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Scotts Lawnmower Starting Problems. Troubleshooting & Fixes

One of Scotts lawnmowers’ most common problems is the engine not starting after multiple tries. This can be quite a concern for the professionals who use it frequently for their jobs. In this guide, we’ll walk you through why your Scotts lawnmower won’t start and the steps needed to troubleshoot the problem.

Scotts lawnmower starting problems:

If your riding or self-propelled lawnmower isn’t starting, it could be because of insufficient or stale fuel, a carburetor plugged with debris, a damaged spark plug, or your fuel cap or air filter is clogged up. For Scotts electric mowers, the problem typically lies in a damaged cord, a tripped breaker, or a faulty switch. But it can also be a damaged or defective battery.

Let’s troubleshoot your problem by discussing all the possible reasons that can cause your Scotts Lawnmower starting problems.


Troubleshooting a Gas-Powered Scotts Lawnmower: Where to Begin?

The majority of lawnmowers by Scotts are gas-powered machines. Staring problems are more predominant in gas-powered mowers as the presence of the engine and the fuel makes the system susceptible to failures.

Whenever you have trouble starting your gas-powered mower, you should start your inspection according to the step-by-step procedure below. Check each component until the problem is found.

1. Check for Fuel-Related Problems

The first thing to do is inspect the gas tank. If it’s empty or running on insufficient fuel, the mower will not start. Similarly, if the fuel is old, your lawnmower may not start due to residual fuel clogging the fuel lines and carburetor.

Bad fuel is a common starting problem if your Scotts lawnmower has been idle for several months. I always recommend adding a fuel stabilizer to your gas if you plan to store your mower for a prolonged time.

If your fuel situation is fine, inspect the fuel filter if there is one (not all lawnmowers have these). A clogged fuel filter prevents an adequate amount of fuel from reaching the engine, causing starting problems.

– What to Do?

  • Empty the stale fuel: If the gas in your tank is several months old, it can get bad (stale fuel). Use a siphon to drain it out.
  • Add Fresh Fuel: Refill the fuel tank. Use the fuel grade as recommended in the owner’s manual. Avoid using ethanol-blended fuel as it decomposes readily and produces sticky residues.
  • Add a Fuel stabilizer: Stabilizers prevent the fuel from fast degradation. Add a fuel stabilizer if you plan to store the mower for more than a few months, like the winter period. This also applies to fuel you might keep in a jerrycan.
  • Clean the fuel filter: Clean the fuel filter. If it’s too old, consider replacing it.

2. Clogged Air filter 

The air filter is the next component to check if the mower still won’t start. If it is clogged, it will not allow sufficient airflow into the engine. Consequently, the engine RPMs would drop, or it may not start.

– What to Do?

  • Clean the filter: If your machine uses a foam filter, use a soap and water solution to clean it. If your mower uses a paper filter, you need to replace it. In case of frequent lawnmower use, I recommend cleaning it out every week or bi-weekly.
  • Replace the filter: If you notice that the foam filter is damaged or contains stubborn dirt, replace it with a new one. Air filters are quite cheap and easily available.

3. Gummed Up Carburetor 

Fuel and debris deposits in the carburetor can cause starting problems in your Scotts lawnmower. Carburetor jets tend to get clogged due to excessive debris buildup.

If the carburetor is clogged up, it affects the composition of the AFR (air-fuel ratio) needed to power up the engine. The optimum AFR value is 14. If the engine receives too much or too little fuel, this affects the RPM and in turn, the power output. As a result, the engine doesn’t start.

– What to Do?

  • Remove the carburetor: Make sure the lawnmower is turned off. Carefully remove the protective covering and the air filter housing to access the carburetor. Using a screwdriver, unscrew the bolts and screws and detach the carburetor. Carefully separate the fuel lines and the governor linkage while detaching the carburetor.
  • Unclog the Carburetor: Use a spray carburetor cleaner to clear the blockages. Spray it in all openings, passages, and fuel jets. Clean the float bowl nut from buildup, as it’s a fuel jet. The cleaner dissolves the dirt and fuel deposits. Use a clean rag to wipe the carburetor at the end.
  • Inspect for corrosion: Take this opportunity to inspect the carburetor for corrosion and damaged components. If the corrosion is too significant, I recommend replacing it.

4. Fuel Cap Blockage 

The lawnmower fuel cap has a vent allowing fuel vapors to escape the tank and air to enter to replace used gas. However, blockages in the fuel cap create a buildup of fuel vapors in the fuel tank, and the gas increases the pressure in the gas tank.

This pressure buildup disrupts the flow of fuel from the tank to the carburetor, and the engine could shut as a result.

To check this, take off the cap and try starting the mower again. If it starts, you know a blocked gas cap is the culprit. You should thoroughly clean the cap and unclog the vent(s). If cleaning doesn’t fix the problem, I recommend replacing the cap.

5. Damaged Recoil Assembly

The recoil assembly is the rope start mechanism that helps start the engine in self-propelled lawnmowers.

The recoil assembly starts the engine by engaging and retracting the flywheel via a starter rope and a spring-mounted pulley. A damaged spring will be unable to retract the pulley and rope smoothly.

Additionally, the rope might fray or break at some location, so it doesn’t engage the pulley.

– What to Do?

  • Disconnect the spark plug cables: Turn off the lawnmower, disconnect the spark plug, and ensure the engine has cooled down. Disconnecting the spark plug cables is a security measure to prevent accidentally starting the engine.
  • Inspect the recoil assembly: Remove the blower housing to gain access to the recoil assembly. Carefully examine the entire assembly for issues such as a worn-out recoil spring, frayed or damaged starter rope, or a damaged pulley.
  • Replace the necessary parts: If the rope is frayed or broken, it should be changed. If the recoil spring is damaged or has lost tension, it also needs to be replaced. In most cases, I recommend just replacing the whole mechanism.

Scotts Riding Lawnmowers: Starting Problems

Some of the common starting problems that occur in gas-powered Scotts riding lawnmowers are outlined below.

1. Riding Lawnmower Does Not Start?

If a lawnmower doesn’t start, check if the battery isn’t dead. Inspect the carburetor, fuel filter, and spark plug.

– Dead battery:

Make sure the battery is fully charged. You can verify this by using a multimeter to check the battery’s voltage. Check the terminal connections. Maybe they are loose or dirty with silt deposits. Clean them with a metal brush and tighten them if needed.

– Fuel system:

When inspecting the fuel system, check the fuel quality has not degraded. Gas can turn bad in a few months, making the lawnmower hard or even not starting. I recommend adding a fuel stabilizer if you plan not to use your lawnmower for an extended period.

Check the fuel filter and clean out any debris dislodged within the filter. Replace it if it looks like beyond cleaning.

– Carburetor problems:

If the fuel quality has degraded, you may need to check and clean the carburetor. Make sure the carburetor jets are not plugged with fuel deposits.

Use a carburetor cleaner spray to clean the jets and thoroughly remove any debris.

– Spark plug issues:

Check the condition of the spark plug electrodes. You can use a feeler gauge to determine the separation between the electrodes. Adjust the electrode distance if needed.

If the spark plug is damaged or looks bad, consider replacing it. Doing this greatly improves the spark quality, which results in the form of better engine performance.

2. Riding Lawnmower Starts but Then Dies?

A stalling lawnmower engine indicates a dirty carburetor or a bad spark plug. In some cases, a blocked air filter might be causing this issue.

– Fuel problems:

Ensure there is enough fuel in the tank and it hasn’t gone stale. You should inspect the fuel cap and fuel filter to see if it isn’t restricting the fuel flow. A blocked fuel cap vent could also produce a vapor lock that disturbs the fuel flow to the engine, causing it to shut down during operation.

– Ignition issues:

Conduct a thorough examination of ignition components, such as the spark plug. Replace the plug if needed. See what I wrote about spark plugs earlier in this article.

– Air filter problems:

If the air filter is clogged up, clean it with a soap and water solution. If your mower uses a paper filter, it needs to be replaced. A blocked air filter deprives the engine of sufficient air to burn the fuel completely, and the engine stalls.

3. Riding Lawnmower Is Smoking?

A gas mower smokes for two reasons. Either the engine isn’t receiving enough air due to a blocked filter, or the engine oil leaks into the combustion chamber due to a ruptured gasket.

Depending on the color of the smoke, you can determine the cause behind it.

– Oil leakage problems: Bluish white smoke

If the smoke is bluish-white, it is due to oil leaking into the engine from the crankcase and burning alongside fuel. Oil leakage occurs either due to the overfilling of the oil tank or the mower being tilted in the wrong direction.

A broken gasket could be the culprit if the engine is old and has been used for many hours. If you do not know how to fix this, I recommend asking a professional to disassemble the engine head and replace the gasket.

– Clogged air filter: dark-colored smoke

A blocked air filter could be the reason if the smoke is dark-colored. When the engine runs rich in fuel (low air-fuel ratio), some hydrocarbons in fuel are left unburnt and leave as black residue from the exhaust.

Check and thoroughly clean the air filter with a soap-water solution. Or, in case of a paper airfilter, replace it.

4. Riding Lawnmower Runs Rough/Misfires?

If your riding lawnmower is running rough or misfiring, it could indicate the following underlying problems:

– Spark plug problems:

A spark plug with worn-out electrodes results in incomplete fuel combustion in the engine. Due to this, the engine could misfire, and the user faces a rough driving experience.

Replacing the plug has been known to fix the problem in most cases.

– Fuel quality problems:

Bad fuel quality, for instance, stale fuel, can also be the reason for misfires. Use premium quality fuel and add stabilizers to increase its shelf life.

Make sure you use a fuel with a minimum octane number of 87. This also prevents long-term engine-knocking problems.

5. Does the Riding Lawnmower Have a Dead Battery?

Has your riding lawnmower been losing battery power quickly recently? You can do the following to fix this issue:

– Check battery connections:

Ensure the battery connections are secure, tight, and clean from silt deposits. Loose connections have been known to cause this problem as the battery charging gets affected.

To clean the terminals, you can use a wire brush. Or, the terminals can be soaked in hot water and baking soda solution to dissolve the white residue. The battery terminals can be cleaned with a file or some sanding paper.

Use a winter charger to keep the battery in good condition during the colder season. If you use an old battery type, check the battery’s water level regularly.

– Old or worn-out battery:

Most lead-acid batteries have a lifespan of 3-4 years, after which they ought to be replaced. However, if your battery is fairly new and undergoing issues, you should get its pH tested.

If the pH is too high, the battery needs to be filled with more acid. I would suggest asking an expert for this job.

Scotts Self-Propelled Lawnmowers: Starting Problems

Gas-powered self-propelled lawnmowers from Scotts may run into starting trouble at times. The troubleshooting steps for riding mowers is almost the same as described in the above section.

1. Self-Propelled Lawnmower Engine Doesn’t Start

The engine may not start due to a clogged carburetor, fuel tank vent, worn-out spark plug, or blocked air/fuel filter.

Make sure all the filters and the carburetor are cleaned. Moreover, siphon out any bad gas and refill the tank with fresh gas and a fuel stabilizer. Inspect the spark plug electrodes and replace them if necessary.

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

A stuck or loose pull cord could be the result of a damaged recoil assembly, frayed rope, or a damaged recoil pulley and spring.

The first thing to do is disassemble the blower housing and inspect each component, i.e., the rope, pulley, and spiral spring. The spring tends to be the culprit in most cases.

After identifying the problem, you can replace the faulty components as needed. If you feel uncomfortable with this, ask a professional for help.

Scotts Battery Powered Lawnmowers: Starting Problems

Nowadays, battery-powered lawnmowers are preferred by many users due to their ease of use and less maintenance needs. Also, these mowers are much quieter and are environmentally friendly too.

Some of the problems that might occur in these mowers are mentioned below.

1. Battery Powered Lawnmower Doesn’t Start?

  • Inspect the battery: Check if the battery is fully charged and correctly installed. Sometimes, the battery looks at first correctly installed, but it is not. Check if you hear the sound of the battery snapping into place. This is usually a click. Moreover, clean the connections from deposits with some alcohol if needed to improve the conductivity.
  • Power Switch: Use a multimeter in a continuity setting to test a faulty power switch. You may need to replace it if the test gives an infinite resistance when turned on. Sometimes, the power switch can get stuck in the off-position. Replace if needed.

If these fixes don’t solve the problem, you should contact the product service center to get the electric motor checked.

2. Battery Powered Lawnmower Shuts Down?

If your lawnmower abruptly shuts down, it could be overheated or have a low battery.

  • Overheating: Overheating in some lawnmowers triggers a safety mechanism that shuts down the machine automatically. Allow it to cool down for 5-10 minutes and restart again.
  • Low battery voltage: Low battery voltage also triggers a safety mechanism to protect the battery and shuts down the mower. Check the battery level and make sure it’s recharged before use.

Scotts Electric Lawnmowers: Starting Problems

Corded electric lawnmowers are also in demand as they require less upkeep. The only downside is the limited range due to an electric cord.

1. Electric Lawnmower Doesn’t Start?

If your electric lawn mower fails to start, examine the following parts.

  • Start Push Key: Check if the start push key is pressed. Otherwise, the lawnmower will not power up. The lawnmower will also not start if the start button is damaged.
  • Tripped Circuit Breaker: Tripped circuit breakers prevent the mower from starting. Check for a reset button or manually reset the circuit breaker to start the mower.

2. Electric Lawnmower Keeps Shutting Down?

A broken power cord or faulty switch will keep letting your mower shut down repeatedly.

  • Faulty On/Off Switch: Use a multimeter to test the functionality of the on/off switch. You can replace it based on the results.
  • Broken Power Cord: A broken power cord will disrupt the current flow in the electric lawnmower and keep shutting down. It can be damaged so that the connection intermittently is made when the cord moves. Generally, this happens more with the extension cord. Check with another extension cord if this is the case. If the lawnmower cord is damaged, contact customer support and ask for the replacement chord based on your device’s model number. Or let the dealer fix the issue.

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. Jimmie White says:

    What’s the average lifespan of a Scotts lawnmower?

    • Web Editor says:

      The average lifespan of a Scotts lawnmower can vary based on maintenance and usage. With proper care, it can last for years. Regular maintenance can help extend its lifespan.

  2. Franklin Hunt says:

    This guide is really helpful for understanding why my Scotts lawnmower won’t start. I learned a lot about troubleshooting and now feel confident in fixing the issue myself. Thank you!

    • Web Editor says:

      Glad to hear the guide was helpful, Franklin! Feel free to reach out if you need further assistance with your Scotts lawnmower. Happy to help!

  3. Peyton Wright says:

    Why won’t my Scotts lawnmower start?

    • Web Editor says:

      Peyton, your Scotts lawnmower may not start due to fuel, spark plug, or carburetor issues. Check these components for any problems and follow our troubleshooting guide to get your mower running smoothly.

  4. Andrew Rhodes says:

    What should I do if my mower keeps shutting down?

    • Web Editor says:

      It seems like your Scotts lawnmower might be experiencing issues due to dirty fuel, a clogged carburetor, or a blocked air filter. Start by checking these components to troubleshoot the problem.

  5. Rita Reid says:

    I never knew about the fuel stabilizer, thanks for the tip!

    • Web Editor says:

      Thank you, Rita! I’m glad you found the tip about the fuel stabilizer helpful. Good luck with troubleshooting your lawnmower starting problems!

  6. Misty Spencer says:

    Do I need any special tools to troubleshoot my mower?

    • Web Editor says:

      To troubleshoot your mower, you may need basic tools like a screwdriver, a carburetor cleaner spray, a multimeter, and possibly a feeler gauge. Check the blog for detailed steps on how to troubleshoot starting problems.

  7. Camila Perry says:

    Can I use regular gasoline for my Scotts mower?

    • Web Editor says:

      Yes, Camila, you can use regular gasoline for your Scotts mower. Just make sure to follow the recommendations for fuel stabilizer and maintenance to keep it running smoothly. Hope this helps!

  8. Marlene Montgomery says:

    How often should I clean the air filter?

    • Web Editor says:

      Hi Marlene! Cleaning the air filter of your Scotts lawnmower every week or bi-weekly is recommended to prevent starting problems. This will ensure proper airflow and engine performance.

  9. Eva Jimenez says:

    Is it safe to clean the carburetor myself?

    • Web Editor says:

      Yes, cleaning the carburetor yourself is safe and can help troubleshoot your Scotts lawnmower starting problems. Follow the steps in the guide for best results.

  10. Alyssa Hunt says:

    This article is overly detailed and repetitive, making it difficult to quickly find a solution. It also fails to address potential issues with the actual quality and reliability of Scotts lawnmowers.

    • Web Editor says:

      Thank you for your feedback, Alyssa. I will take your points into consideration for future posts. Your insights on Scotts lawnmowers’ potential issues are valuable.