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Poulan Pro Lawnmower Starting Problems. Troubleshoot & Fixes

Most homeowners see lawnmowing as something they must do to keep their lawns in good condition. But it can be pretty frustrating to begin cutting your lawn hedges one day and find that your Poulan Pro lawnmower won’t start. Let’s learn how to fix this problem.

Poulan Pro Lawnmower Starting Problems:

Your Poulan Pro lawnmower won’t start due to a weak spark plug that cannot sustain engine combustion, a plugged or clogged carburetor, or filters with excessive fuel residue buildup. Sometimes, a blocked fuel cap, a sheared flywheel key, or using old low-quality fuel may cause such problems. If your battery-powered lawnmower fails to start, check the starting switch connections and the battery charging.

In this blog post I will provide a simple step-by-step troubleshooting approach so you don’t have to take your mower to a technician every time. 

Common Causes of a Gas-Powered Poulan Pro Lawnmower Not Starting

Let us discuss some of the major components that can be the source of problems in your Lawnmower and how to fix them:

1. Fuel problems: 

The carburetor float bowl may contain old or poor-quality fuel. Fuel within the carburetor evaporates with time, leaving a dense, stickier material behind. These sticky deposits may block the carburetor, making it difficult to start the engine.

– Solution

Clean the bowl with a cleaner fluid. And ensure you do not use older gas. If you plan to store your Lawnmower for more than a few months, add some fuel stabilizers to your gas tank. The additives prevent unwanted residues from internally clogging the carburetor and the fuel lines.

2. Carburetor Deposits:

As stated earlier, fuel deposits in the carburetor can make it difficult for the engine to start and continue running. Combustion, produced by a carburetor, drives the engine, which runs the blade and the drive shaft. Debris and fuel deposits can easily block the jets of a carburetor.

– Solution

Clean the carburetor using a carburetor cleaning liquid (or WD-40) to make the engine run smoothly again. After cleaning, make sure it’s assembled back correctly.

3. Air or fuel filters: 

Your lawn mower’s air filter protects the engine and carburetor from debris and grass clippings. When the air filter gets blocked, the air supply to the engine gets affected, reducing the power generated due to combustion. To avoid this, check and replace paper filters every 25 hours. In the case of foam filters, clean or replace them.

– Solution:

Paper filters always have to be replaced. Foam filters can be cleaned. Wash it in hot water with dish detergent to remove the dirt, and let it dry.

4. Gas Cap: 

The majority of gas lawnmowers have gas caps with vents. This vent alleviates fuel pressure to allow fuel to flow from the tank to the carburetor. Without the vent, the gas cannot leave the gas tank as air cannot replace it resulting in a vacuum that restricts fuel flow.

– Solution:

To release the pressure buildup inside, unscrew the gas cap. After reconnecting it, check to see whether that fixed the problem. The lawnmower should start up immediately. If that works clean the gas cap vent is open.

As a precaution, you should clean the vents of your gas cap from dust regularly.

5. Sheared Fly Wheel Key: 

The flywheel enables the engine to run smoothly. It is coupled to the ignition coil via a metallic key that ensures correct spark timing in the combustion chamber.

If the lawnmower runs or hits a hard object, the key could get sheared off.

– Solution:

It is possible to replace the flywheel key; however, it requires disassembling the lawnmower and exposing the flywheel. The key can easily be bought from a local store based on the make and model of the engine.

If you haven’t performed these steps before, I recommend consulting a professional for performing engine-related repairs.

Poulan Pro Riding Lawnmowers

Some of the common starting problems, along with their step-by-step solutions, are provided below:

1. Riding Lawnmower Does Not Start?

If a lawnmower fails to start after multiple tries, follow the steps below:

– Step 1: Check the fuel level: 

First, check the fuel level if the Poulan Pro lawnmower doesn’t start. After ensuring the lawnmower has plenty of fresh fuel, check the fuel cap and see if its vents aren’t blocked.

You should then wait a few minutes before attempting to restart the lawnmower. If these components are fine, move to the next step.

– Step 2: Check the filters and the battery:

You should check the air and fuel filters and the spark plug if the engine is having trouble starting. If these components are dirty or damaged, replace or service them as necessary. Other than the filters, your carburetor may also require servicing.

If the problem remains, check the battery voltage using a multimeter. Also, if you use an older battery, it should have water up to the required mark.

Clean the terminals with white silt deposits with a wire brush to ensure conductivity.

– Step 3: Start by pressing the brake lever:

Attempt to start the Poulan Pro lawnmower by depressing the brake pedal as far as it will go.

2. Riding Lawnmower Starts but Then Dies?

If your lawnmower stalls just after starting, the following issues could be the reason:

  • Fuel System: Inspect the fuel lines for leaks, kinks, or obstructions. The fuel filter should be changed if it looks dirty. Check the fuel cap vent. If needed, clean it.
  • Carburetor: You might need to remove and disassemble the carburetor to check and clean the fuel residues. Using a carb-cleaner liquid, ensure the fuel jets are clean and debris-free. It is also possible to do this without removing the carburetor.
  • Ignition System: Check the condition of the ignition system’s spark plug, ignition switch, and ignition coil. Replace and repair the worn-out components to get the lawnmower running once again.
  • Air filters: Occasionally, air filters must be cleaned to keep the engine from shutting down. If the exhaust produces soot or smoke with a dark color, it is a sign that you should check and clean your air filter. 

3. Riding Lawnmower Is Smoking?

Depending on the type of smoke being emitted by the exhaust, here’s what needs to be done:

White Smoke:

White (or blue) smoke from your gasoline-powered lawnmower indicates that oil has probably gone into the combustion chamber where it shouldn’t be. 

One of the reasons could be that you flipped your lawnmower on its side to replace the blade, and some oil got into the cylinder block. Or you overfilled it when you changed the oil. In any case, the white smoke is most likely produced by burning oil. 

Let the lawnmower run for a while to stop the smoke so that any excess oil that went into the combustion chamber burns out completely. To prevent this in the future, always fill the oil tank up to 3/4th of the maximum level.

Whenever you tilt the lawnmower, the air filter should point upwards.

Black Smoke:

Clogged air filters are responsible for black smoke. This is because the engine runs rich, and the fuel undergoes incomplete combustion. You should clean the air filters using a soap-water solution.

4. Poulan Pro Lawnmower Runs Rough/Misfire?

If you experience that your lawnmower doesn’t run smoothly, here’s what you can do:

  • Carburetor: If your riding lawn mower’s engine runs rough or misfires, the carburetor jets might be blocked with fuel deposits. In this case, you must disassemble the carburetor and clean it properly. 
  • Flywheel: If the engine runs rough after running into a rock or stump, check the flywheel key; a broken flywheel key can cause the ignition timing to be off.
  • Spark Plug: Check the spark plug electrodes for fuel, oil, or carbon buildup signs. Clean or change the spark plug if it appears fouled.

5. Poulan Pro Lawnmower Has A Dead Battery?

Most gas-powered lawnmowers need a battery to ignite the spark plug. If the battery’s dead, here’s what you should do: 

  • Connections and Terminals: Ensure all connections and terminals are clean and conducting current.
  • Removing Rust: Any terminal rust or debris must be cleaned with baking soda. 
  • Voltage: Verify that the battery voltage is over 12.7V using a multimeter.
  • Electrolyte Solution: Please charge and replenish the electrolyte solution in the battery in case you have an older one.

Poulan Pro Self-Propelled Lawnmowers:

There can be several reasons why a Poulan Pro Self-Propelled Lawnmower does not start or is difficult to start:

1. Self-Propelled Lawnmower Engine Doesn’t Start.

If your engine doesn’t start after pulling the cord multiple times, you should follow the steps below:

– Step 1: Check the Gas Tank

Please check that you have enough fuel first. The gas may be bad if it has been in the tank for over a few months and no fuel stabilizer has been added.

In that case, empty the tank, properly dispose of the unused gas and refuel with fresh gas. Adding a fuel stabilizer can help greatly when you expect to store your lawnmower for longer.

– Step 2: Check the Spark Plug

Please confirm that the spark plug is clean and that the cable is correctly connected to the boot. If it is damp, the spark plug must be dried after cleaning. When the wear and tear is significant or it is really dirty, I recommend replacing the spark plug completely.

– Step 3: Inspect the Mower Deck for Debris

The movement of the blade can be impeded by clogged grass clippings, making it challenging to start the lawnmower. Turn the Mower over, clear the deck of any debris, and then power it back up.

Whenever you tilt the lawnmower, the air filter should point upwards, so no oil can reach the cylinders.

– Step 4: Check the Air Filter

The fuel-to-air ratio might have become upset due to a dusty air filter, leading to starting problems or even smoke. Check the air filter, and if necessary, clean or replace it.

– Step 5: Check the Carburetor

A blocked or dirty carburetor is a typical cause of Poulan Pro Lawnmowers that won’t start. To reach the carburetor, take off the air filter. Clean the carburetor with a carburetor cleaner. Assemble the float bowl and all removed components and reattach the carburetor to the lawnmower.

You can also clean the carburetor without taking it off.

2. Self-Propelled Lawnmower Pull Cord Doesn’t Work?

If your lawnmower pull cord fails to draw, it indicates that the blade shaft is stuck for some reason. Or it could be because the recoil spring has failed.

The underside of the mowing deck can attract dirt and grass clippings which, if not cleaned, can prevent the blades from spinning in some cases. The blade shaft is, in turn is coupled with the crankshaft, due to which the pull cord wouldn’t work.

After cleaning the mowing deck’s underside from all obstacles, press the brake lever and draw the starter rope. If the brake lever is not pushed while pulling the starter rope, the starter will not turn, and the engine won’t start.

If the problem remains, you should check the recoil starter assembly. Examine the recoil spring, a spiral spring that restores after being pushed. If these components are worn out, purchase a new recoil starter, which will certainly fix the issue.

Poulan Pro Battery Powered Lawnmowers:

Battery-powered lawnmowers are less likely to undergo starting difficulties when compared with gas-powered lawnmowers. This is because the absence of the engine and the fuel-ignition system reduces the system’s complexity and lessens the maintenance needs.

Usually, all the problems that occur are due to loose connections, a drained battery, or in rare instances, a faulty motor.

1. Battery-Powered Lawnmower Doesn’t Start?

If your Poulan Pro lawn mower won’t start, always begin by examining the battery, charger, start switch, and motor.

  • Battery: You need to check that the battery has enough power. If so, check corrosion on terminals. I recommend checking the voltage on the terminals using a multimeter.
  • Charger: If the battery stays empty, even after charging, test the charger by plugging in a different battery or using a voltmeter to ensure your battery charges correctly. The charger may be faulty, or the battery could be bad.
  • Start Switch: The start switch itself may be faulty, or the wires running to the start switch can become loose or break occasionally. Use a multimeter to check the wires’ connectivity and the switch’s correct working.
  • Motor: The motor is most likely the culprit if all these steps fail. In this case, you should consult a professional or contact customer support for motor replacement if it’s under warranty.

2. Battery-Powered Lawnmower Shuts Down?

If a battery-powered lawnmower shuts down, this is usually because the battery has run out of charge or the engine is running hot.

Always check the battery first. Put a recently charged battery in the lawnmower, or check the battery with a multimeter.

In some cases, overheating of a motor may trigger a shutdown. This is because most lawnmowers have a safety thermal switch that prevents the motor from overheating. So, you should wait for the motor to cool down before starting it again.

In rare situations, the motor winding may get damaged due to a voltage surge or overheating. In this case, the motor could stop immediately. If the motor winding has failed, contact your product service center for repairs/replacements.

Lawnmower Starting Problems

1. Gas-Powered Lawnmower Starting Problems

Lawnmower doesn’t start
a. Empty fuel tank
b. Clogged carburetor
c. Air filter blocked with dirt.
d. Spark plug with worn-out electrodes
a. Before adding fresh, drain old fuel residues from the tank.
b. Inspect and clean the air and fuel filters from debris. Replace if necessary.
c. Disassemble and clean the carburetor using a carb. cleaner liquid.
d. Replace the spark plug if electrodes are worn out.
Lawnmower starts but then dies
a. Blocked air filter
b. Clogged carburetor jets
c. Vapor lock in the fuel tank
a. Clean the air filter using soap and water. Replace if needed.
b. Clean the carburetor jets from residues using a carb cleaner spray.
c. Clean the fuel tank vents to prevent a vapor lock.
Lawnmower is smoking
a. Oil leaking into the combustion chamber
b. Blocked air filter  
a. Avoid overfilling the oil tank.
b. Always tilt the mower with the air filter pointing upwards.
c. Check and replace worn-out gaskets.
d. Clean the air filter.
The lawnmower runs rough/misfires
a. Stale fuel deposits in the fuel system.
b. Broken flywheel key
a. Perform a complete tune-up involving cleaning the filters, carburetor, and fuel lines.
b. Replace the flywheel key.

2. Corded Electric Lawnmower Starting Problems

Lawnmower doesn’t start
a. Loose connection
b. Defective extension cord
c. Faulty start switch
d. Tripped circuit breaker
a. Ensure the connections aren’t loose and the socket is working.
b. Try plugging in directly without an extension cord.
c. Test the start switch using a multimeter and replace it if needed.
d. Reset the tripped circuit breaker.
The lawnmower shuts down during operation.
a. Loose plug at the socket
b. Tripped circuit breaker
c. Motor winding damage
a. Ensure the connection isn’t loose and the socket works.
b. Reset the circuit breaker or replace the blown switches.
c. Contact customer support to seek a replacement in case of motor damage.

3. Cordless Battery Powered Lawnmower Starting Problems

Lawnmower doesn’t start
a. Low battery
b. Faulty start switch  
a. Ensure the battery is fully charged.
b. Test the start switch for continuity using a multimeter.  
The lawnmower shuts down during operation.
a. Low battery
b. Overheating
c. Debris obstructing the blades  
a. Ensure the battery is fully charged.
b. Let the lawnmower cool down for 10-15 minutes and restart.
c. Clean the mower’s underside and remove any debris/grass clippings.

4. Robotic Lawnmower Starting Problems

Lawnmower doesn’t start
a. Disconnected boundary wire
b. Faulty power supply
c. Software update
d. Debris stuck in blades
a. Ensure the boundary wire is connected to the charging station.
b. The battery connections should be correct and the charging should be sufficient.
c. Keep the software up to date.
d. Remove any debris stuck between blades.
The lawnmower keeps shutting down mid-operation
a. Ensure the boundary wire is connected to the charging station.
b. The battery connections should be correct, and the charging should be sufficient.
c. Keep the software up to date.
d. Remove any debris stuck between blades.
a. Avoid mowing when the conditions are damp.
b. Resolve error messages on the display.

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  1. Amelia Ford says:

    How often should I check the spark plug in my Poulan Pro lawnmower?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Check your spark plug on your Poulan Pro lawnmower every 25 hours of use to ensure proper combustion. Replace if dirty or damaged to avoid starting issues.

  2. Cassandra Simpson says:

    What’s the best way to clean the carburetor of a Poulan Pro lawnmower?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      To clean the carburetor of your Poulan Pro lawnmower, use a carburetor cleaning fluid or WD-40 to remove fuel deposits. Make sure to reassemble it correctly after cleaning.

  3. Albert Baker says:

    Is it normal for the air filter to get dirty quickly in a lawnmower?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      It is normal for the air filter to get dirty quickly in a lawnmower due to grass clippings and debris. Regular cleaning or replacement is recommended to ensure optimal performance.

  4. Juanita Wilson says:

    Should I be using a specific brand of fuel stabilizers for my Poulan Pro lawnmower?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Yes, using a fuel stabilizer for your Poulan Pro lawnmower is recommended to prevent starting issues. Look for a stabilizer that helps prevent fuel residue buildup and keeps your carburetor clean.

  5. Reginald Henderson says:

    What should I do if my Poulan Pro lawnmower starts but then dies shortly after?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Hi Reginald, your Poulan Pro lawnmower may be stalling due to a clogged carburetor or fuel cap, old fuel, or a sheared flywheel key. Quick fixes include cleaning the carburetor and checking the fuel cap.

  6. Alexis Cruz says:

    Are there any specific maintenance tips for a battery-powered Poulan Pro lawnmower?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Ensure battery is charged, check spark plug, clean carburetor, and filters, along with fuel quality. Check for sheared flywheel key and blocked fuel cap. If issues persist, consult a professional.

  7. Pat Carter says:

    How can I tell if the carburetor float bowl has old fuel in it?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      To check if the carburetor float bowl contains old fuel, inspect for sticky deposits. Clean with a fuel cleaner, avoid old gas, and use stabilizers for long storage. Regular maintenance is key.

  8. Gabriella Peterson says:

    Can a clogged air filter affect the performance of a lawnmower?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Yes, a clogged air filter can definitely affect the performance of a lawnmower. Make sure to clean or replace the air filter regularly to avoid starting issues.

  9. Erik Meyer says:

    How do I know if my gas cap vent is blocked in my Poulan Pro lawnmower?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      To check if your gas cap vent is blocked, unscrew it and try starting the lawnmower. If it starts, clean the gas cap vent. If not, check other possible issues listed on the blog post.

  10. Luis Carter says:

    How often should I clean or replace the air filter in my Poulan Pro lawnmower to avoid starting problems?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      It’s recommended to clean or replace the air filter in your Poulan Pro lawnmower every 25 hours of use to avoid starting problems. Regular maintenance is key.

  11. Clinton Diaz says:

    Can using old fuel really cause starting issues in a lawnmower?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Old fuel can indeed cause starting issues in a lawnmower. It can lead to carburetor clogs and fuel filter blockages. Consider using fresh, high-quality fuel to avoid these problems.