Things You'll Need
Socket wrench set
Spark plug socket
Phillips and straight screwdrivers of many sizes
Towel or rag
While a rag or towel is preferable for cleaning liquids like engine oil, nothing is better than a soft paint brush to get dirt and debris from out around blades and other hard to reach places.
When working with gas-powered Craftsman lawnmowers, it is critical to take the appropriate safety precautions, since gasoline can be flammable and explosive, not to mention deadly. This includes stopping the engine before adding additional gasoline, preferably when the engine is cold to avoid the chances of gas coming in contact with a cylinder and catching on fire. Be sure to always work on a gas engine outside--since gasoline powered engines emit carbon monoxide which can be fatal indoors.
Craftsman manufactures many types of lawn mowers--everything from cut path reel mowers that operate on your own pushing power, to mowers that run on electricity and gasoline. A majority of homeowners and landscape professionals use gasoline operated lawn mowers. Fortunately, the majority of problems with gasoline powered Craftsman lawn mowers have simple and inexpensive solutions. Find out the most common problems for your gasoline powered Craftsman lawn mover, and how to troubleshoot it to determine if and when it is time to get a professional to repair it.
Check to see if there is any grass stuck between the blades if you are unable to pull the cord to start your Craftsman lawn mower's engine.
Measure your tank's oil to make sure that there is enough in the engine if you are able to pull the cord but the engine will either not start, is hard to start, or will not stay started. If you have an electric starter, you will need to also check the battery. If the motor spins but doesn't engage the engine, the overrunning clutch or gear could be broken and you may need to get it professionally repaired.
Prime the engine the correct way--improper priming is a common problem that can result in your engine starting easily but dying after a few seconds. Cold weather, for instance, requires your engine to be primed double of what it requires in warmer weather. Too much priming can flood your engine.
Clean your Craftsman lawnmower's carburetor with a towel or rag if your engine is idling roughly or unevenly. If your carburetor appears clean, you may need to contact a technician to check for air leaks or improper adjustment.
Examine your lawnmower's spark plugs if your engine is hard to start, is running roughly, or quickly dies out. If your spark plugs appear worn or damaged, simply replace them.
Based in Charlotte, N.C., Virginia Franco has more than 15 years experience freelance writing. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, including the education magazine "My School Rocks" and Work.com. Franco has a master's degree in social work with an emphasis in health care from the University of Maryland and a journalism degree from the University of Richmond.