Mowing the lawn is a chore that many homeowners do regularly. Whether you’re tackling it yourself or have someone else doing it, learning how to turn off a lawn mower correctly is an essential step in every mowing session. Not only does it ensure the job is done correctly and safely, but it also prevents any unnecessary damage from occurring to your machine. This blog post provides clear and concise instructions on turning off a lawn mower in both standard and emergencies. Before diving into the detailed steps, let’s familiarize ourselves with the basic anatomy of a lawn mower.
Basic Anatomy of a Lawn Mower
A lawn mower typically consists of the following components:
- Engine: The powerhouse of the mower, responsible for driving the blades and wheels.
- Throttle: The control that regulates the engine speed and power output.
- Ignition Switch: A key-operated or button switch responsible for starting and stopping the engine.
Now let’s go through the steps to turn off a lawn mower, usually in emergencies.
Different Methods of Turning off a Lawnmower
Depending on the model and situation, there are various ways to turn off a lawnmower. The most common and recommended approach is to use the ignition switch or key. However, there are a few alternative methods you can try:
1. Using the Ignition Switch or Key: Locate the ignition switch or key and simply turn it to the “Off” position. This is the standard way to shut down the engine and is generally the safest method.
2. Throttle Control Lever or Bail Control Bar: If your lawnmower has either, you can release or let go of it. This will gradually reduce the engine speed until it completely stops.
3. Fuel Shutoff Valve: Some mowers have a fuel shutoff valve near the fuel tank or carburetor. You can turn this valve to the “Off” position, which will stop the fuel flow to the engine and cause it to shut down. This method is beneficial if the engine keeps running even after using the ignition switch or key.
4. Choke Control: If your mower has a choke control, you can move it to the “Choke” position. This restricts the airflow to the engine, causing it to stall and eventually turn off.
5. Disconnecting the Spark Plug Wire: As a last resort, you can disconnect the spark plug wire from the spark plug.
How To Turn Off a Lawnmower Normally
Step 1: Locate the Throttle Control
Find the throttle control, usually positioned on the mower’s handle or near the engine.
Step 2: Set the Throttle to “Idle”
Move the throttle control to the “Idle” or “Slow” position to reduce the engine speed.
Step 3: Turn Off the Ignition Switch
Locate the ignition switch near the engine or on the mower handle. Turn the key to the “Off” position or press the “Stop” button, depending on your model.
Step 4: Ensure the Mower Has Stopped
Listen carefully for the engine to stop completely. The blades and wheels should no longer be in motion.
Step 5: Remove the Ignition Key (If Applicable)
If your mower uses a key, remove it from the ignition switch to prevent any accidental starts.
How to Shut Off a Lawn Mower Without a Kill Switch?
A lawn mower kill switch is the safest way to turn off your mower. If yours doesn’t have one, you can shut it down in an emergency by doing the following:
Step 1: Locate the spark plug wire. This is usually one of the larger single wires coming off of the engine and will be connected to a spark plug.
Step 2: Disconnect the wire from both ends. You should see a metal clamp on one end that holds the wire in place. Loosen this with pliers and gently remove the wire.
Step 3: Pull on the starter rope. This will cause the engine to turn over but not start. Turning over should shut off your lawn mower without a kill switch.
Step 4: Reconnect the spark plug wire once you are done mowing or finished with the machine. This ensures that it is ready to use again when you need it.
How To Stop a Lawn Mower That Won’t Shut Off?
if you want to stop the lawnmower in an emergency, there are three ways you can try.
- First, you can bail the level of the machine.
- Second, if it is corded, you can unplug the wire.
- Third, you can pull the gas tap out to shut off the machine.
Bail The Lever
The bail lever is an emergency shut-off mechanism that can be used by grasping the lever and pulling it toward the mower’s handle. This will immediately cause the engine to stop running.
Remember to release it back after using it and turn off the fuel valve to prevent fuel from flowing into the carburetor while the engine is off. To restart, turn on the fuel valve and pull the starter rope.
Plug The Wire
In the case of a corded machine, disconnecting it from the power source would be sufficient to stop it as this would break the electric current that goes to the spark plug, thus preventing the spark from igniting the fuel. Make sure you properly secure the mower before doing so.
Pull The Gas Tap
The gas tap, also known as a fuel valve or petcock is usually a small lever or knob on either side or bottom of the fuel tank. Before turning it off, ensure the engine is not running by pulling the throttle lever to the “Off” position or turning the ignition key to the “Off” position.
Turning the gas tap to the “off” position would cause the engine to shut down also, remember that some residual fuel may still be present in the carburetor and fuel lines which can evaporate over time, causing stale gasoline to accumulate in the carburetor. It is recommended to run the mower till it runs out of fuel or add a fuel stabilizer. Finally, store it in a safe place when it is off.
- Always wear appropriate protective gear while operating a lawn mower, including safety glasses, gloves, and ear protection.
- Ensure that other people, especially children, and pets, are not near the lawn mower while it is in operation.
- Before performing any maintenance or adjustments, ensure the engine is off, and the mower has completely stopped.
Perform Maintenance Tasks
- Clean the cutting blade: If the blade needs cleaning, wear gloves and use a brush or tool designed explicitly for this purpose. If the edge is filthy, you may remove it for thorough cleaning following the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Refuel the lawn mower: For gas-powered mowers, it’s better to refuel the mower when it’s cool to avoid potential fire hazards.
- Check oil levels: Inspect your lawn mower’s oil level and condition. Top off or change the oil as needed, following the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Storing the Lawn Mower Safely
- Cool down: Allow the lawn mower to cool down completely before storing it.
- Put away any attachments: If you used any attachments during operation, detach them, clean them, and store them with your lawn mower.
- Store in a dry location: Place your lawn mower in a dry, sheltered area protected from direct sunlight and weather. Avoid storing your lawn mower near open flames or sources of ignition.
- Cover the lawn mower: If desired, cover your lawn mower with a suitable tarp or cover, ensuring that air can still circulate to avoid condensation and rust.
Remember that every lawn mower model is different, so always consult your user manual and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for your product. By taking these precautions and regularly maintaining your lawn mower, you can ensure it operates smoothly and safely for many seasons.
Shutting off a lawn mower is a crucial safety step every time you use one. Whether your machine has a kill switch or not, you can take steps to shut it down safely. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific model, and never use a lawn mower without taking the proper safety precautions. With these tips, you can keep yourself and those around you safe while enjoying lawn care tasks.
Douglas Mackalie is a Founder of Mackalies Garden. He is one of the most exciting people you’ll ever meet. He has 25 years of experience in horticulture and gardening, most of which he’s spent outdoors getting his hands dirty.