To start a lawn mower that has been sitting for years, you should inspect the mower and its fluid-containing parts for rust, corrosion, tears, and leaks. As long as there aren’t any visible signs of damage you can check the tire pressure, charge the battery and start the mower.
The rest of the article will cover what to do if your lawn mower won’t start after sitting for several years, how to inspect it for issues, and some common fixes to get your older lawn mower up and running.
What Should I Do If My Lawn Mower That Has Been Sitting Doesn’t Start?
Chances are if your lawn mower has been sitting for a long time, it won’t function properly right away. In order to diagnose the problem, you will need to complete a detailed inspection and use a process of elimination to determine the issue.
Which Tools Do I Need to Inspect My Lawn Mower?
While the tools you need will vary by lawn mower type and the issue that you are having, a basic inspection will require:
- Oil dipstick
- Gas container
- Siphon hose
- Tire gauge
How Do I Know If My Lawn Mower Needs an Oil Change?
If your lawn mower’s oil is black or dirty it will need to be changed, if it appears fresh and is a caramel color, it should be okay. You can find detailed steps on how to change your lawn mower’s oil here.
How Can I Tell If My Lawn Mower’s Spark Plugs Need to be Changed?
A common reason that lawn mowers won’t start is due to a damaged or old spark plug. If you remove the spark plug and see visible corrosion or damage, then you will need to replace it.
How Do I Locate the Spark Plug on My Lawn Mower?
Your lawn mower’s spark plug should be relatively easy to locate as it has a large, black, rubber wire attached to it. If you are unable to locate it, find a copy of your lawn mower’s user manual here to help assist you.
How to Tell If My Lawn Mower’s Gas is Bad?
Like oil, gas goes bad if it sits in a lawn mower for an extended period of time. After approximately three to six months the gas mixture will break down and it will no longer be usable.
How Do I Replace the Gas in My Lawn Mower’s Tank?
If you need to replace the gas in your lawn mower, you can do so by sucking the gas out of the tank using a siphon hose and emptying it into an empty gas can or bucket. Once the tank is completely empty, you are able to refill it with new gas.
Can My Lawn Mower’s Air Filter Get Dirty When It’s Not in Use?
Your lawn mower’s air filter can still get dirty when not in use, especially if you are storing it outside or in a place with a lot of dust and debris. Check your lawn mower’s air filter for visible signs of dirt or oil stains and replace it if necessary.
Do I Need to Clean My Lawn Mower’s Carburetor?
While cars have moved on for engine systems that use carburetors, most ride-on lawn mowers still use carburetors. If you stored your lawn mower with gas left in the tank, your carburetor likely has some residue from evaporated gas in it.
How Do I Clean My Lawn Mower’s Carburetor?
In order to clean the carburetor, you will need to remove it from the lawn mower by removing the bolts that are holding it in place. You should then soak it in a cleaning solution or vinegar, wait for it to dry, and reattach it.
What Should I Do If a Part of My Lawn Mower Has Rust?
If you have left your lawn mower sitting for a long time or live in a humid area your lawn mower may have rusted while not in use. It’s dangerous to use a lawn mower with rusted parts and you should therefore get them replaced prior to using the lawn mower again.
Do I Need to Replace My Lawn Mowers Tires?
Your lawn mower’s tires will slowly decompress over time, especially when it’s left sitting. As long as you reinflate your tires prior to using them again and they are able to hold the air, then you should not need to replace your lawn mower’s tires.
How Should I Properly Store My Lawn Mower?
In order to prevent your lawn mower from being damaged while in storage, you should always keep it in a dry place that is protected from the elements. It is best to cover the mower with a tarp for additional protection when storing it for an extended period of time.
Should I Remove the Gas from My Lawn Mower Prior to Storing It for the Winter?
Prior to storing your lawn mower for the winter season, you should either treat or drain the gas. This can be accomplished by either siphoning the gas from the tank or treating the gas with a fuel stabilizer.
Should I Drain the Oil from My Lawn Mower Before Storing it for the Winter?
Your lawn mower will work better in the spring if you drain the oil from your mower prior to storing it for the winter. If you store the oil in a jug and keep it indoors, you should be able to reuse the oil come spring.
Do I Need to Clean My Lawn Mower Prior to Storing it for the Winter?
It is essential to clean your lawn mower prior to storing it for the winter to avoid rust and corrosion. Pay particular attention to the mower’s blades and ensure that it dries completely before storing it – remember, it’s a whole lot easier to prevent damage than it is to have to fix it afterwards.
Hi, I’m John Stephens, chief editor and writer for Totalgardener.com. I’ve been gardening and raising animals for over 15 years starting with a small backyard plot in Northern Virginia where I grew corn, potatoes, squash, and using a high mulch technique called the Ruth Stout Method. I also raised ducks and small mammals for meat and eggs in a movable pen similar to the ones used by Joel Salatin. I later moved to Colorado where I experimented with growing greens using aquaponics inside. I eventually added a microgreens setup and home sprouting operation. I’m excited to share everything I’ve learned plus more from the other local gardening and animal raising experts I know.