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How to Start a Craftsman Lawn Mower: 5 Tips & Tricks

man checking lawn mower batteries

Craftsman lawn mowers are one of the most popular lawn mower models and for a good reason. They offer excellent performance whether you plan on using it once a week or every other month. Its powerful engine also ensures the blades’ speed is high, resulting in a clean and tidy lawn.

In this article, we will look at some tips on starting your Craftsman lawnmower.

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How to Start a Craftsman Lawn Mower

The craftsman lawn mower has been around for decades. It’s also known as a lawn tractor and is the best model for people with over 1 acre of land that need mowing.

The 5 Tips & Tricks on Starting a Craftsman Lawn Mower

1. Thorough Check

man putting battery on lawn mower
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Starting the craftsman lawn mower is not as complicated as people often think. Learning to maneuver it is even easier. Follow the following tips to ensure you start your lawn mower correctly:

First things first: before you start the engine, there are several factors you need to consider;

  • Do you have enough fuel in your tank?
  • Is anything trapped in the blades?
  • Is the PTO lever off?

The parking brake should also be turned on with the chock control activated.

  • Thorough Check Step 1

Ensure that the blades are not caught onto anything. Running the lawn mower with anything caught on the blades can damage them, which may be a bit expensive to repair.

robot lawn mower
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  • Thorough Check Step 2

Check the fuel and oil levels in the lawn mower.

The fuel should be indicated on the fuel gauge if you use a tractor craftsman lawn mower. However, you might have to manually check the fuel level for the craftsman to push lawnmowers. Essentially, the fuel should not be less than a quarter tank full.

To check the oil, open the oil cap at the top of the engine, and use the dipstick to see the oil levels. The dipstick usually has marking on it that help you know the exact level of the oil. If the oil levels are low, add them before using the lawn mower.

The recommended type of oil comes with the manual and, in some cases, may be indicated on the oil cap.

  • Thorough Check Step 3

If you are yet to attach the spark plug wire to the spark plug, ensure you do so. They should be located on the front of the engine. After that, place the metal cap attached to the wire to the metal tip part of the spark plug and ensure it is securely fastened.

man checking lawn mower battery
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  • Thorough Check Step 4

Turn the key in the clockwise direction to start the engine and release it as soon as it starts. Then, ensure you deactivate the throttle and set it to the fast position.

2. Driving

The Craftsman driving lawn mower has a steering wheel similar to most cars. This makes turning and maneuvering the lawn mower pretty easy. Remember that the transmission on your lawn mower will determine how you’ll drive it.

lawn mower racing
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  • Hydrostatic

The hydrostatic transmitter is the most popular because it is easier to operate. First, you need to start it and place the throttle lever in the fast position like you would with all craftsman lawn mowers. Then, release the brake by pressing the parking brake pedal to move the craftsman lawn mower.

The lawn mower has allowances for moving forward or reversing. To move forward, move the speed control lever forward and back towards the operator to reverse it. Pushing the lever further will increase the forward or reverse speed depending on the direction you push it. To stop the lawn mower, move the speed control lever to a neutral position.

  • Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)

The CVT transmission is more complicated to drive than the hydraulic one. However, starting the engine is similar. Press on the brake pedal to shift from parking after starting the engine. Next, move the throttle to the fast position and move the shift lever into the forward or reverse position, depending on the direction you want to move.

Rotary Lawn Mower
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  • Foot Controlled Variable Transmission (FCVT)

Starting the engine of the FCVT transmission is essentially the same as with all other versions. Step on the brake pedal to release the parking brake and move the throttle to the fast position. To move forward, shift the lever forward and backward to reverse.

Like the CVT transmission option, the harder you press the pedal, the faster the mower movers. To completely stop the mower, remove your foot from the drive pedal and press on the brake. Turn off the engine by turning the key anti-clockwise, and stop once the engine stops running.

3. Changing the Filters

Honda Lawn Mower
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Some Craftsman lawn mowers have a filter, while others don’t. So, you need to determine the filter type on your lawn mower if it is equipped with one. A filter is vital in preventing any dirt and dust from getting into the carburetor and engine. Replacing it ensures your oil remains clean and the engine does not get damaged.

If your mower has a pleated filter, you must replace it with a new one immediately after it gets dirty. In the case of a foam air filter, you can clean it with hot water and some detergent and let it air dry before reinstalling.

Have a piece of rag/ bowl at the ready to catch any oil that may leak when you remove the filter. To remove the filter, turn counterclockwise and allow the oil to drain into the drain pan. Wipe the gasket on the new filter with a bit of fresh engine oil before putting it back.

4. Changing the Cutting Height

Craftsman lawn mowers allow you to set the mower to the cutting height you want your lawn to be. Whether you want short or long grass, you can select the required height requirement on your mower.

To do this, move the deck lift lever to the notch representing the height you want on your lawn. You can change it as much as you want to since it does not have a specific time limit.

5. Engaging the Blades

Lawn Mower Blade
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Craftsman lawn mowers come with excellent cutting blades. Before you engage the blades, ensure they are not caught onto anything that can pull them apart or damage them. Running the blades while attached to something else could also cause injury to any bystander if they project the object at high speed.

To engage the mower blades, place the throttle lever in the fast position and move the PTO into the ‘PTO ON’ position. For top performance, push the throttle lever in the fast performance.

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Ways You Can Improve the Performance of Your Craftsman Lawn Mower

If you want your craftsman mower to last longer, maintaining it is key. Here are some effective tips.

1. Replace the Oil Often

Engine oil should be replaced at least every time the lawn mower is used or after hitting the 25-hour-use mark. Clean oil should be golden brown, as with vehicle oil. On the other hand, old, dirty oil is darker and black.

2. Replace the Spark Plug

Changing lawn mower spark plug
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Most people ignore how crucial a spark plug is in the lawn mower. However, it is one of the essential parts of running a lawn mower effectively. Even if a mower appears to be working fine, you should check the sparks every season to prevent them from getting burnt and slowing down the mower.

3. Monitor the Condition of the Blades

A sharp blade is the most vital part of a craftsman’s lawn mower. If you want the cut on your lawn to be uniform, consider sharpening your blades regularly. If they are dull and damaged and cannot be repaired, they need to be replaced with new ones.

Significant damage to the blades, such as bends and dents, can cause severe accidents during the operation. So, always replace the original blades with the manufacturer’s recommended blades.

Universal blades are not recommended for Craftsman lawn mowers due to safety issues.

4. Check the Tire Pressure

person replacing air filter of lawnmower
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Like vehicles, keeping stable tire pressure is vital for craftsman lawn mowers. Use a tire pressure gauge often to ensure the pressure is consistent, as poor tire pressure will lead to uneven cutting.

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Starting a Craftsman lawn mower is pretty easy and can be done by someone with no prior lawn mower or vehicle experience. However, children should be kept away from lawn mowers since they can cause severe injury or, in some cases, death. According to research, 90 Americans die annually from lawn mower-caused accidents.

The good news is that most lawn mowers come with manuals with well-detailed instructions on how to run and drive the lawn mower. For a safe and practical experience, ensure you read the precautions.

Featured Image Credit: Cliff Day, Shutterstock


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