How to Start a Gas Lawn Mower

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Starting a gas lawn mower is a simple process that almost anyone can do. Although there are many different types of gas lawn mowers on the market today, they generally all require the same technique to start. It is important to bear in mind that the most crucial part of starting a lawn mower is safety. After that, starting a gas-powered, push lawn mower is a snap.

Things You'll Need

  • Gasoline
  • Lawn mower oil
  • Determine if you have enough oil in your lawn mower. Do this by finding the oil cap, which is generally located somewhere on the top of the mower near the engine fan. Remove the cap and make sure the oil level is adequate by making sure the oil level reaches the middle of the marker on the oil gauge, which is usually attached to the underside of the oil cap.

  • Determine if you have enough gasoline in your lawn mower. You will need a full tank of gas to cut most lawns. Check the gasoline levels by locating the gas cap, usually near the back or side of the lawn mower, and removing it. If the gasoline level appears to be near the top, then you will have enough gas. If it is not, then you may need to refill the tank.

  • Prime the engine by finding the primer bulb, which is a small nub of flexible plastic that is in the shape of a half-sphere. It has a diameter approximately equal to a nickel and is usually red, black or clear. It is generally located on the top of the motor, often near the oil cap.

  • Press the primer bulb anywhere between three to eight times. This will force gasoline into the lines of the engine, and you will feel the bulb give more resistance with each pump as a result.

  • Depress the choke starter, which is a lever or trigger near the handle of the lawn mower. On some mowers, the "choke" setting may be indicated by a picture of a turtle. The starter is to be in this position when the motor's engine is "cold."

  • Grip the handle of the mower firmly with your non-dominate hand. Locate the pull cord, which is usually near the back of the mower near the rear wheels or on the top of the mower near the fan. Grab the handle of the cord with your dominate hand and pull back forcefully.

  • Repeat this motion several times. You will feel a strong amount of resistance to the cord, but continue to work through it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never put any part of your body near the blades of the mower, regardless of whether the motor is running or not. Those blades can cause serious injury. Allow the motor to cool before you touch it if the mower has been running and you are attempting to re-start the motor. Do not bend your back when pulling the pull cord, as this can cause injury. Rather, pull the cord by bending at your elbow. If you need extra torque, assume a squatting position and extend your legs simultaneously as you pull with your arm.

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  • Photo Credit Bobby Ayers
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