Lawn Mower FAQ: 13 Things to Know

What are the best lawn mowers for a small yard? Should I get a push or an electric one? What is the lifespan of my new lawnmower?

These are just some of the questions that people often have about their newly purchased, used, or inherited, and sometimes even donated, piece of equipment. We’ll answer these questions in this blog post so you can make educated decisions on what’s best for your needs.

Is it Ok to Tip a Lawn Mower on Its Side?

Assuming that you have to tip a lawnmower on its side to do some kind of work, you’ll need to first disconnect the power. Remove the battery terminals or the spark plug adapter, depending on whether you’re working with gas or electric equipment.

Only consider tipping the machine over when you’re sure that the entire thing is powered down.

Can a Lawn Mower Kill You? How Many Lawnmowers Have Killed People?

Yes, a lawnmower can kill you, especially if you’re somehow able to cut yourself with one and end up bleeding. Eventually, you can die of a loss of blood.

Information collected from the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System proves that around 90 Americans die every single year of lawn mower-related injuries.

Another 35,000 people on average suffer from non-lethal injuries, according to that report.

How Many Times Should You Prime a Lawn Mower?

Two or three times is usually enough, depending on the specific type of engine that you’re working with. Small push mowers will usually tell you the preferred number of times.

Prime them any more than this and you’ll risk flooding the engine, which can keep them from starting.

How Long Do Riding Mowers Last?

Commercial-grade ones that you’d normally find in a garage usually only last for 7-10 years. If you take care not to allow corrosion to waste any of the metal parts away, then they could last for 15-20.

Consumable parts like belts and spark plugs need to be replaced regularly to ensure longevity.

How Do I Clean the Underside of My Lawn Mower?

You’ll first need to disconnect any of the attached power leads before trying the following:

  1. Double-check to make sure you’ve unhooked everything
  2. Tip the lawnmower over if it’s a hand-type
  3. Use a jack to lift it, if you’re working with a riding mower
  4. Brush off any hanging debris
  5. Use a wire brush to remove caked-on grass or dirt
  6. Let the blades dry if they’re at all wet
  7. Take the wire brush a second time and gently remove anything else that remains
  8. Use your garden hose to spray off any stubborn debris if the blades haven’t come clean yet
  9. Dry the underside and give it ample time to fully dry out if you have to do this
  10. Upright the lawnmower
  11. Carefully reconnect the power once you’re sure it’s safe to restart the machine

How Do You Service a Lawn Mower Carburetor?

While a carburetor might be a bit bigger job than most other things you’ll run into with a lawnmower, you can start by disconnecting the power and then follow these tips:

  1. Locate the carburetor – the position will be different depending on your model, but it should be visibly attached to the head of the engine
  2. Remove the cover cap
  3. Take off any leads going directly into the carburetor
  4. Unscrew the housing from your lawnmower
  5. Carefully remove it so you can work on it independent from the rest of the machine
  6. Brush debris off carefully without pushing any of the small pieces inside
  7. Using canned air or carb cleaner, clean out the main fuel jet
  8. Clean out any other debris that may have collected in the fuel jets
  9. Let the carburetor dry
  10. Connect the fuel line back to the carburetor and secure it with a spring clamp
  11. Reassemble the rest of your lawnmower and start it once it’s safe to do so

Can Lawnmower Explode?

While it’s not exactly common, a gas-powered lawnmower can explode if an open flame or a spark gets anywhere near the fuel line. Make sure that the tank is sealed.

Never operate a lawnmower with a leak, because that increases the risk that something like this could happen.

How Far Can a Lawn Mower Throw a Rock?

Rocks spinning out of a lawnmower can get thrown upwards of 50-60 feet, especially if they’re smaller ones with smooth edges. That’s why you don’t want to ever mow the lawn when there are people downwind from where you’re working.

Is Tall Grass Dangerous?

Tallgrass by itself isn’t dangerous, but it can prove to be an inviting breeding ground for ticks and other parasites. Some towns have ordinances on lawn length for that reason.

How Long Does it Take for a Lawn Mower to Unflood?

Most engines should sort themselves out in 5-10 minutes. You might even find that your lawnmower unfloods faster if you don’t constantly try to restart it.

Remove the spark plug connector for a bit and then give it another try.

Why Does My Lawnmower Start Then Die?

Battery-powered lawnmowers might have enough juice to get going but not enough to sustain the blades. Gas-powered ones might have a loose fuel connection or could be almost out of gas.

There’s also a chance that the blades are stopping themselves because you’re hitting something hard.

How Long Do Spark Plugs Last in a Lawn Mower?

Spark plugs are generally rated for 25-30 hours of usage. This usually translates into a year or two of mowing, but it could be longer if you don’t use your mower much.

What Do I Do With an Old Lawn Mower?

All of the metallic parts could be taken to a scrapyard for recycling. In many cases, you can also clean it up and sell it because there’s often a lot of usages left in older machines.

Some people might also want to purchase second-hand parts from you so that they can restore their own machines.