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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 of 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. I will also answer some of the common questions.


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 that 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 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 a 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 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 maintain 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 lever 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.

The choke itself is near the opening of the carburetor that gets the air from the air filter. It is a moving plate, that restricts the airflow to the carburetor when the choke lever is activated.

3. Is there a choke on a Craftsman riding lawnmower?

Generally, a gas Craftsman lawnmower has a choke. It is used to start the engine when it is cold. In that case, the airflow going to the carburetor is restricted.

4. How do you use a choke on a Craftsman riding lawn mower?

When you want to start a riding lawnmower when the engine is cold it can have more difficulty starting. In that case, you set the throttle into the choke position. This setting is generally between the fast and slow throttle position, or above the fast position. Some Craftsman mowers have a separate lever for it.

Then you can start the lawnmower. When the engine is running fine, and it has heated up a little bit, you can set the throttle to the desired throttle setting.

3. Where is the choke on a Craftsman LT 2000 riding mower?

The choke on a Craftsman LT 2000 is located on the left side of the engine. To operate it, you need to reach under the machine and pull up on the lever. Keep in mind that this choke will vary depending on the model of your Craftsman LT 2000. Some models may have a single lever, while others may have two levers.

3. Where is the choke on a Craftsman DLT 3000 riding mower?

The choke on a Craftsman LT 300 riding mower is connected to the throttle lever. When you pull it above the fast position, it will activate the choke. The choke itself is located near the opening where air from the air filter will enter the carburetor. A plate will limit the airflow when the choke is activated.

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 is 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.

Usage Of Craftsman GT5000 Riding Mower’s Choke

In the Craftsman GT5000 Riding Mower, a crucial element is the choke. This mechanism is controlled by a knob located on the left side of the steering wheel.

• Choke Operation

This knob is used for two basic operations. When you need to choke the mower, simply pull the knob out. For regular operation, you push it back in.

• Internal Structure of the Choke Knob

Let’s delve into the internals of this knob. It houses a metallic cable encased within a plastic sheath. This cable connects to a pivotal component – a lever that moves laterally.

• Lever’s Function

What is this lever responsible for? It acts as the gatekeeper for a butterfly valve leading to the carburetor. By sliding side-to-side, it opens and shuts the valve appropriately.

• Experienced Choke Sticking Issues

Now, let’s talk about issues. I’ve been experiencing a problem where the choke sticks and isn’t able to be pulled out or pushed down. This poses significant problems in operating the mower.

• Suspected Blockage Location

What could be the cause of this? I suspect there may be a mechanical impediment or a catch positioned near the lever arm.

• Lever Arm Connections

To explore this further, let’s understand more about the lever arm connections. On one end, the lever arm is securely connected to the throttle cable. However, it takes another connection on the opposite side.

• Troubleshooting Attempts

What steps have been taken to mitigate this problem? One classic method applied was lubricating the cable and then operating it back and forth to see if it eases the jam.

• Possible Problem Source

Where exactly lies the issue? It’s a tossup between a jammed wire or cable located inside the flexible metal covering.

• Looking for Effective Solutions

As a seasoned user and professional, my goal is to troubleshoot this problem and find a reliable solution.

• Helpful Resources

One source I found particularly helpful for troubleshooting lawn mower choke issues is a page on the University of Missouri Extension site. I encourage you to check it out as they provide practical tips and clear instructions. Click here.

Ending on a note of perseverance, this issue with the Craftsman GT5000 is challenging yet solvable. With methodical exploration of the choke mechanism, a solution isn’t far off. Remember, patience is key when troubleshooting mechanical problems. Good luck!

• Understanding the Craftsman LT1000 Lawn Tractor Throttle/Choke Lever

The Craftsman LT1000 lawn tractor is an ingenious piece of landscaping equipment that, quite amazingly, boasts of a throttle/choke lever characterized by some unconventional illustrations of a turtle and a rabbit. Confused? Let’s delve into the intriguing specifics of this throttle lever.

At the bottom, the lever bears what can only be described as a whimsical depiction of a turtle. Flip it to the top, and the illustration transitions into a rabbit. And right in the middle, believe it or not, the position is designated for the purpose of mowing.

The rabbit-turtle-mowing trio of labels may come off as confusing or amusing, but there’s a clear functionality behind these symbols.

• The Role of the Instruction Manual

While the turtle-rabbit lever provides a great conversation starter, the Craftsman LT1000 lawn tractor instruction manual obliges us that the throttle control should be moved to the choke position to facilitate a successful start.

However, the question remains: Where does the lever actually belong? How are we to initiate that coveted start by correctly deciphering the position designated for ‘choke’?

• Deciphering the Lever Through Experience

After spending a good 15 years in the company of the LT1000 lawn tractor, I find myself in the same boat as many others, inclined to seek definitive clarification on the proper choke position for starting the engine.

The slightly enigmatic positionings should indeed merit a clear explanation lest users like myself end up grappling with engine start-up issues.

• Subduing the Resistant Engine

In the course of my long acquaintance with this lawn tractor, I faced repeated instances of an obstinate engine that staunchly resisted every attempt to start. Despite the instruction manual’s guidance and several remedies, resorting to starting fluid was the only subsequent option.

Turn the key, and there was only deafening silence in return, quiet defiance from the engine refusing to rev up and get the mower running.

• Aiding the Choke Function Past and Present

Going back a few years, I recall reaching into my toolbox for a simple spring from the local hardware store and adding this spring served to supplement the choke function of a previous engine, a little improvisation that aided the start-up action.

With this engine, which is now approximately 5 years old, I have not pursued similar steps. The question thus founds – could this have been a contributing factor to the difficulty experienced in starting the engine?

• The Importance of Clarity and Understanding

Any power equipment operates at its maximum potential when the users thoroughly understand its functions. When the equipment in question is as precise as the Craftsman LT1000 lawn tractor, clarity becomes crucial, especially when navigating between a turtle and a rabbit to mow the grass in your lawn.

University of Connecticut’s Home & Garden Education Center [] offers a comprehensive understanding of lawn mower operations.

They talk about how understanding your equipment’s features and functions can result in optimal performance. It’s undoubtedly an informative read for Craftsman LT1000 owners who are struggling to understand their equipment.

• Finding the Optimal Lever Position for Start-up

As a seasoned user of the LT1000, I’m on a continuous quest for a definitive explanation for the optimal position.

Once identified, the mower would no longer have to depend on excessive starting fluid or additional springs to assist the choke. It’s a perfect exemplar case of ‘every tiny switch or lever playing a vital role in the overall machine performance.’

Importance of Regular Maintenance for Your Craftsman Riding Lawnmower

Maintaining your Craftsman riding lawnmower regularly ensures optimal performance and longevity. Regular maintenance, from my personal experience, includes checking and cleaning the spark plugs and the air filter.

– Primacy of Clean and Clear Spark Plugs

Spark plugs play a crucial role in your lawnmower’s performance. Neglected or dirty spark plugs can lead to issues such as hard starts, poor fuel economy, and lowered performance.

The recommended practice is to check your spark plugs every month. Remove any dirt or grime that may have accumulated over time. A good guide that I always refer to is available on how to clean your spark plugs.

– Criticality of Clean Air Filters

The air filter is another essential component requiring regular cleaning. This is because a dirty air filter can adversely affect your lawnmower’s performance by restricting airflow, which can lead to excessive fuel consumption. A good rule of thumb is to clean the air filter every season or after 25 hours of use.

• The Problem of Bad Fuel

In my years of experience, I’ve seen that bad fuel is a common cause of a Craftsman lawnmower not starting. Over time, old fuel breaks down and may clog the carburetor, making it difficult for the mower to start.

– Handling Carburetor Issues

If you’re facing starting problems, cleaning or replacing the carburetor may be the solution. You may choose to clean the carburetor yourself or hire a lawn-mowing professional; either way, always take care while handling it, as a damaged carburetor can lead to more significant issues.

• Choke Lever Location on a Craftsman Riding Lawnmower

The choke lever, an important part of starting the lawnmower, is typically located below the steering wheel on the left side.

It regulates the air entering the engine, which helps control the lawnmower’s speed. If you’re unsure of how to use the choke properly, the official Craftsman manual lists step-by-step instructions.

• Fuel Efficiency and Comfort of Craftsman Riding Lawnmowers

Craftsman-riding lawnmowers, from personal experience, are designed to be fuel-efficient and comfortable for extended usage. The comfortable seat, easy-to-reach controls, and efficient fuel consumption make mowing a breeze, even for large yards.

• Expected Lifespan of a Craftsman Riding Lawnmower

A well-maintained Craftsman riding lawnmower has an expected lifespan of around 15 to 20 years or approximately 1,000 to 1,200 hours of usage.

This, of course, largely depends on factors such as frequency of use, severity of tasks, and adherence to maintenance schedules. Encountering any issues before this timespan may be a sign of neglect or misuse.

Ultimately, preventive maintenance is the best way to ensure a long lifespan for your Craftsman riding lawnmower.

By paying attention to the quality of fuel used, regularly cleaning critical parts like the spark plugs and air filters, and understanding the workings of components like the choke lever, you can ensure that you get the most out of your lawnmower.

• Starting Your Craftsman Riding Lawnmower: Key Steps

Before operating a Craftsman riding lawnmower, it’s critical to familiarize yourself with its main features and components. First, identify the choke lever, which assists in starting the cold engine, and the ignition switch, which kick-starts the engine. (Source: Craftsman User Manual)

Additionally, categorize the knobs or levers responsible for controlling the mower deck height and speed. All these controls are usually located near the steering wheel for easy reach.

• Priming for Start: The Correct Procedures

In cold weather, ensure you prime the engine to prep it up for a smooth start. The priming process involves pulling out the choke lever before starting the engine, thus enriching the fuel-air mixture for a clean engine start. This should not be necessary in warm weather.

• Initiating the Start: From Ignition to Action

To start the engine, insert and twist the ignition key clockwise. Next, gradually push in the choke lever as the engine warms up. It’s worthwhile to note that pushing the choke lever too quickly may stall the engine or cause it to run erratically.

• Selecting the Right Speed

Choosing the appropriate speed for your Craftsman riding mower is crucial. The speed lever on your Craftsman allows you to control how fast or slow the mower moves.

Slow speed allows for detailed mowing around lawn edges or serpentine paths, while faster speeds are suitable for bigger, open spaces. It’s essential to get comfortable with different speed settings to provide your lawns with the best possible finish.

• Adjusting the Cutting Height

It is always recommended to adjust the mowing height appropriately for the best cut. Most Craftsman riding lawnmowers have levers or knobs that enable you to modify the height of the cutting deck. Different lawn grasses require different cutting heights for optimal health.

Make sure to follow the recommended mowing heights for specific grass types. You can refer to the University of California’s guide on mowing heights for different grass types here.

• Using the Craftsman Safely: Mower Operation Tips

Craftsman-riding lawnmowers, like all power equipment, need to be operated carefully. Always ensure you sit securely on the tractor seat when the engine is running. Stand clear, keeping hands and feet away when the engine starts.

It is highly recommended not to mow in reverse unless absolutely necessary.

• Regular Maintenance: Key to Longevity and Efficiency

To maintain efficiency, clean the mower deck regularly. Accumulated grass under the deck affects performance.

Check the oil level at regular intervals and replace the oil as necessary.

Remember: your Craftsman riding lawnmower is a valuable piece of machinery, and it deserves your attention and care!

• Handling Possible Hiccups: What to Do When Your Craftsman Doesnt Start

If you’re struggling to start your Craftsman lawnmower, test your battery connection, check the fuel, and clean the carburetor and spark plugs. If these steps do not solve the problem, consult a professional mechanic or refer to this handy guide.

In conclusion, operating your Craftsman riding lawnmower effectively comes down to understanding its controls and maintaining it regularly. By following the steps mentioned above, you can keep your lawnmower functioning optimally, ensuring a well-manicured lawn season after season.

– Throttle Control Locations in Craftsman Riding Mowers

Craftsman riding mowers are incredible machines, notably known for their efficiency and longevity. One primary component that plays an essential role in the operation of these mowers is the throttle/choke control. The location of this control in different models may vary, so it’s crucial to familiarize yourself.

– Throttle Control in Standard Craftsman Model

In the standard Craftsman model, the throttle control is generally mounted on the mower’s dashboard directly to the right of the steering wheel. It could be a lever or a knob, depending on the specific model. It’s effortless to reach and adjust while driving, making it user-friendly.

– Craftsman Zero Turn Riding Mower Throttle

For the Craftsman Zero Turn riding mower, the throttle control is distinctly located on the mower. It’s placed on the right side of the control console, just beside the operator’s seat. Its unique position is to ensure easy access, considering the mower’s zero-turn attribute.

– Craftsman Professional Riding Mower Throttle

Craftsman’s professional riding mower models feature the throttle/choke control on the right-hand side of the dashboard panel. Close to the key ignition, it was strategically positioned to enhance accessibility and make it easy for users to operate the control while still focusing on the mowing task.

– The LT1000 Craftsman Riding Mower Throttle

The LT1000 Craftsman Riding Mower positions its throttle on the right-hand side of the control dashboard. Here, it’s easy for users to adjust the throttle while operating the mower conveniently.

– The Importance of the Throttle/Choke Control

The throttle/choke control serves as a critical link between the operator and the mower’s engine. Its primary function is to regulate the amount of air and fuel mixed in the engine for combustion.

Controlling the throttle asks the engine to either increase speed, reduce speed, or come to a halt, hence the significance of its accessibility.

– Handling Your Choke in the Right Manner

To preserve the health and efficiency of your mower engine, it’s best to properly understand how your choke works, whether it’s adjusted manually or automatically.

Proper choke handling aids in preventing engine flooding, which can significantly impact the engine’s lifespan. Engage your choke only when necessary, especially during cold startup scenarios.

– Maintaining Your Mower’s Throttle Control

Ensuring your throttle control is adequately maintained is crucial for the longevity of your mower. Regularly check your cables for any sign of wear or tear and replace them if necessary. Avoid unnecessary tugging or pulling off the control to prevent any damage.

Mower Manuals is a .org non-profit organization that offers comprehensive guides to understanding how different mower models work. This link provides more detailed information about throttle/choke controls and their locations on various Craftsman mowers.

Remember, knowing the operation and maintenance of your mower controls significantly improves your mowing experience.