Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

How to Change a Lawn Mower Spark Plug

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How to Change a Lawn Mower Spark Plug

Tired of pulling your back out trying to start your lawn mower, only to have it sputter and die? Perhaps your mower needs a new spark plug – the device that creates the electrical spark that ignites the fuel in your engine. If the spark plug is worn or bad, it can cause the mower to run rough or not start at all.

Check the spark plug annually as part of your regular lawn mower maintenance. Sometimes the spark plug can be cleaned and adjusted by resetting the spark gap at the end of the plug. If not, it will need to be replaced.

Even if you’re not mechanically inclined, you can replace a spark plug in a matter of minutes for less than $5, which makes a world of difference in helping your lawn mower start and run properly. Read on to find out how to go about it.

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9 Comments on “How to Change a Lawn Mower Spark Plug”

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  1. Judy S. Says:
    July 23rd, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    Following your instructions, I changed my mower’s sparkplug. (Good, clear instructions!) It started easily and ran normally. The next time I needed to mow, it wouldn’t start and sounded like it did before changing the spark plug. Thinking I might have made a mistake with the plug, I replaced it with a new one. It started right up and ran normally. Couple of weeks later, same story. I have now used 4 plugs this season. Am I doing something that causes the plugs to have shorter lives? Thanks!

  2. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    August 10th, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Hi Judy,
    Your question has been answered on our website at Problem with Lawn Mower Engine Running Rough. Hope that helps!

  3. JACKIE SHEPARD Says:
    April 22nd, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    The article on changing spark plugs was excellent– it was clear, easy to follow, easy to understand. Most important, it took the fear of attempting to do a mechanical repair away! I have compleat confidence I will be able to to other maintenance jobs as well to start up my riding lawn mower in a properly maintained manner. I purchased it last year with 11 hours on it, but want to make sure it is in good shape before I start up. Thanks for the great articles Jackie Shepard.

  4. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    April 23rd, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Hi Jackie,
    Thanks for the feedback, glad to hear that our article was helpful!

  5. Daryl Bridgeforth Says:
    March 21st, 2014 at 2:06 am

    Fantastic! Now, even I, who has mo mechanical talent can do this thanks to you.

  6. Mrs. Durkin Says:
    September 21st, 2014 at 6:41 am

    Thank you so much for these instructions! You’ve made it possible for me to fix my mower, while my husband is out of town!

  7. chris from canada Says:
    October 5th, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    response to judy S.
    Judy S. Says:
    July 23rd, 2011 at 7:03 pm
    Following your instructions, I changed my mower’s sparkplug. (Good, clear instructions!) It started easily and ran normally. The next time I needed to mow, it wouldn’t start and sounded like it did before changing the spark plug. Thinking I might have made a mistake with the plug, I replaced it with a new one. It started right up and ran normally. Couple of weeks later, same story. I have now used 4 plugs this season. Am I doing something that causes the plugs to have shorter lives? Thanks!
    =====
    hi judy. i think you have a problem with step 5…tightening the spark plug. most plugs need to be tightened very snugly and it is hard to do with a small tool like in the pictures here. i recommend one quarter to almost one half turn after it is contacted the motor and is very finger tight. now is the time to use a wrench to turn it the extra quarter turn i previously mentioned. of course if it was stuck on some rust and not yet fully seated it will turn more til it is very tight and does not allow the combustion gases to escape which makes your mower not start or run horrible. good luck :)

  8. Rebecca Says:
    December 15th, 2014 at 10:42 am

    Hi! My husband bought a new mower, put in the oil and gas, then started it but it didn’t start. He then realized it had no spark plug in it. He went out and bought the right one, put it in, and it still won’t start. Is it ruined? Any suggestions?

  9. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    December 15th, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    Rebecca,
    That shouldn’t have damaged the mower. Make sure you have the right plug for the mower, and the spark gap is set to the correct distance.

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