaced.

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Other Causes and Conditions

Old or Bad Gasoline

If the lawn mower stops after a few seconds, the carburetor might be clogged or have old or bad fuel in the float bowl. If old fuel was left in the lawn mower for a long time some of the volatile ingredients may have evaporated, leaving a thicker, stickier product that is more like varnish or shellac. This old or bad fuel can clog up the small jets and ports in the carburetor and it can be difficult to burn allowing the engine to only run for a few seconds. The only solution is to drain the old or bad fuel from the float bowl and thoroughly clean the carburetor with carburetor cleaner. If that isn't effective, replace the entire carburetor.

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Spark Plug

If the lawn mower engine stops after a few seconds the spark plug might be defective. All small engines have an ignition coil. The coil is the device that provides spark for the spark plug(s). If the coil is bad there won't be spark to the plug(s). The coil is essentially a small, induction generator. It is mounted next to the flywheel. The flywheel has one or more strong, embedded magnets. As the flywheel spins, the magnet(s) zip past the induction coil, this action of a magnet passing past a coil induces a voltage. Depending on the design of the coil and the strength of the magnets, a stronger or weaker spark can be created and delivered to the spark plug(s). Each time the flywheel spins around a spark is generated. The best way to test a spark plug is to use a spark plug tester. The spark plug should have a strong, visible spark between the electrodes when the engine is cranking. If it doesn't, replace it.

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