Briggs and Stratton Engines Troubleshooting Guide

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briggs and stratton engines troubleshooting guide
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Briggs and Stratton engines are renowned for their reliability and performance, powering various outdoor equipment such as lawnmowers, generators, and pressure washers. However, like any mechanical system, these engines may encounter issues over time. This comprehensive troubleshooting guide aims to assist you in identifying and resolving common problems that may arise with Briggs and Stratton engines, ensuring that your equipment operates smoothly and efficiently.

Engine Won’t Start

1.1 Fuel-related Issues

One of the most common reasons for engine failure to start is a lack of fuel or stale fuel in the system. Ensure that the fuel tank is adequately filled with fresh gasoline and that the fuel valve is open if applicable.

1.2 Spark Plug Problems

A faulty spark plug can prevent ignition, resulting in a non-starting engine. Check the spark plug for signs of wear or fouling and replace it if necessary.

1.3 Air Filter Blockage

A clogged air filter restricts airflow to the engine, leading to starting issues. Clean or replace the air filter regularly to ensure optimal engine performance.

1.4 Carburetor Troubles

A malfunctioning carburetor can disrupt the fuel-to-air ratio, causing starting problems. Clean or repair the carburetor to resolve this issue.

Engine Runs Roughly

2.1 Dirty Fuel System

Contaminated fuel can lead to rough engine operation. Drain the old fuel and clean the fuel system thoroughly before adding fresh gasoline.

2.2 Faulty Ignition System

A problematic ignition system can cause misfires and rough running. Inspect the ignition coil, ignition module, and spark plug wires for any faults and replace as needed.

2.3 Engine Compression Issues

Low compression in the engine can result in rough idling. Perform a compression test to determine if the engine requires internal repairs.

2.4 Valve Problems

Worn or damaged valves can disrupt the combustion process, leading to rough running. Inspect and adjust the valves as per the manufacturer’s specifications.

Excessive Vibration

3.1 Damaged Engine Mounts

Worn-out or broken engine mounts can cause excessive vibration during operation. Replace the engine mounts to reduce vibration.

3.2 Bent Crankshaft

A bent crankshaft can result in irregular engine operation and increased vibration. Consider professional repair or replacement of the crankshaft.

3.3 Blade Imbalance (Lawnmowers)

For lawnmowers, an imbalanced cutting blade can lead to vibration. Ensure the cutting blade is balanced and sharpened regularly.

Engine Overheating

4.1 Low Oil Level

Insufficient oil can cause the engine to overheat. Check the oil level regularly and top up if needed.

4.2 Cooling System Blockage

A blocked cooling system restricts proper heat dissipation. Clean the cooling fins and ensure unrestricted airflow.

4.3 Incorrect Fuel Mixture

Using the wrong fuel-to-oil ratio can lead to engine overheating. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for the correct fuel mixture.

Engine Loses Power

5.1 Clogged Fuel Filter

A clogged fuel filter can impede fuel flow, resulting in power loss. Replace the fuel filter regularly to avoid this issue.

5.2 Governor Problems

Issues with the engine governor can cause power fluctuations. Adjust or repair the governor as required.

5.3 Exhaust System Obstruction

A blocked exhaust system can lead to reduced engine power. Check for obstructions and clear any debris or blockages.

Starter Rope Difficult to Pull

6.1 Engine Hydrolock

If water enters the engine, it can cause hydrolock, making the starter rope hard to pull. Remove the spark plug and crank the engine to expel any water.

6.2 Flywheel Brake Issues

A malfunctioning flywheel brake can make it difficult to pull the starter rope. Inspect and repair the flywheel brake if needed.

6.3 Starter Recoil Problems

A worn-out starter recoil can lead to difficulty in starting the engine. Replace the starter recoil if it is damaged.

Excessive Smoke from Exhaust

7.1 Oil Overfill

Overfilling the engine oil can result in excessive smoke from the exhaust. Ensure the oil level is within the recommended range.

7.2 Worn Piston Rings

Worn piston rings can allow oil to enter the combustion chamber, leading to smoke from the exhaust. Replace the piston rings as necessary.

7.3 Crankcase Breather Clogging

A clogged crankcase breather can cause pressure buildup and smoke emission. Clean or replace the crankcase breather to resolve the issue.

Low Oil Pressure

8.1 Engine Oil Leaks

Oil leaks can cause a drop in oil pressure. Inspect for oil leaks and repair them promptly.

8.2 Worn or Damaged Oil Pump

A faulty oil pump can result in low oil pressure. Replace the oil pump if it is not functioning correctly.

Electric Starter Not Working

9.1 Dead Battery

A dead battery can prevent the electric starter from working. Charge or replace the battery to restore the electric starter’s functionality.

9.2 Faulty Starter Solenoid

A defective starter solenoid can hinder the electric starter’s operation. Check and replace the starter solenoid if needed.

Engine Misfires

10.1 Faulty Spark Plug Wires

Damaged or worn spark plug wires can cause engine misfires. Replace the wires if they are faulty.

10.2 Ignition Module Issues

Issues with the ignition module can lead to misfiring. Inspect and replace the ignition module as required.

10.3 Timing Problems

Incorrect ignition timing can cause engine misfires. Adjust the timing to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Uneven Cutting (Lawnmowers)

11.1 Dull Blades

Dull cutting blades can result in uneven grass cutting. Sharpen or replace the blades regularly.

11.2 Uneven Tire Pressure

Uneven tire pressure can lead to uneven cutting. Ensure all tires have the correct pressure.

11.3 Deck Misalignment

A misaligned cutting deck can cause uneven cutting patterns. Adjust the deck alignment for an even cut.

Engine Knocking

12.1 Low-Quality Fuel

Using low-quality fuel can lead to engine knocking. Use high-quality fuel to prevent this issue.

12.2 Connecting Rod Failure

A failing connecting rod can cause knocking sounds. Replace the connecting rod if necessary.

Fuel Leaks

13.1 Loose Fuel Lines

Loose or damaged fuel lines can cause fuel leaks. Tighten or replace the fuel lines as needed.

13.2 Damaged Fuel Tank

A damaged fuel tank can result in fuel leakage. Repair or replace the fuel tank to prevent leaks.


In conclusion, Briggs and Stratton engines are dependable powerhouses for various outdoor equipment. However, with regular use, they may encounter problems that can affect their performance. By following this comprehensive troubleshooting guide, you can identify and resolve common issues, ensuring your Briggs and Stratton engine operates smoothly and efficiently for years to come.


How often should I clean the air filter?

Clean or replace the air filter every 25 hours of engine operation or as indicated in the user manual.

Can I use regular automotive oil in my Briggs and Stratton engine?

No, use only high-quality SAE 30 or synthetic 5W-30 oil as recommended by Briggs and Stratton.

How do I adjust the engine governor?

Refer to the user manual for specific instructions on adjusting the engine governor.

Can I leave gasoline in the engine during storage?

It is best to drain the fuel tank and run the engine until it stalls before storing it for an extended period.

Why does my lawnmower vibrate excessively?

Excessive vibration in lawnmowers may result from blade imbalance or worn engine mounts. Check and address these issues accordingly.

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