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The Anatomy of a Lawn Mower

It's easier to diagnose and fix problems when you know the right vocabulary. Get to know your mower

Lawn Mower Lexicon

Illustration by Harry Campbell

When your gas-powered cutter isn't doing the job, diagnosing and fixing

the problem—or telling the mechanic what's wrong—is easy when you know what to look for

Starter Cord

Illustration by Harry Campbell

If hard to pull when handle is in start-up position, engine or blade adapter needs service.

Air Filter and Choke

Illustration by Harry Campbell

Controls air mix in carburetor on some models. If engine won't start, slide open. After start, slide closed to run engine smoothly.

Fuel Tank

Illustration by Harry Campbell

If mower doesn't start or it runs erratically, drain and refill tank with fresh gasoline and fuel stabilizer; clean out gas-cap vent.

Primer Bulb

Illustration by Harry Campbell

Feeds fuel into carburetor. Push before pulling cord, but if engine fails to start, do not prime again—carburetor may be flooded. Wait about 5 minutes before pulling cord.

Oil Cap and Dipstick

Illustration by Harry Campbell

Check oil level before starting. Change oil annually.

Spark Plug and Wire

Illustration by Harry Campbell

Both need to be clean and connected for engine to run. For safety, always disconnect wire when servicing mower.

Cooling Fins and Wheel-Height Adjustment

Illustration by Harry Campbell

Cooling fins act as the engine's radiator. Blow or scrape out debris if engine is overheating and stalling.

Mower Deck

Illustration by Harry Campbell

Crankshaft

If mower is vibrating, check shaft and replace if it's bent.

Blade

Resharpen if it shreds grass tips or isn't mulching. Tighten, balance, or replace if mower vibrates excessively.