Honda Lawn Mower Won’t Start

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Ready to mow but your Honda lawn mower won’t start? Don’t call the technician just yet.

Read this article until the end to learn about the fixes some other Honda lawn mower owners with similar issues have used to get their mower working again.

But before we get into that…

Some of the reasons a Honda lawn mower won’t start include:

  • No fuel in the fuel tank
  • Bad or old fuel
  • Faulty Fuel Cap
  • Clogged air filter
  • Dirty carburetor

Honda Lawn Mower Won’t Start: Causes and Solutions

1. Broken Flywheel Key

Broken Honda lawn mower flywheel key

The flywheel key is a small metal piece that keeps the flywheel and crankshaft aligned when you tighten the flywheel nut.

The mower’s engine may suddenly stop if the mower blade hits a hard object. 

If this happens, it breaks to protect parts such as the crankshaft from getting damaged.

For instance, a broken flywheel key may prevent your Honda mower from starting. To check if the flywheel is broken, remove the flywheel and inspect the flywheel key.

Fix: Replace the broken flywheel key.

2. No Fuel in the Fuel Tank

Another main reason why your Honda mower won’t start is if your tank is empty. 

Empty fuel tanks can halt operations, cause subpar performance and make rough sounds.

 It is important to always check your fuel level regularly before you start the machine.

Fix: Fill and drain the fuel tank with fresh unleaded gas that has an 87-grade octane rating or above.

Avoid using gas that has more than ten percent ethanol content. It is also important to purchase high-quality fuel to ensure maximum performance.

3. Old or Bad Gas 

Using a bad or old gas in your Honda mower can prevent it from starting. Gas may begin to deteriorate or become ineffective after thirty days.

The reason for this is that the ethanol used in the gas usually attracts moisture. In this case, the moisture evaporates and leaves a sticky residue that can block the fuel system.

It is advisable to buy your gas from a fast-selling gas station. In addition, ensure that you make use of it within thirty days.

You can also add a fuel additive to stabilize the fuel if you can’t finish it within the specified time frame.

Fix: Use a fuel siphon pump to take out the old fuel from the tank.  To clean or remove moisture from the fuel system, you need to add fresh gasoline and a fuel additive.

4. Defective Spark Plug 

A defective spark plug may result in Honda starting problems. 

Unwanted carbon buildup and oil around the spark plug may develop starting issues. This problem is common with the Honda HRX217K5VKA self-propelled mower.

Use a spark plug tester to check for defective spark plugs. If there is no spark, it means that the spark plug is faulty and it needs to be replaced.

Fix: Inspect the spark plug for signs of a broken porcelain insulator or carbon buildup. 

You can also replace the defective spark plug. Use a feeler gauge to check if it is appropriately gapped.

5. Clogged Air Filter 

For optimal performance,  your mower engine requires proper airflow to operate.

Dirty air filters can deprive your engine of adequate air which may result in overheating and can also cause serious engine damage.

Fix:  Use a mild soap and cloth to wipe off excess dirt and oil in the air filter. Ensure that you do not clog it with loose dirt. 

Note: Do not use an air compressor to clean the air filter. It deteriorates the mower’s level of performance.

6. Blown Fuse

Clogged Honda lawn mower air filter

The Honda lawn mower comes with two fuses. The electric starter won’t work if the large amp fuse is defective. 

Furthermore, the mower’s battery may fail to charge if the lower amp fuse is bad.

Fix: Inspect the fuses to confirm if they are in good working condition. You may need to replace the battery if they are fine.

It is also advisable to seek the help of an expert to fix further charging issues if the battery doesn’t hold a charge.

7. Clogged Fuel Filter

A fuel filter helps to prevent debris and dirt from entering the engine of your Honda mower. 

Clogged fuel filters can jeopardize the health of your Honda mower engine.

The signs of a clogged fuel filter include smelly fumes, no engine power, and engine misfiring.

The engine of your Honda mower may also stall when accelerating. It is best to replace the fuel filter if you notice all these signs.

Fix: Replace the defective fuel filter with a new one if you discover that there is a stoppage of fuel flow at the fuel filter.

7. Faulty Fuel Pump

If your Honda mower won’t start, it might be due to a faulty fuel pump.

The Honda fuel pump has three ports (the gas in port, gas out port, and pulse port) and two small check valves on the input and output ports. 

Your fuel pump may malfunction over time. This problem can be related to bad or fuel gas.

Fix: Inspect the fuel pump for cracks. Use a fuel shut-off valve to control the fuel flow of your Honda mower.

Inspect the fuel filter or line for restrictions. Once you notice that the pump is getting fuel, check to be sure that the fuel is pumped out properly. 

Replace the fuel pump if the problem persists.

8. Loose Terminals or Bad Battery 

A mower’s battery needs to be fully charged to enable the mowing machine to start with ease. 

If the cables are loose, it can result in starting problems for your Honda mower.

Fix: You can use a multimeter to test the battery. It is recommended to get a reading of about 12.7 volts. 

You may need to charge the battery if the level is lower than 12.7 volts.

Replace the battery with a new one if it does not hold a charge.

9. Oil Level is Low

Some Honda mowing machines won’t start if the oil level is low. It is designed this way to protect the engine. 

It is advisable to check the oil level every time you fill your fuel tank.

Fix: Check the oil level and add oil if it is low. The Honda mower should be able to take 0.58 of a quart (.55lt) from empty.

Note: Do not overfill with oil to avoid smoking, oil leakage, and engine damage.

10. Clogged Fuel Line

Old fuel might block the machine’s fuel line. This will cause the engine to sputter and result in the mower not starting.

Other signs that may arise include smoke coming out from the machine or its engine switching off.

Fix: The first step to take is to inspect the fuel line to see if it is clogged. 

Take off the fuel line, and use a spray carburetor cleaner to clean the choke plate so that it can move freely.

You can also remove the dirt and sticky residue with compressed air. 

Regardless of this, it is best to replace the fuel line with a new one.

10. Clogged and Dirty Carburetor Causes Honda Mower Not to Start

A clogged or dirty carburetor is mostly caused by leaving the fuel in your mower for an extended time. 

Over time, some ingredients in the fuel evaporate and leave behind the stickier and thicker substance. 

This will clog up the carburetor which will fail to regulate the fuel that the engine receives, causing your engine not to start.

Fix: Clean the carburetor or replace it if it is in very bad condition. 

If you know that you can’t handle this task, it is advisable to seek the help of a professional to assist you in fixing it.

11. Defective Ignition Coil

The ignition coil works as a source for the spark plug to acquire voltage from the battery. 

A defective ignition coil may prevent your Honda mower from starting. This happens when an improper ground wire connection to battery voltage fails.

Fix: The first step to take is to verify if the spark plug is functioning properly. Use an ohmmeter to check its continuity.

Furthermore, change the defective ignition coil if there is a break in the continuity.

12. Bad Ignition Switch

A bad ignition switch may stop your Honda mowing machine from starting.

It is important to get a multimeter to test it to confirm if it is not working properly.

Fix: The simple way to fix this is to replace the bad switch.

13. Faulty Starter Solenoid

The starter solenoid is similar to a one-time switch that turns on the engine’s starter motor.

A hum or click when turning the ignition key indicates that you should inspect your Honda mower’s solenoid. 

Another sign of a bad solenoid is if it becomes hot and starts to melt or smoke.

Fix: Replace the bad solenoid with a new one.

14. Incorrect Operating Procedure

Honda mowers are equipped with safety features that prevent them from starting unless you adhere to the procedures starting them.  

Fix: Check the mower’s manual to be sure that you are using the machine properly so that you don’t set off safety systems that can prevent your mower from starting.

15. Bad Charging System

A faulty charging system may cause mower starting problems. 

This problem can be related to a bad alternator, stator, or issues with other electrical components of your Honda lawn mower.

Fix: It is advisable to seek the help of an expert to help you to identify the faulty part of the charging system.

16. Faulty Start Switch

A faulty start switch may also cause your mowing machine not to start. This affects the performance and functionality of your Honda mower. 

To determine if it is faulty, you need to use a multimeter to test it for continuity.

Fix: Replace the bad start switch with a new one.

17. Dysfunctional Recoil Starter

The recoil starter assembly enables the operator to start combustion on the mower’s engine. 

If it gets faulty, you need to fix it because it will affect the operation of your Honda mower.

Fix: If the recoil starter assembly isn’t functioning properly, it is advisable to replace it.

18. Broken Rewind Spring and Pulley

The rewind spring is responsible for recoiling the starter rope toward the pulley when the rope is pulled and released. 

If this component is broken, the engine of the Honda mower may fail to start.

Fix: Replace the broken rewind spring with a new one.

19. Faulty Fuel Cap

A faulty fuel cap may cause your Honda mowing machine not to start. This component comes with a vent. 

When the vent gets clogged, a vacuum is created in the fuel tank and this prevents the machine from drawing gas out of it.

To verify this problem, you may need to remove the cap and start the mowing machine. 

  • If it starts, try to re-install the fuel cap while the machine is still operating.
  • After that, wait for some time to check if it will sputter or die again. 
  • If the Honda machine dies or sputters, it means that the fuel cap is faulty.

Fix: Replace the faulty fuel cap.

20. Fuel Valve is in the Off Position

Fuel valves help to shut off the supply of fuel while transporting your mowing machine or storing it for long periods.

Ensure that the fuel-shut off valve is in the open position or else it will cause starting problems. 

This means that the mower won’t be able to operate without the fuel supply turned on.

Fix: Simply turn on the fuel valve so that the fuel can flow out of the tank.

21. Broken or Stuck Recoil Starter Pulley

This is also one of the reasons why your Honda mower might not start. 

The Honda recoil starter pulley helps in winding up the starter rope when it is not in operation. If it is broken, it won’t be able to function properly.

Fix: Replace the stuck or broken recoil starter pulley with a new one.

Honda Mower Won’t Start When Hot

If your Honda  mower won’t start when hot, the problem may be a result of the following:

  • Engine overheating
  • Faulty spark plugs
  • Defective carburetor
  • Compression Problem

Troubleshooting Tips

  • Allow the engine to cool down, and clean out the fins and the underside of the shroud.
  • Replace faulty spark plugs and carburetor.
  • Contact a professional to help you troubleshoot the compression problem

Honda Mower Won’t Start After Winter

Honda gas mower

If your Honda mower fails to start after winter, it may be as a result of the following reasons:

Faulty Carburetor

The old gas in your mower may clog the carburetor. It can also enter the float bowl, making the mower not start after winter.

Fix: Disassemble the carburetor and clean it with a carburetor cleaner. 

You may also replace the entire carburetor if you are unable to clean it effectively.  

Flat Battery

The battery of your Honda mower is bound to be flat after sitting idle for a while. 

This battery will lose power because it hasn’t been charged during the winter period.

Fix: Put the battery on charge and ensure that the terminals are clean. 

You may need to replace it if the battery doesn’t hold a charge.

Bad Spark Plug

A bad spark plug is also one of the reasons why the mower won’t start after winter. 

Ensure that you use a spark plug tester to check if it is faulty. If there is no spark, it means that the spark plug is faulty.

Fix: Replace the faulty spark plug with a new one.

Honda Mower Won’t Start After Running Out Of Gas

If your Honda lawn mower won’t start after running out of gas, the most likely problem is a dirty carburetor.

Other causes may include faulty auto-choke, contaminated gas, and a defective carburetor.

Troubleshooting Tips

  • Clean the carburetor or replace it if it is in very bad condition.
  • Check if the auto-choke is functioning properly. Ensure that you put it in the correct position.
  • Drain the old gas and add a fresh one.

Honda Mower Won’t Start Without Starting Fluid

If your Honda mower won’t start without using starting fluid, you could be dealing with a faulty spark plug, dirty carburetor, old fuel, or clogged air filter.

These are likely problems that may happen to your machine especially if your Honda mower has been sitting dormant all winter long.

Troubleshooting Tips:

  • Clean the carburetor with a carburetor cleaner or replace it if it is in very bad condition.
  • Replace the faulty spark plug with a new one.
  • Use a fuel siphon pump to remove the old gas from the tank. You may need to add fresh gas and a fuel additive.
  • Clean the air filter with water and dish detergent to remove dirt or grease. 

Honda Lawn Mower Starts Then Dies

If your Honda mowing machine starts and then dies, here are the three most likely causes:

Restricted Carburetor

This is caused by the residue that results from the old fuel left in the fuel tank. This is why you should always use fresh fuel while filling the tank. 

Fix: Use a carburetor cleaner to clean the carburetor. If cleaning does not solve this problem, it is advisable to install a new carburetor.

Clogged Fuel Cap

If the vent is blocked by a buildup of debris, air won’t enter the tank. This creates a vacuum which will make the engine die.

Fix: Replace the fuel cap.

Defective Spark Plug

A defective spark plug is caused by a carbon build-up and electrode which may degrade the spark plug.  To confirm if it is faulty, use an ignition tester to test it.

Fix: Replace the faulty spark plug with a new one.

How Do I Know If My Honda Solenoid is Bad?

The solenoid of your Honda mower may be bad if you notice a hum or click when you turn the ignition key. This causes your mowing machine not to start.

Another sign of a bad solenoid is when the wire gets hot and begins to melt or smoke. 

To diagnose a bad solenoid, you need to follow these steps:

  • Ensure That Your Battery Has A Full Charge.

Use a voltmeter to ensure that the battery has at least 12.3 volts in it.

  • Get Your Mowing Machine Ready To Start

To do this, you need to set the parking brake, put the machine in neutral and turn the key to the “on” position.

  • Use A Screwdriver To Bypass The Starter Solenoid

You can use a screwdriver to bypass the starter solenoid. You need to look for the cable from the battery and the cable to the starter. 

This may result in a spark when your screwdriver makes contact with these cables.

There is an indication that the solenoid may be bad if the engine turns over when you have bypassed the solenoid. 

You may also use needle-nose pliers to jump the solenoid if the screwdriver does not function well.

  • Test the solenoid

You need to take off the starter from the engine to test the solenoid with a battery charger. 

Once you have done this, attach the negative clamp to the starter’s case and touch the positive clamp to the big post and exciter wire on the solenoid.

How Do I Know if My Honda Starter is Bad?

A faulty starter may show signs of a clicking sound when you press the ignition button, a cranking sound without the engine turning over, or when the mowing machine fails to start.


If your Honda mower isn’t starting, the first step to take is to figure out the causes. 

In this article, we have shared some of the possible causes such as defective spark plug, bad fuel pump, clogged air filter, and faulty fuel cap. 

Follow the recommended fixes to get your Honda mower working again. If your mower still refuses to start after implementing the tips here, it might be best to seek a technician’s help.

Top Recommended Handy Tools for Troubleshooting & Servicing Your Lawn Mower

Multimeter – This is useful for checking voltage, continuity & current to identify electrical problems in your mowerFilter Wrench – For loosening your mower’s filter.
Carburetor Cleaner – Choke and Throttle Body Cleaner for cleaning clogs & buildup in the fuel system.Blade Balancer–Balances Blades After Sharpening.
Fuel Stabilizer – This stabilizes & cleans your fuel to reduce fuel system buildupBattery Inflator – This helps to ensure your mower tires stay inflated to prevent steering or uneven cutting issues.
Socket & Allen Wrench Set – These tools are needed to service & troubleshoot your mower problemsTachometer– Evaluates your mower’s engine performance and provides accurate data about the status of the engine
12-Volt Battery Charger – This is useful for charging your mower battery.Lawn Mower Blade Sharpener– Adjustable Lawn Mower Blade Sharpener for Right and Left Hand Blades.