How to prime a lawnmower without a primer. Priming button lawn mower

How to prime a lawnmower without a primer

There are several possible reasons why your lawnmower won’t start, and one of them is a broken primer. The primer allows clean fuel into the carburetor. Which then sends it to the engine to power on the mower. Read this if you’re trying to figure out how to prime a lawnmower without a primer.

The carburetor works with the primer to send fuel to the engine and create a spark that powers it on. So without the primer, there’ll be no spark therefore, the engine will not start.

It is essential to know how to turn on your mower without the primer since it can go bad after a while. We will explain how to turn on your lawnmower if your primer is faulty in this guide.

What is a primer bulb?

The primer bulb is a small red bulb or button located near the carburetor. Its function is to push fresh fuel and air mix to the carburetor. The carburetor goes dry from time to time and needs the primer to send fuel to it. It then sends it to the engine, thereby creating a spark that starts the machine.

There are two types of primers, and they both perform the same function. One is the primer bulb, and the other is the automatic primer. The bulb is located on the outside, near the carburetor. But the automatic type works from the inside, sending fuel to the carburetor to power the engine.

Why does a mower primer stop working?

Several reasons can cause a primer to fail to work. But these three are the most common:

Pulling your mower out of the garage after a long time could mean the primer has been without use for too long. It can fail to work since it is probably dry now; no drop of fuel on it. No matter how much you try, the mower will not start because fuel is not reaching the combustion chamber to start the engine.

If you have the primer bulb on your mower, check If the rubber is torn or has any holes. If it is, the mower can not start since the bulb is unable to push fuel into the carburetor in that condition.

You can bypass the primer and start the mower no matter what the fault of the primer is.

We will show you how. But before that, consider these points before you prime the mower:

  • It might take you up to 20 minutes to complete this priming process, much less time if you’re technically inclined and have experience with lawnmowers.
  • You may need starter fluid to finish the priming. Starter fluids are liquid flammable substances used when a piece of equipment, such as a mower, would not start and needs priming.
  • The starter fluid is thicker than fuel. You should only sprinkle a little quantity to prevent clogging and blocking the air into the carburetor.

Follow the steps below to prime your lawnmower without a primer.

It is quite a straightforward process to prime the mower without a primer. You don’t need any fancy tools to do it.

The process won’t take long, and you would get your mower started for the day’s work before you know it. Let’s begin.

What you’ll need to do:

First, you need to ensure the mower is in working condition to start. Prepare the mower for priming by doing the following:

Confirm that the fuel pipes are still in place and there’s no disconnection. If there is, the mower will fail to start.

If yours is the primer bulb, it should be beside or under the carburetor, near the engine. It is a black or red button-like device, though it looks like a small bulb.

Check if it is broken or torn. If so, you can’t start the mower without it. If it is not torn, and there are no holes in it, push the button three times to pump some fuel into the carburetor.

After that, try starting the engine again.

If the engine does not start after you push the primer bulb, and if the bulb is in good shape, pull the throttle lever to its higher position.

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Then drag the starter rope. The engine may attempt to power on at this point.

Push the throttle all the way down and pull the starter rope again. This should start the engine.

You should find the air filter near the side of the engine. There will be a plastic or metal cover housing it. Gently unscrew its cover to reveal the filter.

Take a mental note of where each screw or bolt goes and how the filter sits inside the compartment. This way, you would have no problem fixing it back in its place.

Once you have unscrewed or unbolted the cover, carefully take out the filter.

The air filter is usually situated in the place where air passes to the carburetor. This is where the fluid can be sprayed to get the machine to start. Once you take out the filter, sprinkle very little fluid in this area. It goes straight into the carburetor. Which then sends it to the engine.

If the filter is dirty, you might want to wash or clean it before putting it back, depending on the type. But ensure you cover the area quick enough so that the fluid does not evaporate.

Once it starts, you know the process is successful.

Why do lawnmowers have Primer bulb?

Lawnmowers come with small components, such as small engines, carburetors, etc. They are not as big as regular vehicle, so the size of these parts should be according to the equipment.

The carburetor is responsible for mixing the fuel with the right amount of air and passing it to the combustion chamber. Which then ignites the engine and powers on the mower.

The small carburetor holds a small amount of fuel to make the process successful. If you don’t turn on the mower for sometime, the fuel dries off. To turn on the mower engine, the carburetor needs fuel. This is the work of the primer bulb. It pumps the fuel to the carburetor. Without that, the engine will not start.

Therefore, if the primer suddenly fails or breaks, you need to find a different way to pump fuel into the carburetor. We explained this procedure above. But this is a temporary fix for when you need to use the mower immediately. You should consider replacing the primer as a permanent solution.

As you have seen, priming your mower without a primer is not a difficult thing to do. You only need to push the primer button, and if that doesn’t work, sprinkle starter fluid near the air filter. This should get your mower to start.

However, this is a temporary measure when you suddenly discover the problem and can’t wait to mow your lawn. You should replace it soon enough if it has broken.

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If, after following the steps above, the mower still does not start, contact a professional to have a look at the mower.

How to Start a Push Lawn Mower

This article was co-authored by Jeremy Yamaguchi. Jeremy Yamaguchi is a Lawn Care Specialist and the Founder/CEO of Lawn Love, a digital marketplace for lawn care and gardening services. Jeremy provides instant satellite quotes and can coordinate service from a smartphone or web browser. The company has raised funding from notable investors like Y Combinator, Joe Montana, Alexis Ohanian, Barbara Corcoran and others.

There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

This article has been viewed 669,176 times.

Starting a lawnmower can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never done it before. While there are some differences between lawnmowers, the same basic technique works for many of them. With a little practice and some elbow grease you’ll be starting your lawnmower like a pro in no time!

Starting the Lawnmower

Prepare to start the lawnmower. Move the lawnmower to an open, grassy area. Clear away any children’s toys or rocks. [1] X Research source

Make sure your mower has gas and oil. If your mower has a 4-stroke engine, you can check the oil by opening the oil fill cap or dipstick. If your mower has a 2-stroke engine you’ll need to mix oil in the gas. Make sure you mix the the right kind of oil with the gas, and in the proper ratio for your engine.

  • If the spark plug isn’t firmly attached, refer to your user manual. You may need to take the lawnmower to a mechanic to have it fixed.
  • Have a mechanic change the spark plug once a year. [2] X Research source
  • If the mower is cold, set the choke. The choke helps provide a richer fuel-air mixture to the engine, which helps it stay running until it warms up. Once the mower has been running for a few minutes turn off the choke.
  • If it doesn’t start or make any noises at all, the spark plug may not be attached. Check the spark plug and try again.
  • If it sputters and sounds like it’s trying to start (but doesn’t) you may not have enough gas in the tank.

Diagnosing Problems

  • You MUST disconnect the spark plug before doing this. Otherwise, you risk the lawnmower starting with your hands inside of it.
  • If the starter is still stuck after clearing out the debris, see a mechanic.
  • Check your user manual to see if it addresses this issue. Some models have “quirks” that can be easily fixed if you know how to do it.
  • Always be careful when changing the height of your lawnmower. Make sure the mower is off and the spark plug is disconnected.

Taking Care of Your Lawnmower

  • If your lawn mower doesn’t have a dipstick attached to the oil lid, look for a “fill” line inside the oil tank. If the oil level is below that line, add more oil.
  • If you decide to change the oil yourself, remember to properly dispose of the leftover oil by taking it to a recycling facility. Used oil can contaminate groundwater and damage the environment.
  • Never attempt to work on machinery alone. If you get hurt, no one will be around to help you.
  • Avoid filling the gas tank too high. If you do, the gas may spill out and cause a fire.
  • If you’re not sure what kind of gas to use, refer to your user manual.
  • To care for your lawn during a hot summer, mow high and water deeply and infrequently. [11] X Research source
  • Choose a fertilizer for your lawn depending on whether you want to achieve growth, replenish missing nutrients, or develop stronger roots. [12] X Research source
  • Once you figure out what works for your lawn, stick to that plan and see it through.

Community QA

Thanks! We’re glad this was helpful. Thank you for your feedback. As a small thank you, we’d like to offer you a 30 gift card (valid at Use it to try out great new products and services nationwide without paying full price—wine, food delivery, clothing and more. Enjoy! Claim Your Gift If wikiHow has helped you, please consider a small contribution to support us in helping more readers like you. We’re committed to providing the world with free how-to resources, and even 1 helps us in our mission. Support wikiHow

Thanks! We’re glad this was helpful. Thank you for your feedback. As a small thank you, we’d like to offer you a 30 gift card (valid at Use it to try out great new products and services nationwide without paying full price—wine, food delivery, clothing and more. Enjoy! Claim Your Gift If wikiHow has helped you, please consider a small contribution to support us in helping more readers like you. We’re committed to providing the world with free how-to resources, and even 1 helps us in our mission. Support wikiHow

It is likely that the fingers on the starter clutch are staying open when you pull it so they are being tapped by the metal cup on the fly wheel that they grab onto when the pull starter is being engaged. It’s a typical sound for older used mowers and nothing to be too concerned about. If it continues after it’s started it could be the result of a rod knocking in the engine, at this point replace the engine or the mower.

Thanks! We’re glad this was helpful. Thank you for your feedback. As a small thank you, we’d like to offer you a 30 gift card (valid at Use it to try out great new products and services nationwide without paying full price—wine, food delivery, clothing and more. Enjoy! Claim Your Gift If wikiHow has helped you, please consider a small contribution to support us in helping more readers like you. We’re committed to providing the world with free how-to resources, and even 1 helps us in our mission. Support wikiHow

Lawn Mower Primer Not Working: Reasons and Solutions

If you’ve ever tried to start your lawn mower only to find that the primer isn’t working, you know the frustration.

How I fixed a primer base that wouldn’t prime. (quantum Briggs)

A damaged primer bulb or faulty fuel line will usually cause your lawn mower to fail to prime. Fuel contamination and water in gas can also cause similar concerns. Your lawn mower might experience priming difficulty due to a faulty gasket or air box.

If the lawn mower primer not working, this article will tell you why and how to fix it.

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How Does The Lawn Mower Primer Work?

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Lawnmowers have smaller carburetors than autos. Small carburetors dry faster. The carburetor will be empty, preventing the lawnmower from starting. A primer solves this.

Primer pumps gas into the carburetor. Start the mower by delivering a fuel-air charge to the combustion chamber. The carburetor needs petrol to start the mower. Primers are either push bulbs or automated.

Bulb primers use physical strength, while the other works inside. They serve the same objective yet work differently. Bulb primers push gas to the carburetor. It directs tank fuel to the carburetor.

Another primer is automatic. The primer retains fuel when the mower is off. This fuel can get to the combustion chamber the next time you start the engine.

Both methods FOCUS on fueling the combustion chamber through the carburetor.

Reasons Behind Lawn Mower Primer Not Working (Fixes Added)

There are the main causes for a non-functioning primer on a lawn mower:

Blocked Fuel Line

If your lawn mower’s primer is not working, it may be due to a blocked fuel line. This is not uncommon in small engines, as dirt and debris can accumulate and clog the fuel line.

A clogged fuel line prevents the fuel from reaching the primer. This can be caused by dirt or debris in the tank, a kinked or damaged fuel line, or a fuel filter that is clogged or dirty.

The Fix

To fix this issue, you will need to locate the fuel line and unblock it:

  • Start by emptying any remaining fuel from the tank and disconnecting the fuel line from the carburetor.
  • Then, inspect the fuel line for any dirt, debris, or corrosion. If any is found, use a stiff wire brush to clean it out.
  • Next, check the fuel filter to make sure it is not blocked as well.
  • Finally, reconnect the fuel line, add fresh fuel to the tank, and try to start the lawn mower again.
  • If the primer still does not work, additional inspection and maintenance may be needed to diagnose the issue.

Primer Bulb is Not Being Squeezed

If the primer bulb on your lawn mower is not working correctly, it could be caused by a blockage in the fuel line. The blockage could be caused by dirt, debris, or even an air leak.

Flexible plastic or rubber is used to make priming bulbs and tubes, but over time these materials harden, break, and degrade.

The Fix

To diagnose the issue, you will need to check the fuel line for any blockages or leaks. If you find a blockage, use a small wire or needle to carefully remove it from the fuel line.

If you find an air leak, use a sealant to repair it. After doing this, try squeezing the primer bulb again to see if it works.

If the primer bulb still isn’t working, you may need to replace it. To do this:

If the primer bulb is too small, it will not be able to pull enough fuel into the carburetor to start the engine.

If it is too large, it will pull too much fuel and may cause flooding or other issues.

  • Once you have the right size, disconnect the fuel line from the primer bulb.
  • Unscrew the old primer bulb and replace it with the new one.
  • Reconnect the fuel line and try squeezing the primer bulb to see if it works.

If you have done all of the above and the primer bulb still isn’t working, the problem could be with the carburetor. In this case, you will need to take your lawn mower to a professional for further diagnosis and repair.

Carburetor Problem

Carburetor problems are usually caused by a lack of proper maintenance. The most common problems are dirty or clogged air filters, a clogged fuel filter, or a clogged carburetor.

A clogged carburetor can cause the fuel mixture to be too rich, leading to hard starting and possible stalling.

If the carburetor is not adjusted correctly, it can lead to issues such as poor performance, engine stalling, difficulty starting, and even an inability to start.

The Fix

  • Use a carburetor cleaner to remove any dirt or debris that has built up.
  • Then, use a small brush or compressed air to clean the jets.
  • Finally, if necessary, replace any worn or damaged parts.

Make sure the carburetor is properly adjusted according to the manufacturer’s specifications. This includes checking the idle speed, fuel mixture, and choke settings.

In addition, it is important to use the correct size primer bulb on the carburetor to ensure proper engine performance.

Fuel Contamination

If the fuel in your lawn mower has become contaminated, the primer bulb may not be able to draw fuel into the engine.

Contaminated fuel can contain dirt, water, or other debris which can block the flow of fuel from the primer bulb to the engine. If the fuel contains debris, the primer bulb may not be able to draw fuel into the engine for combustion.

If the fuel has been left in the mower for several months, it can also become stale and not combust properly.

The Fix

If fuel contamination or water in the gas is detected, dump the fuel tank and refill it with clean fuel. Replace polluted fuel lines and filters. This can ensure that the lawn mower is getting the right fuel combination and is not blocked or damaged by tainted fuel.

If the priming does not work, clean or replace the primer bulb and examine the fuel lines for blockages or damage.

Faulty Gasket

If the gasket on your lawn mower is faulty, then the primer will not work as intended. This is because the primer needs to build up pressure in the carburetor in order to properly mix fuel and air.

If the gasket is faulty, then the pressure will not be able to build up and the fuel and air will not be properly mixed.

The Fix

To fix this issue, you will need to replace the gasket. You can purchase a new gasket at most hardware stores or online.

To ensure a proper fit, make sure to follow any instructions that come with the new gasket.

Once the new gasket is installed, your primer should be able to build up the necessary pressure and mix fuel and air properly.

Maintaining a beautiful lawn can be a daunting task, especially if you lack the appropriate know-how and tools to handle the challenges that may crop up. Fortunately, LawnAsk is here to offer you an all-encompassing resource that covers everything you need to know about lawn care.

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Lawn Mower Only Runs on Primer Pump. FIXED!