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The lawnmower is a gardening tool that even the least green fingered among us have to grapple with at some point. This means that even if you’re not that big on gardening you will have to deal with the lawnmower at some point, and even if you’re a passionate gardener, it’s possible you get on better with plants than machines. So when the lawnmower doesn’t do what it’s supposed to it’s easy to panic. However, by keeping calm and following these simple steps you will be cutting grass in no time.

Step 1: Make Sure the Starter Rope Works

Before you can do anything with your lawnmower you need to get iit started, and to get it started you need to pull the starter rope. If you’ve fallen at this first, simplest hurdle there are a few things you can do to fix it.

First, check that the engine flywheel brake isn’t engaged. The flywheel break is the bar you hold down on the hand that stop the engine when it’s released. Make sure that bar is all the way down before you pull the starter rope.

You end up with similar problem if the mower blade is dragging in the grass or has become bunged up with clogging grass clippings. To make sure that isn’t the case get your mower over to the patio, turn it off and unplug it, pull out any gunk that has become caught up in it and then get it upright and try again.

Step 2: Your Mower Won't Start

So the starter rope is pulling as normal, but when you pull it, nothing happens. For some reason the mower just won’t start.  Start with the basics, check you’ve filled the fuel tank if it’s a petrol powered mower, check you’ve plugged it in if it’s electric. Sometimes even having your mower filled up with old fuel can mean it won’t start and you’ll need to drain and refill it.

Once you’re sure you’re fuelled up, check to see if the spark plug is disconnected, loose or just dirty. Clean or replace the air filter. It’s also worth tapping the side of the carburettor to make sure fuel is getting from the tank to the engine.

Step 3: Your Mower Stops Suddenly

So you’ve got your mower running smoothly, you’ve started mowing and then suddenly, out of nowhere, it’ll stop. This can be caused by a number of things. If you’re cutting tall grass you can get your mower running smoothly again just by raising the height of the blade. Cleaning or replacing the spark plug or air filter can also help, as can checking the underside of your mower for blockages and debris.

Step 4: Your Mower Starts Smoking

There’s few things more alarming than working a piece of machinery that suddenly has smoke coming out of it. A smoking piece of machinery with sharp spinning blades doubly so. However, this isn’t as scary as it first looks, so don’t panic. It could just be that your oil chamber is over filled, or that some oil has leaked into the lawnmower’s exhaust muffler. Usually all the smoke means is that this excess oil is burning off while the engine’s hot. However, if you’re getting lighter coloured smoke, or you’ve got a mower that’s smoking and you’re having trouble keeping it running, you should bring a professional in to look at it or consider getting a replacement.

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