Craftsman M220 Lawn Mower Won’t Start: How Fix?

The Craftsman M220 lawn mower is a reliable and efficient tool designed to keep your lawn looking neat and well-maintained. However, like any mechanical device, it can experience issues from time to time.

One frustrating problem that many owners encounter is when their Craftsman M220 lawn mower won’t start. In this article, we will guide you through the process of troubleshooting this issue, helping you get your mower back up and running in no time.

Importance of a Properly Functioning Lawn Mower

A properly functioning lawn mower is essential for maintaining a healthy and visually appealing lawn. When your lawn mower refuses to start, it not only hampers your ability to maintain your yard but can also lead to frustration and wasted time. By understanding the common reasons behind a lawn mower not starting, you can take appropriate steps to diagnose and fix the problem.

Overview of Common Reasons for a Lawn Mower Not Starting

Before diving into the troubleshooting process, it’s important to have a general understanding of the common reasons why a lawn mower may fail to start. Some of the potential causes include:

  1. Fuel-related issues, such as low fuel level, clogged fuel filter, or carburetor problems.
  2. Ignition system failures, including faulty ignition switches, malfunctioning ignition coils, or issues with the spark plug or spark plug wire.
  3. Problems with the air intake system, such as a dirty air filter or clogged carburetor.
  4. Mechanical issues within the engine, like a sheared flywheel key, improper valve adjustment, or low engine oil level.
  5. Electrical system problems, which could involve a dead battery (if applicable) or loose or damaged wiring connections.
  6. Other potential causes, such as safety features preventing the mower from starting, issues with throttle or choke controls, or a faulty blade engagement switch.

By systematically inspecting and troubleshooting these areas, you can pinpoint the exact cause of the starting problem and take appropriate corrective measures.

Precautions Before Troubleshooting

Before delving into the troubleshooting process, it’s crucial to take a few precautions to ensure your safety and the proper functioning of the mower:

  • Ensure the engine is cool before working on it to avoid burns.
  • Disconnect the spark plug wire to prevent accidental starting.
  • Familiarize yourself with the user manual for specific instructions and safety guidelines.

Now, let’s explore each potential cause and its troubleshooting steps in detail.

Read more: Craftsman M230 Won’t Start: Causes and Solutions

Checking the Fuel System

The fuel system is a common culprit when a lawn mower fails to start. Here’s what you can do to investigate and resolve fuel-related issues:

Inspecting the Fuel Tank and Fuel Level

Start by visually inspecting the fuel tank for any signs of damage or leaks. Ensure the tank is securely fastened and properly sealed. Additionally, check the fuel level to ensure it is adequate for starting the engine. If the tank is damaged or the fuel level is low, address these issues before proceeding.

Checking the Fuel Filter

A clogged fuel filter can obstruct the flow of fuel to the engine, preventing the mower from starting. Locate the fuel filter, usually positioned along the fuel line, and inspect it for any debris or blockages. If necessary, clean or replace the fuel filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Examining the Carburetor

The carburetor plays a crucial role in mixing fuel and air for combustion. A malfunctioning carburetor can hinder the starting process. Inspect the carburetor for any signs of damage or wear. Clean it thoroughly, removing any dirt or debris that may have accumulated. If cleaning doesn’t resolve the issue, consider having a professional examine or repair the carburetor.

Verifying the Spark Plug

A faulty spark plug can prevent the ignition system from generating a spark, thus preventing the engine from starting. Remove the spark plug and inspect it for signs of wear, damage, or carbon buildup. If necessary, replace the spark plug with a new one compatible with your mower’s specifications.

Evaluating the Ignition System

The ignition system is responsible for generating the spark needed to ignite the fuel mixture in the engine’s combustion chamber. Here’s how you can troubleshoot potential ignition system issues:

Inspecting the Ignition Switch

Ensure that the ignition switch is in the “On” position and functioning correctly. If the switch feels loose or doesn’t engage properly, it may need to be replaced.

Checking the Ignition Coil

The ignition coil produces the high voltage needed to create the spark. Inspect the ignition coil for any signs of damage or wear. Use a multimeter to test the coil’s resistance according to the manufacturer’s specifications. If the readings are outside the acceptable range, consider replacing the ignition coil.

Testing the Spark Plug Wire

A damaged or faulty spark plug wire can prevent the spark from reaching the spark plug. Inspect the wire for any visible damage or signs of wear. Use a spark plug wire tester or a multimeter to check the wire’s continuity. If the wire is defective, replace it with a new one.

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Assessing the Air Intake System

The air intake system ensures that the engine receives an adequate supply of clean air for combustion. Here’s what you can do to troubleshoot potential air intake system issues:

Verifying the Air Filter

A clogged or dirty air filter can restrict airflow to the engine, affecting its starting performance. Remove the air filter and inspect it for dirt, debris, or damage. If necessary, clean or replace the air filter as recommended by the manufacturer.

Cleaning the Carburetor’s Air Intake

The carburetor’s air intake can accumulate debris or become clogged, impeding the flow of air. Use a clean cloth or brush to carefully clean the air intake and remove any obstructions. Ensure that the air intake is clear and unobstructed.

Examining the Engine’s Mechanical Components

Several mechanical components within the engine can contribute to starting problems. Let’s explore how to troubleshoot these areas:

Inspecting the Flywheel Key

The flywheel key ensures proper timing between the engine’s components. A sheared or damaged flywheel key can disrupt the engine’s ignition timing, resulting in starting difficulties. Remove the flywheel cover and inspect the key for any signs of damage. If necessary, replace the flywheel key following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Checking the Valves and Compression

Improperly adjusted valves or low compression can hinder the starting process. Consult the user manual for instructions on how to check and adjust the valves and measure the engine’s compression. Make any necessary adjustments or repairs to ensure proper valve clearance and adequate compression.

Evaluating the Engine’s Oil Level

Low or insufficient engine oil can cause starting problems. Check the oil level using the dipstick and top up if necessary. Ensure that you use the recommended type and quantity of oil for your Craftsman M220 lawn mower.

Addressing Electrical System Issues

If your mower has an electrical system, consider these troubleshooting steps:

Testing the Battery (if applicable)

If your Craftsman M220 lawn mower has a battery, ensure it is charged and functioning correctly. Test the battery using a voltmeter or consult the user manual for specific testing procedures. If the battery is dead or not holding a charge, replace it with a new one.

Verifying the Wiring Connections

Loose or damaged wiring connections can disrupt the flow of electrical current, affecting the starting process. Inspect the wiring connections, ensuring they are secure and free from damage. Repair or replace any faulty wires or connections as needed.

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Troubleshooting Other Potential Causes

In addition to the above areas, consider these potential causes and troubleshooting steps:

Checking the Safety Features

Some lawn mowers have safety features that prevent starting under certain conditions. Ensure that all safety features, such as the blade engagement switch or seat sensor, are functioning correctly. Adjust or repair any faulty safety features according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Examining the Throttle and Choke Controls

Improperly adjusted or malfunctioning throttle and choke controls can impede the starting process. Ensure that these controls are set to the correct positions for starting. Consult the user manual for guidance on adjusting these controls if necessary.

Verifying the Blade Engagement Switch

If your mower has a blade engagement switch, ensure that it is disengaged before attempting to start the engine. A faulty or malfunctioning switch can prevent the engine from starting. Inspect the switch for any signs of damage or wear and replace it if needed.

Maintenance Tips to Prevent Future Starting Problems

Regular maintenance can help prevent starting issues in the future. Consider these tips:

Regularly Servicing the Lawn Mower

Follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, which may include tasks such as changing the oil, cleaning or replacing the air filter, sharpening the blades, and lubricating moving parts. Regular servicing can help keep your Craftsman M220 lawn mower in optimal condition.

Storing the Lawn Mower Properly During Off-seasons

When not in use, store the lawn mower in a clean, dry area. Take appropriate measures to prevent rust, such as applying a rust inhibitor or coating the metal parts with a thin layer of oil. Disconnect the spark plug wire and consider using a fuel stabilizer if storing the mower for an extended period.


Q1: Why is my Craftsman M220 lawn mower not starting even after filling it with fuel?

A1: Several factors can contribute to this issue, such as a clogged fuel filter, carburetor problems, or ignition system failures. Refer to the troubleshooting steps mentioned in the article to identify and resolve the specific cause.

Q2: Can a dirty air filter prevent my lawn mower from starting?

A2: Yes, a clogged or dirty air filter can restrict airflow to the engine, affecting its starting performance. Regularly inspect and clean the air filter, or replace it if necessary.

Q3: How often should I service my Craftsman M220 lawn mower?

A3: Follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, which typically includes regular oil changes, air filter cleaning or replacement, blade sharpening, and lubrication of moving parts. Regular servicing ensures optimal performance and helps prevent starting issues.

Q4: Can a dead battery cause starting problems in my lawn mower?

A4: If your Craftsman M220 lawn mower has a battery, a dead or faulty battery can indeed prevent the mower from starting. Test the battery’s voltage using a voltmeter and replace it if necessary.

Q5: What should I do if I’ve tried all the troubleshooting steps and my lawn mower still won’t start?

A5: If you’ve exhausted all the troubleshooting steps mentioned in this article and your lawn mower still won’t start, it’s advisable to consult a professional technician or contact the Craftsman customer support for further assistance.

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Troubleshooting a Craftsman M220 lawn mower that won’t start requires a systematic approach. By inspecting and addressing potential issues with the fuel system, ignition system, air intake system, engine mechanical components, electrical system, and other possible causes, you can identify and resolve the problem.

Regular maintenance and proper storage practices can also help prevent starting problems in the future. Remember to consult the user manual for specific instructions and safety guidelines.

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