Common Snapper Lawn Mower Problems & Solutions


It’s bound to happen. When you own your Snapper lawn mower long enough you are going to run into problems that will need to be repaired. Some of these problems can be avoided by regularly maintaining your equipment changing out filters, greasing your fittings, lubricating your cables, and properly caring for your fuel. Other items will just wear with time and need to be replaced.

I have put together a list of problems that are common to most Snapper lawn mowers to assist you the next time you run into a problem with your Snapper. This is a great page to bookmark and keep on hand. Not only do I provide a list, there are links to give you more detailed information.

The most common Snapper lawn mower problems are:

  • Snapper doesn’t start
  • Snapper dies while mowing
  • Snapper is smoking
  • Snapper has a weak hydrostatic transmission
  • Snapper won’t drive straight or steer correctly
  • Snapper won’t move
  • Snapper is shaking or vibrating
  • Snapper is cutting uneven
  • Snapper is leaking gas

Common Snapper Lawn Mower Problems & Solutions

Snapper Lawn Mower Won’t Start

A Snapper mower may not start because your mower isn’t getting the air, fuel or spark required to form a combustion in the engine. This can be due to a plugged air filter; clogging or failing parts in the fuel system; a dirty spark plug; or faulty ignition coil.

Check for fuel in the gas tank and make sure your battery isn’t dead. These can also contribute to your Snapper lawn mower’s starting problem.

Detailed information can be found at:
Snapper Lawn Mower Won’t Start: Solved!

CauseReason for ProblemSolution
No gas in the fuel tankFuel tank is emptyFill with fresh fuel
Bad or old fuelFuel breaks down overtime making your fuel less efficient and prone to clogging the fuel systemDrain the fuel tank and fill with fresh fuel. Use a fuel additive like Sea Foam to stabilize the fuel and assist with cleaning the fuel system. Use the right fuel.
Faulty or clogged fuel capThe vent in the cap can get clogged causing your tank to form a vacuum restricting fuel flowTry to clean the cap and remove the clogged vent. Replace the cap if needed.
Bad spark plugExcessively dirty or broken spark plug; bad connection; not gapped correctlyReplace with a new spark plug, secure connections and ensure it is gapped to manufacturer specifications
Plugged air filterDirt and grass can plug the air filter preventing air flowRemove the filter and clean it. Replace the filter if it is in bad condition.
Plugged fuel filterA dirty fuel filter will restrict fuel flowReplace the fuel filter
Bad fuel pumpA failed or leaking fuel pump will no longer create pressure needed to pump fuelReplace the fuel pump
Blocked fuel linesBad fuel deposits and dirt can build up and clog the fuel lines preventing the engine from getting the required fuelUse a carb cleaner and compressed air to clear the clog out of the fuel line. Replace line if necessary.
Dirty carburetorThe carburetor can become dirty and clogged due to bad fuel and ethanol deposits preventing fuel flowClean the components making up the carburetor. Replace if needed.
Bad battery or loose & dirty terminalsA dead battery, loose cables or corroded terminals can cause starting problemsCharge your battery and replace if it won’t hold a charge. Make sure your cables are tight and clean the corrosion from terminals.
Bad safety switchSafety switches is a safety measure that exist to prevent your mower from starting in certain situations. When a switch fails, your mower may not start.Test and replace faulty safety switch
Bad ignition switch or coilYour mower will not start when either the ignition switch or coil is badTest and replace a bad switch
Broken recoilA pull start mower may have a damaged or broke recoil preventing the recoil to initiate starting your engineCheck recoil to see if it can be restrung or broke parts, like the pulley, can be replaced. Replace the recoil assembly if needed.
Bad charging systemA charging system that can’t keep your mower charged and is constantly draining the battery must be repaired to prevent starting problems.Take your lawn mower to your local Snapper dealer for assistance identifying which part of the charging system has failed.
Reasons Your Snapper Mower Won’t Start

Snapper Lawn Mower Loses Power and Dies

A Snapper mower may die after running when the engine is overheated due to plugged cooling fins not able to circulate air around the engine to keep it cool; a low engine oil level creating friction and heat in the engine; and a plugged mower deck creating extra draw on the engine.

Your Snapper mower can also die after running a while when a fuel or air restriction develops from running old fuel, that clogs the fuel system components or a plugged air filter.

Detailed information can be found at:
Snapper Lawn Mower Starts Then Dies

CauseReason for ProblemSolution
Bad fuelFuel breaks down overtime making your fuel less efficient and prone to clogging the fuel system and engine damageDrain the fuel tank and fill with fresh fuel. Use a fuel additive like Sea Foam to stabilize the fuel and assist with cleaning the fuel system
Plugged air filterDirt and grass can plug the air filter preventing air flowRemove the filter and clean it. Replace the filter if it is in bad condition.
Dirty or broken cooling finsCooling fins get packed with dirt, oil and grass not allowing air to effectively cool the engine blockReplace broken fins and clean the cooling fins.
Clogged fuel linesBad fuel deposits and dirt can build up and clog the fuel lines preventing the engine from getting the required fuel.Use a carb cleaner and compressed air to clear the clog out of the fuel line
Dirty carburetorThe carburetor can become dirty and clogged due to bad fuel and ethanol deposits preventing fuel flowClean all the components making up the carburetor. Replace if needed.
Reasons Why Your Snapper Mower Dies While Mowing

Snapper Lawn Mower is Smoking

Smoking in your Snapper lawn mower can be the result of oil burning off a hot component like the muffler or inside the engine cylinder. It can also be the result of burning mower fuel than air when forming a combustion in the engine.

Detailed information can be found at:
Why Your Snapper Lawn Mower is Smoking

CauseReason for ProblemSolution
Plugged air filterDirt and grass can plug the air filter preventing air flowRemove the filter and clean it. Replace the filter if it is in bad condition.
Too much oil in the crankcaseExcessive oil can cause pressure to build in the engine allowing oil to get into the cylinder through the valve trainDrain a little engine oil until it is at the manufacturers recommended oil level.
Engine oil level is too lowLack of oil can increase friction in your engine causing extreme heat.Bring to a small engine repair shop to inspect engine damage. You can try adding oil, but it is often too late to have this fix your engine problem.
Internal problems including the piston ring, valve train or engine gasketInternal engine problems can have a detrimental effect on your mower if they are not caught soon enough and fixed.Bring your Snapper to your local small engine repair shop for troubleshooting
Reasons Why Your Snapper Mower is Smoking

Snapper Lawn Mower Has a Weak Hydrostatic Transmission 

A hydrostatic transmission on a Snapper mower can feel weak from the use of a bad hydraulic belt or pulley. It can also be the result of running old hydraulic oil or not having enough oil in the hydraulic tank.

Note: Some transmissions are non-serviceable. This means you are unable to change the hydraulic oil because the system is sealed. Bring your mower to your local lawn mower repair shop or Snapper dealership when you have problems with a non-serviceable hydraulic system.

CauseReason for ProblemSolution
Bad drive beltA bad drive belt can cause your pump not to work efficientlyReplace a frayed, cracked or worn belt
Bad tensioner pulleyWhen a tensioner pulley fails, it fails to keep tension on the drive beltReplace the pulley and grease the tensioner arm
Low or old hydraulic oilLow or old hydraulic oil can fail to lubricate the hydraulic system causing your hydraulic system to seem weakChange your hydraulic oil at regularly intervals as recommended by Snapper.
Check your hydraulic oil periodically to ensure your hydraulic fluid is full.
Reasons Why Your Snapper Mower’s Hydrostatic Transmission Seems Weak

Snapper Lawn Mower Won’t Drive Straight or Steer Correctly

Several items can affect your Snapper mower’s steering including incorrect tire pressures and worn steering components. If you have a Snapper zero turn mower, the tracking may be off causing your mower to veer to one side.

CauseReason for ProblemSolution
Incorrect tire pressureUnequal tire pressure can cause your mower to pull to one side.Check tire pressures and keep them filled to the manufacturers spec. Tires on each side of your mower requires equal pressures.
Bad dampers on zero turnBad dampers will cause your mower to jerk to one side when moving forwardReplace with a new damper
Tracking adjustment needed on zero turnWhen one tire is moving faster than the other, your mower can pull to one sideAdjust speed adjustment bolt to change the rotation speed of the tire. Refer to your owner’s manual.
Worn or loose steering components in riding mowerWorn bushings, washers and gears can cause your mower to not steer one way or the otherInspect and replace the parts that failed on your steering system
Reasons Why Your Mower Won’t Drive Straight or Steer Correctly

Snapper Lawn Mower Won’t Move

The items that can cause your Snapper mower to move slow or seem weak can also be the reason your mower will not move. You may have a bad drive belt, broken tensioner spring or the tensioner pulley is worn. A low hydraulic oil level will also cause your Snapper to not move.

Again, some hydraulic systems are sealed so you won’t be able to work on it. Take your mower in for repair to your local Snapper mower dealership. You may also want to check your drive release levers. If they are not in the operating position, your mower will not move.

Detailed information can be found at:
9 Reasons Your Mower Won’t Move or Go Forward

CauseReason for ProblemSolution
Drive release lever in the wrong positionThe drive release lever allows hydrostatic mowers to roll freelyThe drive release lever must be in the operating position.
Missing key in the axleYour riding mower may have a small key in the axle that may have fallen out of placeReplace the key in the axle
Drive pump belt is wornThe mower won’t move if your drive belt has fallen off. It could also not move if the belt is worn.Replace a worn or cracked belt. Make sure the belt is securely around the pulleys.
Bad tensioner pulleyThe bearing in the tensioner pulley can failReplace the tensioner pulley
Missing idler arm springIf the idler arm spring breaks or goes missing, it can no longer place tension on the drive beltReplace the broken or missing spring
Low or old hydraulic oilLow or old hydraulic oil can fail to lubricate the hydraulic system causing your hydraulic system to seem weakChange your hydraulic oil at regularly intervals as recommended by Snapper.
Check your hydraulic oil periodically to ensure your hydraulic fluid is full.
Hot hydraulic fluidHot hydraulic fluid can be a sign of damage to your hydrostatic transmission systemLet your hydraulic oil cool. If you find your mower runs fine when it is cold, but does becomes weak when the hydraulic system gets hot, have your mower checked at your local Snapper dealership.
Air in the hydraulic systemAir must be bled from the hydraulic system after changing your hydraulic fluid or the mower will not be able to move at normal speedsFollow Snappers procedures for changing hydraulic fluid and bleeding air from the system in your owner’s manual.
Reasons Why Your Snapper Will Not Move or Go Forward

Snapper Lawn Mower is Vibrating

Your Snapper mower naturally vibrates when operating normally. This vibration can intensify when there are loose or broken parts on your mower or your mower has worn linkages, a bad clutch, or debris stuck in your mower. Even the smallest little item can cause a significant vibration so inspect your mower closely.

Bad deck components can also cause your Snapper mower to shake. This can from unbalanced mower blades; worn bearings in the spindle housings and pulleys; a worn belt; or bent brackets.

Detailed information can be found at:
Your Snapper Lawn Mower is Vibrating

CauseReason for ProblemSolution
Loose or missing engine mounting boltsEngine bolts are used to reduce vibration of the mower when the engine is runningSecure engine bolts and replace any missing bolts
Clutch is badWhen there is bearing failure and it falls out of the clutch it can cause vibration. A manual engagement clutch can have a bushing and linkages that can fail.Replace the clutch
Unbalanced or damaged mower bladesDamaged and unbalanced blades can send a vibration through your mower. Blades must be balanced before installingReplace any damaged blades and make sure they are balanced.
Material wrapped around the blade spindleForeign materials like string or long weeds can get wrapped around your blade shaft causing vibrationRemove all debris and items wrapped around the blade shaft. Check for spindle damage.
Bad spindle housing bearingsVibration can be caused by a bad bearing in the spindle housing.Replace bearing in the spindle housing or replace the whole spindle housing assembly
Worn pulleys or deck beltCheck deck belt and pulleys for wearing of the belt and bearing failure in the pulleysReplace any damaged or worn belts and pulleys
Debris lodged in mowerThe smallest little things can cause your Snapper to excessively vibrate. Check over your mower for debris stuck in the deck or mower. Don’t overlook the small stuff.Check over your mower deck and mower for any place small items can be stuck in your mower. Remove these foreign materials.
Reasons Your Snapper Mower is Vibrating

Snapper Lawn Mower Has a Bad or Uneven Cut

An uneven cut with your Snapper mower isn’t always a problem in the mower deck. It can be something as simple as a low tire that can make you’re your mower not sit level. Always check the tire pressure first and then move on to looking at your mower deck.

Detailed information can be found at:
12 Reasons Your Snapper Mower Cuts Uneven

Worn mower bladeUneven tire pressuresEngine speed is too low
Bent mower bladeUnleveled mower deckGround speed is too fast
Blade installed wrongBent blade spindle or spindle bearingDamaged deck shell
Clogged Mower DeckWorn deck pulleys or beltOperator error
Reasons Your Snapper Mower is Cutting Uneven

Snapper Lawn Mower is Leaking Gas

Your garage or storage shed may be filled with a strong gas odor from your Snapper mower leaking gas. Unless you can see a wet spot on your mower, it may be hard to locate the area of your leak. Fuel will evaporate over time and may not leave you with a handy clue like a wet area.

Not only do you need to fix your fuel leak so you don’t waste expensive fuel, gas that continues to leak on your lawn can kill the grass. It is also not good to having a leaking lawn mower stored in an area that isn’t ventilated.

Detailed information can be found at:
Your Snapper Mower is Leaking Gas

CauseReason for ProblemSolution
Dirty of Failed CarburetorThe carburetor can collect a buildup of substances remaining from old gas that can cause blockages or parts failuresClean the carburetor and replace any damaged parts
Old Fuel FilterFilter can become pluggedReplace fuel filter
Bad Fuel PumpPump can wear and deteriorate over time and may begin leaking at the seamsReplace the fuel pump
Bad Fuel TankA metal tank can develop a rust hole. A poly tank can leak at the seams of the tank.Replace the fuel tank. Sometimes, a rust hole can be repaired if you can no longer find a replacement tank.
Bad Fuel Shut-Off ValveMetal and plastic shut-off valves are prone to leakingReplace the shut-off valve
Cracked Fuel LinesRubber fuel lines become dry and cracked causing gas to leakReplace the fuel lines
Cracked Primer BulbThe rubber of the primer bulb can begin leaking when it cracks or isn’t attached well to the fuel hose.Replace the primer bulb
Bad Seal in the Gas CapThe gas cap seal can fail and no longer seal allowing gas to splash out of the fuel tank around the gas capReplace the gas cap
Places Your Snapper Mower May Be Leaking Gas

Powered Equipment Team

We're just a guy and a girl obsessed with outdoor power equipment! We are excited to share the knowledge and tips we have learned over our combined 55 years in the power equipment industry. We have both ran equipment dealerships and took pleasure in helping our customers everyday providing equipment repair, parts, purchasing, and business tips to our residential and commercial clients. We hope our blog will help you with your next purchase, repair, or project.

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