How to Adjust the Choke on a Craftsman Lawn Mower

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Craftsman is the brand name used by Sears stores on its lawn and garden equipment. Craftsman mowers are powered by a gasoline engine that contains a choke in the carburetor. A choke controls the fuel-to-air ratio by closing or opening a flap in the carburetor. A cold engine requires a richer mixture to stay running. A choke accomplishes this by closing off the flap to reduce the amount of air entering the carburetor. Some models have a manually adjustable choke that requires operator-input to keep the engine running smoothly until it is warmed up.

  • Pull the choke adjustment knob on the dashboard out completely if the engine is cold.

  • Start the engine.

  • Push the choke knob in partially until the engine is running smoothly.

  • Continue to push the choke adjustment knob in slowly as the engine is warming up.

  • Push the choke adjustment knob fully in when the engine has warmed up.

Tips & Warnings

  • Pull the choke adjustment knob partially out if the engine begins to run roughly during engine warm-up. Allow the engine to smooth out. Push the choke adjustment knob in slowly as the engine is warming up.
  • Allow the engine to fully warm up before using to mower. The extra load the engine takes on when mowing may cause the engine to stall if it has not been fully warmed up. Pull out the choke adjustment knob and restart the engine if it stalls when attempting to mow.
  • Cold weather starts -- when the temperature is at 50 degrees Fahrenheit and below -- may require leaving the choke adjustment knob out for several minutes, depending on the temperature. Push the adjustment knob in using longer increments than you would when starting the mower in warmer weather. Keep the engine running smoothly by pushing in or pulling out the choke lever as needed until it is completely warmed up. Push the choke adjustment knob all the way in once the engine is warmed-up and running smoothly.
  • Do not pull the choke adjustment knob out if the engine is warm. This may flood the engine and you may have to push the knob in and wait a period of time before you can attempt to start the engine again.

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