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Gil, Small Engine Technician
Category: Small Engine
Satisfied Customers: 37
Experience:  Master Service Technician for Kohler Motors. Certified Marine and Outdoor Power Equipment Technician
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What if I accidently ran my lawn mower with way too much

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My lawn mower will not start. It ran a while real rough with tons of first black then much white smoke, then stopped running. What if I accidently ran my lawn mower with way too much oil? I may have overfilled it, and then it was hard to start and was running real rough and then stopped and would not start. But just before that I had tipped it over to clean the underside and so may have got oil on the air filter based on some advise I read in a column?? how do I fix it? It is a nice 2 year old Honda self propelled mower and do not really wnat to pay to take it into the shop..

If you tipped your mower over with the carburetor side down, oil could very well have got into your carburetor and air filter.

Remove your air filter and look for oil soaked into the element. Check for oil in the air filter housing. If it is oil soaked or very dirty then you will need to replace the air filter. If oil appears in the housing then clean it out with a clean rag.

Remove your spark plug and check the colour. Is the plug oil soaked? Is the plug black? If the plug appears black or carboned up you had better replace it. If it is oil soaked then wipe off the oil as best you can and carefully clean in and around the electrode. A quick spray of carb cleaner will help dissolve the oil. Make sure you don't alter the gap between the spark plug electrodes as you clean.

Check your oil level. Is it over full? Is it low? Can you pull the rewind cord or is it really hard to pull it over? If the oil level is over full you will need to drain out some oil to correct the level. If the level is low then add some oil to correct. If your pull cord was hard to pull and your oil level was over full, is it easier to pull once the level has been corrected?

Once you have gone through these checks, try to start the mower again. Will it start? If not, remove the air filter again and put about a teaspoon of gas down the hole into the carburetor throat. Now try to start it again. Does it start?

If the mower starts, you will find that it will smoke for a little while until all the excess oil has burned out of the cylinder and the muffler. After that it should clear itself. If the mower still wont start your carburetor may need cleaning.

Please let me know what happens. If all is well and your mower starts and you are satisfied then please click on the Accept button. If you still can't start the mower please let me know and we can then go further into a solution.

Thank you


Gil and 3 other Small Engine Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
yes it has started and now seems to work fine because I saw that the paper air cleaner was soaked with oil. I washed off the plastic cassing and replaced with a new air filter. I made sure the oil level was correct - which was very difficult with the grey plastic dip stick poor design - (I had to use other tools which were easier to read - in fact a wood chop stick!) It now seems to start fine. Odd that the lawn mower hhas all kinds of safety stickers and writing o it but nothing indicating that you should not turn it to the right while cleaning the underside.....Also poor design o the oil dip stick VERY had to read because of the color of the plastic used.

Glad to hear of your success. Smile