How To Start A Petrol Lawn Mower In 8 Easy Steps

Starting a petrol lawn mower is a bit daunting if you’ve never done it before. Or maybe you’ve been using petrol lawn mowers for years, but you want to learn the tricks for starting the engine faster.


In this guide, we’ve shared the easy 8-step process to starting a petrol lawn mower

✅Key Takeaways

  • To start a petrol lawn mower, follow these steps:

    1. Put on safety gear and read through the user manual

    2. Fill the fuel tank

    3. Check the oil level

    4. Check the spark plug

    5. Prime the engine

    6. Set the choke and throttle lever

    7. Pull the starter cord

    8. Wait for the engine to warm up, then start mowing

Table of Contents

🏁 How To Start A Petrol Lawn Mower: Step-By-Step Instructions

Assuming that you’re starting a new petrol mower for the first time, we’ve outlined the steps you should take below.


If the mower already has enough fuel and oil, put on your safety gear and skip straight to step 4.

👷🏻 Step 1: Take The Necessary Safety Precautions

Before you start your petrol lawn mower for the first time, take a moment to read the manufacturer’s operating instructions – even if you’ve used a petrol-powered mower before! Different lawn mowers have slightly different user instructions, so it’s important to check the manual for your specific petrol mower model.


Also put on the protective attire as recommended by your manufacturer, including long trousers, sturdy shoes, and glasses and ear protection if necessary.

⛽️ Step 2: Prepare The Fuel

Next, confirm the type of fuel recommended by the manufacturer for your mower. In the UK, most petrol mowers use unleaded petrol used with a bit of two-stroke oil.


If the instructions tell you to, mix the correct ratio of petrol and oil in a clean container, then open the fuel cap and carefully pour the mixture into the tank. You’ll reduce spills if you insert a funnel into the tank and pour the petrol through it.


If you have a four-stroke engine you will use straight petrol without any mixed in oil.


Make sure you don’t fill the petrol beyond the max fill line.


If you have old or stale petrol, drain this before adding fresh fuel to the tank following the instructions above.

🛢 Step 3: Check The Oil Level

Now you need to check the oil level to see if the mower needs more oil before you can start it up.


Find the oil cap on the engine. It’s usually on the top or side of the engine block, and should be labelled for convenience.


Remove the cap and use the dipstick (attached to the cap) to check the motor oil. If there’s not enough oil, add more oil according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Again, we recommend using a funnel to prevent spills.


Replace the oil cap and make sure it’s firmly attached before moving on to the next step.

Lawn, mower, oil, levels,

⚡️ Step 4: Check The Spark Plug

Next, check and inspect your mower’s spark plug. This can usually be found on the side of the engine.


Remove the spark plug wire and check the plug for any moisture or damage. Clean the spark plug following the manufacturer’s recommendations or replace it if necessary (most spark plugs need replacing once every season, or after 25 hours of mowing).

spark, plug, lawn, mower, engine, maintenance,

🌪 Step 5: Prime the Engine

Now you’re ready to begin the starting process. Find the primer bulb on your mower’s engine. It’s usually a bulb-shaped device or a rubber button, located near the air box. (Not all engines will have a prime, dont worry if you dont – just skip this step)


Press the priming button several times to draw fuel into the carburettor. Stop when you begin to feel resistance.

🏍 Step 6: Set The Choke and Throttle

Find the choke and throttle controls. These are usually on your mower’s handle or near the engine.


If your mower has a choke, move it to the “Start” or “Choke” position. Then move the throttle lever to the “Run” or “Fast” position to start the engine.

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💪 Step 7: Pull The Starter Cord

Position the mower on a flat surface, ready to start mowing, then engage the mower’s safety features. This depends on the type of mower you own, but could include pulling the deadman’s handle or engaging the blade control lever to the “Off” position.

With your free hand, grasp the pull cord firmly, brace your foot against the mower’s deck for stability, and quickly pull the cord back and up to start the mower. The firmer your grip and the faster your pull, the better the likelihood of starting the mower first time.

pull, starting, lawn, mower, engine,

🚜 Step 8: Start Mowing

Your mower’s engine has hopefully now started, so you’re ready to mow.


Wait a couple of minutes for the engine to warm up before you start mowing. Move the choke to the “Run” position and adjust the throttle to alter the blade speed based on the job at hand.


You know how to do the rest! Push the mower forward over your lawn to cut the grass.


Remember to check your mower’s user manual for detailed instructions for your specific mower model. Safety should be your top priority, so be sure to take all the necessary precautions and use your common sense throughout the process.

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😇 How To Start A Petrol Lawn Mower The First Time

Now you know the basic steps to starting a petrol lawn mower, how can you waste less time doing failed starts and start your mower’s engine first time around?


Here are our top tips for starting a petrol lawn mower first time:

⛽️ Top Up Or Refresh The Fuel

Using stale fuel or the wrong fuel type can affect a petrol lawn mower’s starting process. Old or contaminated fuel won’t ignite easily, which may be why you have trouble starting the mower the first time.


Make sure you use fresh petrol in the fuel tank and check the manufacturer’s instructions to confirm that you’re using the correct fuel mixture ratio.

refuel, mower, fuel, tank,

👌 Prime The Engine Correctly

Over-priming or insufficiently priming your mower’s engine may make it difficult for the mower to start. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure you’re priming the engine properly. Even if you’ve primed another mower before, the instructions might be different for your new mower.


Typically, you should press the primer bulb several times until you feel resistance, but avoid excessive priming.

💨 Make Sure The Choke Is On

All petrol mowers have a choke or priming bulb, which enriches the fuel mixture to allow for cold starting. If the choke isn’t in the right position for starting (i.e. the “Choke” or “Start” position), you’ll have trouble starting the engine with the pull start.


Once you’ve started your mower, don’t forget to gradually move the choke to the “Run” position – leaving the choke on while operating the machine will cause you to use too much fuel.

🧐 Check The Spark Plug

Your lawn mower might fail to start the first time, or have problems starting at all, if there are problems with the spark plug or ignition system.


Remove the spark plug and check for damage, wear, or moisture, which could prevent it from generating the strong spark required to ignite the engine. Clean or replace the spark plug to solve the issue.


While you’re at it, check the ignition system components and make sure they’re clean and functioning properly.

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🛠 Adopt Routine Maintenance Practices

There are lots of small maintenance tasks that you need to commit to as the owner of a petrol lawn mower.


These include cleaning the air filters, keeping the fuel system clean, and topping up the oil tank. Without these tasks, even a quality mower may have starting issues due to one of several factors (a dirty air filter, a clogged fuel system, etc).


If you’re not sure exactly what maintenance your mower requires, check your user manual. This should provide clear instructions on how to keep your mower in tip-top condition.

🔌 Use An Electric Start Mower

If you want to avoid the hassle of a pull cord completely, consider upgrading to a petrol mower with an electric start feature.


Electric start mowers start like modern cars: you either turn a key or push a button to kick the engine into life. They use a starter motor that’s powered by a battery, and you’ll need to make sure the battery is charged before you use the mower if you want to use the electric start function. Otherwise, you’ll have to use the start cable as normal.


We recommend the Hyundai 17″/42cm 139cc Petrol Lawn Mower as the best petrol mower with electric start because it’s a consistent customer favourite and is known for its quick start and fast, efficient mowing thanks to its self-propelled function.

💬 Final Word

So, there you have it – you should now know all the important steps to start a petrol lawn mower.


If you struggle to start your petrol mower in one pull, you’ll thank yourself for investing in an electric start mower, or (if your garden isn’t ginormous) switching to a cordless battery-powered mower that doesn’t have the characteristically temperamental engine of a petrol lawnmower.


After all, lawn mowing is enough of a task without wasting your valuable time on the very first step!