Riding lawn mower stopped running while mowing [Fixed!]

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So your riding lawn mower stopped running while mowing?

Well, it’s super frustrating but the good thing is that the issue is probably caused by a fault you could remedy yourself.

Below is what you can try if your riding lawn mower stopped running while mowing(It’s possibly an easy fix)

Riding lawn mower stopped running while mowing

The motor of your tractor could be shutting off abruptly because of the following reasons (I will also share with you potential fixes in each case):

We shall start with the very basic issues…


It could be gas!

This sounds a little simplistic but there is always a chance that it may have run out of, get this, fuel (and I’m assuming you’re not using old gas).

Yes, it could be that the slope (of the ground) sloshed gas to the other side(opposite side) of the tank hence it has stopped getting to the engine especially, if you forgot to top it off before you started.

Another possibility is a fault somewhere in the fuel delivery system so try to check if there’s anything wrong along the entire fuel line (from fuel tank to carb).

You particularly want to see if there is dry rot, an air bubble in the gas line (it could be preventing flow), and anything else strange.

It also even be due to trash settling inside the gas tank so do not forget to inspect the tank itself.


Riding mowers like John Deere gas caps have a small hole – in the center- to allow air into the gas tank as fuel is used.

Now, that tiny hole typically gets plugged with dust over time and eventually prevents the motor from pulling anymore gas -out of the gas tank- causing it to shut down.

So you should check if your mower has this hole and tap the cap to dislodge any dust.


The air filter is extremely dirty (dead dry grass -from previous mow- could be clogging it)

What is your air filter looking like? That should be your first place to go(if there’s no gas problem).

You see, if it’s dirty, it is likely to make your mower’s engine to die randomly because the engine filtering system is not running efficiently.

So you want to clean it and compressed air (try a shot along with a few taps) might make it clean enough.

Otherwise, you may need to change your mower’s air filter – change the oil filter also(it is recommended if you’re changing the air filter)


It could be the carb!

Another part worth a shot is the carb- pull it out and clean it if you have not done that lately.

Now, a carb spray will suffice here and be sure to clean every orifice

A clean carb may get it running without stopping once more(Old gas remnants can be behind it’s inefficiency).

I should add that a clogged carb is often the culprit.

Remember to tap the side -of the carburetor- to help flow of gas if you had found that gas was not reaching the engine.


The oil is another potential culprit

Did you clean the air filter?

And have you cleaned the carb?

So both are good as new?

Well, if it still cannot run continuously, consider changing the oil.

Go to YouTube and search for videos on how you can replace the coil for your specific model. 


There might be buildup underneath the deck

Check the deck underneath- is it clean(no buildup)?

Be sure to clean the deck before retrying if you find excessive buildup there.

So, in short, clean off the old grass + muck that is caked to the deck and blades and see.


Other potential causes:

You’re mowing grass that is too tall (leading to an overload)

Are you mulching or do you have side discharge chute?

You see, mulching high grass tends to drag down its motor due to the excess amount of grass that’s floating around below the mower as it is mulching

Remember if there’s no side discharge, your mower has no other choice but mulching so there could be nothing wrong with it – it is just the tall grass you’re cutting that’s overwhelming it.

What to do:

Try cutting half-rows when you come to heavy areas of your back yard.

This also helps it cut the grass better.

Oh and try raising your mower’s deck up a notch/or two when cutting these spots.

And if the grass looks too high after, go ahead and lower the deck(back down) and mow those spots again.

Besides, mow a bit slower when you are going through the rougher parts.


You’re riding it too fast

The problem might be you are riding it too speedily over thick grass patches so the engine just can’t keep up.

So again try to go slower and see if it will stop dying randomly while you’re mowing.


The blade is damaged/dull

If the blade is too old or dull, it will fail sharpen or replace the blade since it may be causing extra strain on the engine(This may sometimes make it stop).


For some riding lawnmower models (e.g. Craftsman automatic riding lawn mowers)
There are a couple things that could be killing the engine while you’re cutting:

Here they are:

  1. If you attempt to reverse it while the blade engaged, you must have the key in a specific position otherwise it will shut off the engine. Check the owners manual.
  2. The seat features a pressure sensor thus if you stand or you’re shifting your weight around too much, then the engine will quit mid mow unless you have disengaged the blade and the parking brake is on. Check if this is what you’re doing unknowingly and try to sit ‘normally’.

In others, there’s a cutoff switch -at the base of handles.

The switch can be finicky and in need of tightening to stop it from engaging accidentally.


Riding lawn mower stopped running while mowing – Summary of what to check

If your riding lawn mower stopped running while mowing, try the following:

  • Add/replace gas (if old).
  • Clean/change the air filter…
  • Clean the carb(spray carb cleaner inside)
  • Check and replace the spark plug
  • Clean/sharpen the blades.
  • Mow correctly- not too fast and be careful when mowing thicker patches or taller grass(you want to avoid overloading the engine).
  • Check if a safety feature might be malfunctioning- there’s a chance it is a safety issue, for example, an automatic shutoff triggered by a safety switch(e.g. for the blades).

If you do not feel comfortable doing any of these procedures, just call in a pro.

You should also seek professional help if you have tried everything we have suggested in the article to no avail.



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