Toro Lawn Mower Won’t Start (Why + How to Fix)

Aiden Binnie

Toro lawn mowers, recognized as some of the industry's best, are dependable allies in lawn care. Despite their quality and value, they may occasionally fail to start, a situation that can seem puzzling. Even after diligent maintenance such as discharging, gas checks, and oil changes, these machines can encounter difficulties. 

Nevertheless, there's no need for undue concern. We provide practical methods for diagnosing and rectifying these issues, ensuring your Toro lawn mower will be back in action promptly.

Table Of Contents

What Can Make a Toro Lawn Mower Not Start?

Here are reasons why a lawn mower won’t start.

1. Air filters that are clogged

Did you know that airflow is essential for your lawn mower? The airflow is a no-brainer that allows the mower to be exposed to different elements and weather that can be beneficial or cause damage. The air filter can be filled with grass and dirt during work, which may block the airflow. When this happens, the lawn mower will overheat, damaging the mower’s engine. It also causes surging in the lawn mower or backfiring issues.

How to Fix:

Ensure you regularly check the air filter for clogging to prevent such a problem. You can remove the air filter from its housing and continuously tap it on the hard surface to remove any dirt that may be stuck. You first remove the air filter cover by unlocking it once, clockwise. While doing this, ensure you disconnect the spark plug wire.

Once the air filter is free from dirt and debris, lift it using your lawn mower jack and check for a light shining through the paper air filter. If not, replacing the air filter is the best option to avoid further damage to your lawn mower.

2. Dirty Carburettor

A dirty carburetor is the most common reason for a lawn mower not starting. In most lawn mowers, air and gas regulate the mower's combustion. During combustion, there can be deposits from bad gas or old fuel in the carburetor. The deposition makes the carburetor dysfunctional, causing the mower to not start.

How to Fix:

The best option for fixing this problem is to clean the carburetor. You can fill the carburetor with fresh fuel; the mower will get you going. But when you want to clean the carburetor before refilling it with fuel, disconnect the fuel line before starting. But if the mower still doesn’t start even after doing all these things, you can remove the fuel bowl, and the fuel feeds the bolt.

The fuel feed bolts are on units equipped with Honda engines. But in older Toro mowers, you need to locate the Briggs gas bowl behind the air filters. You can eliminate the dirt using carburetor cleaner or spray carb cleaner onto the jet and brush the bolt gasket.

3. Dirt or damage on the spark plug

During combustion, a spark must be released, but when it fails, it may be due to dirt or damage. The spark may also fail due to a loose plug wire or ignition coil system problems. When the spark is not released due to these problems, the mower cannot start.

How to Fix:

To fix this issue, first disconnect the spark plug wire from the spark plug and connect it to the spark plug tester. A spark ought to be released after connecting the spark tester and the spark plug. In the event that it doesn't work, however, you should spray brake cleaner onto the plug and let it sit for a few minutes before wiping it off with a clean cloth. Complete the final tightening before reinstalling the spark plug. You can switch out the spark plug if it doesn't work.

4. Vacuum in the vented fuel cap

Your mower started just fine with a few passes, but after some time, it quit. The engine sputters and dies, even after pulling the cord a few times. When this happens, there is a fuel cap issue. Fuel can flow from the tank to the carburetor thanks to a vent in the fuel cap that relieves pressure. Gas fumes inside the tank accumulate when there is no power, creating a vacuum that obstructs the flow of energy.

How to Fix:

To fix this, you remove the gas cap, which breaks the vacuum. After the vacuum is released, you reattach the gas cap, and the mower will start immediately. But if the mower fails to begin or stays working and cuts off after ten minutes, it needs a new gas cap.

5. Damage to the dead man’s control

The dead man's control is a safety release mechanism in the lawn mower. A metal cable that is connected to the engine's ignition coil is where the safety bar is fastened. The control is in charge of delivering current to the spark. The lawn mower may not start if the cable is damaged.

How to Fix:

Fixing this problem is relatively easy. You can make your lawn mower start by replacing the cable. When you order the spare part, ensure it has the same serial number to avoid problems if you purchase the wrong one. Once you get the extra cable, replace it, and your Toro lawn mower will be back.

6. Damage to the flywheel brake

The mower's flywheel brake makes the engine move through inertia smoothly. But when it is not done correctly, it can make the mower not start. When you engage the flywheel brake fully, it can be tough to pull.

How to Fix:

If the flywheel brake won't release, see if the brake pad is fully in contact with the flywheel. Confirm any jamming on the blade, and remove it, so the lever can move freely. But when you find that the flywheel is sheared, it may have run over something that tangled the blade. In such a case, it's wise to replace the flywheel.

7. The mower may need professional repairs.

Sometimes, even after reviewing all the above problems, you still won’t start. It can be after you’ve done all the proper maintenance procedures and even got some spare parts. Signs that a mower needs professional repair are when you see black smoke from the engine or when you notice that your mower is consuming a lot of gas or fuel. There can also be a knocking sound from the mower or a vibrating or shaking engine that won't allow the mower to start.

How to Fix:

When you notice that while starting your mower, it removes a black smoke but doesn't start, or it only vibrates without stirring, then it is best to take it for professional repair. The professional will be able to locate any problems with the mower and help make it start.


A lawn mower that won’t start can be a frustrating problem, but it can be easily fixed with the right approach. You can diagnose and correct the issue by following the steps outlined in this guide. Always prioritize safety and consult the owner's manual for specific instructions and precautions. With patience and persistence, you can run your lawn mower smoothly again and enjoy a beautifully manicured lawn all season.

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