How to Adjust a Briggs & Stratton Governor

Briggs & Stratton are a manufacturer of small engines typically used in garden equipment, such as lawnmowers, snow blowers and garden tillers. Because these engines are on the smaller side, it's important that they don't work at a speed above their capacity. But they also need to generate enough power to actually work. In order for a Briggs & Stratton product to work safely and efficiently, the engine should be running at its optimum speed in spite of changes in terrain or other problematic conditions. A governor is what makes this possible.

Snowblower blowing snow
credit: WoodysPhotos/iStock/GettyImages
How to Adjust a Briggs & Stratton Governor

What Is a Briggs & Stratton Governor?

A governor is a device within an engine that allows it to consistently run at its optimum power. The governor adjusts to changes in terrain, responding by opening or closing the throttle to allow for more or less engine power. Not only does the governor make the engine safer, but it also protects the engine, meaning your Briggs & Stratton product will work better for longer.

A well-working governor is the only way to get the best out of your garden equipment. But sometimes, a governor can become ill-adjusted and need to be fixed. There are two ways you can tell when your governor needs adjustment and one simple way to fix it.

How Will You Know When Your Governor Needs Adjustment?

There are two main ways you can tell that your Briggs & Stratton governor may need to be adjusted. The first is if your engine is consistently running too fast or too slow. The second is if your engine surges or slows dramatically for no apparent reason. The main reason a governor could require adjustment is simply through use over time.

If you suspect your governor does need adjustment, you can inspect it manually. Your machinery must be unplugged while doing this.

First, check that the governor spring is attached at both ends and can move freely. You can check this by pulling the throttle lever gently while the machine is disconnected. If the spring has become detached from the governor or the throttle but is still in good condition, it can be reattached. If your spring is damaged or stretched, it will need to be replaced.

How to Adjust Your Briggs & Stratton Governor

If your spring seems to be well-attached and in good condition, yet your governor is not working properly, check the arm of your governor. First, loosen the arm until it is moving freely. Next, open the throttle to full capacity while making a note of which direction the arm moves in when the throttle moves through it.

Once the throttle is fully opened, move the governor shaft in the same direction the governor arm traveled. Hold the shaft in its new position and tighten the nut at the base of the arm. Then, release the throttle and check if it can move freely.

You can then reconnect your engine to power in order to test your newly adjusted governor.