How to Start a Lawn Mower in One Pull

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Many people struggle with the pull cord on a lawn mower. Are you used to having that awful feeling when you pull the cord only to find that the mower doesn’t start?

After many attempts, you still might get no success and you may end up giving up because your arms are too tired to continue. This is certainly a common problem that many people face.

To start your lawn mower in one pull, stand behind the mower and pull the chord straight towards you as hard as you can. Ensure your mower has gas in it. Your mower also needs to have clean oil and a clean air filter too.

Being able to start your lawn mower in one pull requires you to maintain your lawn mower properly. It’s also particularly important to winterize your mower if you intend to leave unused until the next spring. Taking the time to properly maintain and service your lawn mower will help you to avoid problems with starting your mower.

How to Prepare Your Lawn Mower for Starting

Before you start your mower, you should move it out to an open area and make sure it’s on a flat surface away from any debris.


One reason that lawn mowers fail to start is that they need gas. Make sure that your lawn mower has gas and oil before you try and start it. 

You can open the tank and look at it. There is a line that shows you where it should be. If you don’t see gas, fill it up to the line, but don’t overfill it because it could spill.

I recommend this TruFuel 4-cycle fuel. It’s ethanol free and can be used in all sorts of outdoor power equipment. You can also mix in some starting fluid too. This one (link to Amazon) helps to start an engine with either too little fuel or too much.

It’s also important that the gas is no more than six months old since gas quality deteriorates over time. Not only will you have trouble starting your mower with old gas, it could also harm your engine.

If you need to remove oil gas, you will need a fluid extractor pump and a drain pan (links to Amazon). You can use both of these for oil too.

Keeping your fuel fresh for quick and easy starts!
Using a fuel stabilizer will keep your fuel fresh for longer.

STA-BIL (link to Amazon) can be used in all gasoline including all ethanol blended fuels.


Make sure that it has clean oil in it. In a four-stroke engine, the oil should have a dipstick and you can quickly unscrew the cap to pull it out.

If you need to add oil, you should do so before you get started. If you have a two stroke engine, you’ll be mixing the gasoline and oil together.

You need to make sure that you have the proper ratio of gas to oil too but you can often find gas that is premixed at an auto parts store.   

Spark Plug

Once you know that you have good oil and gas, you should then check your spark plug. You should be able to see it on the back or the side of the engine.

There should be a lead with a rubber cap attached to it.

The spark plug needs to be firmly attached or your engine won’t start.

You can check your user manual or make sure that a lawn mower service shop changes your spark plugs every year. 

Prime the Carburetor

Next, you need to prime the carburetor.

You should be able to find a soft button on the mower and you’ll want to push it three or four times. This pushes gas into the lines to prime the lawn mower so that it’s ready to start. Be cautious because if you overdo this; you could flood your engine.

You can look at your user manual if you have trouble finding this button. 

Make sure the carb/throttle is clean
This WD-40 specialist carb/throttle body & parts cleaner works well.
Are Lawn Mower Engines Interchangeable?

Open the Throttle

Now you should open the throttle.

Again, refer to the user manual if you aren’t sure where the throttle is.

This is important because your engine won’t continue running if the throttle is closed.

Also look to see if you have a choke.

You can use it to help make sure that the ideal fuel to air mixture goes to the engine to help it continue running while the engine is warming up. You then need to turn the choke off after you start your mower and let it run for a minute.

Now You Can Pull the Cord

Finally, you are ready to pull the cord.

People often dread this step but once you take the steps mentioned above, you will be able to have much more confidence doing this.

Maintain Your Lawn Mower to Make it Easy to Start

Proper service of your lawn mower will be the best thing you can do to improve it’s efficiency.

If you’re going to leave your mower unused all winter, you’ll want to learn how to winterize your lawn mower to avoid troubleshooting in the spring time when it’s ready to be used again.

Always remember to consult the user’s manual for detailed information and instructions for your specific mower.

Safety Tip!
Never start fiddling around with you lawn mower before you disconnect the spark plug. This is to ensure the engine doesn’t fire while you’re working on it.

A basic service on a gas mower includes three simple steps:

  1. Change the spark plug – To disconnect this you will either either need a socket wrench or a spark plug wrench tool. When screwing in the new plug, be careful not to over tighten it. In doing so, you may cause damage to the seal.
  2. Put in a new air filter – Changing the air filter is something that needs to be done at least once year. The air filter can usually be found on the opposite side to where the exhaust is and it’s very easy to remove. Once this is done, clip a new filter into place.
  3. Change the oil – Before you do this, start the mower and let the engine warm up to improve the viscosity of the oil. This will allow for better oil drainage. Next, undo the dip stick and let the old oil run into a drain pan. Once all the oil has been removed, pour in the new oil until it’s full indicated by the dip stick. Don’t forget to take your old oil to a recycling center!

In Summary – How to Start a Lawn Mower in One Pull

If you want to know how to start a lawn mower in one pull, you need to start by making sure that your mower is ready to start. Ensuring proper maintenance of your mower should be enough to allow you start it up without a problem.

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