Toro folding lawn mower. Solved! What to Do When Your Lawn Mower Starts Smoking

A smoking lawn mower is never a good sign. Whether the smoke is blue, white, or black, here’s how to identity and address the issue without the help of a professional.

By Glenda Taylor and Bob Vila | Updated Sep 24, 2020 1:40 PM

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Q: Recently, my mower started billowing smoke when I powered it up, so I shut it off immediately. Why is my lawn mower smoking? And is it a fire hazard? I want to know how to proceed so I don’t harm the machine.

A: Your lawn mower can emit smoke for numerous reasons—many of which don’t require the services of an expert. A homeowner can usually identify the reason for a smoking lawn mower by gauging the color of the Cloud coming around the engine, then fix it accordingly before lasting damage occurs. Keep in mind that all mowers with internal combustion engines contain the same basic parts, but the configuration of those parts varies widely, depending on manufacturer and model. Consult your owner’s manual if you’re unsure how to access a specific part of your lawn mower’s engine.

White or blue smoke may indicate an oil spill on the engine.

If you’ve recently changed the oil in your mower and the engine is emitting white or blue smoke, it’s possible that some of the oil spilled onto the engine. Similarly, you could’ve spilled oil on the engine by mowing on a slope greater than 15 degrees or tipping the mower on its side. The smoke may look disconcerting, but it’s completely harmless. Solve the problem by restarting the mower and allowing the spilled oil to burn off. If you tip the mower often for cleaning or maintenance, check your owner’s manual to determine the best way to reduce the risk of oil leaks.

An overfull oil reservoir may also cause white or blue smoke.

Ensure you didn’t overfill the mower by checking the oil level with the dipstick located on the reservoir. To do this, remove the dipstick cap, wipe off the stick with a rag, and reinsert it into the reservoir. Then remove the dipstick once again and determine the oil level in comparison to the recommended “fill” line on the stick. If the level is too high, drain the oil (consult your owner’s manual for instructions), then refill the reservoir with it. Start checking the oil level with the dipstick after you’ve added about ¾ of the amount recommended in the manual. Continue to add small amounts of oil until the level matches the recommended “fill” line. Also note that using the wrong grade of engine oil may cause blue or white smoke. Consult the owner’s manual for the exact type of oil recommended for your mower.

Black smoke may indicate that the mower is “running rich,” or burning too much gasoline.

Your lawn mower’s carburetor regulates the ratio of gasoline to air mixture. If the carburetor isn’t getting enough air, the mixture has a higher percentage of gasoline, which can create black exhaust smoke. It’s possible that a dirty or clogged air filter is preventing sufficient airflow into the carburetor. Try replacing the air filter. (Note: air filters vary by mower model; view example air filter on Amazon.) Next, run your lawn mower for a few minutes. If the black smoke still appears, the carburetor might need to be adjusted in order to increase airflow. Either take the mower to a professional or adjust the carburetor yourself with instructions in your owner’s manual.

Take your mower to a repair shop if necessary.

If the previous steps don’t correct blue or white smoke, your mower could have a more serious problem, such as an air leak in the crankshaft (the cast iron or cast aluminum case that protects the moving parts of a mower’s engine). Continuing blue or white smoke could also indicate that some of the engine’s components or seals are worn out and need replacement. Similarly, if black smoking still persists after you’ve replaced the air filter and adjusted the carburetor, you could be facing a more serious mechanical issue. All of these problems require the help of a professional. If your mower is still under warranty, check with the manufacturer for the location of the nearest servicing dealer; problems stemming from a factory defect or poor workmanship may garner free repairs. If your mower is not covered under warranty, a reputable small-engine repair shop should also be sufficient to get the job done.

The 6 Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

Michelle Ullman is a home decor expert and product reviewer for home and garden products. She has been writing about home decor for over 10 years for publications like and Better Homes Gardens, among others.

Barbara Gillette is a Master Gardener, herbalist, beekeeper, and journalist. She has 30 years of experience propagating and growing fruits, vegetables, herbs, and ornamentals.

Emily Estep is a plant biologist and journalist who has worked for a variety of online news and media outlets, writing about and editing topics including environmental science and houseplants.

If you dream of a lush, green lawn, but dread the maintenance involved in keeping it that way, then a self-propelled lawn mower can make your life easier. These mowers not only power the blades but also power the wheels to make your pushing requirements little more than guiding the machine across the grass.

Brock Ingham, gardener, landscaper, and founder of the website Bigger Garden, says, The main advantage of a self-propelled mower is that it requires less effort to operate than a push mower. This can be beneficial for people with large lawns or those who have difficulty pushing a mower due to physical limitations. Self-propelled mowers can also provide a more consistent cut, since the speed is controlled by the mower rather than the operator. Overall, a self-propelled lawn mower can make mowing easier and more efficient.

Henry Bravo, founder and editor-in-chief of, adds, Self-propelled lawnmowers are much easier to maneuver around obstacles, and they can handle uneven terrain without a problem. Plus, I can adjust the speed so I can mow quickly or at a slower, more leisurely pace. And I love that I can easily switch between mulching, side discharge, and bagging capabilities.

We bought and tested several self-propelled mowers, both gas and electric, and evaluated many others based on their power, the size of lawn they can handle, their options for handling grass clippings, their range of cutting heights, the easiness of using the mower, and their overall value.

Best Overall

EGO Power Select Cut 56-Volt 21-Inch Self-Propelled Cordless Lawn Mower

  • Variable-speed self-propel
  • Generous battery runtime
  • Fast recharging
  • Folds for compact storage

Earning the top spot in our tests is a battery lawn mower that rivals the power of a gas mower but without the smelly fumes, the oil changes, or the frustrating pull cord. Instead, this self-propelled mower from EGO has a 56-volt, 7.5-Ah battery that provides up to 60 minutes of runtime on a single charge; that’s enough to mow most lawns up to a 0.5 acre and more than enough for our small yard. We put the mower to the test in early spring, mowing a lawn just out of winter dormancy that was patchy, wet, and ferny.

Other than attaching the bag, assembling the mower was easy. And a mere press of the button brought it roaring to life. This mower has a 21-inch cutting deck and a one-hand lever that adjusts the cutting heights through six different settings for grass heights of 1.5 to 4 inches. We found it very easy to adjust.

The lawn mower easily handles all common types of lawn grass, including tougher warm-season varieties like Bermudagrass, zoysia, and St. Augustine. A few buyers have complained that it struggles to lift overly tall grass high enough for an even cut. However, we found that it struggled a bit in the wet grass as well, becoming stuck at one point in a ferny patch. Aside from that, it delivers a precise and crisp cut that is sure to impress.

The speed of the mower is variable, so you can set it to match your stride from a leisurely 0.9 mph up to a brisk 3.1 mph. As this was our first time using a self-propelled mower, there was a bit of a learning curve. At first, it felt like the mower was pulling us along. However, we soon got the hang of it and appreciated the ease of adjusting the mower’s speed. We also liked the adjustable handle, which made it more comfortable to mow.

We found that the mower was easy to maneuver, even around obstacles or sharp turns. As the self-propelled function does most of the heavy work, this is also a great mower for yards with slopes. At nine inches in diameter, the mower’s wheels are fairly large, and it is rear-wheel drive, which also helps when mowing over rough terrain or hilly areas. You can dispose of the grass clippings in the included 2-bushel bag, discharge them to the side, or mulch them into fine clippings to quickly decompose them into healthful lawn nutrients. This mower even has a LED headlight, so you can mow early in the morning or at dusk to take advantage of mild temperatures.

Most of the mower’s construction is heavy-duty plastic for weather and rust resistance, but that might not be as durable as steel, although we felt it seemed quite sturdy. Once you finish mowing, the handle folds all the way down for easy storage. We really appreciated this feature, as the mower doesn’t take up as much room in the garage. This mower comes with a 56-volt battery and a fast charger that has the battery ready to go in just an hour.

How It Performed Long-Term

We are extremely satisfied with the performance of the lawn mower, particularly with how long the battery lasts. It can easily handle mowing the lawn three times without requiring a recharge. Even when it does need to be recharged, it only takes around 20 minutes. The mower is also highly effective when dealing with thick, tall grass and can even tackle 10 days of uncut grass without issue. Additionally, it can handle damp grass and leaves with ease. Initially, it took some time to become familiar with turning it on and utilizing the self-propel feature, but once we did, mowing the lawn became a breeze.

Price at time of publish: 549

Cutting Width: 21 inches | Power Source: Battery | Weight: 62.6 pounds | Grass Discard Options: Bag, mulch, side-discharge

Toro 20339 Review: A Mower With High Rear Wheels and Power To Match

The Toro 20339 is part of the Toro Recycler series of Toro self-propelled lawn mower machines that mulch, bag and discharge cuttings as you prefer.

In this review, you’ll discover all the essential features this device has to offer and what makes it popular with so many buyers.

In addition, you’ll find out what we discovered about the downsides of this walk-behind self-propelled lawn mower that might make a different machine more suitable for you and your mowing situation.

After reading this review, you’ll have all the information you need to decide if this is the product you want to buy to keep your yard looking fantastic.

  • Pros and Cons
  • Product Highlights
  • – Toro 20339 Review
  • – Front-Wheel Drive
  • – Variable-Speed and Self-Propel
  • – SMARTSTOW® Storage
  • – Downsides
  • – Bottom Line
  • – Engine
  • – Cutting Deck and Blades
  • – 3-in-1 Features
  • – Operator Controls
  • – Size and Weight
  • – Warranty
toro, folding, lawn, mower
  • What oil does a Toro 20339 mower take?
  • How many hours should Toro 20339 mower last?
  • What size engine does Toro 20339 mower have?

Product Highlights

This Toro recycler lawn mower is popular for a good reason: it has a powerful gas engine with exceptional maneuverability and stores in a minimal space footprint. In addition, the wider than average cutting deck lets you breeze through your lawn mowing chores in minimal time.

  • 22-inch cutting width
  • 190cc high torque Briggs and Stratton engine
  • Large 11-inch diameter rear wheels
  • Auto-choke
  • Quiet operation

– Toro 20339 Review

This Toro variable speed mower model has excellent traction and maneuverability due to its extra-large rear wheels and front-wheel-drive power system. A Toro high wheel mower like this one quickly drives over soft ground and rough spots in the landscape without getting bogged down or stuck in the mud, and that’s an advantage for anyone with challenging mowing conditions.

In addition, this mower’s relatively quiet engine is a robust model produced by the small engine experts at BriggsStratton. This engine is effortless to maintain because it uses the “check and add” design that eliminates oil changes.

All you need to do is regularly check the engine oil level and add more when it’s low. As a result, you won’t have to deal with any more draining and disposing of messy engine oil when you own this gas-powered lawn mower.

– Front-Wheel Drive

The most significant advantage of the front-wheel-drive system in this mower is how easily you can turn corners and mow around structures and objects on the lawn.

For example, imagine you have a circular brick planter bed in the middle of your yard, and you want to trim the grass up close to the brickwork or you need to cut up close to a fence line.

toro, folding, lawn, mower

Doing this type of work is challenging with many lawnmowers with rear-wheel power, but this Toro model makes it easy to cut grass in circles and close to structures if that’s what you need to do.

– Variable-Speed and Self-Propel

You don’t need muscle power to move it around when you invest in this lawnmower.

The variable-speed self-propel feature makes the machine move by itself while keeping the pace you want to stay comfortable at while walking behind it. The mechanism for accomplishing this is ingeniously simple and only involves a single operational bar located on the handlebar that you press forward to make it go.

The more you press the bar, the faster the mower travels, letting you choose the optimum pace for your comfort and the terrain.

– SMARTSTOW® Storage

A unique feature of this lawnmower is its SMARTSTOW® capability. The engine is designed to store without leaking gas or oil when you tip the mower up on its rear end after folding the handlebar entirely over the top of the machine.

Two easy-to-use knobs release the handlebar from the upright position so it folds. In addition, there are two small feet that are built into the base of the handlebar when it’s folded that securely support the machine when it’s stored on its end.

This incredibly convenient storage design results in the mower taking up 70 percent less space in storage. You can easily store this mower in your garage without sacrificing space for parking your cars, stashing the kids’ bikes, or having to shuffle tools and equipment around to be able to stash the mower away.

– Downsides

One slight downside of this mower is that the mechanism for adjusting the wheel height is a bit hard to operate. One lever on each side of the machine raises both wheels on that side, and the weight of the device as you raise and lower the deck can be hard to push into place.

toro, folding, lawn, mower

However, many mowers suffer from a similar problem, and most people do not frequently adjust the deck height so it’s not a significant inconvenience.

Another downside that is a more significant issue is that the handlebar height is fixed, and you cannot adjust it for different size operators or your comfort. Given that Toro took the time to make a handlebar that folds so elegantly over the top of the machine for storage, it’s surprising they didn’t add a way to adjust the handlebar height.

If you are concerned about this issue, it might be a good idea to test out a Toro 20339 in person and see if the handlebar height is comfortable for you.

Another issue reported by some buyers is that the front-wheel-drive on this mower does not do well on steeper slopes and tends to stall when challenged with a serious hill, especially when cutting tall grass in this situation.

For this reason, if your property contains a significant amount of ups and downs, a rear-wheel-drive mower is probably a better option.

– Bottom Line

This Toro lawn mower is an optimum choice for people with extensive lawns who do tons of mowing on primarily flat or gently-sloped ground. It has a high-quality, low-maintenance engine that is guaranteed to start and runs reliably.

It also has a wide deck for efficient mowing on large lawns. In addition, buying this lawnmower makes sense for people who want a piece of equipment that stores in the smallest possible footprint in their storage space because of the Toro Smartstow feature.

Product Features

– Engine

This mower’s power comes from a highly efficient and robust 190cc BriggsStratton gas engine with a gross torque rating of 7.25 ft-lbs and a top travel speed of 3.25 MPH. This model does not have an electric start as some other Toro models have, but it does have auto-choke, so there is no need to mess around setting a choke lever or pumping a priming bulb before starting the machine.

Instead, a gentle tug on the recoil cord at the handlebar, using only about 10 pounds of force, is all you need to fire up the engine. It’s also guaranteed to start reliably on the first or second pull for the first three years you own it.

Another significant advantage with this 4-stroke engine is the “check and add” oil design that does not ever require oil changes. Simply add more SAE 30 engine oil when you see a low reading on the dipstick.

Toro recommends using their oil brand for the best performance and most extended lifespan on this engine. The engine’s air filter requires some maintenance to clean and replace from time to time, but the filter is conveniently located and you don’t need any tools to open the air filter compartment.

– Cutting Deck and Blades

The Recycler® cutting deck is constructed of heavy-gauge steel for years of use without denting or cracking. In addition, a washout port on top of the deck ensures you can easily clean the underside of the deck to prevent rusting without needing to tip the machine on its side.

The mower has a single, high-quality cutting blade that is 22 inches across and works for bagging, side discharge or mulching without changing blades. The blade is designed for efficient mulching. a feature that is one of this mower’s most vital points.

The deck raises up and down using a lever at the front wheel on each side of the mower and adjusts to seven cutting heights from 1 inch to 4 inches above the ground. This large deck is a significant advantage for anyone with an extensive lawn who wants to get the grass cut with a minimum number of passes.

– 3-in-1 Features

This mower is a 3-in-1 design that comes with a sturdy collection bag for picking up the grass trimmings. However, the deep deck and well-engineered blade excel at mulching, and this is another task you can accomplish with this mower.

It’s called the Recycler because of its excellent capacity for finely chopping the clippings and evenly spreading them on the lawn so that they become almost invisible when you’re done mowing.

On the other hand, if you want to discharge the clippings from the machine and let them pile up on the side of your mowing path, this mower can also do that. All you need to do is slide the blue lever at the base of the handlebar and remove the collection bag from the back of the machine and it discharges the cuttings out of the side.

– Operator Controls

The mower starts with a gentle pull of the recoil cord while holding down the operator’s presence bar on the handlebars. Once the engine is running, a second lever on the handlebar engages the variable-speed self-propel feature.

The further forward you press this bar, the faster the machine goes, and the bar is designed so that you can operate it with either or both hands.

Stopping the engine is equally simple by letting go of the operator presence bar. However, you cannot leave the machine running while walking away to empty the bag. In that case, you’ll need to restart the engine when you return, but the engine starts so quickly and reliably that restarting is not a problem for most people.

The straightforward operator controls and minimal maintenance requirements on this machine are beneficial for anyone who does not have lots of experience using a walk-behind self-propel mower like this one.

toro, folding, lawn, mower

– Size and Weight

This model has a slightly larger footprint than many similar models when the mower is set up for mowing the grass due to its large deck. The overall dimensions of the mower are 58.8 inches long, 23.6 inches wide and 39 inches high.

However, when you fold the handlebar over the top of the machine, you can tip it up on its end to store it in a space measuring only 39 inches high, 23.6 inches wide and 17.5 inches deep, which is much more compact than the space needed for storing most lawnmowers.

Given its relatively large size when unfolded, this mower is lightweight at only 78 pounds without gas in the tank. This lawnmower’s low weight and ultra-compact storage footprint make it ideal for anyone with lots of mowing to do and minimal storage room in their garage or toolshed.

– Warranty

Toro offers a two-year warranty on the mower that covers defects in workmanship and materials for all components, including the engine. In addition, this mower also includes a three-year Guaranteed-to-Start offer that makes the manufacturer responsible for repairs if the mower does not start on the second pull of the recoil cord. as long as you use and maintain the machine according to the instructions in the owner’s manual.


What oil does a Toro 20339 mower take?

The Toro 20339 mower typically uses 10W-30 engine oil for optimal performance and lubrication.

How many hours should Toro 20339 mower last?

The Toro 20339 mower is designed to last for an average of 500-700 operational hours, with proper maintenance and care.

What size engine does Toro 20339 mower have?

The Toro 20339 mower is equipped with a 163cc (cubic centimeters) engine for efficient and powerful cutting performance.


In this Toro 20339 review, we examined the advantages and drawbacks of this well-designed mowing machine.

You learned that it excels for efficient mowing, mulching and bagging grass on primarily flat lawns. but it doesn’t do as well on yards with steep slopes or rough terrain due to its front-wheel drive.

We also talked about how one of the most significant advantages of this mower is the way you can neatly fold down the handlebar and store it on its end to save up to 70 percent of the space otherwise needed.

So this mower is ideal for people who want a reliable lawn mower for large, mostly flat yards who also want to save on storage space when not using the machine.

Toro Smartstow Recycler 22-Inch 60V MAX Electric Lawn Mower Review

In the summer of 2020 I reviewed the Toro 22 (56cm) 60V MAX Electric Battery Smartstow Personal Pace High Wheel Mower (20363) over the course of a couple of months. That’s an extremely long name for such a simple piece of machinery, but absolutely necessary when it comes to the testing of a tool that can take considerable wear and tear damage over time. With the Flex-Force Power System (plug-and-play rechargeable batteries and charger), 22-inch blade for mowing, and a tenacious yard of summertime grass, I ran this mower through the paces more than a few times.

Lawnmower on Batteries

Before I got this lawn mower in from Toro, they sent over a leaf blower that uses the same battery system. Both devices have the same connection points for the battery system, and both come with the same battery charger. The battery for the mower is quite a bit larger than that of the blower, but both batteries work interchangeably between machines.

I have approximately 0.17 acres of grass to cut every week – sometimes I can stretch it to a week and a half. With this mower‘s 60V battery, I can cut this area of land without a recharge – just so long as the battery is fully charged before I begin. Toro suggested that I should be able to mow a full 1/3 acre with a full battery charge – and that seems about accurate, based on my couple of months of tests.

Fix toro smoke lawn mover | Toro | Lawn Mover | How To Fix Toro Smoke Lawn Mover | Zahra yasir

This lawn mower’s wheels can adjust to several different cut levels, as all good personal lawn mowers should. The system with which each wheel is adjusted is rather rudimentary. If this mower were as heavy as your average gas mower, adjusting the wheels might be a bit more of a chore. Since this mower is surprisingly light, adjusting each of the wheels is easy enough for any adult to handle.

While the mower feels light, it’s largely made of steel and tough plastic. The entirety of the deck is steel, each of the wheels is plastic. Every part of this mower feels like Toro hit a sweet spot: not too light as to feel cheap, rugged enough to stand the test of time.

Why Is My Mower Smoking? Easy Explanation!

Fold up and clean cut

This mower can fold up and sit upright. With Toro’s SmartStow Technology, the company’s engineered the mower so the handle folds down and the entire machine can sit upright, like a dog begging for a treat. This mower requires a LOT less space in the garage than any other mower I’ve ever worked with before.

The bagging system with this mower works great – but it’s the bagless mowing setup that makes me feel like this mower is a true winner. Toro’s got a special feature brand for this, too: Toro Recycler Cutting Technology. Whatever it’s doing, it’s doing right.

Recycler in effect

With the back door closed, I’ve mowed my lawn for weeks without needing any substantial mower cleaning. I grew up using a Toro cutter released in the early 1980s, and even when bagging, grass buildup was an occasional issue. Toro seems to have worked out all the kinks in the past several decades – this mower cuts both cleanly and efficiently.

The mower works with a Personal Pace Self-Propel System, which means it’s able to travel at several speeds. Pushing the mower feels natural to the point that it almost feels like the machine is weightless.

This, too, is a major improvement over early self-propelled mower madness. Back when I was a kid, a self-propelled mower meant you’d start the mower, pull up the bar, and hold on for dear life. The mower I used as a kid went ONE speed: Too fast. Here in modernity, Toro’s self-propelled mower system adjusts based on how hard you’re pushing the handle, so it all goes according to your own pace.

Enjoyment Factor

Perhaps the most important part of this entire situation is the mower’s entertainment value. This is of the utmost importance if you’re considering buying a lawn mower that you’ll be convincing your kids to use. Imagine their surprise when they find themselves enjoying the experience, from pushing the big blue start button to replacing the beastly battery to folding the machine up to sleep in the shed.

Battery Life for Larger Yards

If you have a yard larger than 1/3 acre, you might want to consider buying a second battery. OR, if you’re in the market for any other yard equipment, there’s a bunch of other Toro machines in the same Flex-Force Power System. Charge one battery while you’re mowing with the other and you’ll never run out of battery.

If only the battery charged up a bit faster. That’s probably my only major issue with the mower: The speed of the battery charger. It’s not particularly fast. It’s likely my perception of a fast battery charge is largely skewed thanks to smartphone companies pushing speeds for their tiny mobile batteries to the limit – but a faster charge would be nice, nonetheless.

The Flex-Force Power System battery charger included with this mower has light indicators and its own built-in fan to keep the system from overheating. A combination of this charger, plugging in batteries with the mower, and the blower, the entire Flex-Force Power System made me feel like a Ghostbuster.


If you’re considering spending up to and including the price this lawn mower costs in stores today, you’ll get your money’s worth. At the point at which this review was first published, the Toro 22 (56cm) 60V MAX Electric Battery SMARTSTOW Personal Pace High Wheel Mower (20363) had a price of MSRP 570 USD. Assuming this mower will last you a half-decade at least, that price is right on the money.

With a brushless motor under the hood and no indication that any of the parts are anything but rugged enough to last for years, this mower is easily one of the best pieces of outdoor power / lawn equipment I’ve ever used.

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