Lawn Mower Runs for A Minute Then Stops? (We Have a Fix)

Upgraded Home Team
by Upgraded Home Team

Lawn mowers are considered by many as simple machines, but that does not mean they are always easy to fix. If you have a lawn mower that runs for a minute then stops, you are probably wondering why that is happening and how you can solve the problem.

Fortunately, the issue is easier to fix than you might think. There are a few things that can make a lawn mower stop working minutes after being started and it is always best to start with the most common first.

Your mower may run then stop after a few minutes if the spark plug is dirty or damaged, and you’ll need to replace it. Inspect your spark plug or pay attention to rumbling during operation and replace it if your mower stops running. Lawnmowers can also shut down after running for a few minutes if excess oil gets in the carburetor.

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Common Reasons That a Lawn Mower Will Start and Then Stall

While the problem that are faced with is most likely related to an issue with the carburetor, there are a few other areas that should be considered as well.

Fuel Quality

One potential issue could be with the quality of the fuel. Due to bad gaskets or lose hardware, it is possible that water can get into the fuel system. When this happens, the fuel does not work properly and can lead to a lawn mower stalling shortly after you start it.

Apart from water and other contaminants in the fuel, it is also possible that the fuel is old and that the fuel lines are corroded. Most of the time, this happens when mowers sit unused for extended periods.

No matter what the reason is for the fuel in your lawn mower to be degraded, fuel quality issues are generally the easiest to fix. Simply drain out the old fuel and replace with new, clean gasoline.

Fuel Cap

Another potential issue that make a lawn mower stop running shortly after starting is a bad fuel cap. The fuel cap is an issue that is often overlooked. The fuel cap creates a seal in the fuel system and when it fails to provide a functional seal, a fuel flow issue ensues.

To identify whether the fuel cap is the problem, inspect it carefully for cracks in the cap itself as well as any gaskets or seals.

Spark Plug

A faulty spark plug is another place you can look when your lawn mower starts then stops a few moments later. When a spark plug is to blame, there are several symptoms that you can look for.

A mower that shakes irregularly while idling or surges while in use is likely affected by a bad spark plug. When the problems are more severe, mowers often stall as a result.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, check the spark plug for damage.

Excess Oil

Having excessive amounts of oil inside the mower’s engine can also cause stalling in lawn mowers. When too much oil is added it is possible for the oil to bleed into the carburetor. The oil then mixes with fuel and causes combustion issues.

An easy way to see if excessive oil is the root of the problem is to lean the mower on its back for two hours. Doing so allows the oil in the lawn mower to drain out of the carburetor. Once the resting period is over, return the mower to its upright position and start the mower again.

If the lawn mower starts without issue, you have likely found your problem. To solve the problem in this case, simply drain the oil and fuel completely and then refi with the proper amounts.

Primary Cause of a Lawn Mower Stalling After Running for a Minute

Carburetor flow issues are the most common causes when a lawn mower runs for a minute then stops. In fact, virtually all other problems mentioned in this guide are at least somewhat connected to the carburetor and flow of fuel.

Ensure That the Carburetor is to Blame

Taking apart the carburetor is a task with multiple steps. Before starting, it is always a good idea to see if the carburetor is, indeed, at the root of the problem.

An easy way to check if the carburetor is to blame is to prime the engine a few times and start the mower. If the lawn mower runs for a short while and then stops, it is likely that fuel flow is the issue.

Step One – Remove Self-Propel Cover (Optional)

If the carburetor is at the root of the problem, it will have to be taken apart and cleaned. There is usually a large plastic cover protecting self-propel mechanism that should be removed prior to accessing the carburetor. Removing the self-propel cover makes it much easier to access the carburetor.

Step Two – Pinch Off the Fuel Line

Before removing the carburetor bowl, you must first pinch off the fuel line. Using vice grips or a clamp works very well for this. Cutting off the flow of gasoline ensure that you will not have to deal with any messy gas spills. Always a plus!

Step Three – Unplug the Spark Plug

Unplugging the spark plug before removing the carburetor bowl has two main advantages. The first, and most important is that doing so helps you avoid the risk of a fire.

Secondly, you can inspect the spark plug (if you haven’t already). Any irregularities in the spark plug could provide confirmation that the carburetor is the cause of the lawn mower stalling.

Step Four – Remove the Carburetor Bowl for Cleaning

Remove the carburetor bowl and clean all parts thoroughly. To get the carburetor bowl off, simply unscrew the bowl nut from the bottom of the bowl with a ½ inch wrench.

Once the bowl has been removed, check for debris and build up. Clean accordingly.

Step Five – Clean the Bowl Nut

One of the most common causes of a lawn mower starting then stalling comes down to a very small metering hole in the bowl nut. When this hole is not clear, fuel cannot flow correctly.

Using a thin wire to clean the metering holes works well. Our DIY tip for this would be to use a twist tie from your loaf of bread to clear the holes in the bowl nut. Alternatively, an air compressor also works very well.

Step Six – Reassemble

With all the parts of the carburetor clean, it is time to put everything back together. Put the carburetor bowl and bowl nut in place and secure each well. Ensure that nothing is lose and then unclamp the gas line.

Step Seven – Start Your Mowers!

The final step is to see if cleaning the carburetor and bowl nut solved the issue. To check, simply start the lawn mower as you normally would and observe.

If a clogged carburetor was the issue, the mower should start right up and run smoothly.

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Related Questions

How do you fix a lawn mower that won’t stay running?

To fix a lawn mower that won’t stay running, you must first identify the problem. Observing the lawn mower while it is running provides clues into the underlying cause of any problems that exist.If the lawn mower is sputtering, surging, or hesitating before stalling, the problem could be caused by a bad spark plug or impure fuel. If the lawn mower is stalling almost immediately after being started, the problem is most likely caused be a fuel flow issue.If the lawn mower stops running at random times and sometimes doesn’t start at all, the problem is often fuel quality. Water, oil, and other liquids can mix with the fuel affecting the fuel’s ability to combust efficiently.

Why does my lawn mower keep bogging down?

When your lawn mower keeps bogging down, you may be looking at an issue related to either your spark plugs of fuel quality. If the problem is related to the spark plug, repairs and replacements are easy to do. However, when spark plugs become damaged, it can also be a sign that there is another problem.Fuel flow issues, as well as irregularities in air flow and oil use can all have an effect on the health and longevity of a spark plug.

Upgraded Home Team
Upgraded Home Team

We are a team of passionate homeowners, home improvement pros, and DIY enthusiasts who enjoy sharing home improvement, housekeeping, decorating, and more with other homeowners! Whether you're looking for a step-by-step guide on fixing an appliance or the cost of installing a fence, we've here to help.

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