What to Do with a Broken Lawn Mower?

Imagine this: a sunny Saturday morning, the perfect day for tending to your lawn. You grab your trusty lawnmower, pull the cord, and…nothing. That familiar engine roar is replaced by a disheartening silence. Your lawn mower is kaput. Now what?

This article is your guide to navigating the world of broken lawn mowers. We’ll explore the common culprits behind lawn mower malfunctions, provide practical troubleshooting tips, and outline your options for repair or disposal. Whether your mower is suffering from a minor hiccup or a major breakdown, this guide will help you make informed decisions about its future.

Understanding the Problem

Before you jump into repairs or disposal, it’s essential to diagnose the issue. Understanding the source of the problem can help you determine if it’s a quick fix or a more complex situation.

Common Lawn Mower Problems:

  • Engine Won’t Start: This could be due to a variety of factors, including a dead battery, a clogged carburetor, or a faulty spark plug.
  • Engine Starts But Won’t Run: A lack of fuel, a blocked air filter, or a faulty fuel line could be to blame.
  • Engine Runs Rough or Dies: Poor fuel, a clogged air filter, or a worn spark plug can all cause engine performance issues.
  • Mower Won’t Cut Grass: This could be due to a dull blade, a clogged deck, or a problem with the blade engagement mechanism.

Troubleshooting Steps:

  • Check the Fuel: Ensure the mower has fresh fuel. Old or contaminated fuel can cause engine problems.
  • Inspect the Spark Plug: A faulty or dirty spark plug can prevent the engine from starting. Clean or replace the spark plug as needed.
  • Clean the Air Filter: A clogged air filter restricts airflow, affecting engine performance.
  • Inspect the Fuel Line: Look for cracks or leaks in the fuel line.
  • Examine the Blade: A dull or damaged blade will not cut grass effectively. Sharpen or replace the blade as needed.

Repairing Your Lawn Mower

If your lawn mower is suffering from a minor issue, repair might be the best course of action.

Repairing a Lawn Mower:

  • DIY Repair: If you’re comfortable working on small engines, you might be able to repair your lawnmower yourself. There are numerous online resources and repair manuals available to guide you.
  • Professional Repair: If you’re not mechanically inclined or the problem seems complex, a professional repair shop is your best bet.

Factors to Consider Before Repairing:

  • Age of the Mower: Older lawn mowers may have parts that are difficult or impossible to find.
  • Cost of Repair: Evaluate the cost of repairs against the cost of a new or refurbished mower.
  • Overall Condition: If your mower is showing signs of wear and tear beyond the current issue, it may be time for a replacement.

Alternatives to Repair:

If repairing your broken lawn mower isn’t feasible or cost-effective, you have several options:

1. Sell or Donate:

  • Sell: If your mower is still functional but needs repair, you can sell it “as is” to someone who might be willing to fix it.
  • Donate: Many charities accept donated tools and equipment. Find local organizations that might accept your broken lawnmower for recycling or resale.

2. Recycle:

  • Metal Recycling Centers: Most lawnmowers are made primarily of metal, making them recyclable. Check with local metal recycling centers about their acceptance policies for lawnmowers.
  • E-Waste Collection: Some communities offer e-waste collection programs where you can dispose of electronics, including lawn mowers.

Deciding on the Best Course of Action:

When you’re faced with a broken lawnmower, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Consider the following factors to make the most informed decision:

  • The severity of the problem: A minor issue might be worth repairing, while a major breakdown might signal the end of your lawnmower’s lifespan.
  • The cost of repair: Weigh the cost of repairs against the value of your lawnmower and the potential cost of a new or refurbished model.
  • Your mechanical skills: Are you comfortable tackling repairs yourself, or do you need to rely on a professional?
  • Environmental impact: Consider the environmental consequences of discarding your broken lawnmower and explore recycling or donation options.


A broken lawn mower can be a frustrating experience, but it doesn’t have to be a total disaster. By understanding the problem, exploring repair options, and considering alternatives, you can make the best decision for your situation. Whether you choose to repair, sell, donate, or recycle your broken lawnmower, remember that responsible disposal is crucial for protecting the environment and promoting sustainability.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What should I do if my lawnmower won’t start?

If your lawnmower won’t start, there are a few things you can check before calling a repair service. First, ensure the gas tank is full and that the fuel is fresh. Old gas can go bad and prevent your mower from starting. Next, check the spark plug. It may be fouled or need to be replaced. Finally, make sure the air filter is clean. A clogged air filter can restrict airflow and prevent the engine from starting.

If you’ve checked all of these things and your lawnmower still won’t start, you may need to take it to a repair shop. However, if the issue is relatively simple, like a loose connection, you may be able to fix it yourself with a little bit of research and some basic tools.

2. How can I tell if my lawnmower needs a tune-up?

If your lawnmower is running rough, smoking, or using more gas than usual, it may need a tune-up. A tune-up will involve cleaning or replacing the air filter, spark plug, and fuel filter. It may also include adjusting the carburetor or other engine components. Regular tune-ups can help to extend the life of your lawnmower and prevent costly repairs down the road.

It’s best to consult your lawnmower’s owner’s manual for specific tune-up recommendations. You may also want to take it to a qualified mechanic for a professional inspection and service.

3. What if my lawnmower blade is damaged?

A damaged lawnmower blade can be dangerous and can also lead to uneven cuts. If your blade is bent or chipped, it needs to be replaced. If you’re comfortable working with tools, you can replace the blade yourself.

However, if you’re not comfortable doing this, take your lawnmower to a repair shop. They will be able to replace the blade safely and efficiently.

4. My lawnmower is leaking oil. What should I do?

Oil leaks can be a sign of a more serious problem with your lawnmower. First, determine where the oil is leaking from. It could be a loose drain plug, a cracked or worn hose, or a faulty gasket. If you can’t identify the source of the leak, take your lawnmower to a repair shop.

In the meantime, try to contain the leak to prevent it from spreading. You can place a piece of cardboard or a plastic sheet under the mower to absorb any spills.

5. Is it worth repairing my old lawnmower?

Whether or not it’s worth repairing your old lawnmower depends on several factors, including the age and condition of the mower, the cost of the repairs, and whether you have access to a qualified mechanic. If the repairs are minor and the mower is in good condition, it may be worth repairing.

However, if the repairs are extensive or the mower is old and has a lot of other problems, it may be more cost-effective to buy a new lawnmower.

6. What if I’m not mechanically inclined?

If you’re not mechanically inclined, you may want to consider taking your lawnmower to a repair shop. However, there are many helpful resources available online and in libraries that can help you learn about basic lawnmower maintenance.

You can also find videos on YouTube that demonstrate how to fix common lawnmower problems. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you can learn how to troubleshoot and repair your lawnmower yourself.

7. Where can I find a lawnmower repair shop near me?

You can find a lawnmower repair shop near you by searching online, looking in your local phone directory, or asking for recommendations from friends and neighbors. You can also contact your local hardware store or garden center. They may be able to recommend a qualified mechanic.

When choosing a repair shop, it’s important to find one with a good reputation and experienced technicians. You should also ask about their rates and turnaround time before you bring your mower in.

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