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How to fix a John Deere Push Mower that will not start

by Jackson White

John Deere machines are built for performance, and they also last a good deal of time. However, like every other machine, even the best of the best could break down at some point or other. So, what should you do if your John Deere Push Mower fails to start?

Maintaining a beautiful and well manicured lawn is the pride of every home owner, and to achieve this, it is necessary to buy a lawn mower. If yours does not stretch a large distance, an electric or even gas powered mower will do the work for you without much fuss. John Deere has been a trusted manufacturer of farm related equipment for many decades now, and aside from hardiness and practicality, their machines are well known for durability and reliability. However, being machines, they are bound to break down at some point. So, what should you do about that John Deere push mower that just will not start?

The first step begins with troubleshooting – a step by step procedure to help you establish the reason for the problem. The truth is, there could be many reasons why your lawn mower will not start. The table below gives a brief breakdown of possible problems and their solutions.

Reasons for John Deere push mower breakdown and possible solutions.

Reason for problem
Possible Solution
The mower is out of fuel
Add fuel into your mower and try to start it again. Also check the fuel system for possible issues.
Spark plug won’t work
Remove spark plug and clean its top. If it will not still ignite, have it replaced with a new one.
The engine does not have oil
Check to ensure that there is enough oil. Newer John Deere models have a float switch that disables igniting in case oil levels are low.
Flat battery
If you have a mower that has a rechargeable battery, plug it into a power outlet and allow it to charge until the battery is full. Also, ensure that the battery on your gasoline mower is not dead.
Starter rope
Make sure that nothing is holding the starter rope. Small pebbles and sticks could make the starter rope fail.
Clogged fuel filter
Ensure that the fuel filter is not clogged, and if it is, replace it with a new one.
Dirty air filter
The engine needs air to start, and if the air filter is clogged, the engine will not start. Clean or replace it and ensure that there are no torn filter parts inside the engine.
Faulty starter solenoid
A broken starter solenoid will not allow your mower to start. Replace it with a new one when you can.

So, what is the Ignition/ Starting Procedure for a John Deere Push Mower?

While this may sound like an easy and quick thing to do, starting your mower has a standard procedure that ensures you safely start your mower without damaging it. This guarantees that you will not have to sustain damage in any way during ignition. So, what steps should you follow?

Check fuel level

Ensure that your mower has enough fuel to ignite and run it for the duration you need it to. Also, be certain to leave a bit for the next ignition so that you do not have to try and start a machine with no fuel. In case it has been a long time since you last used your mower, especially after winter, toss out the old fuel and replace it with new fuel to help your engine start easily.

Check oil level

To safely check for the oil level in your mower, set it on a flat surface and detach the dipstick from its screw cap. Proceed to wipe it down to ensure it is dry and take note of the high and low oil level marks. Dip it into the oil and check to see where the oil reaches. If it is too low, add in more, but be certain not to add excess oil. Dry the dipstick once again and re-attach it on to the screw cap. Make certain you check oil level every time you on tend to use your mower since the engine could sustain serious damage if powered without oil.

Set the throttle control to full revs position

This turns on the choke mechanism which allows for the air that goes into the engine to be richer for better combustion.

Push the primer button

The primer works by sucking fuel into the carburetor from the fuel tank, allowing for quicker and a smoother start. Do this 4 to 5 times to make the start process faster.

Pull the stater rope

Vigorously pull on the starter rope until the mower’s engine starts, but be certain to only do it not more than 4 times.

Turn off the choke

When the engine has been running a few minutes, turn off the choke.

So, what if the engine starts but loses power?

If this happens after you have checked and fixed all other issues, check the seals, pumps and valves since they can become clogged and cause the engine to go off. If they are damaged, especially after a long winter, replace them for smooth running.

And what if it starts but stops working in the middle of mowing?

There could be a number of reasons for this;

  • Too many clippings and debris

Ensure that the underside of your mowing deck is clean and without debris

  • Excessively tall grass

Adjust the mowing height of your push mower

  • Loose, bent or dull blade

Sharpen the blade, and if damage is too much, replace it entirely

Final thoughts

No machine is too perfectly built to work without sustaining some form of damage or other. In case your John Deere push mower breaks down, do not fret or panic. Take a step by step troubleshooting procedure and try to identify the problem. In case you feel that the damage is too much or too complex for you to fix, have a professional look at it for you.


What do I do if my mower is smoking?

Ensure that the oil chamber is not too full and that there are not any oil leaks.

I fixed my mower, but now it runs rough. What do I do?

You may want to consider replacing the carburetor altogether.

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