There are few things more annoying than setting aside time to cut the lawn only to find that your petrol lawn mower refuses to start.

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Starting problems are often due to leaving petrol in the mower’s fuel tank for a prolonged period – for example, during the winter months. Draining the tank and filling it with fresh petrol may be the solution. Note, however, that if you store petrol at home, there are a number of regulations with which you must comply.

Here is a look at some of the issues that may be causing starting problems.

The petrol has degraded

Fuel has various additives, and over time, these break down and degrade the fuel. They can form a sediment that then blocks the fuel lines and the filter.

The petrol has become less combustible

Sometimes, petrol becomes less combustible because of the evaporation of the octane boosters. These alcohol-based additives help fire up the engine. Similarly, if water droplets form because of condensation and then mix with the fuel, they dilute it. Again, this reduces its combustion potential.

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A clogged or dirty fuel filter

The gauze fuel filter is placed in the fuel line to stop dirt and debris being carried to the engine. If it is clogged up and covered in dirt, the best course is to replace it. If it’s clean, it can continue to be used.

A damaged carburetor

You need to find the carburetor float bowl and check it. You can use a specialist aerosol to clean this part. On top of the float, you’ll find the float piston. This falls and rises to let fuel into the chamber. If it’s not working properly because of damage, too much or too little fuel may be getting through, so the part will need to be replaced.

Faulty fuel line

Check all the way along the fuel line. If it is damaged, it will need to be replaced. Manufacturers often have a good range of spare parts that you can fit yourself, such as Briggs and Stratton Parts.

Fuel jet problems

The fuel jets mix the petrol and air together in the correct proportions to allow combustion. Check them for dirt, and if necessary, clean them using a thin piece of wire or a needle.