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How to Start a Craftsman Lawn Mower

By Heide Braley ; Updated September 21, 2017

If you are about to start a Craftsman lawn mower, there are a few things you will need to know before you get started or you might find yourself making a fool of yourself in front of your neighbors. All the engine cranking in the world will not work if you haven't checked all the safety guards that are built into lawn mowers. Once you have done it once, you will be able to do it easily for the rest of the summer.

Go through a simple checklist before you start the engine. This should be done every single time you use the mower. Check the oil level by untwisting the oil cap and pulling out the dipstick. Wipe it on a clean disposable rag and then stick it back in, screwing the cap shut.

Now open it and pull it back out, checking the reading on the bottom of the stick. You should see the edge of the oil residue and can compare it to the markings. Add oil if necessary to get it to the right reading. Check the gas level. Make sure the spark plug is seated firmly. Place the mower on a flat smooth surface without any long grass under it.

Check the area that you want to mow. Pick up any objects that might be left on the lawn. Make sure there are no children around. Don't try mowing wet grass since you can slip and the grass will clump easily, clogging up your mower.

Cut long grass with two mowings, one with the mower at the highest wheel setting and then lower. Wear shoes with closed toes.

Prime the motor by pushing the red rubber bulb about nine or 10 times. This will push gasoline into the engine. If you skip this step, you will be turning the engine over either by cranking or electric start a whole lot of times when you should only have to do two or three cranks.

Check behind you to make sure that you have clearance for your arm when you give the rope a quick yank. Your elbow doesn't take much force to really hurt. Hold the safety brake on the handle so that it held tight with one hand and with the other pull the started rope gently until it catches. Now let it spring back and pull in one fast long pull. If the engine doesn't start, do the same pull again, until it starts.


Things You Will Need

  • Craftsman lawn mower
  • Disposable oil rag


  • See Resources for further troubleshooting

About the Author


Maryland resident Heide Braley is a professional writer who contributes to a variety of websites. She has focused more than 10 years of research on botanical and garden articles and was awarded a membership to the Society of Professional Journalists. Braley has studied at Pennsylvania State University and Villanova University.