Honda Lawn Mower Self Propelled SlowSolved. Honda walk behind mower

Honda Lawn Mower Self Propelled Slow.Solved!

There’s nothing more frustrating than a slow internet connection, but having to push a slow self-drive mower is a close second – it DRIVES ME CRAZY. So it ends now, today we’re going to fix it, and it will pull as good as the day you bought it.

So what’s the problem with a Honda lawn mower that moves slowly? A slow-moving Honda mower is commonly caused by a slack drive cable. Adjusting the tension will fix it.

Other possible causes include:

Don’t concern yourself with these other possible causes just yet. They are less likely. We’ll get to the most likely cause, adjusting the drive cable tension.

Self Drive Types

The Honda self-propel system is good, but like all mechanical equipment, it needs maintenance. Diagnosing a drive system incorrectly is an expensive mistake. A new Honda transaxle will cost several hundred dollars, so we’ll avoid jumping the gun.

Tests are not difficult, but you’ll need to execute them correctly to avoid burning time or replacing parts needlessly.

Whichever type you have, the cable will be adjustable.

If you need video help, check out “Self drive common faults video.” It walks you through the diagnosing process step by step – Adjusting the drive system, replacing drive belts, wheels, drive pins, and axle drive gears.

Adjusting The Drive Cable

I love working on Honda mowers. The designers are a thoughtful bunch. It’s rare that an engineer ever thinks about the guy fixing them. Anyway, before adjusting the drive cable, we’ll first need to locate it. Honda uses a few different type setups. The HRX uses a bail lever as stop/start control and a speed adjustment lever beside the throttle lever.

The Honda Smart Drive uses a single control on the handlebar, this type of self-drive is a little less difficult to adjust. I have included pictures of each type set up, together with the adjusting procedure.

Disable Mower – For safety, let’s remove the plug wire and turn off the gas. Turn the mower over with the carburetor side facing up, stops gas leaking on the floor.

Adjusting The Honda Smart Drive

The problem is, as you know, likely to be a stretched cable. In other words, the cable is too long. The whole procedure is made simple by the nice people in Japan, and adjusting won’t take more than five minutes.

Drive cables are made up of an outer cable and an inner braided cable. The inner braided cable does all the work and stretches over time. The solution is simple, remove the access cable. Honda’s solution – fit an adjusting screw in the middle of the cable.

The adjuster works by splitting the cable into two, and by adjusting the screw anticlockwise, it pushes the two halves of the drive cable away from each other, taking up the slack on the inner braided cable.

Smart Drive – The Smart Drive self-propel system has an adjuster built into the cable, and it’s located halfway down the left-hand handlebar.

Adjusting – First, open the lock nut. You’ll need two open-ended 10mm or 3/8s, or adjustable wrenches. Screw the long adjusting nut anticlockwise – this takes the slack out of the cable and gives you more drive power.

If you over-adjust it, you’ll find pulling the mower backward difficult. So just back it off until you find the sweet spot. Tighten up the lock nut when you’re done with the adjusting. This keeps it dialed in.

Adjusting The Hrx

The HRX has a self-drive cable adjusting screw mounted on the speed control panel. As you have turned off the gas and pulled the plug wire, it’s safe to turn your mower to the side.

Before adjusting, set the speed to high. The adjusting screw has a lock nut that must be loosened and backed off to allow for the cable slack take-up. When adjusting, pull the cable until the cable slack is gone, run in the lock nut, and tighten.

As with all self-drive mowers, if you over-adjust the cable, it will make reversing the mower difficult. The wheels bind. To fix this, back off the adjuster a touch until the mower is free to reverse.

Adjust – Set speed to high, loosen the lock nut, and pull the cable.

Loosen – You’ll need two 10mm or 3/8 wrenches or adjustable wrenches.

Tighten lock nut – pull out the slack and tighten. Test reverse and readjusts if necessary.

Drive Belt May Be Loose

Lawnmower drive belts have a difficult job, and they work in a hostile location. But they’re pretty tough. It’s not unusual for a drive belt to last years and years. But they do eventually wear, they stretch, and the walls get thinner, which makes them even longer.

A belt that’s too long will slip, and a slipping belt won’t transfer the engine power to the wheels. This is especially noticeable going up hills or in heavy grass. If you have a blade engage control on your Honda, you’ll really notice it as you apply the blade.

A worn belt will often be noisy and can cause vibration. To check the belt, we’ll need to turn the mower over, but before we do, let’s make it safe to work on.

Remove the plug wire and turn the gas off.

Now turn the mower on its side with the air filter cover facing the sky. If you turn it up the other way, gas will leak from the carburetor, and you’ll need to replace the air filter.

Loose – The belt should deflect by no more than 1/2 inch. will cause the belt to slip and result in a slow drive.

The belt may be difficult to see, a cover will likely need to be removed, and old dry grass will cover the transmission and belt, so we’ll need to clear it first. I use shop air to blast it, but a small clean paintbrush works too.

Now that you can see the belt check it for wear. You’ll need an inspection light. Since you have removed the plug wire, it’s safe to turn the blade.

This also turns the belt which allows you to inspect all the way around it. If your model has a blade engage lever, put it on and have a helper hold it or use a clamp. This allows you to turn the belt by turning the blade.

If the belt is in good shape, check the deflection. About 1/2 inch is good. But you don’t need to get caught up in measurements. Just use old-fashioned common sense. If it looks really loose when you squeeze both sides of the belt together without much effort, then it’s loose.

Drive Axle May Be Worn

The drive axle on a mower is simple, really. It should be referred to as a trans-axle, though. By trans-axle, we mean axle and transmission combined. I wrote a more detailed explanation of trans-axles here for those that are interested (internal link).

The axle is connected to and driven by the transmission. These are all one unit, and parts aren’t available, so when they fail, which is pretty rare, you just swap out the whole unit. Check out the Amazon link below for drive system parts delivered to your door.

Trans-axle – Honda transmission and axle combo are known as trans-axle.

Drive Pins – Wear out on older mowers and cause the drive to slip. Drive pins are crucial to the whole trans-axle assembly.

An axle drive pin, as its name suggests, is a pin that transfers power from the axle to the wheel. It’s spring-loaded and, combined with the drive gear, allows the mower wheels to move backways with little resistance when reversing the mower.

The axle pin is under extreme stress as it carries all the torque from the transmission to the wheels. These little guys wear out all the time.

The rear wheels are made from plastic and employ metal gears on the inside. The gear is driven by the axle drive metal gear. They wear out as the mower ages. Check out replacing wheels video here.

And if you need new wheels, check out the Amazon link below.

Transmission May Be Worn

Honda transmissions are tough, yes in my workshop I have replaced a few, but to be fair to Honda, the mowers were old and driven like a hire car. When you’re fixing mowers for as long as I am, you can spot an unloved mower from across the valley.

The transmission as you know is a solid-state unit, no parts are available. If it fails the whole unit gets changed out.

Replacing the tranny isn’t very complex but it will require a selection of wrenches, some C clip pliers, and some patience.

Tranny – Honda transmissions are pretty good and they need to be.

Related Questions

How do you adjust the throttle on a Honda lawn mower? The throttle is controlled by a cable. The cable can be adjusted at the rear of the throttle housing on the handlebars, also on the engine where the cable meets the throttle linkage.

Honda lawn mower rear wheels locked up? If the drive cable is over-adjusted, the rear wheels will lock when pulled backward. Release some tension on the adjuster. It’s located halfway down the left handlebar.

Hey, I’m John, and I’m a Red Seal Qualified Service Technician with over twenty-five years experience.

I’ve worked on all types of mechanical equipment, from cars to grass machinery, and this site is where I share fluff-free hacks, tips, and insider know-how.

And the best part. it’s free!

Honda Stops Making Gas Lawn Mowers

honda, lawn, mower, self, propelled

In early October, Honda announced on the Honda dealer Interactive Network that it will stop making gas lawn mowers by September 2023. Honda will plan to sell its remaining inventory through 2024 until it sells out of stock.

COVID Effect or Something Else?

In March 2020, Honda Power Equipment suspended production at its Swepsonville, North Carolina plant through April 7th of the same year. Honda attributed this temporary shutdown to parts supply issues related to the economic impact of the pandemic.

That plant represents the company’s (and indeed one of the world’s) highest-producing plants. It has enough capacity to produce over 2 million Honda engines per year. At the same time, it also produces 500,000 finished products. That includes Honda lawn mowers, snow throwers, string trimmers, mini-tillers, and some of the best portable generators we’ve ever used.

Over the past 37 years, Honda has invested over 350 million in their North Carolina plant. In fact, 2020 saw the company announcing a 46.4 million expansion.

You might see why, just over two years later, this recent announcement caused a big stir in the industry.

The Statement from Honda Power Equipment

We don’t have a screenshot of the actual statement from Honda Power Equipment. However, the statement seems to originate from Honda Power Sports Products and says the company plans to “discontinue production of lawn mowers at its North Carolina manufacturing facility in September 2023 and move all-terrain vehicle production there from its South Carolina facility.” Apparently, the Timmonsville, South Carolina plant will FOCUS on Honda side-by-side (SxS) production.

“The decision to end lawn mower production is driven by market forces such as stricter environmental regulations, shifting customer preferences, and our FOCUS on growing profitable products in our portfolio. Honda will continue to sell the remainder of its lawn and garden product line and industrial-type power products such as GX engines, generators, and water pumps, and continue to support its service and parts operations in the U.S. market.”

statement on Honda dealer Interactive Network

honda, lawn, mower, self, propelled

What’s Next If Honda Stops Making Gas Lawn Mowers?

We love Honda mowers. When we reviewed the Honda HRC216 commercial lawn mower we thought it performed better than most gas mowers we had tested to-date. With Honda stopping the manufacture of lawn mowers, you can expect others to fill in the gap—provided legislation permits it. You can also bet Honda will shift resources to areas where its manufacturing skills continue to profit the company. ATVs and side-by-sides come to mind as does the production of electric vehicles like the Honda Prologue.

Pro Tool Reviews reached out to Honda Power Equipment for a statement and will update this article if and when we receive a response.

Clint DeBoer

When he’s not playing with the latest power tool, Clint DeBoer enjoys life as a husband, father, and avid reader—especially the Bible. He loves Jesus, has a degree in recording engineering, and has been involved in multimedia and/or online publishing in one form or another since 1992.

Clint’s career has covered nearly the entire realm of audio and video production. After graduating at the top of his class with an Associates Degree in Recording Engineering, he began working for the famed Soundelux studios in 1994, one of the largest post-production companies specializing in audio for feature films television. Working on a myriad of feature films, Clint honed his skills as a dialogue editor, foley editor, and sound designer. Years later, he moved into the expanding area of video editing, where he served as the company’s senior AVID video editor for three years. Working for such clients as Universal Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, Paramount Home Entertainment, NASA, Universal Studios, Planet Hollywood, SEGA, NASCAR, and others, Clint DeBoer dealt extensively with client management as well as film video editing, color correction, and digital video MPEG compression. He also carries several THX certifications (Technician I and II, THX Video), and is ISF Level II Certified. After founding the CD Media, Inc. publishing company in 1996, he went on to help start or grow several successful online publications, including Audioholics (as Editor-in-Chief for 12 years), Audiogurus, and AV Gadgets. In 2008, Clint founded Pro Tool Reviews followed by the landscape and outdoor power equipment-focused OPE Reviews in 2017. He also heads up the Pro Tool Innovation Awards, an annual awards program honoring innovative tools and accessories across the trades. Crediting God and his excellent staff for the success of what is now the largest power tool review publication in the industry, Clint DeBoer hopes to see continued growth for the company as it rapidly expands its reach. Pro Tool Reviews critically reviews hundreds of hand tools, power tools, and accessories each year to help inform users about the best and newest products in the industry. Reaching everyone from the construction industry professional and tradesman to the serious DIYer, Pro Tool Reviews helps tool consumers shop better, work smarter, and stay aware of what tools and products can help put them at the top of their game.

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Lawn Mower Development: Global Expansion for Honda Power Products

Following the development of Honda’s 1953 Type H engine, the company steadily expanded its line of general-purpose engines by launching the Type T and VN models. The field of complete products saw considerable activity also, with market expansion significantly aided by the F150 tiller (released in 1959) and E40 generator (1964), along with several pumps and outboard marine engines.

honda, lawn, mower, self, propelled

The high-quality, high-performance HR21 walk-behind lawn mower, developed in order to expand Honda’s power product market worldwide.

Honda began the full-scale exportation of tiller products to France in 1963 as part of an aggressive strategy to cultivate the market for power products overseas. Yet, despite the recognition of their high quality and superior durability, Honda power products lacked the cost advantage they needed to compete in a price-driven market. As a result, Honda could not yet expand its power product operations globally.

The ME engine (G150/200) introduced in 1977 represented Honda’s effort to develop a new family of powerplants that could maintain the high quality associated with Honda products yet be affordable enough to compete in the global market. Named ME (Million Engine) as an expression of the company’s high sales expectations, the product was given a challenging mission: to help sell one million units and build the foundation on which Honda could establish Power Products as a third major operation.

Worldwide annual sales of power products were around 20 million units during the 1970s, with the so-called “green” market (lawn mowers) accounting for 8.5 million units. Therefore, to any industry player lawn mowers represented a very appealing and potentially profitable market.

Honda’s power-products operations during that period were limited to sales of complete machines in Japan and France. over, the company had few sales bases in the U.S. Therefore, to increase the sales of its power products from less than 300,000 units to over one million, Honda would have to establish a worldwide sales network covering these untapped regions. Accordingly, as the principal category with which to build this vast network, Honda chose the commandingly large market of lawn mowers.

The First Step: Know the Grass

It was the summer of 1975, and Takeo Ogano had recently completed a key phase of an R-research project in which he was developing a new technology for the ME engine. It was then that he was ordered to create a lawn mower. This was a baffling request to Ogano, since Honda. a manufacturer in a country with very little grass to mow. should wish to enter a market filled with dedicated, expert makers of lawn mowers. Despite his confusion, however, Ogano began working on the project. He decided to go back to the basics, that of course being research. His objective was to understand the lawn mower and define what Honda should look for in such a machine.

Ogano was convinced that he would invariably hit a wall if he focused exclusively on the engineering of hardware. He knew he would not come up with a workable product concept without answers to several questions. These he would obtain by understanding the key elements required of a lawn mower.

Ogano began by studying the grass itself, learning about its histories and geographical distributions around the world. over, he studied the engineering aspects of lawn mowers based on models and catalogues from other companies. Still, he was unable to identify the quality he sought; the quality that would connect the machine and the user and thus create product appeal. It was then that Ogano was instructed by Honda RD Director Kiichi Momota to visit the markets, where he could experience local environments and understand the tool’s real-world applications. He immediately left for the U.S. and Europe, hoping to verify with his own eyes the things he could not see on paper. It was February 1976.

honda, lawn, mower, self, propelled

Samples of grass were brought back from various countries (The photographs depict samples taken in France.)

Pulling out Grass to Collect Samples around the World

Ogano toured most of the countries that represented a significant lawn mower market, including England, Germany, France, Switzerland, and the U.S., studying the local manufacturers and retailers as well as maintenance practices. He also visited local trade shows to collect information regarding existing models.

honda, lawn, mower, self, propelled

A drawing used to identify product requirements for a new lawn mower

At each location, Ogano studied the average number of hours the owners would use their machines, factoring that against the average lawn area, user profile and specific style of use. over, he became absorbed in the study of plant characteristics, using samples from each particular region. In suburban Paris and Los Angeles, he pulled up grass in the gardens and cottages of customers introduced by local retailers. and sometimes even grass growing by the roadside. Through these efforts he was able to identify the requirements for Honda’s new lawn mower, incorporating his data and broad new perspective.

honda, lawn, mower, self, propelled

Extensive study was implemented in order to learn about grass, including its history and worldwide geographical distributions.

Ogano immersed himself in research immediately upon his return from the worldwide study tour, building a prototype and conducting several performance tests. Ogano flew to Europe again in June 1977 to see whether his prototype machine would prove functional in the actual market, and to observe how it was received by local users. The series of local-adaptability verifications he conducted in various locations helped Ogano gain much of the knowledge he would need to complete the product.

In Europe, other manufacturers’ models were studied in order to gather critical information.

Honda Brand Expectations: A Renewal of Commitment

What most impressed Ogano during his travels through Europe and the U.S. was the strong recognition of the Honda brand. Whenever he and the local office staff entered a retail store, they would be welcomed by the store personnel, who were excited about having visitors from Honda. He was even introduced to lawn mower users by personnel at Honda motorcycle specialty stores, which had nothing to do with lawn mower sales.

These experiences left Ogano thoroughly convinced that he would never do anything to tarnish Honda’s brilliant image among the consuming public; an image that was built through years of success in motorcycles and cars. He was determined to develop a lawn mower that could serve faithfully for ten, or even twenty years.

Unlike motorcycles and automobiles, which are sold at specialty stores and dealerships, lawn mowers are commonly sold in the U.S. and Europe in the gardening departments of general hardware stores, where products from several manufacturers are displayed. Many of these stores give priority to price, providing no after-sales service.

However, in order to give lawn mower users the level of satisfaction they would receive from a Honda motorcycle or automobile, it was desirable that the machines be sold at specialty stores with sufficient resources to provide quality after-sales service. Ogano therefore believed that Honda could maintain the high-quality image of its power products only by building and selling lawn mowers through a network of specialty stores capable of providing an equal measure of service. These would be the kinds of stores selling products that were not simply inexpensive but durable enough to withstand the rigors of extended use. From this idea, Ogano gradually came to a powerful realization.

The Makeshift Backyard: Encounters with Challenging Problems

Ogano, knowing that Honda had never before developed a lawn mower, began to feel pressure from within the company and outside. Among the influences were several flawed propositions and critical Комментарии и мнения владельцев concerning the possible drawbacks. Therefore, Ogano had to work on his drawing in order to prove that each of these difficult problems had been resolved. For example, in response to a group of people who said the machine should have a seat so that the user could mow more comfortably, he attached an office chair to a prototype machine and demonstrated how its lack of stability would compromise safety. It was, after all, a lawn mower equipped with large blades.

honda, lawn, mower, self, propelled

As a solution to the limited capacity of the bag attachment, which would of course quickly fill with mowed grass, Ogano was instructed to add a function allowing the machine to store more grass by burning or drying the cut grass using heat from the muffler. To prove that idea wrong, he explained that grass is more than 90 percent water and presented the results of a calculation showing the amount of energy required simply to evaporate the water.

One particular opinion held that progress in biotechnology would soon create lawns having very limited growth, making lawn mowers obsolete. To counter the opinion, Ogano planted a lawn in a small space in his backyard in order to observe its growth. As the seasons progressed, the grass began to grow rapidly. As he mowed his lawn, he experienced a sense of satisfaction. a pleasantly refreshing feeling. that he was communing with nature. He was convinced the need for lawn mowers would never diminish as long as people continued to experience the joys they could not get from maintenance-free biolawns. Through the experience he not only found a convincing counter-argument but gained considerable confidence in the product he was developing.

A user testing the prototype in his own yard

“To address various opinions and demonstrate the validity of our product development,” Ogano recalled, “I made many field trips and studied relevant subjects so that I could convince them with total confidence. These efforts eventually led to the final result.”

It was nearly the end of 1975, some time after Ogano had begun studying the machine’s design, that he was told by Mr. Honda, then the company president, that resin should be used for the housing. Ogano rejected such an idea. “In order to start a lawn mower,” he explained, “the owner will often place his foot on the housing to prevent the machine from being lifted as he cranks the motor. That’s why using resin for the housing would be dangerous. If it were dented due to pressure, it might contact the blades beneath. So, even though it would be cheaper, resin shouldn’t be used for reasons of safety. I just can’t accept that suggestion.”

Improvements were added to the prototype through repeated local-adaptability verifications conducted in several countries. (The photograph shows a test conducted in France.)

Sixteen years later, in 1991, the U.S. corporation GE Plastics developed a resin having a level of strength equivalent to aluminum. With that, Honda became first in the lawn mower industry to employ resin in the manufacture of parts.

“When that happened,” Ogano recalled, “I was impressed once again by the visionary thinking of Mr. Honda”

The basic structure’s overall design thus having been completed, Ogano turned to the various functions his machine would need in order to outperform the competition. He was convinced that his new lawn mower would succeed in the market if it offered solutions to the problems that manufacturers in America and Europe had failed to address. Therefore, Ogano chose to design the lawnmower as a high-class machine having several key features:

[1] Quiet operation, allowing the user to mow without disturbing the neighbors [2] Safety embodying the concept of active safety [3] Easy operation so that even a woman could easily handle it

The process of trial and error was used to test various ideas and ensure that Ogano’s goals would be met. For instance, a structure having the muffler tucked under the deck was examined in order to reduce engine noise. That idea was discarded, though, when it was found that trapped heat would kill the grass directly beneath the mower if the machine was allowed to run in a stationary position. Additionally, many hours were spent designing a mechanism to protect the user’s legs against debris thrown up by the rotating blades. In order to guide the cut grass more smoothly into the bag, ways to improve the machine’s vacuum efficiency were examined.

Safety was a primary concern, of course, so the machine was furnished with the world’s first BBC (Blade Brake Clutch) mechanism. The system would automatically stop the blade rotation within three seconds if the user released his or her hands from the handlebar, meaning that the Honda’s lawn mower could offer a degree of safety that no other manufacturer had even considered possible. In fact, the BBC mechanism played a role in the U.S. Government’s enactment of a relevant CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) regulatory safety standard. This technology gave Honda a dramatic lead over its competitors in the area of safety.

How To Start A Honda Lawn Mower – 6 Easy steps!

Starting your Honda is simple. They build very reliable machines. But successful starting requires you to follow a set of procedures.

Start a Honda lawn mower in six steps:

Two standard features of your Honda mower will dictate how you start it, Roto-Stop and choke type. All modern Honda mowers are auto choke, which means you don’t need to fiddle around with any levers to start the engine, but if your mower is a few years old, it may have a manual choke lever.

Your Honda mower may have auto or manual choke, and it may or may not have Roto-stop. Whichever type you have, your Honda should start on the first or second pull, assuming, of course, everything’s in order. That said, let’s now identify which Honda you have, and that will allow you to follow the correct start procedure.

As it’s newer, we’ll cover the Honda with Roto-stop starting procedure first.

Starting Honda With Roto-stop

Roto-Stop is a feature on some Honda mowers that allow the operator to control the engagement of the blades. It’s a fantastic feature that allows you to run the engine without running the blade. It’s particularly useful when moving across paved areas. Honda mowers that have Roto-Stop, won’t have a bail lever, and so you won’t need to pull and hold a bail lever to start the mower.

You can easily recognize if your Honda has Roto-Stop. It has a big yellow button at the blade control bail lever.

Honda With Roto-Stop – The yellow button on the bail lever will be obvious, yours may not look the same as this, but a yellow button indicates you have a Roto-stop feature.

You don’t need to pull and hold any of these bail levers to start the engine. These levers control the self-drive and the engagement of the cutting blades.

If this is your model, congrats, this is the easiest Honda mower to start. Simply set the Throttle to fast (hare symbol) for the auto choke. For mowers with a manual choke – set to full choke. Here’s the procedure:

1 Check oil level – Checking the oil is just a great habit to form. Yes, your mower would start if you skipped this step. Need help checking oil, check out “Does my engine need oil?”

2 Check Gas Level – A mower with a low gas level may be harder to start. Be mindful of old gas, older than a month and it starts to degrade. Best to use gas stabilizer.

3 Turn Gas “On” – A gas tap is fitted to all Honda mowers and it’s a good habit to turn as off when not in use. See gas tap use here.

4 Set Throttle – Simply set the Throttle to fast (hare symbol) for the auto choke. For mowers with manual choke, set it to full choke to start. Some Honda mowers won’t have any throttle levers, the engine has a factory set speed.

If you are unfamiliar with choke, how and when to use it, you are not on your own (see below).

5 Pull Start – One or two good pulls do the job. Any more than that and you may have an issue. But not to worry, you are in the right place, check out “Honda won’t start post” or the “Mower won’t start videos”.

Starting Honda With Bail Lever

Now, let’s start a Honda mower without the Roto-stop. The process is close to identical with the addition of one extra step, the pulling and holding of the handlebar located stop/start bail lever. And maybe you’ll ask what is a bail lever? The bail lever is a safety feature, (also known as the dead man’s lever, catchy!). It’s a spring-loaded lever and as you’ve likely guessed, defaults to the off position should the operator move away from the mower at any time.

The off position kills the engine, the bail is if you like, a big “On” switch that must be held when cutting grass.

The whole start procedure looks like this:

1 Check oil level – Checking the oil is just a great habit to form, yes your mower would start if you skipped this step. Need help checking oil, check out “Does my engine need oil?”

2 Check Gas Level – A mower with a low gas level may be harder to start. Be mindful of old gas, older than a month and it starts to degrade. Best to use gas stabilizer.

3 Turn Gas “On” – A gas tap is fitted to all Honda mowers and it’s a good habit to turn as off when not in use. See gas tap use here.

4 Bail Lever – Pull and hold the bail lever.

Set Throttle – if you have throttle controls, now’s the time to set them. Simply set the Throttle to fast (hare symbol) for the auto choke. For mowers with manual choke, set it to full choke to start.

Some Honda mowers won’t have any throttle levers, the engine has a factory set speed.

If you are unfamiliar with choke, how and when to use it, you are not on your own (see below).

5 Pull Start – One or two good pulls do the job. Any more than that and you may have an issue. But not to worry, you are in the right place, check out “Honda won’t start post” or the “Mower won’t start videos”.

Choke Types

As you know, all modern Honda mowers are auto choke, which basically means you don’t have to adjust the throttle lever in order to start the mower. In fact, some Honda models in addition to having an automatic choke, also have a set engine RPM (engine speed), which means they won’t have a throttle control lever at all.

Older Honda engines may be fitted with a manual choke lever. That means the operator will need to operate the choke in order to start the engine from cold. If your mower has an Auto choke, it will be badged auto choke on the engine cover or the air filter cover.

Choke Symbol – If your mower is a manual choke, it will have the choke symbol on the throttle lever.

Auto Choke – No action required here

Basic Checks Before Starting A Mower

Before you start your mower, run these basic checks. And remember old gas, will cause hard starting, so never use last season’s gas in your small engine equipment.

  • Check the oil level
  • Check gas level
  • Check the gas tap is on
  • Check the mower for loose components
  • Set your wheels to the same height

How To Use Choke

First, you’ll need to identify the choke control lever. On Honda walk behind mowers choke control is integral to the throttle lever and on tractor mowers the choke is a stand-alone knob. Your manual choke lever may look different from the ones seen here, but that’s ok, it’s the choke symbol that’s important.

Using the choke like a pro looks like this:

  • Look for the choke symbol on your throttle control panel.
  • Set it to full choke, that’s all the way up to start a cold engine.
  • Once the engine is running, move the throttle lever off the choke down to the fast setting (hare symbol).
  • This is the correct throttle setting for cutting grass.
  • Generally, restarting a warm engine doesn’t require choke however some models may.

Auto choke requires no input from the operator, it is fully automatic. Nice!

What Is The Purpose Of A Choke On A Lawn Mower?

The purpose of a choke is to give the engine some extra gas for an easy cold startup. An engine runs best when the air to gas ratio is 14.7: 1, that’s 14.7 parts air to one part gas, this is the sweet spot and it’s known as AFR (Air Fuel Ratio).

But a problem arises with cold air, it’s denser (more air), which throws the ratio off and causes hard starting. The solution is to temporarily adjust the ratio, just until the engine heats up. Your cars do all this automatically, and the latest generation mowers have auto choke too.

The engine designer came up with two simple solutions – the choke plate and the primer bulb.

The choke plate – as its name suggests is a flap that moves across the carburetor opening choking off the air entering the engine.

The result is a balancing of the AFR, and the engine now starts smoothly.

But leave the choke on too long and you’ll have the opposite problem, too much gas in relation to air, this causes poor running and black smoke.

The Primer bulb – It vacuums gas from the gas tank and squirts it into the carburetor.

It comes at the problem from the other side. Instead of restricting the quantity of air, it adds extra gas, this has the same net effect, it balances the carburetor 14.7: 1.

Can You Flood Your Mower?

Yes, repeated unsuccessful attempts at starting your mower will cause the engine to flood. So what is flooding? It’s un-burnt gas in the cylinder, it saturates the spark plug and prevents it from creating a good spark.Flooding can also be caused by a faulty carburetor.

How does flooding happen? Two root causes are common.

1 The float and needle live inside the carburetor. Their job is to keep the fuel bowl reservoir full, but as they age the rubber needle tip wears and allows the gas to leak into the engine especially when the gas tank is full. This can develop into a serious problem, leaking gas often makes its way to the crankcase which dilutes the engine oil. Symptoms of diluted oil are white smoke and engine oil leaks.

2 Turning your mower over with the carburetor side down can cause gas to wet the air filter. Attempting a start with a wet filter usually results in flooding or if the engine does start it runs rough and blows black smoke. Removing and replacing the air filter will fix this problem.

Honda Won’t Start

If your Honda fails to start, it may of course have a fault. Luckily most Honda mower problems are simple and can easily be fixed by the owner. Diagnosing your Honda no start is pretty straightforward, carry out a few basic tests to eliminate ignition, fueling, and mechanical faults.

Tests are not difficult, but you’ll need to execute them correctly to avoid burning time or replacing parts needlessly. If you need video help, check out “Mower won’t start video”. The videos walk you through diagnosing and repairing common mower problems, including a non-starting mower. You may find this post helpful “Honda mower won’t start”.

Related Questions

How do you start a lawnmower after sitting all winter? Old gas sitting in a mower all winter can cause gumming. To start a mower that’s been sitting all winter follow these steps:

  • Drain the gas tank and carburetor gas bowl
  • Clean / replace the air filter
  • Clean / replace the spark plug
  • Fill the gas tank with fresh gas
  • Turn on fuel valve
  • Check / change oil
  • Pull start the engine

Does gas go bad lawnmower? Ethanol gas in a lawnmower will begin to turn stale after one month and regular gas after 3 months. To prevent problems caused by bad gas, use a gas stabilizer before storing your lawnmower.

Hey, I’m John, and I’m a Red Seal Qualified Service Technician with over twenty-five years experience.

I’ve worked on all types of mechanical equipment, from cars to grass machinery, and this site is where I share fluff-free hacks, tips, and insider know-how.

And the best part. it’s free!

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