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My lawnmower won't start: What do I do?
It's the beginning of the mowing season and you find out that your trusted lawnmower or other piece of outdoor power equipment will not start. How could this be? It was running fine last season.

Use this guide as a basic tool to help diagnose the cause and to help point you in the right direction. As always, take safety precautions when working with outdoor power equipment and ask any questions you may have before doing so.

Important question:

Was fuel left inside the tank while it was stored?

If the answer is yes, then it probably means the fuel became stale from sitting and has now gummed up the carburetor.

Here is how to verify:
1. Check the spark plug. Remove your spark plug after repeated starting attempts to see if it is wet or dry. If it is dry, it means the engine is not getting fuel and there is a blockage somewhere preventing fuel from reaching the engine. If the plug is wet it could mean there's no spark (you can purchase a cheap in-line spark plug tester from most auto parts stores to test the spark.)

Alternative fuel delivery check:
2. Does your engine have a primer bulb? If the answer is yes, then this can help diagnose. If your primer bulb is not getting fuel (if the primer bulb is not a sight glass style where you can actually see the fuel you should be able to hear & feel the fuel in it), determine if the fuel line and filter connecting the carburetor to the gas tank are clear. If the primer bulb does have fuel in it and or the fuel is still not reaching the primer bulb (spark plug is dry) then it means there is a blockage somewhere inside the carburetor.

I've determined the engine is not getting fuel. What are my options?
Your options are to clean it yourself or take it to a shop to be cleaned. Please feel free to use the forum to ask questions.

How to prevent this from happening again
At the end of the season, or anytime the machine is going to stored for more than a month, turn the fuel valve to "off" and run the machine until it shuts off. As the engine begins to sputter, turn the choke on as this will allow the very last remaining fuel to be burned off. Running the fuel out will ensure there is no fuel remaining in the carburetor to potentially gum it up. You can then pour some fuel stabilizer into the fuel (make sure to jostle the machine around so that it mixes in) or more preferably, drain the fuel from the tank and then install fresh fuel at the beginning of the season.
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