How to start a craftsman riding lawnmower, step by step


Craftsman lawnmowers are one of the better riding mowers brands out there. They come in different sizes and with various features, but simplicity in design and ease in operating is what they all have in common. They are made to be sturdy and able to face tough terrains. When it comes to cutting power and performance, they are one of the best. Every lawn owner would love to own one of these. In this blog post, we will guide you about the different features of a Craftsman riding lawnmower and how to use them to start operating the lawnmower

How to start a craftsman riding lawnmower, step by step

  • Step 1: Prepare the Craftsman Lawnmower
  • Step 2: Check the battery
  • Step 3: Check the oil and gas
  • Step 4: Disengage the PTO, enable the choke and start the mower
  • Step 5: How to use the craftsman lawnmower in reverse with blades engaged

Before starting your craftsman mower, you have to check some essential components first. These include the acid level in the batter, oil level, and gas. Accustom yourself to the various controls you need to start using your mower. The following steps will describe the method of using every lever and knob.

Starting a craftsman riding lawnmower is quite simple. However, if you are less experienced, it might not seem very easy. There is a specific order of using the controls and levers, and you may get confused with them. We will explain the general method that is common to all Craftsman riding lawnmowers. While there are some differences between different models, almost all of them have the same basic procedure. It will also answer some of the common questions you might have, along with some things you have to be careful about.

How to properly start and use a Craftsman riding Lawnmower:

If you are not an experienced Craftsman riding lawnmower user, read the user guide that comes with the mower as the first step. A Craftsman riding mower comes with a very detailed guide that introduces every part by explaining its function. For further guidance, we will look into the starting procedure in more detail:

● Step 1: Prepare the Craftsman Riding Lawnmower

To begin, your Craftsman Riding lawnmower should be parked on a smooth and level surface. Make sure that the plane is clear light so that you can better check each part. Also, keep the area free of any dirt and obstacles that can harm the blades. Enable the lawnmower’s parking brakes so that it does not start rolling when you turn on the power. You can enable them by using the pedal on your riding lawnmower’s left side as you sit on the mower’s seat. Press gently on the pedal down to apply the brakes.

● Step 2: Check the Craftsman Riding lawnmower Battery

To ensure a quick and easy start, your Craftsman riding mower should have a good working battery. The battery is located beneath the seat in most models. You can use a battery tester or a multimeter to check that the battery’s condition is ok. If you have not used the mower recently, it is a good idea to charge it first. Batteries that are not used for some time get discharged. This is more common in places with a colder climate. If you are storing the lawnmower for an extended time, it is a good idea to remove them. You can also use a trickle charger with a maintainer mode to keep it in good shape.

In case the battery needs a charge, you can use a variety of methods. If you have a modern charger, you can directly connect it to the battery without removing it. There is no need to disconnect the power cables. If you use an older charger or terminals from another battery, it is better to disconnect the battery’s terminals. Also, make sure that you form no contact between the two terminals. It will short the battery, destroy its cells, and the battery may even die.

● Step 3: Check the oil and gas level

Next, you have to check the level of fluids in your Craftsman riding lawnmower. First, check your engine’s oil level using the dipstick. Check it each time before you plan to start mowing. If there is not enough oil in the engine, it can harm it. You should also inspect the oil quality once in a while to know when it requires changing. If you notice that the color has gotten relatively dark, it is an indication of replacement. Fill the gas tank before starting the engine. If you store your mower for an extended time (more than a month), use some fuel stabilizer, such as STA-BIL. It will enhance the durability and the life of your gas over extended periods. Bad gasoline will cause issues like rough running, lesser power, and jerking issues.

● Step 4: Disengage the PTO, enable the choke and start the mower

Now we can start the engine. Pull the Craftsman mower’s PTO lever (power takeoff). This lever lies beneath the mower’s steering wheel on a side. It is a simple lever the extrudes out from the control panel responsible for transmitting power to the blades. Push it away from the steering wheel to disengage the mower blades. Then, turn the throttle lever into the choke position, i.e., activation of the choke. It is the topmost level on the meter. The choke lever lies on the left of the steering wheel. Turning it on will increase the fuel supply to provide a rich mixture to the engine. Now you can start your mower with ease by turning the ignition key clockwise.

After starting the riding Craftsman mower, pull the throttle lever towards the rabbit position. This is the medium level that normalizes the fuel flow. It makes the mixture somewhat lean to normalize the fuel flow. When you are abode the seat, you will find the drive lever on your right side. Push it all the way forward to drive forward. Pull it back to the most rear to drive in reverse. It normally lies in a neutral position. The mower’s speed changes with the drive lever’s position with the fastest speed at the front extreme. In most Craftsman riding lawnmowers, there is no drive pedal. They are driven by this drive lever only.

On your left side, you will find another lever. This is the mower height adjustment lever. It usually has up to 5 positions. Push it in the front-most position to move the cutting deck to its lowest position.

● Step 5: Use the Craftsman riding lawnmower in reverse with blades engaged

To drive your mower in reverse mode and cut at the same time, you have to set the mower’s ignition key in reverse mode. First, come to a complete stop and disengage the blades by pulling the PTO back. Release the brake pedal. Then, turn the key and move the PTO/blade lever to the on position to engage the blades. Turn the drive lever to its back position to start reversing your mower. Always check that there is no obstacle behind the mower as you reverse. Turn by using the steering wheel.

Additional concerns:

For the better performance of your lawnmower, you must follow some precautionary measures as listed below:

  1. Spark plugs: Checking the spark plugs should be a part of your maintenance routine. If your mower takes time to start or you notice missing issues, spark plugs are likely the culprits. If they are dirty, clean them. If they look bad, replace them.
  2. Air filter: Check the air filter before every mowing. Clean it if it is dirty by using some air pressure or pump. It would help if you changed them at least once a year or at the start of each mowing season. Keep cleaning them, in any case. 

Frequently asked questions:

1. Why is my Craftsman lawn mower not starting?

The most common cause of a Craftsman mower not starting is the bad fuel. If it has not been used for some time, the carburetor’s bowl is likely to be filled with old or bad fuel. The crude gas can then clog the carburetor’s lines and core. If the carburetor is clogged, you will have to clean it. You can use a carb cleaner like WD-40. This cleaner also helps prevent rust & make maintaining it over extended periods. Other common causes include defective spark plugs and issues with the ignition coil.

2. Where is the choke on a craftsman riding lawnmower?

The choke is typically positioned below the steering wheel on its left side. It is a lever that moves up and down to set the air-fuel mixture. Depending on the extent to which the lever is turned, the choke makes the fuel mixture lean or rich. The top position is for the rich mixture, while the medium position is for a lean mixture. Generally, the mower is started on a rich fuel mixture.

3. How long should a Craftsman riding lawnmower last?

Craftsman lawnmowers are one of the most fuel-efficient and comfortable riding mowers. They are built for medium to large-sized yards. They have a shelf-life of 15-20 years. A more common rating is the number of hours. These mowers are expected to last about 1000-1200 hours, given that they are properly taken care of.

Final remarks:

For maintaining bigger lawns, riding lawn mowers are quite helpful. Among them, the Craftsman brand of riding lawnmowers is seen as one of the best. They are fuel-efficient and have a powerful blading system. They offer a fully automatic drive mechanism and are quite comfortable to use for prolonged hours. Many lawn keepers prefer them over other brands. This blog post explains all the essential controls, levers, and functions that one has to know when using the Craftsman lawnmower. We hope that this post will help your mowing experience.

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