If your Craftsman mower won’t start, it can be frustrating. Remember that you’re not alone. With so many Craftsman mowers sold, it’s a common problem for many owners. Before getting started, check to make sure the battery is charged and there is gas in the tank. If the mower still won’t start, there are ways to troubleshoot the issue and get back to cutting the lawn.
Whether you own a Craftsman mower or any other model, you’re not alone when it comes to issues starting the engine. It’s one of the most common issues experienced with lawnmowers, especially if you live in an area that experiences a lot of rain and humidity.
When your Craftsman mower won’t start, you have to identify the problem and figure out what is causing it. Is there a loose spark plug? Did you forget to prime the carburetor? Are you not getting fuel or oil to the proper locations? Once you know what the problem is, you can troubleshoot each source and attempt to correct the problem.
Luckily, there are a number of troubleshooting steps you can take to get your mower started again and avoid costly repairs by a professional.
Craftsman Mower Won’t Start – Troubleshoot And Diagnosis
When you’re having problems with your riding lawn mower, it can be confusing about what to do next. Actually, it’s really simple — all you need to do is check a few key elements to see if you can figure out the issue yourself and, if not, know where your machine broke down!
Make sure you don’t forget to check two crucial points to maintain your Craftsman lawn mower: gas levels, and stale gas. Gas renders the mower’s internal engine hollow, and its hard plastic shell has no way of absorbing the gas’s fumes. This is a recipe for a dangerous situation. But you can solve this problem easily by siphoning out old gas before filling up with fresh gas.
Be sure to check your gas valve. The gas valve halts the flow of gas to the carburetor, so it’s one of the most important parts to your mower. Make sure that when you’re not using your mower, the gas valve is turned off, or else you might run out of gas while you’re mowing.
Craftsman mowers are designed to give you a long life of good performance, but there’s one thing that can make them less reliable: a low oil level. Oil lubricates the engine, keeps it cool and clean, and prevents hard particles from entering the cylinder walls. By regularly checking the oil, you can protect your engine against issues before they even arise.
If your Craftsman mower engine seems to be running too slowly, try checking the battery. If it’s cranking over normally and you still notice that the engine is turning too slowly, the problem may be that the battery will need to be replaced.
The plug wire on a Craftsman mower can become disconnected from the spark plug. Check this by looking at the front of the engine to make sure that it is seated securely.
Clean your Craftsman mower air filter every 25 hours of use. If it’s blocked, you’ll have a hard time starting your mower.
The model of your mower should come with a lockout or safety sensors, which are designed to prevent the engine from starting unless specific steps are followed.
It’s pretty straightforward, but a manual choke should be set to full when starting up a cold engine. The choke serves to regulate air intake and allow the engine to start on the first try. It can also be used in situations when you want the engine to idle higher or lower than normal — for example, to warm up the engine in colder environments or run at a high idle when you’re mowing down thick grass.
1. Replace the Mower Filter
In order to start your mower, the engine needs a constant supply of air; this is why you have an air filter. The filter protects the engine from small dust particles and debris that might otherwise clog it, but it can’t do its job when it’s broken. So if the air filter on your mower is damaged or missing, the engine could be compromised the next time you go to start it.
To prevent this, you should replace your paper filters every 300 hours of operation, or clean or replace your foam filters when they become dirty.
To remove the filter, you must first be sure that your lawnmower is either off or in park. To tell whether it’s on or off, simply check the position of the engine — if it’s off, there will be a lack of noise and movement, while if it is on, both the engine and blade will produce sounds.
The cleaning process depends on the size of your mower, but the general rule is to avoid getting gas on yourself. First, turn off the engine and set the parking brake — on riding mowers, this is a lever that you can pull up with your foot. Then, turn off the fuse or unplug the spark plug wire from its plug. With both riding and walking mower, you should now be able to lift out the filter.
You can buy replacement paper filters for a Craftsman mower
For a clean Craftsman mower, try washing the foam filter in soap and water to loosen grime. Allow it to dry completely, then add motor oil after wiping the filter clean. Place the filter back between the engine and air intake, and turn on the mower for a smooth and quiet run.
2. Tighten or Replace the Spark Plug
Whether your Craftsman mower is running rough or not starting at all, there’s a good chance the issue is with the spark plug. Spark plugs are responsible for creating sparks that ignite the fuel used by engines. When they’re dirty or faulty, they can cause your mower to be difficult to start or cause it to overheat and stall.
When the spark plug builds up residue from poor maintenance or not being cleaned, it can cause your machine to malfunction. If it’s loosened, not connected, or coated in water or carbon residue, your mower could be experiencing issues that you might not be able to detect through visual inspection.
The spark plug is usually located near the front of the mower and can be identified by its black, cylindrical shape. Use a socket wrench to unscrew and detach the spark plug from the engine.
Craftsman mower engines need a few things to run correctly, such as oil, air filters and spark plugs. The spark plug is responsible for igniting the fuel mixture in the cylinder; therefore, it’s an essential component to the engine. Ignition problems can be corrected or prevented by changing or inspecting the spark plug.
By inspecting the spark plug, you will be able to prevent the mower from running poorly and save money on repair fees.
ook at the Craftsman mower spark plug to see if it’s damaged or worn out. If there are cracks in the porcelain insulator, if the electrodes are gone or carbon deposits have built up on them, replace the spark plug immediately. You can test the spark plug with a tester to see if it’s working properly — when you crank up the mower, you should observe a strong spark between the tester’s terminals.
If there is no spark from the Craftsman mower spark plug, it has to be replaced. Perhaps the plug is defective and not providing the necessary charge to make a spark, or the gap between electrodes is too wide. At any rate, the old spark plug needs to be removed and a new one installed.
3. Replace the Control Cable
Despite its name, the dead man’s control is one of the most important safety features on your mower. It’s meant to prevent horrific accidents by making sure there’s always someone on the mower deck holding onto the device — which means there’s always someone to stop the engine in case of an emergency. Unfortunately, the mechanism can also keep your mower from starting at all if you don’t hold onto it while you try to start the engine.
Before working on a malfunctioning mower, you should check for the missing safety bar of a dead man’s control. The safety bar holds down the engine’s throttle lever and prevents it from moving to the highest position when you aren’t holding it down with your foot. Without this safety mechanism, the engine will shut off at the highest position and stall if you let your foot off its pedal.
The bar, which is located in the handle, should be properly connected to the ignition coil of the engine. If it has come off, you may need to get a replacement from your local hardware store.
A broken Craftsman mower control cable is an easy fix. You need to find the serial number of your mower, then replace the old cable with a new one. Luckily, they always seem to put the manufacturing date and serial number on the underside of the chassis.
4. Check The Fuel Cap
Mower won’t start? Take a look at the fuel cap. The gas cap is connected to the manual pull cord ignition system on many models of Craftsman push mowers, so if it’s loose or damaged, it can affect the performance of your mower.
For most mowers, the fuel cap is located to the rear of the mower, near the engine. It screws in and out for easy access, and can sometimes come loose during operation. This might look like a minor issue, but it could cause a chain reaction of other problems down the line.
Fuel-powered lawn equipment uses the vents on its fuel cap to prevent dangerous vacuum pressure buildup. If the vented fuel cap is blocked, the fumes inside the tank don’t dissipate normally. This can lead to a vacuum that prevents fuel from transitioning from the tank to the engine, causing your mower to stall.
If this is the problem, you can solve it by removing the gas cap to break the vacuum. Then, reattach the cap. The mower should start right up. If you’re having trouble starting your lawnmower and it turns off after a few minutes, you’ll need to replace your gas cap.
5. Inspect The Mowing Deck
When the deck slides across an uneven or soggy lawn, it can accumulate clippings that can clog the mower’s deck. This causes the clippings to build up, slowing the mower and eventually causing it to seize up completely.
If the starter rope seems stuck or is difficult to pull, then it’s probably due to clippings caught in the deck. To troubleshoot this issue, tip the mower onto its side. If there are large clumps of cut grass between the blade and deck, use a trowel or broom handle to scrape these clippings free.
6. Fill Up the Tank
Old gas. It’s a simple answer to a not-so-simple problem, yet many people don’t consider it when their mower won’t start. Even after a few weeks of summer fun, most people will leave their gas in the mower for next year, not thinking about how this could affect the pull cord and spark plug.
There are a couple of things you can try if your lawnmower isn’t starting. First, ensure that the gas tank is full. If it’s empty, obviously the mower won’t start. But also be sure to check for small amounts of water in the gas—even a tiny bit left over from washing the mower can cause serious problems during operation.
It’s important to regularly drain old gas, particularly during the winter months, when moisture and dirt can collect in the tank.
Make sure the fuel tank is full. If the engine won’t start, run the engine for up to 10 minutes using an automotive fuel stabilizer in the fuel tank. This helps dissolve any water and alcohol in the gas tank, and ensures that all of your fuel lines are clean and free from obstructions.
If your Craftsman mower has a fuel filter, you need to know how to check it. First, remove the fuel line at the carburetor; if gas runs out freely, there is no problem with the fuel filter. If there is no flow, the shutoff valve may be closed. Then remove the fuel line that’s ahead of the fuel filter inlet and see if gas runs out freely.
Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and follow them to the letter when you replace your lawn mower filter and reassemble your mower.
7. Clogged Carburetor
If the Craftsman mower won’t start, check the carburetor. It could be clogged with thick fuel that may have evaporated over time. To fix this problem, clean or replace the carburetor.
When you leave gas in your mower, it can get too thick to run through the carburetor. When this happens, the engine will stall and refuse to start.
If you experience problems with the carburetor of your Craftsman mower, you can try cleaning or repairing it. However, if neither approach is effective, replacing the entire carburetor is your best option.
Craftsman M110 Won’t Start
Each year the spark plug should be replaced because it burns out after so much use. This usually happens due to frequent starting and stopping or poor fuel quality. A worn-out or damaged spark plug can cause your lawnmower to not run efficiently, which would hinder any lawn maintenance task.
If a Craftsman M110 mower has been used in conditions that are too wet, too dry or otherwise extreme, the spark plug can get ruined — causing the engine to run poorly and negatively impacting the performance of the machine. To keep your mower running in prime condition, always inspect the spark plug before every use.
If you’re experiencing a problem with your Craftsman M110 mower, check the spark plug. First, remove the plug from the socket, then use a tester to ensure that it’s working properly. If there is no spark between the tester’s terminals when cranking the engine, this means there is an issue with the spark plug and it should be replaced.
Craftsman M230 Won’t Start
The most common reason is due to dirty gas, or old gas from storage. As a result, it’s important to drain and replace the gas every fall. This prevents build-up that can cause damage to your engine down the road. It’s best to clean the carburetor entirely — you’ll find an assortment of cleaners and parts at your local hardware store.