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Small Engine Hard to Start

The 3 most common part(s) or condition(s) which contribute to the symptom Small engine hard to start 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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Spark Plug

If the small engine is hard to start 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 power won't get to the spark 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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Carburetor

If the small engine is hard to start it might be getting too much fuel or not enough fuel. In either case start with the carburetor. If the carburetor is clogged with varnish deposits from old fuel, or if the choke isn't closing properly the small engine is hard to start. Try draining all of the old fuel from the carburetor and gas tank. Use fresh fuel with a stabilizer. If that isn't effective it may be easier to replace the whole carburetor.

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Gas Cap

If the small engine is hard to start, the gas cap might be defective. All gas caps have a small vent to allow air back into the tank when the small 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, the cap has to be replaced.

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