How to Start a Lawn Mower with One Pull (Most of The Time)

If you don’t have an electric starter on your lawn mower, then you’re left with a pull cord. If you’re like me, you want the cord to be easy to pull and turn. Nobody wants to be a chore when starting a lawnmower. Or at least I don’t. Is there a way to turn the starter cord once and start a lawnmower? Let’s take a look at how to increase your odds of starting your lawn mower on the first try so you can avoid tiring yourself out before the job even begins.

The Quick Answer to How to Start Your Mower In One Pull

Your lawn mower should start with one pull. If you achieve all these items, there is no reason your lawn mower shouldn’t start on a single pull.

How to Start a Lawn Mower With Just One Pull (My Top Tips).

Here’s how to start a lawn mower in one pull. If you can cover all these, you can easily start the mower with just one pull.

Correctly serviced

It is important to service your lawnmower. This is where each serviceable part in your mower’s engine must be in top working order. If you’re aiming to start the mower with a single pull, then each of these items must be in tip-top shape.

  • Spark Plug
  • Air Filter
  • Fuel Filter
  • Engine oil

Gas in the Tank

It sounds simple, but I’ve seen people fight with their lawn mowers, trying to get them to start on an empty fuel tank. So before you reach for the pull cord, check the fuel tank and make sure it’s full or at least not empty.

Turn the Mower ON

Before you begin pulling the cord, make sure that the lawnmower is turned on before you pull it. If you pull the cord a few times before switching it on, you’ll potentially flood the engine. A flooded engine is when liquid fuel is present in a combustion chamber and the sparkplug is contaminated with fuel. A flooded engine is not possible to start in one pull. It’s going to take several pulls if it starts at all.

Priming the Carburetor

Priming is the process by which fuel is injected into the carburetor. Unlike your car, lawn mowers do not come with electric fuel pumps. This means that the mower must be fueled before it can start.

This is done with a priming bulb. To prime a lawnmower, the primer bulb must be pressed three times to inject fuel into the carburetor. It is possible to forget to do this, and the engine will rely on each pull to pull the fuel through.

It is important to turn off the Engine

Some lawnmowers have a choke that alters the air-to-fuel mix. This is to help the lawn mower’s engine start when it is cold. You should use an automatic choke if you cold-start your engine.

Setting the Throttle

Take a look inside your lawnmower’s throttle. The handle may show a picture showing a turtle for slow and an image of a rabbit to indicate speed. The handle might also have START written on it. You’ll need to place the throttle in the correct position if you want to get the mower to start on the first try. All mowers are different, so it’s important to research the manufacturer’s recommendations and make sure you have your manual.

Engage the Bail Lever

Bail levers are safety devices that are attached to walk-behind lawnmowers and cut the engine when they are released. The lever is located on the mower’s handle and requires you to hold it in to start the engine and to keep it running. If you don’t hold the lever in, then you’ll never be able to start the mower, no matter how many times you pull the starter cord.

Do not Obstruct the Blade

When you go to start your lawn mower, make sure that the blade isn’t obstructed. This can happen if your mower has been placed in grassy areas or is restricted. Place your mower somewhere that is easy to reach, such as a driveway.

Correct Piston Position

When starting the engine, it’s always best to have the piston at the top of its compression stroke. This ensures that the engine can make use of all the pull-cord energy it has to try to start.

If you have ever pulled a starter cord and noticed that the first section was slack, it is possible that your engine is between strokes.

Some engines allow you pull the rope until it feels stiff. Then you can let it fall into a mower. This is how the engine builds compression. Continue doing this until the engine feels the pull.

Strong pull of the Cord

Once everything is set up, it’s time to pull the cord. To hold the cord, one hand should be on your bail lever/handle and the other on the starter handle/cord. Then, when I pull the cord, I make sure it’s one long, hard pull that comes straight from the mower. If you pull the cord too hard or at an incongruous angle, the engine will not start.

Why your mower pulls multiple times now

Due to the different lawn mower designs, it’s not always going to be possible to start a mower in a single pull. The mower’s fuel delivery system and engine compression can be affected by standard factors. You cannot alter this.

So, it’s not uncommon that the first pull of the starter cord doesn’t start your lawn mower since this pull sets up the engine for the main, second pull. But, if you have missed one of the steps or the mower has a problem, even a second pull won’t be able to start the engine.

These are common problems that can prevent you from starting your lawnmower immediately.

  • Fuel shortage/Bad fuel
  • Old Spark Plug
  • Poor Engine Compression
  • Low oil
  • Fuel Filter Blockage
  • Blocked Air Filter
  • Poor Pulling Technique

How to Start a Lawn Mower with One Pull (Most of The Time)

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