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My Bolens Ride-On Mower Won't Start

By Paul Bright ; Updated September 21, 2017
A near-empty fuel tank keeps your Bolens riding mower from starting.

It might be frustrating if your Bolens ride-on mower doesn’t start when you crank the ignition. Bolens riding mowers rely on the 13.5-horsepower Briggs and Stratton Power Built engine. Failure to start, however, may not result from engine parts failing. In fact, other operating systems on the Bolens riding mower can cause it not to start.

Start-up Configuration

Bolens riding mowers have a specific configuration before starting so that riders stay safe. If the blade engage lever is in the engaged position, the riding mower will not start. It also won’t start if someone is not in the seat. After putting the key in the ignition switch, the parking brake must also be engaged. The clutch-brake pedal must also be pressed in when starting. If the shift lever is in reverse while the PTO lever is engaged, the mower will also shut off or not start.

Choke System

Problems with the choke system and settings can prevent a start over time. On Bolens riding mowers, the choke control is either on the left side of the dash or on top of the throttle. When the choke control is on before starting, it injects extra fuel into the Briggs and Stratton engine, aiding in starting if the engine is cold. However, leaving the choke control on constantly floods the engine with fuel, which will cut the engine off or prevent a start due to lack of combustion.

Fuel Problems

An empty or near-empty fuel tank prevents a start because there isn’t enough fuel to pass through the carburetor. Old fuel can deposit sediments into the fuel line or fuel filter, clogging the fuel system before any gas reaches the fuel pump. Check fuel lines for any clogs and replace the fuel filter every 100 hours.

Spark Plug

Engine combustion in the Bolens Briggs and Stratton engine begins with the spark plug. Therefore, a faulty spark plug can also hinder a start. The spark plug can become fouled if oil leaks into the crankcase. It can also get fouled if the engine is flooded with fuel or runs too long. According to the Bolens user manual, the spark plug condition and gap should be checked prior to storing for the season and then every 100 hours.

 

About the Author

 

Paul Bright has been writing online since 2006, specializing in topics related to military employment and mental health. He works for a mental health non-profit in Northern California. Bright holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of North Carolina-Pembroke and a Master of Arts in psychology-marriage and family therapy from Brandman University.