Self-propelled lawn mowers are by and large very simple and reliable pieces of equipment, but occasionally, like any machine, they do have issues. In this article we’ll explore some of the common problems, and discuss how you might solve them at home.

Self-propelled lawn mower won’t move

It sounds surprising, but you’d be amazed how many people have this problem. The machine that used to pull itself along no longer does, and you’re left with a very heavy push mower.

The first thing to check is the most obvious: is the signal to initiate propulsion being transmitted to the transmission properly? This could be prevented by the propulsion lever being stuck or insufficiently depressed, or more commonly, a need to adjust the cable.

The cable runs from the lever to the transmission, and tightens when you pull it. If too much slack has developed as the cable stretches, or the cable is broken, then it won’t work properly. You can check this by turning the adjustment knob located on the cable at the handle end, or less commonly at the transmission end. Tighten the cable, and see if the mower starts moving.

If that doesn’t fix the problem, the next issue could be with the belt to power the wheels. These do break or wear out over time, so you should expect to have to change them after using the mower for several years.

If your mower doesn’t use a belt and instead has a gear drive, you should try removing the drive wheels. You might discover that the gears have worn out and need replacing. This is a very simple job, and you should be easily capable of doing it at home.

Finally, if the gears, belt, or cable is not the problem, then you might have an issue with your transmission. If that is the case, unfortunately you will most likely need to take the mower to the repair shop for a replacement transmission.

How fix a self-propelled lawn mower?

Before you can understand how much it might cost to fix your mower, you first need to take some time to diagnose what might be wrong with it. This sounds obvious, but taking a few moments now could be the difference between a quick Amazon order and a 30min repair and having to lug your machine down to the repair shop for a large bill. If you’re having drive issues, then the section above should help highlight some of the common problems.

Fixing the belt

If you issue is the belt driving the cutter blades, then again this is not a huge problem if you’re equipped with some tools and are handy in a workshop. The drive belts often need tightening, or if the blades aren’t turning at all, then the belt could have worn through. You should check whether the blades are turning by trying to mow, not trying to check under the mower while it’s on!

If the belt does need replacing, you’ll need to remove the blades using an impact driver or wrench, then you should be able to access the belt. Replacement belts are easy to come by online, and retail for about $10.

Fixing the engine

If you’re having problems with the engine starting, then we recommend going through this basic service schedule. First, check the oil in the machine, and change or top up if required. Next, try a new spark plug, which is often the issue if the machine won’t fire. You can quickly check your spark plug by connecting it to a multimeter and checking the resistance across it. For a good plug it’ll be low, for a bad one it’ll be high. Finally, check the air and fuel filters for blockages, and give them a clean.

Following that basic sequence should take care of some of the basic engine issues. If you’re still having trouble, then you might need to take your mower to a repair shop for a professional service.

Can you push a self-propelled mower?

The short answer is yes, you can. Pushing a self-propelled mower will not damage its transmission. It will be rather heavy though, so you might find it a bit tiring to push it for your entire mowing session!

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