My Lawn Mower is Not Getting Gas to Spark Plug [5 Fixes that Work]
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It is frustrating when your lawn mower won’t start. I’ve seen this problem even with new gas-powered mowers. After extensive diagnosis and experience, I’ve found the most common cause is that the lawn mower is not getting gas to the spark plug. But that’s not all.
When your lawn mower won’t start, chances are it is not getting gas to the spark plug. Common causes include a dirty air filter, spark plug, and carburetor. To fix these issues, replace the fuel filter, clean the carburetor and spark plug, and replace the fuel if it is old as illustrated below.
What causes my lawn mower not to pump gas to spark plugs?
Gas-powered lawn mowers need gas to be pumped into the carburetor in order to start. Should anything obstruct the flow of gasoline, the engine won’t start. And even if it does, it’s likely to fail after a couple of minutes.
Here’s what causes mowers to not efficiently pump gas to the spark plug and ignite:
A dirty air filter
The air filter on a carburetor cleans the incoming air of dust and other debris that could cause damage to engine parts. Over time, the air filter could get clogged up, thus affecting the flow of oxygen to the engine.
When the engine does not get enough oxygen that helps with fuel combustion when the spark plug ignites your lawn mower won’t start.
Manual choke left turned on
The choke is a shaft-mounted valve within the air intake chamber of the carburetor. Its function is to block the airflow for improved suction and consequently facilitate a more efficient engine start-up.
While some chokes are automatic, some mower motors have manual chokes that the user has to turn on and off by themselves.
If you leave a manual choke on several minutes after starting the mower, the carburetor will likely flood up, leading to starting failures the next time you try to start up your lawn mower.
Clogged filters in the fuel pump
powerful mowers, such as ride-along lawn mowers, make use of fuel pumps to pump gas into the engine – instead of the gravity-feeding system that’s common in most push-along mowers.
If the filters are clogged, your lawn mower won’t start because gas will not reach the spark plug.
Stuck open valves
If the intake and exhaust valves don’t seal fully due to sticking, build-up of debris or normal wear and tear, compression is hampered, consequently creating ignition problems.
If the intake valve becomes stuck, this affects the efficiency of the flow of the air/fuel mixture to the cylinder, resulting in a lawn mower that won’t start.
Signs your lawn mower is not getting gas
There are several issues that could be causing your lawn mower not to run, including electric faults within the spark plugs as well as the causes I’ve listed above.
For instance- if your spark plug is wet, you definitely can’t get your motor to start. However- more often than not- the issue is usually caused by the cutting off of efficient fuel supply to the spark plugs.
Here are a few signs your lawn mower is not getting gas to the spark plug and won’t start due to the inability to pump gas to the engine:
Lawn mower won’t start completely
If you totally can’t get your mower to start, there could be issues with the efficiency of fuel flow to the engine.
- This is usually caused by debris collecting and blocking crucial components of the fuel intake system such as the throttle, primer button, carburetor bowl, and the fuel filter.
- A malfunctioned fuel pump.
Such clogging hampers the efficient flow of gas to the spark plugs.
Riding lawn mower starts then stops running
If your fuel tank is full, but your mower still comes to a stop after just a few seconds, it’s highly likely that the hole atop the tank’s cap has been blocked by dust and debris.
This cuts off the back pressure needed to push fuel out of the tank and into the carburetor – by cutting off air supply into the tank.
No gasoline odor
If you can’t get your mower to start and at the same time can’t sense any gas smell coming from the motor, your lawnmower has definitely run out of fuel.
Most mower brands typically include a dipstick attached to the screw cap. A dipstick is used to check the fuel level within the gas tank. It will typically have low and high-level markers.
- Dip the dipstick into the gas tank to check the gasoline level.
- If the fuel mark is below the low-level mark, it means you’re running out of gasoline and that’s why your mower won’t start.
In this case, refill the gas tank then try starting the mower again to see if the problem will have been fixed.
See also my guide on the type of gas to use with your lawn mower
How to Fix a Lawn Mower that’s Not Getting Gas
Some of these problems can occur when in the middle of mowing. A dirty spark plug, for instance, may cause your lawn mower not to have enough power for mowing. Fuel pump and filter problems too can make it not to start.
Here are simple DIY fixes you can use to correct the problem and start the lawn mower again.
Use fresh or new fuel
I found that for Craftsman mowers, old fuel tends to clog up the carburetors and cause difficulty in the flow of gasoline. As such, you should always ensure that the gasoline in your tank is as fresh as necessary.
- A good way of keeping stored oil fresher for longer is to use a gas stabilization product.
- Use a high-quality fuel stabilizer for small engines such as the Star Tron Enzyme Fuel Treatment.
This solution will prevent fuel degradation by reducing oxidation. Your fuel will stay clean and fresh for longer.
Replace the fuel filter
If you own a Husqvarna mower and it won’t start, the most likely cause would be a clogged fuel filter. This usually happens if you’ve left fuel in your mower for long.
The best fix is to drain off the old fuel from the gas tank and replacing the filter.
Clean the carburetor
For MTD mowers, the most common cause of fuel not getting to the spark plug is a clogged-up carburetor due to the buildup of debris.
To fix the problem, clean up the carburetor by taking out the fuel bowl and spraying the carburetor with some carburetor cleaner.
A clean carburetor will get your MTD lawn mower motor running again.
Here’s a video on how to clean the carburetor on your lawn mower:
Corded Electric Lawn Mower Reviews
A corded electric lawn mower is simply the cheapest, easiest, quietest—and most earth-friendly—option for power mowing your lawn. Yeah, it has a cord, and we’ll talk about that, but first the good news.
Corded Mowers Are Your Least Expensive Electric Lawn Mower Option
Let’s start with price. Corded electric mower range from 85-250, much less than cordless mowers. A corded mower is going to cost substantially less than a similar mower that’s cordless, meaning it has the best value for what you’re getting.
For example, Greenworks’ 20-inch corded mower sells for around 150. Greenworks’ 20-inch cordless mower sells for around 350. The cordless lawn mower provides a little more power, but 200 worth? No chance.
You can buy a corded electric lawn mower now for around 85—probably less than a week of service from a landscaping company. But—wait!—that’s not all.
With a corded electric mower you’ll never have to worry about the additional costs in oil and gas you’d have to absorb with a gas mower. You don’t have to worry about buying a new battery, which you’ll eventually have to do with a cordless mower.
Assuming you don’t do something like try to mow an exposed sprinkler head, your electric mower will require almost no maintenance costs. And if you have solar panels, you won’t even be paying to power the thing!
Corded Mowers Are The Most Environmentally-Friendly Choice
The ease of an electric corded lawn mower is unrivaled: Just plug it in and mow. The big drawback for cordless mower is that you have to worry about charging time. The big drawback for a gas mower is that you have to worry about refilling it with oil and gas.
The ease of an electric corded mower is unrivaled: Just plug it in and mow. No need to worry about the run time of your corded mower. The big drawback for cordless mower is that you have to worry about charging time. The big drawback for a gas mower is that you have to worry about refilling it with oil and gas.
An electric mower is as hassle-free as your toaster.
Your corded electric mower makes very little noise. Sing along with Norah Jones or listen to This American Life while you mow, you’ll be able to hear it all unlike with a noisy gas mower. Mow at night, when your neighbors (or family) object to noise.
The most important reason to buy a corded mower: The Earth will thank you.
Gas mowers spew carbon into the air—the air right around your home, which is the air you should want to keep the cleanest. And of course the gas and oil you’re using had to be sucked out of the Earth, probably through environmentally catastrophic methods like fracking.
Cordless electric mowers don’t use gas. But for power, they rely on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. These batteries are a massive improvement over lead-acid batteries, both in power and in safety. But they aren’t perfect.
Lithium-ion batteries, according to a 2013 EPA report, use materials like nickel and cobalt that must be mined from the earth just like oil. Lithium-ion batteries can also leak or explode when exposed to extreme temperatures. Do you want to have to worry about bringing your batteries inside during a heat wave or cold snap?
And, let’s consider how important these batteries truly are. You’re basically paying to package up a bunch of electricity in your garage, then take that electricity out to your yard.
The electricity never goes more than a few dozen feet from your house! Does that really justify the need for a battery full of materials that deplete the environment and could explode if it gets too hot?
For the environmental safety of both your home and your planet, corded electric mowers are the best choice.
The Cord Doesn’t Have To Be A Dealkiller
Now let’s talk about that cord. Cords are frickin’ annoying, there’s no way around that. But in the case of mowing your lawn, they don’t really have to be.
All you need to do is figure out a pattern for mowing your lawn so that you won’t run over the cord. Once you get this pattern down, you just mow that way every time. The cord becomes a non-issue.
Compare this to your other corded wheeled appliance, your vacuum cleaner. The interior of your home has so many more obstacles than your yard—and those obstacles are constantly changing, whether it’s because you redecorated, or just started using a new part of the floor for storage.
The layout of your yard, whether you have a small yard or a big one, is much more constant, and much more open. You have to clear it of obstacles, of course, but you aren’t going to have to be winding around couches and chairs the way you do when you vacuum.
Extension Cords For Corded Electric Lawn Mowers
Plotting this course will also help you determine what type of extension cord you’ll need. Because corded mowers use so much power, and range so far from their power source, a lightweight extension cord—like the one you might use to power holiday lights—isn’t going to work. You’ll need to buy a heavy-duty extension cord if you don’t already have one.
Extension cords are rated by how large the wires within are, or their wire gauge. Wire gauge isn’t very intuitive: the lower the number, the thicker the wire, and thus the more power can run through the cord.
Rather than try to figure this out for yourself, check the owner’s manual—even if you buy online, you can typically find it. The manual will tell you what gauge cord you need for that particular mower, based on how far your route takes you from your power source. The better the cord, the more power you’ll get.
Don’t rely on the recommendation on Amazon, sometimes they aren’t right.
Plot Your Mowing Run Before You Buy
You may want to think about plotting out your mowing run before your buy your mower. The duration of the job will depend on the width of the mower’s cutting path. Cutting paths for corded electric mowers range from 14-21 inches.
So a 21″ mower will cut 50% more lawn per pass as a 14″ one. If you break out the measuring tape while you plot your path some basic arithmetic will tell you how many passes you’ll have to make with the mower you’re looking at. The smaller your lawn, the less difference a wide cutting path makes.
Cutting heights and adjustment options vary by mower. Most offer at least six height-adjustment options. Disposal options also vary. For mulching options, Greenworks mowers are your best bet. Most of the other manufacturers, like Black Decker and Sun Joe, only offer rear-bagging as an options on their corded models.
The Greenworks 25022 Lawn Mower, Tested by the Spruce
Sarah Vanbuskirk is a writer specializing in home, writing about home and gardening products for The Spruce. She has over 20 years of freelance writing experience.
Greenworks 12 Amp 20-Inch 3-in-1 Corded Lawn Mower
The GreenWorks 25022 12-Amp, 20-Inch Corded Electric Lawn Mower is a grass-cutting workhorse. It gets the job done quickly and easily and has enough options to handle all your lawn needs.
Greenworks 12 Amp 20-Inch 3-in-1 Corded Lawn Mower
We purchased the Greenworks 25022 Lawn Mower so our reviewer could put it to the test on her lawn. Keep reading for our full product review.
Growing up, my parents disliked grass-cutting so much that they bricked in our yard. So, you could say I was predisposed to avoid (and even dislike) lawn maintenance, and I know I’m not alone. Even shopping for a lawn mower—whether a corded or uncorded, ride-on or push model—can be a chore and not to mention an investment. Electric lawn mowers are more affordable and eco-friendly than their gas counterparts, and they supposedly don’t sacrifice power. Could the Greenworks 25022, a top choice for small- to mid-sized lawns, change my mind about mowing?
Safety: Read the manual
Before you begin, read the provided safety instructions carefully. Children under the age of 14 should not operate this equipment, and bystanders should be at least 50 feet away. Don’t use this mower in the rain or wet conditions, and don’t operate with wet hands. Exercise caution and avoid slopes exceeding 2.5 feet every 10 feet.
Clear the yard of stones, sticks, wires, toys, etc., and make sure you put on the proper attire (no loose clothing or accessories); protective goggles, gloves, and footwear are also advised. To reduce the risk of electric shock, this mower has a polarized plug, which can only be used with a polarized extension cord. Though the mower is double-insulated, the extension cord and receptacle must still be grounded to avoid electric shock.
Ease of Assembly: Simple
The Greenworks 25022 was surprisingly easy to assemble. The directions were clear and, because the product itself is relatively lightweight at 56 pounds, I was able to do it by myself.
All that’s required is aligning the upper and lower handles on either side of the body and securing with the cam locks and wing nuts. Then, I attached the grass catcher bag onto the back before plugging in the long, heavy-duty outdoor extension cord. I made sure to loop the cord through the cord retainer on the handle to keep it from accidentally unplugging while mowing. Setup probably took 15 minutes at most, start to finish, including reading through the instruction booklet.
To start, I pushed the “on” button and squeezed the bail switch bar across the handlebar, pulling it up to meet the top bar, which activates the mower. To turn off you simply release the bail switch.
Design: Sleek and easy to tweak
This Greenworks mower has a streamlined, bright green and black design. It features a 20-inch deck with 7-inch front wheels and 10-inch rear wheels and a powerful 12-amp motor. The lawn mower’s handle is comfortable to hold and folds down with a light squeeze for easy, compact storage.
The height of the handlebar can be adjusted to three different positions by loosening the upper handle knob. To set, simply retighten the knob at the desired handle height. Several members of my family ranging from 5-foot-3 to 5-foot-9 tried out this mower, and it was suitable for each of us.
I appreciated having so many debris removal options and thought it was simple enough to shift settings, say from mulching to bagging, for different parts of the lawn.
I like to keep my grass a bit on the longer side, so this mower’s adjustable grass length feature was a big bonus. The blade can accommodate seven different positions, from 1.5 to 3.75 inches (conveniently noted on the mower’s body), and I found it was simple to adjust by shifting the lever near the right rear wheel.
This Greenworks model’s three-in-one debris removal settings give me three options for grass clippings: mulch (via the mulch plug), side discharge (via the side discharge chute), or rear baggage (via the grass catcher bag).
Performance: A powerhouse
I found this mower easy to use and efficient. It did everything I could want. The 12-amp motor isn’t too loud, and there was no smell as in gas models. Yet, it had enough power to effectively and evenly cut the grass and deal with whatever leaves were left on the lawn.
Years of tethered vacuuming have made navigating with a cord a non-issue for me, but others may not like this about the Greenworks 25022. I found that it helped to follow a set route to save time as well as to reduce the likelihood of the cord getting in the way.
The easy-to-push powerhouse maneuvered across the yard with no difficulty, and I was able to reach the edges and corners of the yard with the 20-inch deck. I worked up a light sweat, but I wasn’t exhausted after I was done.
Years of tethered vacuuming have made navigating with a cord a non-issue for me, but others may not like this about the Greenworks 25022.
I appreciated having so many debris removal options and thought it was simple enough to shift settings, say from mulching to bagging, for different parts of the lawn. (Note that the mower should always be switched off and unplugged when installing or removing the grass catcher bag, the side discharge chute, or the mulch plug.) I didn’t experience any issues with debris spilling in any of the modes.
Emptying the grass catcher bag was easy: It detaches and reattaches easily and can hold all the yard waste from one full mowing session. I dumped it directly into my compost bin.
Ease of Cleaning and Maintenance: Breezy
There’s not much maintenance involved with this mower, beyond regularly clearing leaves, grass, and other debris from the motor. Using a compressed air gun or leaf blower makes this really simple (never, ever use water). I was especially careful to do this before storing the mower so that the cut grass and other debris wouldn’t dry on the blade or in the inner workings of the mower.
You’ll also want to periodically sharpen or replace the lawn mower blades (always while wearing padded leather gloves). When not in use, the lawn mower should be stored indoors in a dry, clean area.
Price: Watch the pricetag
This model retails for an average of about 150, which is a great price for a hard-working electric lawn mower. The majority of comparable electric lawn mowers on the market retail from between around 150 to about 220, which puts this product in the low- to mid-range. Keep in mind, though, that the cost varies quite a bit with different retailers, so it’s wise to shop around.
The warranty applies to material defects occurring during personal use for four years. In case of defect, Greenworks will repair or replace defective parts free of charge during this period. Note that this warranty does not apply for machines used commercially.
Greenworks 25022 Lawn Mower vs. Earthwise 50520 Lawn Mower
Both of these corded electric lawn mowers have similar specifications—they boast a 20-inch deck, a 12-amp motor, and push-button start. Both models run on electricity rather than gas and therefore don’t give off unpleasant fumes. They even offer a similar three-in-one rear bag, side discharge, and mulching system.
Where they differ is in price. They can both be found at a range of prices, but the Earthwise model (view on Amazon) usually costs more. The average for the Earthwise model is around 230, while the average for the Greenworks lawn mower is closer to 170. So, for the money, the Greenworks lawn mower is definitely the better deal.
The Greenworks 25022 Lawn Mower is easy to operate and reasonably priced. It’s an excellent corded electric option that’s compact enough for simple storage but powerful enough to tackle the whole yard with ease.
Where is the spark plug on a lawn mower?
Need to know where is the spark plug on a lawn mower? Learn how to maintain it to keep your machine running reliably.
If you’re wondering “Where is the spark plug on a lawn mower?”, it’s likely your machine has broken and you’ve got an overgrown lawn waiting to be cut. Even worse, maybe it stopped working mid-trim, leaving your grass half-mown.
Repairing your lawn mower isn’t just about getting your garden looking neat and tidy. It’s also a great way to save time and money, because you won’t have to research the best lawn mowers or best riding lawn mowers and splash out on a new model. Mending a damaged machine will also help save a repairable tool from going to waste, which is better for the planet.
Even without a breakdown, experts recommend that you regularly check and clean the spark plug, replacing it each year to ensure your mower always starts reliably – so keep reading to find out how.
What is the spark plug?
The spark plug provides the ignition source for a gas-powered lawn mower engine. It sends an electrical current to the combustion chamber which holds the compressed fuel. This current ignites the fuel, triggering combustion and firing up the engine. If you drive a gasoline vehicle, it will also have a spark plug, as spark plugs are an essential component of a traditional combustion engine. While we recommend seeking help from a mechanic if your car or truck needs a new spark plug, replacing this part on a lawn mower is a relatively easy job you can do at home.
On most of the best lawn mowers (such as walk-behind models), the spark plug is typically located near the front of the engine. Spark plugs are usually concealed behind a rubber cap, which protects the part from dust and debris, including stray grass cuttings. This is connected to a short wire, about a quarter-inch thick. It should be easy to find the spark plug on your mower once you have disconnected this wire, which you can do by hand.
On the best riding mowers, the spark plug is also located near the front of the engine, underneath the hood. You will probably need to unscrew and remove the engine cover to access the spark plug. Once uncovered, you’ll see that the spark plug is near the front of the engine, covered by a cap and connected to a short wire, just like on a push mower.
If you’re unsure, check the owner’s manual to see where is the spark plug on a lawn mower from a specific manufacturer.
Signs of a failing spark plug
Trouble starting the engine. The most common sign of a faulty spark plug is difficulty starting the mower’s engine. If using a push mower, you might find you’re having to pull the starter rope more times to get it going. On a riding mower, you may notice that the engine doesn’t start reliably when you turn the key.
Using more fuel. A faulty spark plug could be the reason you are refilling your lawn mower’s gasoline tank more frequently. If the plug isn’t sparking properly, the fuel won’t burn as fully or as efficiently, which can increase your mower’s fuel consumption. You might also notice an odor of gasoline when using the mower caused by the fuel not fully burning.
Engine cutting out. If the engine cuts out immediately after starting, or runs for a while then stops (leaving you with a half-mowed lawn), the spark plug could be the culprit. You might also notice the engine sputtering or popping.
Visible damage. If you examine the spark plug and spot any signs of damage, it will need replacing.
How to check spark plugs
After locating the spark plug on your mower, you need to remove it to check it. Bryan Clayton, CEO and co-founder of GreenPal, says, “Pull off the wire that goes to the top of the spark plug and use a spark plug wrench to take it out. Then you can look at the tip of it and see if it’s dirty or burnt. If it is, you need to clean it or replace it.”
Other common indicators of wear and tear can include a center electrode with a rounded top (this should be flat), cracks in the porcelain sheath that protects the spark plug, or pitting on the firing electrode. A spark plug that’s in good condition will be a light gray or tan color. If the spark plug is covered in black carbon residue or wet from gasoline, it will need a thorough clean.
How to clean spark plugs
Lawn mower spark plugs are inexpensive to buy, so you might find it’s easier to simply replace a dirty spark plug rather than cleaning it. Spark plugs are also readily available from hardware stores or online retailers, which means you won’t have to search too hard to find a replacement.
However, if you need to use your mower and can’t get to the store or wait for a new spark plug to be delivered, it’s possible to clean the existing spark plug. Perhaps you also want to avoid buying new parts when it’s not entirely necessary, to help reduce waste and save money. Either way, it’s easy to clean spark plugs in a few simple steps;
Detach the spark plug
Remove the spark plug from the mower.
Use rubbing alcohol to cut the grease
Dip the tip of the plug in rubbing alcohol to cut through any oily residue. You can also use a brake cleaner or degreaser.
Clean the spark plug
Scrub the spark plug clean using a wire brush.
Give it a rinse
Rinse with rubbing alcohol or your chosen cleaning product.
Dry it off
Scrub again if required, then dry the spark plug.
Repeat as necessary
If the spark plug is still dirty, repeat the process until clean.
Keep in mind that cleaning the spark plug may not fix it, as the fault may be electrical. If you refit the clean spark plug and the lawn mower engine still won’t start or continues cutting out, you will probably need to replace the spark plug.
How to replace spark plugs
Before replacing your mower’s spark plug, you’ll need to work out which one to buy. Bryan Clayton says, “You need to get a new one that’s the same as your old one. You can write down the code on your old one, check your manual, or take it with you when you go to buy a new one.” As he explains, most spark plugs have a code on the side which makes it simpler to track down the correct replacement. Most manufacturers produce spark plugs that can be used across mower brands, but if you are unsure, consult the owner’s manual.
Whether you have a walk-behind or ride-on mower, fitting a new spark plug should be quick and simple;
Use anti-seize grease
Before inserting the new spark plug, apply a very small amount of anti-seize grease (available from hardware stores). This should ensure the spark plug is easier to remove in the future.
Attach the spark plug
Use your fingers to thread the spark plug into place.
Make sure it’s tight
For a secure fit, tighten the spark plug another half or three-quarters turn using a spark plug wrench.