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Lawn Mower Starts Then Stalls

The lawn mowersmall 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 part(s) or condition(s) listed below for the symptom Lawn mower starts then stalls are ordered from most likely to least likely to occur. Check or test each item, starting with the items at the top of the page.

Most Frequent Causes for Lawn mower starts then stalls

For the most accurate results, enter your model number.


Cause 1Carburetor

The carburetor might be clogged. A clogged carburetor is most commonly caused by leaving fuel in the lawn mower for a long period of time. Over time, some of the ingredients in the fuel may evaporate, leaving behind a thicker, stickier substance. This sticky fuel can clog up the carburetor and cause the engine to stall. If the carburetor is clogged, try cleaning it with carburetor cleaner. If cleaning the carburetor isn’t effective, rebuild or replace the entire carburetor.

Parts
Cause 2Carburetor Repair Kit

The carburetor might be clogged. A clogged carburetor is most commonly caused by leaving fuel in the lawn mower for a long period of time. Over time, some of the ingredients in the fuel may evaporate, leaving behind a thicker, stickier substance. This sticky fuel can clog up the carburetor and cause the engine to stall. If the carburetor is clogged, try cleaning it with carburetor cleaner. If cleaning the carburetor isn’t effective, rebuild or replace the entire carburetor.

Parts
Cause 3Fuel Cap

As fuel is consumed by the engine, the level in the fuel tank lowers. To make up for this, the fuel cap uses a small vent to allow air to enter the tank. If the fuel cap vent is clogged, air won’t be able to enter the tank and a vacuum or “vapor lock” will occur. This stops the flow of fuel to the carburetor causing the engine to stall. To determine if the fuel cap vent is clogged, try slightly loosening the cap and then starting the engine. If loosening the fuel cap allows the engine to stay running it is likely clogged and will need to be replaced.

Parts
Cause 4Old or Bad Gasoline

The carburetor might be clogged. A clogged carburetor is most commonly caused by leaving fuel in the lawn mower for a long period of time. Over time, some of the ingredients in the fuel may evaporate, leaving behind a thicker, stickier substance. This sticky fuel can clog up the carburetor and cause the engine to stall. If the carburetor is clogged, try cleaning it with carburetor cleaner. If cleaning the carburetor isn’t effective, rebuild or replace the entire carburetor.

Cause 5Spark Plug

Inspect the spark plug for signs of wear or damage. If the porcelain insulator is cracked, an electrode is burned away or damaged, or there is heavy carbon buildup at the electrode, replace the spark plug. To determine if the spark plug is defective, use a spark plug tester. You should see a strong spark between the tester’s terminals when the engine is cranking. If there is no spark, this indicates that the spark plug is defective and should be replaced.

Parts