How to Start a Lawn Mower After it Sat a Long Time

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Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver

  • Clean rag

  • 5W-30 or SAE30 motor oil


If the mower still does not start, replace the spark plug and filter.

As the weather begins to warm up, your lawn comes out of hibernation. Grass begins to grow again, and soon enough it is time to cut it for the first time of the season. Starting a lawn mower after it sat a long time might take several attempts. There are a couple of things you should check before starting the mower to help to ease the process.

Step 1

Place the mower on a level portion of your yard. Turn the fuel tank cap counterclockwise with your fingers and remove it from the tank. Fill the fuel tank with gas and replace the cap.

Step 2

Turn the oil fill/dipstick cap counterclockwise and pull it out of the engine. The oil fill cap is on the side of the engine and usually has two raised pins on each side. If the cap is difficult to turn, slide a screwdriver between the raised pins and use the screwdriver as a handle to turn the cap.

Step 3

Wipe the dipstick attached to the bottom of the cap with a clean rag, if your mower uses a dipstick. Some mowers have a notch on the inside of the fill hole to indicate the oil level. Insert the dipstick back into the fill hole and back out again. The indicator on the stick will indicate the oil level.

Step 4

Fill the mower with 5W-30 or SAE30 motor oil up to the fill mark. Place the cap back onto the fill hole and turn it clockwise to secure.

Step 5

Find the primer bulb on the side of the engine near the carburetor. Press and release the bulb with your finger three times. You will see fuel in the bulb. This pushes fuel to the carburetor.

Step 6

Move the throttle lever on your mower handle to the "Fast" position. Pull on the starter rope three times. If your starter rope is on the side of the engine rather than the mower handle, step on the top of the mower deck with one foot when pulling the rope.

Step 7

Press and release the primer bulb three more times, if the mower does not start. It usually takes up to three times to get a mower started that has been sitting over the winter.

Step 8

Pull the throttle lever down to the "Slow" position once the mower starts. Allow the engine to warm up for 5 minutes before mowing. This allows the oil to fully circulate through the engine.


Kenneth Crawford

Kenneth Crawford is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience. His work has appeared in both print and online publications, including "The American Chronicle." Crawford holds an associate degree in business administration from Commonwealth College.