How-To's & Guides

How to start a lawn mower

Whether you've just purchased a brand-new lawn mower or you need some help getting last season's mower up and running again, Husqvarna can help. Read ahead for the solutions you need to get back to work in the yard.

Did you recently buy a new lawn mower? Or are you wondering how to get your old lawn mower started again?

In either case, you’ve come to the right place. The Husqvarna team is happy to guide you toward a successful season of lawn maintenance. In this article, you’ll learn:

  • How to start a push mower
  • How to clean a lawn mower air filter
  • How to get a lawn mower to start again

This article will focus on starting and maintaining a residential push or walk mower. To find instructions for starting and maintaining your Husqvarna riding mower or zero-turn, look in the owner’s manual for your model, or consult your local Husqvarna servicing dealer. Or, if you’d like to discover the future of lawn care and the Automower® robotic lawn mower, go here.

Step 1: Empty the fuel tank

Unless you have a Husqvarna battery-powered mower, you’ll need the right kind of gas to start your engine— we recommend using regular unleaded. The gas that’s been sitting in the tank since last season shouldn’t be used. Fuel should never be kept in the tank for more than a month, so go ahead and drain that stale old fuel before proceeding. The process for draining the gas from your machine will be the same as the process for draining the oil, so you can use the next step as a guide.

Step 2: Check and change the oil

When the fuel tank is empty, take the opportunity to drain the old oil, too. You should change your lawn mower’s oil at least once per season. Click here to read our full article about how to change a lawn mower’s oil. When all the old fuel and oil has been removed from the engine – and before you’ve refilled with new –  inspect and sharpen the blades (see Step 3 below).


Step 3: Sharpen the blades

It’s important to inspect and sharpen a lawn mower’s blades on a regular basis. You’ll need to collect the following items:

  • Socket wrench
  • Wood block or bracing tool
  • Grinder or manual file for sharpening
  • New or professionally sharpened blades

Note: Always disconnect the spark plug before changing mower blades.

BioClip blade mounted, LB 146i

Step 4: Refill the mower with fuel and oil

Now that most of your maintenance is completed, refill the mower with fuel and oil. For the fuel, Husqvarna recommends regular unleaded gasoline – ethanol free if it’s available. For the oil, use SAE 30 for residential push and walk mowers.

SAE 30 4-Stroke Oil

Step 5: Clean the air filter

A common mistake is to use some sort of a cleaning agent to refresh a lawn mower’s air filter. However, air filters are made out of either paper or foam, so detergents will often damage or destroy it. Use a compressor to clean the filter with air or a soft brush to remove debris. Check your owner’s manual to determine the air filter’s location on the engine. If you need to replace the air filter, take it with you to the dealer to match it up with a new one.

Step 6: Change the spark plug

You can find the location of the mower’s spark plug in the owner’s manual. Simply unscrew the spark plug and take it with you to a Husqvarna servicing dealer  to match it with the correct replacement. Spark plugs are relatively inexpensive, so we recommend replacing yours every year or two.

Step 7: Clean the carburetor

The carburetor is an important part that introduces air to the combustion process, thereby allowing the engine to run. But sometimes the carburetor can become clogged. Follow the directions on a can of carburetor cleaner spray, available at your local Husqvarna store, to remove the buildup that can often lead to starter problems. To help avoid such problems in the future, use an ethanol-free gasoline in your lawn mower.

Step 8: Start your engines

Before starting the mower’s engine, look around the area for debris and make sure you’ve cleaned up all your tools. Depending on your model, starting the engine of a push or walk-behind lawn mower will involve these steps:

  • Ensure the fuel valve is in the open position (select models)
  • Pump the primer bulb (select models)
  • Is your primer bulb missing, and are you wondering how to start a lawn mower without a primer bulb? Because the primer bulb is a key component on certain mower models, if your primer bulb has torn, broken or fallen off, you'll need to take your mower to a Husqvarna servicing dealer for help with bulb replacement.
  • Set the choke lever to choke (select models)
  • Depress the operator control bar to the handle (all models)
  • Pull the starter cord until the engine fires (all models except those with electric starter systems)
  • Switch off choke (select models)
  • Pull the starter cord until the engine engages (all models)
  • Set the speed and engage the self-propelled system (select models)
  • If you're still having problems getting the mower to start after completing these steps, follow the troubleshooting guide in your owner's manual, or visit the nearest Husqvarna servicing dealer for advice and a professional inspection.