11 Typical Problems with Using a Lawn Mower (Solved)

Lawn mower

AskGardening is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more.

Lawnmowers are an amazing gardening tool that makes our lives so much easier, but many of us run into 11 issues when using the machine. And not getting these issues right can even hurt the machine.

Let’s go over these common issues one by one.

1. Do lawn mower blades turn clockwise or counterclockwise?

A single-blade lawnmower blade turns clockwise and dual-blade lawnmowers turn anti-clockwise.

Many lawnmowers have blades with “grass side” or “this side down” written on them.  This is the side of the blade that should be facing the grass.

Also, one side of the lawnmower blade has a blade, and the other has a lip known as a “flange”. The lip pushes the cut grass out into the bag or container at the rear.

If you install a lawnmower blade incorrectly, it can feel like your lawnmower has engine problems and the machine won’t start at all.  This is because the blade can barely rotate as the blunt lip tries to cut the grass which is extremely difficult.

Another way to tell which way your blade is spinning is the side of your lawnmower that the chute is on. There is a chute at the back and a chute on one of the sides. It’s important to note that the location of the side chute depends on where you’re looking at your lawnmower from.

Let’s say you’re looking from where you are when you’re operating your lawnmower.  If the chute is on the left side, the blade on your lawnmower spins anti-clockwise. On the other hand, if the side chute is located on the right, then your lawnmower blade spins clockwise.

2. How fast do lawnmowers go?

On average, a ride on a lawnmower can travel at a maximum speed of 4 to 15 mph (6 km/h to 24 km/h) going in a straight line.

Also, the blade of a lawnmower spins at about 3000 to 4000 revolutions per minute at full throttle or about 50 to 66 full revolutions per second.

This is about 30% of the speed that a weed wacker spins at.

3. Not strong enough to start lawnmower – What to do?

Keep your non-dominant hand (usually the left hand) extended straight, and pull using your dominant hand. The strength it takes to start a normal lawnmower is the same as opening a car door.

When you pull on the cord try to use your triceps more than using your shoulder muscles. Also, using your whole upper body and twisting at the hip generates a lot more strength than using your arms alone.

If you still cannot start a lawnmower, this could indicate that it needs to get serviced. The spark plugs, and various components responsible for making it easy to start need to be replaced, or cleaned.

It’s also possible that your gas has been sitting in your lawnmower for too long.

Gas does go bad over time.  If there is excess gas in your lawnmower that has gone bad it doesn’t combust very well and it can be very difficult for your lawnmower to start.

In the next section, I will explain how to drain bad gas from your lawnmower.

4. How long does the gas in my lawnmower last?

As a general rule, gas lasts for about 2 weeks in your lawnmower.

It’s preferable to run your mower dry because gas starts to go bad after 2 weeks and doesn’t combust very well. It can also clog the engine. Run your lawnmower until it shuts off when there’s no fuel left in the fuel tank.

It’s best to have the tank nearly empty when you finish mowing by winter when the grass stops growing.

If you still have a lot of fuel in the tank, a fuel stabilizer can be added to your fuel.

Another option is to remove the gas which is very simple to do.

5. Can I leave my lawnmower in the rain?

In general, it’s fine to leave a lawnmower in the rain, but it’s best not to.

You should also be sure the fuel tank cap is closed securely to avoid water from getting into the fuel tank. Rain can also speed up the corrosion of the metallic parts of your lawnmower.

6. Can I mow my lawn at 7 am, and on Sunday?

In most jurisdictions, it is not allowed to mow your lawn using a lawnmower at 7 am on a Sunday.

Many jurisdictions have noise restrictions that prohibit the use of yard maintenance equipment such as lawnmowers from 8pm to 8am during the week, and from 6pm to 9am on the weekends (source).

It’s best to check the specific laws for your municipality first. To be sure not to disturb your neighbors, only mow after 10 am during the week or on the weekends.

Also, the grass is typically damper early in the morning. Using a lawnmower on wet grass is more difficult than on dry grass. The grass tends to form clumps and stick to the insides of the lawnmower, making it more difficult for the machine to push it into the bag or out the chute.

7. Can I mow my lawn on Memorial Day?

In most jurisdictions, lawnmowers and loud power tools can only be operated from 8am to 8pm.

Non-commercial or non-industrial power tools and landscaping and yard maintenance equipment such as lawnmowers are prohibited from use from 8 pm to 8 am on weekdays, and from 6 pm to 9 am on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.

8. Can I use lawnmower gas in my car?

It is not a wise thing to reuse the gas from your lawnmower in your car.

First, your lawnmower often runs on cheaper, low-octane gasoline (e.g. 87). New high-powered cars, on the other hand, generally use high-octane gas (e.g. 91) to run more smoothly and efficiently.

Second, if the gas has been sitting in your lawnmower for some time and the lawnmower tank is dirty inside, the dirt could be transferred into the gas tank of the car. If that happens, it could damage the car engine. It is not worth it to save just a few dollars to reuse the lawnmower gas in your car as that can create maintenance problems for your car in the future.

9. Neighbor mows lawn constantly – What to do?

There is no law against lawn mowing from 8am to 8pm.

Having a friendly chat with your neighbor might help your neighbor know about your thoughts and also for you to know why he or she does it frequently.

If it’s something that he or she is going to continue doing, and you’re going to live there long-term, it might be worth it to get your neighbor an electric mower that is far quieter. This would depend on getting to know him, and convincing him to use it.

10. Neighbor damaged my lawn – What to do?

Take some photos of the damage, and explain what happened to your neighbor. If you know the landscape company that did it, you can contact them directly with the photos and see what they say.

Generally, people will be willing to help and rectify the issue.

11. Can you be fined for not mowing the lawn?

In the United States, property owners (both commercial and residential) are prohibited by law to allow the grass and weeds on their premises to grow more than 8 inches (20 cm) in height to maintain a clean, safe condition.  Or else, property owners can be fined US$500 or more.

This is according to the District Regulations (12-G DCMR, Section 302 Exterior Property Areas) (Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, n.d.).

If you live in the countryside the law can be a bit more relaxed. Always check with your municipality.


7 Top Wetting Agents for Lawn (With Editor’s Pick)

Should You Aerate Your Lawn? (Here’s The Proof)


Borough of New Providence. How early and late in the day are landscapers allowed to work?

City of New York. (n.d.). Noise from Lawn Equipment.

Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (n.d.). Grass & Weed Regulations.

Carol Chung

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top