Gwinnett Mower Repair
Maintenance Questions
  1. How often should I check or change my oil?
  2. You should check your oil every time you use your equipment. Oil leaks can start without warning and are often overlooked. In some cases, the engine will lose enough oil to cause permanent damage to the engine. This is why it is important to check the oil frequently and add oil when necessary.

    How often you change the oil depends on the type of equipment you are using and how often you use it. As a general rule, oil should be changed every 20-25 hours in push mowers and every 40-50 hours in riding mowers. Most push mowers and similar equipment will need an oil change at least 2 times per season, while riding mowers may only need one oil change per season. No matter what equipment you have, you should change the oil whenever it begins to look dirty.

  3. How often should I replace my air filter?
  4. This question really depends on the environment in which you are using the equipment. If it is a very dusty environment, you may need to replace the filter several times per season. No matter what the environment is, you should check the filter every time you use the equipment.

    You can clean paper element filters by tapping them on a hard surface until all the loose debris is removed from the pleats. If you can not clean the filter in this manner or the filter is extremely dirty, it will need to be replaced.

    Foam air filters can be cleaned by thoroughly washing them in soapy water (do not use solvents since they will deteriorate the foam). After the filter is clean, rinse it in clean water to remove all of the soap and allow the filter to dry. Once the filter has completely dried, apply motor oil to the filter and squeeze it several times so that a thin layer of oil covers the entire filter. This will improve the foam filter's ability to trap dust and grit.

  5. How do I prevent fuel from going stale?
  6. This is a question we are asked all the time, but it is something that many customers overlook. You can prevent fuel from going stale by using fuel stabilizer. The fuel stabilizer is fairly cheap and even a small bottle will treat approximately 20 gallons of gasoline for up to 2 years.

    You should use the fuel stabilizer in any piece of equipment that uses gasoline to prevent fuel related problems down the road. This is especially true when putting up equipment for the winter. Even if you run all of the gasoline out of the fuel tank of your equipment, a small amount will remain in the carburetor bowl. If this gasoline is not treated with fuel stabilizer, it will varnish the carb and make the equipment very difficult to start in the spring.

  7. How should I clean my lawnmower?
  8. The easiest and safest way to clean your equipment is to use compressed air. If compressed air is not available, a leaf blower works well. No matter which method you use, you should blow all the grass clippings and dust off of the mower. Make sure that you blow out all debris from the fins on the motor and flywheel since this will help the motor stay cool. You should also make sure that you blow off the area around the gas tank so that debris is not knocked into the tank when you refill it.

    You can also wash your mower with detergent and water, but there are some important things to remember. First of all, motors do not like water. You must be careful and prevent water from entering the fuel tank, the crank case, or the air filter. Also, remember that if oil is getting out of the engine, water will have no trouble getting in at the same location. When you are done washing the mower, blow it off with compressed air or a leaf blower to speed up the drying process.

    It may not sound that important, but keeping a mower clean will help it last a much longer time. Grass clippings which are not removed from the mower can cause extreme oxidation of the deck, pulleys, brackets, and springs. We have seen the situation get so bad that the mowing deck is completely ruined by rust. Debris which builds up around the engine fins and flywheel can also cause problems. When it becomes packed around the flywheel, the fins of the flywheel can not move air efficiently enough to keep the engine cool. When the debris is packed around the engine fins, the engine can not dissipate heat fast enough and may overheat. As you can see, simply cleaning your equipment can prevent some serious problems down the road.

  9. How often should I sharpen my blades?
  10. This really depends on your yard. In most cases, blades will need to be sharpened at least 2 or 3 times per season. If you have very thick grass or sandy soil in your yard, you will need to sharpen them more often. You should check the blades often to make sure that they are sharp and replace them if they become worn out.

  11. What fuel/oil ratio should I use in my 2 cycle equipment?
  12. You should read your owners manual or check the equipment's fuel cap to determine what ratio you should use. The ratio can vary from 32:1 for consumer grade equipment to 50:1 for commercial grade equipment. If you are not sure which ratio you need or you have several pieces of equipment that require different ratios, a synthetic 2 cycle oil such as Opti-2 can be used. When in doubt, use the manufacturer's 2 cycle oil.

Common Equipment Problems
  1. My mower will not start even though it was running the last time I used it. I have changed the spark plug and air filter but it still refuses to start.
  2. This is a problem that we see alot and is most likely caused by the engine not receiving any fuel. In order for an engine to run properly it must have good compression, a good spark, and a proper fuel and air mixture.

    If the engine is not getting fuel, you could have one of several problems. The most common problem that we see is debris or water in the fuel tank. Over time, water condenses in fuel tanks and small amounts of grass and dust are knocked or poured into the tank during refueling. Even this small amount of debris is enough to clog the jets and ports of a carburetor. A good rule of thumb is that if you can see the debris, it is capable of clogging the carb. In this situation, the fuel tank and carb must be removed and cleaned.

    Another problem that we see alot is stale fuel. If gasoline is stored for an extended period of time, it will begin to break down and form a yellowish-brown varnish. Because of the chemicals that are added to present day fuels, gasoline can not be stored for more than about 3 weeks before it starts to go stale. If stale fuel is the cause of your problem, the carburetor will have to be rebuilt and the fuel tank will need to be cleaned or replaced.

  3. Why does my mower blow white or blue smoke when it is running?
  4. The simple answer is that your engine is burning oil. This could be caused by over filling the engine with oil, turning the mower on its side, or worn piston rings. The most common problems that we see are customers over filling the engine with oil or turning the mower on its side.

    In the case of over filling, the excess oil is forced out of the crankcase through the breather by the movement of the crankshaft, piston, and rod. This oil is then sucked into the carburetor and eventually burned by the engine.

    When a mower is turned on its side with the carburetor facing down, the oil from the crankcase is allowed to pour straight into the carburetor and muffler. This will cause the engine to smoke very badly and, in some cases, will clog the carburetor bad enough to require it to be removed and cleaned.

  5. My mower is vibrating very bad and parts on my mower are breaking for no apparent reason.
  6. Both of these problems are caused by a bent crankshaft. When the crankshaft is bent, the engine is thrown out of balance and will vibrate violently. If the problem is not repaired ASAP, the high frequency vibration will cause all of the metal and hard plastic parts of the mower to fatigue and crack (much like bending a paper clip back and forth until it breaks). It may also rip the oil seals out of the engine and cause the engine to lose most or all of the oil.

    Although a bent crankshaft is a serious problem, it can be repaired in most cases as long as the problem is caught early. If you suspect that you have a bent crankshaft, bring your mower in as soon as possible so it can be checked. If you continue to use the mower with a bent crankshaft and parts begin to break due to fatigue, it will no longer be cost effective to repair the mower.

  7. Whenever I try to start my mower, the pull cord is violently jerked out of my hand and I can not start the engine.
  8. This problem is most likely caused by a sheared flywheel key. All mower engines use a small square key to index the flywheel on the crankshaft. These keys are designed to shear in half to prevent damage to the engine when the blade or flywheel are stopped suddenly. When the flywheel key is sheared, the ignition timing of the engine is thrown off which will cause it to fire at the wrong time. In these cases, any attempt to start the engine with the pull cord will be met with a violent jerk that can cause personal injury.

    There are a number of things that can cause a sheared flywheel key. The most common cause is running over an object in the yard which is hard enough to stop the blade from rotating. In this situation the crankshaft and blade are usually damaged bad enough to require repair or replacement.

  9. My mower makes an awful squealing noise when it is running.
  10. If the noise you hear sounds like you "ran over a cat", then you most likely have a worn out starter clutch. The worn clutch will bind up and cause the clutch to rub the crankshaft. This rubbing will create a high pitched squealing noise and may also damage the recoil and pull cord.

    The only real remedy for a worn starter clutch is to replace it with a new one. We often see customers take the starter clutch apart and attempt to quiet the squeal by filling it full of grease, but this only makes the problem worse and will lead to more damage. If you suspect your starter clutch is worn out, have it replaced as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your engine.

  11. When I attempt to start my riding mower, I can hear the starter motor turning but the engine will not turn over.
  12. Try rotating the engine a 1/4 turn by hand and see if the engine will turn over. If it does, you have teeth missing on the ring gear of your flywheel. In this situation, the flywheel will need to be removed and a new ring gear installed.

    If rotating the engine a 1/4 turn does not help, the bendix gear on your starter is worn out or broken. In order to fix the problem, the starter will need to be removed and the top end of the starter rebuilt.

  13. I have installed a new battery in my riding mower but the starter doesn't engage when I turn the ignition switch.
  14. There are several problems that can cause this, but most of them can be difficult to find. The two most common causes are a bad ground on the mower chassis or a bad starter solenoid, but before you go out and buy a new solenoid, remember that there are several other components that make up the starter circuit. Depending on the brand of mower, these components can include safety switches, interlock modules, relays, fuses, and the ignition switch itself. A failure of any of these components will prevent the mower from starting because the starter circuit will stay open even when the ignition switch is turned to START.

    The worst case scenario would be a faulty starter motor, but this is extremely rare.

  15. I have not changed or adjusted anything on my riding mower but it has suddenly started cutting the grass uneven.
  16. Check your tire pressure. Uneven tire pressure will cause the mower to lean to one side which will make the deck cut uneven. If your tire pressure checks out ok, you could have a bent blade or a damaged mowing deck.

  17. The tires on my riding mower have started to leak air. I have tried everything to stop the leaks, but the tires continue to go flat. Whatshould I do?
  18. First of all, DO NOT USE FIX-A-FLAT in a tire with painted steel wheels. Fix-a-flat and similar tire sealants are caustic and will eat away the paint of the wheels allowing the underlying steel to rust. If left long enough, the tire will actually become rusted to the wheel and will be extremely difficult if not impossible to remove. The sealant can also clog the valve stem and make the tire leak even worse.

    The best course of action for a tire that will not hold air is to install an inner tube. Even if the tire is labeled as "Tubeless", an inner tube can be installed and will hold air much better than the tire alone.

  19. What information do I need when ordering or inquiring about parts?
  20. For engine parts you will need the model number, type or family number, and code number. These numbers are usually stamped into the recoil/flywheel housing or riveted to the housing on a small plate. If you can not find these numbers, check with your equipment documentation. If you still can not find the numbers, bring in the part and we will attempt to match it.

    For mower parts you will need the model number and possibly the manufacturing number. On push mowers these numbers can be found on a sticker at the rear of the deck (near the handle). On riding mowers the numbers are usually located underneath the seat or on the rear of the mower. If you can not find the model number, check with your equipment documentation or bring in the part and we will attempt to match it.

Gwinnett Mower Repair
2425 Eastgate Place, Suite C
Snellville, GA 30078
(678) 344-5219