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The lawnmower is considered to be the Germans' favorite gardening tool. When the drive goes on strike, however, good advice is often expensive. We explain how to repair the most common defects.

In a nutshell

  • different drivers have different sources of failure
  • Mechanical problems can often be fixed yourself with the right tool
  • with electrical components, you should leave work to a specialist

From the drive to the cause of the error

While a few decades ago the petrol lawn mower was the only power-driven lawn mower to be found in the home garden, today the range of possible devices is much more diverse:

  • Internal combustion engine lawn mower
  • corded electric lawnmowers
  • electric lawnmowers with battery

Depending on the version, the lawnmower drive turns out differently and a possible defect also has its own causes.

Internal combustion engine lawn mower

Gasoline powered lawn mowers

However, a lawn mower drive with an internal combustion engine has a large proportion of mechanical components. If faults occur here, they can usually be eliminated quite easily yourself. But even on the engine itself, you can independently identify and repair various problems. Only when there are defects that are difficult to identify or very demanding details is it worth going to a specialist workshop.

The Bowden cables

The gas and brakes of petrol-driven mowers are controlled by so-called Bowden cables, i.e. thin steel cables. The joints, deflections and connecting elements are heavily stressed by the recurring movement, as well as dirt and dust. At first they run more and more heavily and can finally fail completely. In all cases, the result is incorrect transmission of your "commands" to the motor.


  • Spray trains with penetrating oil and move them several times
  • Remove loosened dirt with a cloth
  • Lubricate again

In the event of defects, exchange the trains as follows:

  • Measure existing trains before removing them and note the length
  • Remove defective trains
  • Grease new train and thread correctly through all guide points
  • Insert and fix the cable in the clamps
  • Check function and adjust if necessary

Tip: If in doubt, photograph the installed trains before dismantling. Then you can use the pictures as a guide for the installation.

The fuel supply

Gasoline engines often show problems due to contamination as the operating time increases. This includes both dust and dirt in the air filter and in the fuel system. Both can lead to a defect in the lawn mower drive due to a change in the fuel-air mixture.


  • Remove and clean air filter
  • Tap out, blow out with compressed air or wash in a mild soap solution and dry
  • Remove fuel lines and filter
  • Flush with clean fuel
  • Check for damage
  • Reinstall
  • Check tank for dirt
  • If necessary, drain the tank contents and clean the tank

Tip: When checking, don't forget components such as the fuel cock. Dirt can also get stuck here and disrupt the fuel flow.

The spark plug

In addition to the fuel itself, however, its ignition in the combustion chamber must also function so that the lawnmower drive can do its job as a whole. If the engine does not start, but there is sufficient fuel and air, check the spark plug as follows:

  • Pull off the spark plug connector
  • Unscrew the spark plug with a suitable wrench
  • Check the tip of the candle
  • If blackened, clean with a fine wire brush
  • Screw in a cleaned or new spark plug
  • Plug in the connector and start the engine

axles and wheel bearings

A lawnmower drive that acts not only on the blade but also on the axles can of course also show damage in this area. These usually develop gradually as a result of the increasing wear and tear of the heavily stressed components. However, a bent axis can be quickly recognized when looking from below. Defective wheel bearings, on the other hand, are gradually becoming noticeable through more sluggish wheels, unusual noise levels or a noticeably reduced drive power. A torn drive belt, on the other hand, suddenly leads to a complete loss of drive.


  • Switch off the lawn mower and lay it on its side
  • Carry out a visual inspection of the components
  • Consult user manual
  • For information on changing components, e.g. changing the drive belt, carry out the work steps according to the instructions
  • Have the axles and wheel bearings replaced by a specialist workshop due to the complexity and the special tools required

damage to the engine

As soon as it goes beyond these easily recognizable defects, it becomes very difficult for the layperson to determine the exact cause and to repair it professionally. Therefore, first check all options within the scope of your possibilities and - if you could not solve the problem - then go to a specialist workshop. When it comes to the engine itself or the drive of the cutting blade, it is about safety-related issues that may only be dealt with with the appropriate knowledge.

Electrically powered lawn mowers

If your device has an electric lawnmower drive instead, it is very difficult to repair a defect. Of course you can check and repair the mechanical components as already described. But as soon as it comes to the motor and its power supply, the work must be done by a specialist. However, you can check a few things yourself before going to the workshop and thus at least identify possible errors in advance:

  • Check the supply cable for breaks, cracks or kinks
  • Check connections and other cables on the control panel or motor
  • If present: remove fuse and check for damage / burnout
  • In the event of damage, replace the fuse with a suitable component
  • Observe the operating instructions

Attention: Many hobby tradesmen consider working on electrical installations to be a simple task. However, due to the risk of electrical voltage, refrain from any activity that you are not absolutely sure about!

electric lawn mower

Lawn mower with battery

With battery-powered lawnmowers, possible defects are essentially in the same range as with "normal" electrical work equipment. Only the battery itself is another possible cause for a defect. However, nothing can be repaired here either. In the event of damage, the battery usually has to be replaced.

frequently asked Questions

How do I recognize a defective battery?

If you have an exchangeable battery, you can determine whether the error is in the energy storage by changing to the second battery. A voltmeter can also help to identify a defect.

Why shouldn't I exchange components without the necessary special tools?

If special tools are required, improvised solutions using common tools usually lead to damage to the component or other parts of the lawn mower. You often break more than you fix.

Do I have to act if the lawn mower just sounds funny at first?

Normally, a changed background noise is accompanied by changes in the function. Even if you don't notice anything yet, you should therefore take unfamiliar noises seriously and investigate the cause.

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