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Home > Small Engines > FAQs about Repairing Small Engines

FAQs about Repairing Small Engines

By Karin Mangan
FAQs about Repairing Small Engines

Small engines power tools and toys like lawn mowers, snow blowers, chain saws, generators, outboard motorboats, snowmobiles, and small aircraft. When a small engine isn't working properly the solution is often simple, so why not fix engine problems yourself?

Here are a few common answers to frequently asked questions about small engine repair:

Q: The engine won't start or is hard to start. What should I do?
A: Make sure the fuel tank is full, the shutoff valve open, and the fuel line or fuel tank cap vent is clear. Replace damaged spark plugs. Clean the carburetor. Make sure the ignition switch is on and disengage the choke.

Q: Why does my engine start fine but then stall after a few seconds?
A: Check your fuel situation: is the tank full, the shutoff valve open, the fuel line or fuel tank cap vent clear? The carburetor could also be "over choked," and the engine may need more air in order to start or it could be in need of service.

Q: Why do some engines idle unevenly or surge?
A: Often, this means the carburetor is dirty. There could be a leak in the carburetor or intake manifold.

Q: My engine runs fast. What could the cause be?
A: You might need to readjust the carburetor. But a fast engine could also mean that you have an air leak, which could be dangerous. Check for loose bolts and hose connections or any broken seals immediately.

Q: What should I do if my engine won't turn off?
A: Most likely, this means a stop wire has become disconnected or is broken. Use a wooden stick to pop the spark plug connector off the terminal to stop the engine.

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