Undoubtedly, COVID-19 has disrupted life around the world. Consequently, you may find yourself with more time in your hands than you know what to do with. However, that should not worry you, especially if you have tools such as a riding lawnmower that you can use to spruce up your compound.
Have you ever used or operated one, though? Do not panic either since below is a quick guide for 2020 on how to start a riding lawn mower. The key theme is to know the engine well enough to not only start it but also troubleshoot it in case it develops a few problems that do not require calling a trained professional mechanic over to your house.
How to start a riding lawn mower? Starting the Engine
Before you learn how to start a riding lawn mower, you should first make sure that you sit properly. In some cases, the engine would never start unless the machine’s built-in safety system senses that you have sat firmly. Once seated, your next task is to check if you can access all the pedals and levers.
With that out of the way, press the brake pedal, which is near your left foot. However, on some lawnmowers the brake pedal is nothing more than an accessible lever. Push the lever or pedal down gently to engage the brake and then hold it in this position for a bit before engaging the parking brake.
Depending on the type of model that you own, the position of the parking brake might differ. Despite that, the parking brake is a lever or knob is within reach that is to either the left or right of your seat. Pull it up while releasing the brake gently. Having done that, you are now in a prime position to shift the gear to neutral.
You can do that by locating the gearshift lever first. It is often around the steering wheel or just below your seat. Shift it until it points to “N”, which as you might have rightly guessed stands for neutral. Nevertheless, remember that you might have to hold the brake down while shifting the gears with some mowers.
Next, the throttle has to be set to the choke position. For this, you would have to start by finding the throttle lever, which is often on the left of the seat. You will find them easily because of the picture of either a turtle or rabbit displayed thereon. Move the lever until it engages the choke.
In this regard, it is worth mentioning that no two lawnmowers are the same. Nevertheless, this task typically involves positioning the lever right between the slow and fast settings. Alternatively, you would achieve the same result by pulling the lever up fast until it reaches a circle with a diagonal line that cuts right across.
Are you wondering if that is all you should do to learn how to start a riding lawn mower? In that case, you have to realize that you are only half-way through the task. Next is to insert the key into the ignition. You will find the ignition switch right on the dashboard. In some cases, it could be near the seat.
After inserting the key, turn it clockwise. As you do that, the engine will start coming to life. Hold the key in this position for around 15 seconds until the engine coughs to life. While doing that, do not forget to push the throttle to the fast position. You would need to release the choke first before pushing the lever up to a faster setting. Start driving!
Troubleshooting Mower Issues That May Occur
Now that you have learned how to start a riding lawn mower, the next stage is to equip yourself with troubleshooting skills. For the most part, the problems you have to deal with revolve around the oil. Because of this, you would have to know how to change old fuel. Start by checking the fuel gauge, if your mower has one. If not, a quick glance at the tank would suffice.
The tank is located at two positions. First, it could be right under your seat. Secondly, it might be located upfront. Check if it is 75 percent (or 3/4) full of fresh gas. Ascertain that it is not leaking too. Do not run with the same fuel beyond a month.
The one pointer you should remind yourself at all times is to check the oil level as repeatedly as possible. Lawnmowers have their oil valves located just near the engine making them easy to find. Remove the dipstick attached to the tank’s cap to check for oil. Do not hesitate to replace the oil if it looks black.
While at it, do not forget to replace the oil filter; that is, if your lawnmower has one. Twist the filter clockwise to remove the old one. Depending on how tight it is, you might need to use an oil filter wrench. Rub it with engine oil before placing it back and tightening things up with the wrench.
Check the following if the mower won’t start:
- Dirty air filter
- Failure of the fuel to get to the engine
- A disconnected, dirty, or loose spark plug
If it appears to be struggling to cut grass, the culprits could be any of the following:
- Build-up of debris and clippings
- Bent, loose, or dull mower blade
For a mower that loses power right in the middle of mowing, the things to check for include:
- Dirty air filter
- Dirty spark plug
- Build-up of debris and clippings
Our Final Thoughts
Lastly, remember to check the spark plug. Where appropriate, install a new solenoid too while confirming if the battery needs replacing as well. Do not forget to clean the air filter and clear the carburetor out together with the fuel filter. Remember this, you have to learn to start and troubleshoot the lawnmower.
The mower would never start if you are not seating firmly, as the built-in safety mechanism has the wherewithal to confirm that something is wrong before allowing you to drive off and start mowing. With this quick guideline, you should have little difficulty learning how to start a riding lawn mower.