Your lawn mower begins running sluggish almost like it’s going to die. Maybe you can’t even get it to run and it won’t even start. There are many items that can fail and result in these symptoms.
A problem that can contribute to these types of symptoms is a lack of fuel getting to the engine.
A Craftsman lawn mower isn’t getting fuel when bad fuel is causing fuel restrictions, the fuel filter is plugged, the fuel lines are clogged, the fuel pump failed, the carburetor is dirty or the fuel cap vent is plugged.
Follow manufacturer safety guidelines before working on your Craftsman lawn mower to avoid injury.
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Follow all safety instructions provided in your equipment operator’s manual before diagnosing, repairing, or operating. Consult a professional if you don’t have the skills, or knowledge or are not in the condition to perform the repair safely.
6 Reasons Your Craftsman Lawn Mower Isn’t Getting Gas
Bad or Old Fuel
Bad or old fuel is usually one of the main reasons your Craftsman mower is not getting gas.
Gasoline attracts moisture and leaves behind a gummy residue that can clog the fuel system, degrade fuel components and cause a crusty buildup in the carburetor.
These are all items that can cause your Craftsman not to run.
Because gasoline can begin to break down as quickly as 30 days after purchase, it’s important to use fuel within this timeframe.
If you purchased more fuel than you will use in 30 days, use a fuel additive like Sea Foam Motor Treatment to stabilize the fuel.
Solution: Drain your fuel tank using a fuel siphon into an approved fuel container. Fill with fresh fuel that includes a fuel additive like Sea Foam that acts as a fuel cleaner and reduces moisture.
Learn more about the advantages of adding Sea Foam to your fuel here.
Plugged Fuel Filter
A fuel filter is used on a Craftsman lawn mower to prevent dirt and debris from entering the fuel system. When you don’t change the fuel filter regularly, the plastic can become soft from the fuel sitting in the filter.
When this happens, the filter is likely to fail and begin leaking at the seams. If you find the filter leaking at the seams or due to a damaged cracked filter, it must be replaced with a new one.
Solution: Replace your Craftsman fuel filter with the arrow on the side of the filter pointed in the direction of the fuel flow. This means the arrow should be pointed toward the carburetor and away from the fuel tank.
Clogged Fuel Lines
The gummy solution left behind by old fuel or dirt that entered the fuel system can cause restrictions in the fuel lines. These restrictions can reduce the amount of fuel flow or completely block the fuel line so your Craftsman doesn’t get fuel.
To identify a clogged line, you will have to check each section of the fuel line to isolate the area of the clog.
Solution: Use your fuel shut-off valve, located at the bottom of your fuel tank, to start and stop fuel flow. Don’t worry if you can find a fuel shut-off valve.
Not every mower has one. If your Craftsman mower doesn’t include a fuel shut-off valve, use hose pinch pliers to crimp your fuel lines to stop the fuel from flowing.
Find & remove a restriction in a fuel line:
- Work on one section of the fuel line at a time.
- Stop the fuel flow using the fuel shut-off valve or pinch pliers.
- Remove the end of the fuel line furthest from the fuel tank and place it in a container. Make sure the container is placed lower than the tank so the fuel can run downhill.
- Restart the fuel flow.
- If you are not getting good flow into the container, you must remove the restriction in the fuel line. Do this by stopping the fuel flow and removing the fuel line from your Craftsman mower.
- Spray carburetor cleaner into the hose and blow the line out with compressed air to remove the blockage. Repeat as necessary until the fuel line is open and no longer restricted.
- Reattach the fuel line onto the mower.
- If you are unable to clear the fuel line so fuel can flow freely, replace your fuel line. It’s also a good time to replace your fuel line before it starts leaking if the line is dry and showing signs of cracking as well.
Bad Fuel Pump
You will have a plastic or metal fuel pump on your Craftsman when the fuel tank sits lower than the carburetor. A vacuum fuel pump is designed to build pressure off of the crankcase.
It uses this pressure to push fuel up to the carburetor.
When the fuel pump has cracks, is damaged or leaks, you must replace your fuel pump. If you don’t notice any damage or leaking of the fuel pump, it’s time to troubleshoot the pump to ensure it is working correctly.
Solution: Confirm the fuel pump is functioning properly by, first, checking to make sure you are receiving fuel flow to the pump. You may have already checked this in the previous step when you checked your fuel lines for blockage.
If you did not, stop your fuel flow using your fuel shut-off valve or by crimping your fuel line.
Proceed by removing the fuel line off the inlet port of your fuel pump and placing it in a container sitting lower than your fuel tank. Start your fuel flow.
You have verified fuel flow to the fuel pump if fuel begins running into your container. Reattach the fuel line to your fuel pump.
If you don’t get fuel flowing into your container, check your fuel filter and fuel lines for clogs. Also, check to make sure the container is placed lower than the fuel tank so it flows downward using gravity.
Once you have confirmed you are getting sufficient fuel to the fuel pump, remove the fuel line from the carburetor and place it in a container.
Next, start your fuel flow and start your mower. You should see a steady or pulsating stream of fuel flowing out of the fuel line signifying your fuel pump is working correctly.
Replace a bad fuel pump that is damaged or is not pumping a stream of fuel out of the pump.
The carburetor regulates the air and fuel mixture allowed into the cylinder to create combustion. You will find your carburetor mounted to the top or side of the engine block. It is usually below or behind your air filter.
When the carburetor is dirty, the components of your carburetor, including the fuel jet, can become clogged or stuck preventing your Craftsman’s engine from receiving fuel.
Solution: Remove your air filter and spray carburetor cleaner into the air intake. Start your engine to see if it will run.
If your lawn mower starts and won’t continue to run, you will need to remove your carburetor and take it apart for cleaning.
For instructions on cleaning the lawn mower carburetor on your Craftsman, read this article.
Bad Fuel Cap
A Craftsman lawn mower gas cap is designed to allow air to pass through the cap to equalize air pressure.
When the vent in the cap gets clogged, the lack of air causes the fuel tank to become a vacuum keeping fuel from leaving the fuel tank.
Solution: Run your mower with and without the fuel cap to confirm whether or not you have a bad fuel cap problem.
If your mower starts and runs without the fuel cap and then dies after you reinstall the fuel cap and allow the mower to run for a while, you may have a problem with your fuel cap.
Running the right kind of gas through your Craftsman lawn mower and always running fresh gas through your mower will reduce the amount of clogging and damage in your fuel system.
When your Craftsman isn’t getting fuel, check your fuel system components including your filter, lines, pump, and carburetor.
Still Having Problems With Your Craftsman Lawn Mower?
It would be nice to own a mower that will never give you problems. However, they don’t exist. Own a lawn mower long enough that you are bound to run into problems.
The most common of them are problems with starting, smoking, dying, vibrating, and cutting.
I put together a handy guide to help you quickly identify items that can cause a problem in your riding mower, zero turn, and push mower along with ways to solve them. You can find this guide at Common Craftsman Lawn Mower Problems & Solutions.
If you are unsure how to safely perform diagnostics and repairs on your lawn mower, it’s best to have a professional complete the repairs.
This will help you avoid personal injury or additional damage to the mower. Your local lawn mower dealership or lawn mower repair shop will be able to help you solve your problem.