You rely on your Ariens mower to give your home good curb appeal. Imagine how quick that nice look will go away without a lawn mower in your arsenal of lawn and garden tools. It happens pretty quickly. That’s why it’s important to get your mower running. The grass doesn’t just stop growing.
An Ariens lawn mower won’t start when there is a lack of fuel due to old gas, a clogged fuel line, a dirty carburetor, a faulty fuel pump, or a bad fuel cap. It also won’t start when there is a lack of air or spark due to a plugged air filter, an incorrect choke setting, a bad spark plug, a faulty ignition coil, a bad battery, loose cables or a faulty ignition switch.
I have listed the most common reasons an Ariens zero turn, riding mower or push mower won’t start below. Follow all safety precautions outlined in your Ariens owner’s manual for your model lawn mower.
Ariens offers both diesel and gas-powered lawn mowers in their product lineup. This guide addresses starting issues with Ariens gas mowers. For information on starting problems in Ariens diesel mowers read Reasons a Diesel Lawn Mower Won’t Start.
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Follow all safety instructions provided in your equipment operators manual prior to diagnosing, repairing or operating. Consult a professional if you don’t have the skills, knowledge or are not in the condition to perform the repair safely.
Reasons Your Ariens Lawn Mower Won’t Start
Ariens Fuel Tank is Empty
As everyone knows, Ariens mowers require fuel to run. Sometimes, when a person is frustrated, he or she can overlook the simple problems including checking the fuel tank.
You may have developed a leak in your fuel tank causing you to go through fuel faster than normal or you just may have forgotten the last time you filled up on fuel.
Repair: Add fresh fuel to the fuel tank low on fuel. Check for fuel leaks on your Ariens lawn mower and perform necessary repairs.
Using Old Fuel in an Ariens Lawn Mower
Type of Gas to Use in Your Ariens Mower
Ariens gas-powered lawn mowers use an unleaded gasoline that has a minimum octane rating of 87 and a maximum ethanol content of 10 percent. Avoid fuels with an ethanol content greater than 10 percent.
Use Fresh Fuel in an Ariens Lawn Mower
Gas-powered Ariens mower: Old gasoline can have bad effects on your Ariens mower including fuel restrictions and engine damage that can prevent your Ariens mower from starting.
Moisture that ethanol attracts will leave gummy deposits in the fuel system as the ethanol and moisture substance evaporates. This substance will clog fuel components restricting your engine from getting the fuel it requires to form a combustion and start. It can also cause degradation of the fuel components.
Additionally, the moisture and ethanol breaks down and separates from the gasoline and sinks to the bottom of the fuel tank. When this solution runs through the engine, it runs hot and can damage the engine.
Repair: Drain and flush the fuel tank. Add fresh fuel with a fuel additive to stabilize your fuel and clean your fuel system like Sea Foam Motor Treatment.
Ariens Mower Fuel Cap Won’t Vent
When the fuel cap vent is clogged, your mower will restrict fuel from leaving the fuel tank. A fuel cap is designed to vent allowing air to pass through the cap. A clogged cap will cause the fuel tank to act like a vacuum.
Repair: Try to clean the cap and open the vent. A thin piece of wire may work to unclog the vent. If you are unable to get the fuel cap to vent, you must replace the fuel cap.
Bad Spark Plug or Loose Connection on Ariens Mower
The tip on the spark plug can become fouled when it is covered with carbon or oil. When this happens to your spark plug, it will cause the plug to misfire. Your mower may run sluggish or not start.
Loose spark plug wires or a spark plug with an incorrect gap, broken porcelain or burnt electrode can also be reasons your Ariens mower won’t start.
Repair: Remove your spark plug and inspect it for signs of carbon buildup or a cracked porcelain insulator. Replace with a new spark plug(s). Make sure they are correctly gapped according to the engine manufacturer.
You can attempt to clean the dirty tips, but I recommend replacing them. They are the least expensive maintenance item on your mower and should be replaced annually.
Air Filter Plugged in a Ariens Lawn Mower
The air filter protects the lawn mower’s engine from foreign particles entering the engine. Dirt and debris in the engine can cause significant harm including damage to the seals and scoring of the cylinder.
Always use an air filter in your mower to protect the engine. Check and clean your air filter regularly. When the air filter is plugged with dirt and air is not allowed to pass through the filter, your mower will run rough or not start.
I recommend starting each mowing season with a new air filter. Check and clean your air filter several times throughout the season. Check it more often if you are running your Ariens in dry dusty conditions. Taking time to perform routine cleaning of your air filter can save you from a significant repair bill.
Repair: Inspect your paper air filter to see if it needs to be replaced or if you can clean and reuse it.
- Remove your paper air filter from the air filter housing
- Wipe out any remaining dirt in the housing being careful not to allow dirt to fall into the air intake.
- Tap your air filter against a solid surface to loosen dirt and remove it from the filter. Do not use compressed air to clean the filter as this can damage the paper element.
- Hold your clean filter up to a light source. If you can see light shine through the paper element, it is safe to reuse it. If you don’t see light, you must replace your old filter with a new one.
Ariens Fuel Pump is Bad
A fuel pump is required when the carburetor sits above the fuel tank. A fuel pump is used to pump fuel to the carburetor. When the pump is no longer able to build pressure using the vacuum in the crankcase, it must be replaced.
Sometimes you can visibly recognize damage. The housing may have small crack or fuel may be leaking from the seams when a pump is bad. Other times you will have to test fuel flow to determine if the fault of your Ariens starting problem is the due to a bad fuel pump.
Repair: To identify you have a bad fuel pump, first verify you are getting fuel flow to the fuel pump by checking for fuel out of the line connected to the inlet port on the pump. Once you confirm you are getting fuel to the pump, you will proceed with testing the pump to make sure a steady or pulsating flow of gas is being pumped out of your fuel pump.
Use the fuel shut-off valve or fuel clamps to start and stop flow to test fuel flow. You can also use hose pinch pliers to crimp the line to stop flow. With the fuel flow stopped, remove the fuel line from the carburetor and place it in a container.
Start the fuel flow and start your mower. Watch for a steady or pulsating flow out of the line into the container. If you aren’t getting sufficient fuel flow, your fuel pump may be damaged and will need to be replaced.
Plugged Fuel Filter in Ariens Mower
The fuel filter is designed to prevent dirt and debris from entering the fuel system. If the filter is plugged or cracked keeping fuel from passing through the filter, it must be replaced.
Repair: Install a new fuel filter with the arrow on the side of the filter pointing in the direction of your Ariens mower’s fuel flow. The arrow should point toward the carburetor and away from the fuel tank.
Ariens Has a Blockage in the Fuel Line
Old fuel sitting in your machine can develop gummy deposits that can block the fuel line. To identify a clog in the fuel line, you will need to start and stop fuel flow while you check each section of fuel line for good flow.
Use the fuel shut-off valve found at the bottom of your fuel tank or a pinch pliers to stop fuel flow. Check a section of fuel line:
- Shut off your fuel flow
- Determine which section of fuel line you are checking.
- Remove the end furthest from the fuel tank and place it in a container.
- Turn on the fuel flow and check for a good flow out of the fuel line.
- If the flow is good, shut off the fuel and reattach the fuel line.
- If there isn’t flow because the line is clogged, proceed with the repair
Repair: Remove the fuel line, spray carburetor cleaner into the tube and use compressed air to blow air through the tube until the line is free of debris and gummy residue. If you are unable to clear the clog you will need to replace the fuel line.
Clogged & Dirty Carburetor on Your Ariens
A small amount of fuel collects in the carburetor bowl once it leaves the fuel tank. The carburetor is the part that regulates the amount of fuel that gets mixed with air to form a combustion in the cylinder.
Old fuel will gum up and clog the carburetor so it no longer can function properly.
Repair: If you are a little mechanical you should be able to handle cleaning your carburetor. Clean the carburetor by taking it apart and using carburetor cleaner to clean it including the float bowl and needle.
You can find steps for cleaning your carburetor here. If your carburetor is too dirty to clean adequately, you should replace it.
Bad Battery, Loose Cables or Corroded Terminals on Your Ariens Mower
An Ariens mower will not start with a bad battery, loose cables or corroded terminals. Confirm your battery terminals are not corroded and are attached securely to the battery. If you own a push mower, a battery may not be used.
Repair: Clean corroded terminals in a baking soda solution containing 2 cups of water and 3 rounded tablespoons of baking soda. Use a wire brush to scrub the terminals clean.
Test your battery with a multimeter. You will want a reading at about 12.7 volts. Place on a charger to charge your battery if your reading is less than this. Read more about the steps and items needed to charge your battery here. If your battery does not hold a charge, you will need to replace it with a new battery.
Bad Ariens Safety Switch
Your Ariens lawn mower uses several safety switches designed to keep the operator safe. The manufacturer installs safety switches to prevent the mower deck to run without the operator present.
It also has a safety switch involved to not start when your parking break isn’t engaged. If these safety switches fail, your mower may not start.
Never operate your Ariens without the safety switch. Never run a mower when a safety switch is bypassed. You never know when you will encounter a situation where the safety switch can save you from serious injury.
Repair: Test the switch using a multimeter or you can temporarily bypass the safety switch to identify a bad switch.
Bad Ariens Ignition Switch
You insert the key into your ignition switch and turn it only to find your Ariens doesn’t start or even turn over. The ignition switch could be the problem.
Repair: You can use a multimeter to test the ignition switch. Replace the switch if bad.
Bad Starter Recoil on an Ariens Push Mower
If you own an Ariens push mower, some of them use a recoil to start. The recoil can fail so you are unable to start your mower. A bad pulley; loose or missing spring; or broken clips can keep your recoil from working.
Repair: You can attempt to replace the spring and restring the recoil. If it does not work because other components in your recoil are damaged, such as the clips or the pulley, you are better off just replacing the recoil assembly.
Bad Ariens Ignition Coil
The ignition coil provides voltage to the spark plug so it can fire and start the engine. The engine will not start if the spark plug isn’t able to fire.
Repair: After you verified your spark plug is in good condition, check the continuity of your ignition coil using a multimeter. Replace the ignition coil if you find a break in the continuity.
Faulty Charging System on Your Ariens Mower
While the charging system isn’t the main reason your Ariens mower won’t start, it can contribute to a weak battery that prevents the mower from starting.
When the charging system fails to charge the battery, the battery may not be able to start the mower the next time you go to use it. A bad stator or alternator can be the problem along with several other electrical parts.
Read this article to test your charging system here using an ohm meter.
Repair: When you find your Ariens starting problem is due to the charging system, take your lawn mower to your local Ariens dealer for further troubleshooting and repair.
If you don’t have experience with charging systems, you will most likely just throwing different parts at your mower hoping to fix it.
The cost of all of these parts can get pretty expensive if you don’t guess right the first time. Most lawn mower centers do not allow you to return electrical parts so you will be stuck with the part whether it is the problem or not.
Incorrect Ariens Operating Procedure
Ariens implements safety precautions with their lawn mowers that require certain steps to be followed when starting and operating the lawn mower.
Repair: Refer to your Ariens operating manual to ensure you are operating your lawn mower correctly, so you don’t set off the safety features that shut off your lawn mower.