How to Start a Briggs & Stratton Lawnmower, step by step


Many well-reputed manufacturers of riding and push start lawnmower use Briggs & Stratton engines in their mowers because of their performance, reliability, and durability. John Deere, Craftsman, Toro, Poulan Pro, and Troy-Bilt are a few examples of the manufacturer who have shown their trust in Briggs & Stratton engines. 

If you plan to do some yard work, one needs a correctly working lawnmower. The first step to begin mowing is to start your lawnmower. But what is the correct starting procedure? To know what to do, we first need to know the type of lawnmower you have. Lawnmowers can be categorized into two different groups, the push lawnmower and the riding lawnmower. The machines’ basic mechanics may be quite similar, but the procedure to get them working varies a little from type to type.

How to Start a Briggs & Stratton Lawnmower, step by step:

  • Method 1: Traditional/Push Briggs & Stratton Lawnmower
    • Step 1: Check the type of ignition system
    • Step 2: Get set to start
    • Step 3: Check oil and gas
    • Step 4: Test spark plugs
    • Step 5: Locate the Prime Bulb
    • Step 6: Open throttle
  • Method 2: Briggs & Stratton Riding Lawnmower
    • Step 1: Sit in the seat firmly
    • Step 2: Engage the brakes
    • Step 3: Gear shift to neutral
    • Step 4: Put throttle to choke position
    • Step 5: Turn the key into the ignition
    • Step 6: Move the throttle in a fast position
How to Start a Briggs & Stratton Lawnmower, step by step 1

Start a traditional/push Briggs & Stratton lawnmower in 7 easy steps.

● Step 1: Check the type of ignition system:

First of all, consult the user manual to check which type of ignition system your machine uses. I’m a case of a Smooth Start or Prime ‘N Pull system, and one needs to prime a cold engine. While the ignition system is Ready to start or Smooth start Plus, there is no need for priming.

● Step 2: Get set to start the lawnmower:

Take your Briggs & Stratton lawnmower in an open-air grassy region as a first step. Always make sure that the patch you are going to trim is free from any debris, rocks, or other such items that could harm your machine. Hence, preferring a flat, clean service is preferred when you are going to operate your machine.

● Step 3: Check oil and gas in your machine:

Before starting, make sure that your machine has oil and gas to a specified limit. In the case of a 4-stroke Briggs & Stratton lawnmower, using a dipstick can help you estimate the oil level. While for a 2-stroke engine, one must make sure that the oil and gas must be mixed in the right ratio to ensure that the engine lasts long and is healthy.

● Step 4: Test the spark plug:

In a push Briggs & Stratton lawnmower, look around the motor’s backside to locate the spark plugs. A tick lead wire that is encapsulated with a rubber cap is an identification for the spark plugs. Make sure that the spark plugs have been firmly attached.

● Step 5: Locate the Prime Bulb:

Once you have taken all the precautions and fulfilled all the pre-mow conditions, the next step is to locate the prime blub on your machine. Mostly in Briggs & Stratton lawnmower, the prime bulb can be found on the engine’s side and is covered with a rubber cap.  By pumping it a couple of times, fuel enters the carburetor and thus primes it. Make sure to follow the guide to avoid flooding the machine’s carburetor. 

In the case of a Ready Start Electric ignition, there is no need for priming, and one can directly start the machine.

● Step 6: Open the throttle:

 In most of the Briggs & Stratton lawnmowers, a lever is present on the body of the lawnmower’s engine, and this acts as a throttle. It would help if you pulled the throttle in a mid to high position to keep the engine running.

● Step 7: Pull the starter cord:

In case your Briggs & Stratton lawnmower has a horizontal lever around the handle, one must firmly grip the handle while the lever rests against it. Now, firmly grip the handle meant for starting, attached at the end of the rope. Pull it firmly and repeat this step until the motor starts up.

If the motor fails to roar, there might be an issue with sparkplugs. If you hear a sputtering sound, the problem is with your lawnmower’s gas. It is important to know that you can only store gas for a short time before it gets bad because of evaporation and oxidation. The oxidation effect is even bigger in ethanol-blended gas (i.e., E10), which you most probably use. Old gas also harms the carburetor and fuel lines, causing all sorts of other problems that eventually can lead to your mower not starting.

Don’t let gas sit in the mower for more than 30 days. If there was gas sitting in the tank for that long, drain it and add fresh gas before starting. Using a fuel stabilizer is also an option if you do not use your lawnmower for a more extended period, like during the winter.

Start a Briggs & Stratton riding lawnmower in 6 easy steps.

● Step 1: Sit in the seat firmly:

When you have troubleshot your Briggs & Stratton lawnmower, the next step is to get it started. As a first step, suggested to settle firmly in the seat and engage all the safety features. Also, adjust the pedals and the seats.

Moreover, like a traditional Briggs & Stratton lawnmower, it is necessary to check oil, gas, and the spark plugs before you are set to start a riding lawnmower. Also, please make certain that your riding lawnmower is sitting on a level surface. The area will trim free from debris and rebel as these can harm the tires and other parts of a lawnmower, which resultantly could hamper its performance.

Make sure that the gas you are using is not too old (more than 30 days). Due to evaporation and oxidation, old gas can get bad. If you are using E10 (ethanol-blended gas), this process goes even faster. When you use old gas, it can cause all kinds of problems with the carburetor and fuel lines. This can make your lawnmower challenging to start, or even not starting at all. If you do not use your machine for an extended period, consider adding a fuel stabilizer.

● Step 2: Engage the break:

Break pedal that is present under the left foot of the lawnmower’s rider. In some lawnmowers, instead of a pedal, the break is a lever. By pushing the pedal or lever down, your break gets engaged. Always make sure that the brake is engaged before you are set to start the machine.

Moreover, a parking brake is knob shaped or lever shaped is easily approachable by you. Its location varies for various Briggs & Stratton lawnmower models, so it is suggested to consult the user manual to locate it. Once found, release the brake pedal and pull the parking knob.

Just by pressing the brake pedal for some lawnmowers, one can get a parking brake to get engaged.

● Step 3: Gear shift to neutral:

The next step is to shift the gear to neutral. After you have located the gear that might be present near the steering or under the seat, shift it to the point where it is written “N.” This will put your machine to neutral. One must hold the parking brake to apply the gear shift properly.

● Step 4: Put the throttle to choke position:

For a Briggs & Stratton lawnmower, the throttle is located near the seat. There are signs of speed indication on the throttle whose function could be understood by consulting the user manual. To engage the choke, the lever must be positioned between the fast and slow setting.

● Step 5: Turn the key in the ignition:

After performing are the above-mentioned steps, insert the key into the ignition and turn it to the right until the engine produces a roaring sound. Hold the key for a few seconds till the engine starts.

● Step 6: Move the throttle in a closed position:  

Now once your lawnmower’s engine is started, go back to the throttle. By moving the lever in the fast setting, you will be able to release the choke.

Safety Measures And Tips:

  • Never leave your lawnmower outdoors. One must make certain that your lawnmower is placed indoor or under a proper shelter to save it from harsh weather conditions. Because if the lawnmower is exposed to rainy weather, there is a possibility that water could seep into the oil and gas tank that would cause the engine not to start as long as you have completely made your fuel water-free.
  • When it comes to replacing parts, it is recommended to follow the user manual recommendations and opt for the manufacturer’s parts. Remembering the model type and make of your lawnmower is necessary when it comes to making a purchase.
  • Disconnect the battery while you are going to check the spark plugs of the lawnmower. This step serves as a precaution against any harm from the engine back start. The operator could face that.
  • For cleaning and maintenance, look for a well-ventilated area. Ensure that the batteries and the sparkplugs have been removed to avoid any back start by the engine. Also, make sure that the surface is flat, and the parking brake has been engaged.

Final Remarks:

This article helps you get familiar with all the necessary tools required to start a Briggs & Stratton riding and a push lawnmower. Starting the lawnmower for the very first time can get daunting, but with proper guidance and by performing the pre-mow troubleshooting, starting a lawnmower becomes as easy as starting a car.

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