We’ve all heard the expression, “A little bit of something can go a long way.” But, when it comes to maintaining outdoor power equipment like lawnmowers, using just a little bit of starter fluid could be too much – literally. Adding a dab of starter fluid will help jump-start an engine in need.
However, before parachuting into this potentially dangerous task, you must know some essential things. In this blog post, let’s explore why not to use starter fluid on a lawnmower and other critical steps before attempting repair work on your machine.
If your lawn mower is not starting, make sure that you have checked the following problem first:
- Bad spark plugs
- A bad carburettor
- Bad fuel
What is starter fluid?
The Starter fluid is a mixture of volatile hydrocarbons such as heptane, ether and CO2. Combining these chemicals helps jump-start an engine by creating a high-octane mix that ignites faster than gasoline. It is typically used to aid in starting complex engines, such as those found in cold weather or direct injected diesel engines. While starter fluid can help get an engine going, it is not a long-term solution and should only be used temporarily.
Pros of Using a Starting Fluid
This fluid is most effective when starting complex engines in cold weather. It can also prolong the life of your battery, saving you a lot of money on repairs in the long run.
Cons of Using a Starting Fluid
Using small engine starting fluid may cause severe damage to the engine and other mower parts. The chemicals in the starter fluid can evaporate quickly, leaving behind residue that can clog fuel lines, filters and other parts of the mower.
When To Use A Starting Fluid?
It is essential to note that it is best to seek professional advice if you are experiencing difficulties starting your machine. If they say you can use it, then you can do it.
- In cold weather: If the problem persists and a starting fluid is recommended, only use it temporarily. We advise using this fluid for a lawnmower in cold weather conditions or for direct injected diesel engines.
- For Diagnostics Purpose: Many people use it on their lawnmowers for diagnostic purposes, but it is essential to remember that the starter fluid should not be used as a long-term solution. With a little spray, the engine may start instantly.
When Is It Not Advisable To Use The Starting Fluid
The starting fluid is not recommended for diesel or two-cycle gasoline engines. Since it can damage these engines, it is better not to use them.
When spraying a starting fluid, you must observe the following safety measures:
- Make sure that you are in a well-ventilated area.
- Always wear safety clothing such as eye protection and gloves to prevent any skin contact with the fuel.
- Never spray directly into the carburettor intake, which can cause engine damage.
- Don’t use the starter fluid on a warm engine.
- Do not spray it onto any hot surfaces, which could result in a fire or an explosion.
- Make sure the starting fluid you purchase is specifically designed for use on lawnmowers, as some sprays are not suitable
Where you have to spray starter fluid in a lawnmower. All steps:
- Step 1: Find the air filter housing
- Step 2: Remove the air filter & clean
- Step 3: Find the carburettor chamber underneath
- Step 4: Spray the starter fluid
- Step 5: Turn on the engine & diagnose
- Step 6: Inspect, clean, and fix the part that causes the problem
If you want to spray starting fluid, you will need the following tools:
- Starting fluid spray canister
- Wrench set
- Cleaning cloth
- Starter fluid
Steps Of Using A Starting Fluid lawn mower:
•Step 1: Find the air filter housing
- Remove the engine cover: Open the hood if you’re attempting to service a riding mower. You’ll have to find the cover’s latches, clips, and bolts for a push lawnmower. After locating, open the bolts and undo the clasps. Lift the cover.
- Locate the air filter housing: Your lawnmower engine has a black box on its front containing the air intake and filter. This element enables an influx of air to reach the carburettor so that it may be mixed with fuel before combustion.
•Step 2: Remove & clean the air filter
- Pull the cover off: Generally, the black cover of the air filter housing is attached with latches and Takes off quite easily. Ensure that the plastic is not broken. In some mowers, the cover may be connected with fasteners, and a socket wrench can open it.
- Uncover the filter: Underneath the cover, a meshed filter is attached. It may be a foamy soft filter or a paper filter.
- Remove the filter: The filter is usually easy to remove. In some cases, the bolt is used, and you should use a torque wrench to unscrew it and pull the air filter out.
- Clean the filter: If you’re unsure where to start, remove any visible debris and mud by gently tapping on it. Once that’s done, you have a few options for cleaning. If you need more time, dry cleaning with a vacuum is a great option, but avoid damaging the filter. Consider using dishwashing soap or detergent for a deep wash for a more thorough clean. Just be sure to enable it to dry completely before reuse. Another option is to use pressurized air, but take caution if using an air compressor, as the high pressure can harm the filter.
- Change the filter: If you see the foam air filter is damaged or it has a paper air filter, it’s time to replace it. Ensure the replacement filter has the same material and size as the original.
Step 3: Find the carburettor chamber underneath
- Follow the fuel line: You can quickly locate the carburettor by following the fuel line from the gas tank. It’s usually located behind the air-filter housing’s backplate.
- Clean the externals: Spray some carburettor cleaner into the visible ports, slots and grooves and clean them with a cleaning cloth.
•Step 4: Spray the starter fluid
- Clean the housing’s backplate: Before spraying the starting fluid, clean the backplate of the air-filter housing with a cleaning cloth or rag.
- Locate the intake duct: You’ll need to find the intake duct, which is usually near the carburettor. It is where you will spray the starting fluid.
- Spray the fluid: There is a cutout for air to enter the carburettor from which you will spray the starting fluid. Lawn mower starter spray should be at a 45-degree angle and spray in short bursts. Avoid using more than one second of spray for each burst to avoid flooding the engine with too much-starting fluid.
•Step 5: Start the engine and observe
- Adjust the idle choke: You can adjust the idle and choke by turning them halfway. Rise the choke to full. It will increase fuel intake.
- Try to turn on the engine: Pull the starting cord or switch on the ignition switch. In this process, the lawn mower starter fluid sprayed earlier will ignite and start the engine. Take and observe closely what is happening.
- Manual Observation: If the engine keeps running and does not shut down, it’s a good sign that your lawn mower is ready. If not, repeat the above steps and try until it starts successfully. With patience and determination, you can rerun your lawn mower quickly.
Step 6: Inspect, clean, and fix the part that causes the problem
After we have observed the problem and you can diagnose two options, it’s time to clean and repair the parts found guilty.
- Option 1: If the engine stops within 3 seconds, you should clean, adjust and, if needed, repair the carburettor.
- Option 2: If the stalling time is between 3 to 30 seconds, empty the fuel tank and carburettor, replace the fuel filter and add fresh gas.
It shows that there is some problem with the fuel. It may be water is mixed, the fuel is dirty, or the gas is harmful.
You may need to refer to your lawn mower’s manual to perform these repairs and cleaning. You may often require special tools and lubricants like a torque wrench, a carburettor cleaner, a spray can of starter fluid, etc.
Alternatives to Using a Starting Fluid
Instead of using starter fluid on your lawnmower, consider other options first. Regularly checking and cleaning the carburettor and air filter and using fresh fuel can help alleviate joint problems when starting a mower. If all else fails, you can try Carburetor cleaner for a quicker start and to reduce emissions, or use an additive like Ethanol Treat to help with cold starts.
Since Starting fluid does not have a lubrication value and is highly flammable, it should only be used when all other techniques have failed. Always follow the safety instructions on the product label when using starter fluid, and keep it away from children and pets. You should consult a professional mechanic if you have doubts or are not satisfied performing the above steps.
We will walk you through the 5 steps to using carb cleaner on your mower to get it turned on, and it is surprisingly easy. Let’s see these five steps to using carburettor cleaner.
How to Start a Lawn Mower by Carb Cleaner:
- Take off the Air Filter Housing on Your Lawn Mower
- Take off the Air Filter from the Housing
- Spray the Carb Cleaner
- Get Ready to Start Your Lawn Mower
- Test Out the New Carburetor Fluid
#1). Take off the Air Filter Housing on Your Lawn Mower
The Primary step to using carburettor cleaner on your mower is to remove the air filter housing. Remove the spark plug wire to work on the lawn mower safely. Before doing it, consult your lawn mower’s manual for specific guidance and warnings.
#2). Take off the Air Filter from the Housing
Once the air filter housing is removed, you should be able to remove the air filter. If the air filter is dusty or clogged, replace it with a new one.
#3). Spray the Carb Cleaner
Using a spray can of carburettor cleaner, spray directly into the carburettor until it is filled. Once you are done sprinkling, replace the air filter housing and ensure that everything is securely tightened back up.
#4). Get Ready to Start Your Mower
Now that your lawn mower has been sprayed with starter fluid, get ready to start it up. Ensure all other parts, such as spark plugs and fuel tanks, are in good condition before starting the lawn mower.
#5). Test Out the New Carburetor Fluid
Once everything has been checked, try starting the lawn mower. With any luck, the starter fluid will have done its job, and you are now ready to enjoy your perfectly running lawn mower.
Now that you understand how to start a lawn mower with starter fluid, it is essential to note that this should be used as a last resort if all other methods fail.
If your lawn mower is still having difficulty starting after trying starter fluid, it is best to consult a professional for further inspection or repair.
A Quick Glance: When to Use Carb Cleaner to Start Lawn Mower?
A crab cleaner is excellent for carburated engines that are having difficulty starting. Carb cleaner will help you get your lawn mower started quickly and easily, but it should only be utilized as a last resort after all other methods have failed. Use keywords like starter fluid spray, lawn mower starter fluid, or starter fluid lawn mower to find the right product for your needs. Follow these five simple steps when using carb cleaner on your lawn mower:
- Take off the air filter housing
- Take off the air filter from the housing
- Spray carburettor cleaner into the lawn mower
- Get ready to start your mower
- Test out the new carburettor fluid
The following are situations when you should not apply carb cleaner:
- If your machine has a diesel engine
- A 2-cycle gasoline engine
- If you are facing difficulty identifying the problem with your lawn mower
Below is a list of some places where you can purchase carb cleaner to provide your mower a tune-up:
- Automotive stores
- Big-box stores
- Hardware stores
- Home improvement stores
Lawn mower starter fluid is a great solution to start your lawn mower quickly and easily. To use it, follow the above five steps. Be sure to avoid using starter fluid if your lawn mower has a diesel or 2-cycle gas engine, and consult a professional for further inspection or repair if needed. Finally, you can find starter fluid at home improvement, automotive, big-box, and hardware stores.
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.