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Why Is My Lawnmower Smoking

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Last Updated: 06 July 2021

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ARCHIE ADAMS

ARCHIE ADAMS

Editor-in-Chief of the Handy Home Master

Have you ever needed to do chores, mow the lawn when lo and behold, smoke started pouring out from your lawn mower? It may come across as something a bit scary, but usually, it won’t be so serious. There are numerous reasons why your lawn mower’s engine smokes, such as an oil chamber is too full, a leak or oil somewhere, and many others, but we’re going to take you through everything you need to know. This article will look at how to stop a lawn mower from smoking and what to do with a lawn mower engine so that it can perform as needed. By the end of the reading, you should be equipped to handle any smoke-related problems. You will also know how to prevent smoke from emerging in the future. Let’s take a look at different problems, what they mean and how they can be avoided.

What Does White Smoke Mean? Possible Reasons

What Does White Smoke Mean?

It can often be a very disturbing sight when you see a cloud of white smoke emerging from a lawn mower. So what does white smoke mean? White vapor coming out is a sign that the lawn mower’s engine is, in fact, burning oil, however, oil has probably got there for some innocuous reason. One could have spilled a bunch of oil on the housing or he/she may have overfilled a crancake. Perhaps oil entered a combustion chamber when it was turned over and cleaned – whatever happened, it’s might be just an accident. Even something like mowing a lawn on a hill or gradient can cause some oil to spill and enter into the mower’s combustion chamber.

What to Do?

white-smoke-what-to-do

Now that you know about technical aspects, you might be wondering about how to stop white smoking. If you let your mower run then lawn mower smoke is likely to stop. When using two-stroke mowers, it’s possible that you’ve added too much oil to gas. The correct proportion is usually around 40-1 and 50-1. If there is any excess oil, it won’t actually hurt an engine, however, if you want all smoke to stop then you should change the fuel.

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Briggs & Stratton 100005 SAE 30W Engine Oil
Briggs & Stratton 100005 SAE 30W Engine Oil - 18 Oz
$3.67
STP 4 Cycle Oil Formula
STP 4 Cycle Oil Formula, Engine Care for Lawnmower, Push Mower & Tractor, Bottles, 32 Fl Oz, 18589
$13.97
Lawn-Boy 89930 2-Cycle 32:1 Ashless Engine Oil
Lawn-Boy 89930 2-Cycle 32:1 Ashless Engine Oil, 8-Ounce Bottle
$4.50

Often when you’re using a brand new mower for the first time, it’s possible to see some white vapor coming out of it. Rest assured that it is probably a result of any oil residue that has been left by the manufacturer and there is probably no need to send it back or get it repaired. The best thing to do is simply let your lawn mower run. As you do this, the engine will burn away residue and all-white smoke should cease soon.

What Does Black Smoke Mean? Possible Reasons

What Does Black Smoke Mean?

Lawn mower engines can often puff away black smoke when the mix of air and fuel becomes too dense. When there isn’t enough air, fuel can’t combust properly, thus, all unburnt fuel that is left in a combustion chamber starts turning black and emits vapor. If one has ever burnt a pile of leaves outside, they can see how tight packing stops air from circulating leading to black vapor.

If you’re wondering “why is my lawn mower smoking?”, it’s probably a sign that the ratio between gas and air is much too rich. It’s likely that the device is consuming a lot more gas than it should be doing when it’s operating. Black vapor could also indicate that oil in the mower has migrated into their cylinder thus the lawn mower is trying to burn both this and the fuel. Sometimes after black gas, it will be difficult or even impossible to restart your lawn mower.

What to Do?

Dirty filters are usually common causes of black vapor puffing out and are relatively easy to fix yourself. It’s as simple as removing a lawn mower filter and then cleaning it with soapy water. The majority of filters are made up of either paper or foam. If yours is made of foam then it might need an additional coat of engine oil before it can be reinstalled. Paper filters can’t be cleaned as easily and so it’s recommended to replace them entirely. The problem that a dirty air filter causes the inability of the lawn mower to pull in the right amount of air. This results in a mix of air and fuel that is too dense.

black-smoke-what-to-do

If vapor still persists after this, you should adjust the fuel mix, making it leaner by turning a carburettor screw of a lawn mower. Any mower’s manual will come with instructions on where this can be located and how to twist this screw. Lawn mowers typically have 2 screws to adjust that are mounted around the outside of the unit – one is to adjust the air and others to adjust the fuel mix.

It is within the carburettor bowl that a float rises and falls depending on the amount of gas. If you can see that float sticks or have developed a hole, you might not regulate how much gas goes into the carburettor. As a result, the mix is too rich and a smoking engine won’t be able to start. We recommend that if you do encounter black smoke as a result of your carburettor, take it to a qualified mechanic for correct servicing because it can be a bit of a fiddly operation.

The last thing to check is a choke. When one starts a lawn mower, choke closes allowing the carburettor to send a gasoline mix to a cylinder. Once an engine has started, the choke opens in a way that dense mix isn’t necessary to keep the engine running. If choke does stick, the gas mix becomes much too rich. Check any of the linkages to choke, making sure that they work correctly and that they are free from any dirt or debris.

What Does Blue Smoke Mean? Possible Reasons

What Does Blue Smoke Mean?

If your lawn mower smokes blue color, it isn’t an indication of anything going terribly wrong. Don’t be alarmed, a genie isn’t going to appear out of the lawn mower either! This color of smoke indicates a problem much like that of white vapor whereby oil has seeped into an area where it shouldn’t have been.

If too much oil was poured into your quiet lawn mower, or if some of it spilled onto some other part of the engine as it was filled up, blue vapor may appear once the engine is hot and the lawn mower is running.

What to Do

If you’re wondering how to stop your lawn mower from smoking blue then you could use the tips we’ve provided when the lawn mower smokes white. As an addition, you can try and keep your spark plug filter upwards so that it doesn’t leak as easily. This is especially good if you want to mow on a hill – mowing on hills and gradients could cause additional oil spilling.

blue-smoke--what-to-do

Wrap Up

It can be disconcerting when your lawn mower blowing white smoke or when you notice your lawn mower starts then stops to emit a smelly cloud, but hopefully, with the tips we’ve provided, you’ll be able to solve any vapor related problems. Most smoking comes from spilled oil on engine parts so do make sure there isn’t any oil leaking from lawn mower areas and avoid putting too much oil in a lawn mower. Now that you’ve read this article, you should be well equipped to avoid gas problems and know how to stop a lawn mower from smoking. Have a great time out in the sun mowing. Best of luck!

Had any recent troubles with your lawn mower? Folks at HandyHomeMaster.com would love to hear more about your problems – send us comments below.

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COMMENTS

david
19 July, 2020
I bookmarked this site a long time ago, it’s very helpful! When I retired, I began to restore my old house. On this site, I can always find brilliant ideas and tips. Also, it offers very informative and detailed product reviews, I enjoy reading them. This time, I hopped on homemakerguide.com because of my smoking lawnmower. And it helped me yet again! Many thanks to the people who do all this work! 👍
Calvin
8 July, 2020
I never knew that too much oil in a lawnmower could cause smoking. If I hadn’t accidentally come across this post, I’d have had to take it to the specialist. That’s a huge issue for me since I live in a far off area. So, thank you for this great post! It helped me a lot!
mark
24 June, 2020
hi there! i wonder why my lawnmower is smoking. i bought it 2 years ago, and it worked fine until recently. about a month ago, i noticed that white smoke came out when i started the mower. Despite smoking, it worked fine. a few days ago, i read this post and realized what i did wrong to my instrument. i hope everything will be fine with it! thanks!
Matthew
17 June, 2020
What a nice post! My lawnmower’s been smoking for some time past, and it bothered me a lot. First I took it to a specialist, he fixed it. However, after a while smoking started all over again. Now, I’m trying to figure out what’s wrong with my lawnmower myself. I came across this post, and it’s among the best for me. The article is well-structured and very informative! Thanks!
Cheryl McDaniel
25 May, 2020
I’m a florist and my husband is an interior designer, so we value beauty. We’ve got an amazing, large garden where we enjoy our family evenings. As you can guess, we keep our lawn neat and often use a lawnmower. Recently, we’ve noticed that it began smoking. Obviously, we want to stop our lawnmower from smoking. So, this post is super-relevant to us! Thanks a lot!