How to Repair a Rough Running Lawn Mower


A riding lawn mower is a big investment, one you'll want to protect. In order to assure that your mower is performing at its optimum, regular maintenance is necessary. If your lawn mower begins to run poorly, has trouble starting, and seems to have a loss of power, it probably needs some basic maintenance work that you can do yourself. All that is required are a few tools, and an hour or so of time. Regularly scheduled maintenance will also help you avoid larger problems later on.

Step 1

Remove the key from the ignition. Engage the parking brake.

Step 2

Remove the nuts that secure the air filter cover. Remove the cover, and then remove the air filter.

Step 3

Remove the pre-filter, if applicable, and rinse it in warm soapy water. Dry it completely. Using the air compressor, blow all grass and debris from the folds of the air filter. Slide the pre-filter back on the air filter, and return the assembly to its original position. Replace the cover and secure the nuts.

Step 4

Locate the spark plugs situated on either side of the mower's engine. Pull off each rubber boot, and then remove each plug with the correct sized deep drive socket. Replace the plugs with new ones. Snap the boots back into place.

Step 5

Turn the gas switch on the gas tank to the "off" position. Find the fuel filter by following the fuel line out of the gas tank until it enters the filter. Use needle nose pliers to pull off the hose clamp at one end of the fuel filter. Do the same to the hose clamp at the other end of the fuel filter.

Step 6

Dispose of the old fuel filter. Insert one end of the new fuel filter into the fuel line, being certain it is facing the correct direction. Secure it with the hose clamp. Do the same to the other end of the fuel filter. Turn the gas switch to the "on" position.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never work on or around a lawn mower when the engine is hot.

Things You'll Need

  • Air compressor
  • Ratchet set
  • Needle nose pliers
  • 2 new spark plugs
  • 1 new fuel filter


  • tuning up your mower
  • mower maintenance
  • mower tune up tips
Keywords: mower maintenance, lawn mower maintenance, tune up mower

About this Author

Lisa Larsen has been a professional writer for 18 years. She has written radio advertisement copy, research papers, SEO articles, magazine articles for "BIKE," "USA Today" and "Dirt Rag," newspaper articles for "Florida Today," and short stories published in Glimmer Train and Lullwater Review, among others. She has a master's degree in education, and is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.