toro lawn mower won't start

15 Reasons Why Your Toro Mower Won’t Start (and How to Fix it!)

Toro is renowned for producing excellent quality lawn mowers. However, nothing is without its problems and you may find, from time to time, that your Toro lawn mower won’t start.

There could be several reasons for this and it will likely involve a bit of investigation on your part. Remember that keeping your lawn mower well maintained will help to ensure it performs to the best of its ability.

If you’ve found yourself scratching your head and asking yourself why won’t my Toro lawn mower start, then you’re in the right place. We have compiled a list of 15 of the most common reasons that Toro mowers don’t get going. 

If you find that none of the below advice works for you then it could be that you need to take your lawn mower to a professional. Additionally, it’s also worth keeping in mind that everything has its limits and when your Toro lawn mower completely gives up the ghost, you’ll need to buy a new one. 

Fortunately, these are designed to be long lasting tools and you’ll find that these issues can normally be easily solved. 

15 Reasons Your Toro Lawn Mower Won’t Start

1. No Gas In The Fuel Tank

It probably doesn’t take us to tell you that a gas lawn mower isn’t going to run if it doesn’t have any fuel. That’s like expecting to get in a car with an empty tank and drive for miles; it just isn’t going to happen.

That said, if you’ve been trying to start your lawn mower to no avail, the simplest of things can slip your mind. We know of so many people that have had issues with their lawn mowers only to realize that, in fact, all that was required was a little fuel.

So, before you move on to any of the points that follow, it’s worth just taking a look to make sure that there is enough gas for your Toro lawn mower to run.

How To Fix It

This is potentially the easiest fix on this list. If your Toro lawn mower is out of fuel, simply fill up the fuel tank and get on with your garden maintenance. 

2. Fuel Valve On Your Toro Mower Is In The Off Position

Another thing that might cause your Toro not to start is the fuel valve is not in the ‘on’ position. Again, this sounds like we are teaching you to suck eggs but when you’re caught up in the frustration of the moment, it’s easy to forget to check something so simple.

If you shut off the fuel valve then this stops the engine from flooding which is great when you need to transport the lawn mower or perhaps if you won’t be using it for a while. Keeping it in the off position when not in use can also decrease pressure which will increase the life of the float valve. However, the fuel valve switch does need to be on when you want to run your Toro.

toro fuel valve

How To Fix It

Quite simply, all you need to do is to put the switch into the ‘on’ position.

3. Damaged Carburetor

All gas lawn mowers have a carburetor and this is designed to regulate the mixing of air and gas within the chamber which is required in order for combustion to happen.

However, sometimes, the carburetor becomes blocked, dirty or damaged and this process can no longer take place. The result is that your Toro lawn mower won’t start.

How To Fix It

The great thing is that you can easily clean your carburetor at home. You will need to take it apart and use a special carburetor cleaner but this is widely available. You will also need to clean the needle and the float bowl so take your time to do this correctly.

However, sometimes your carburetor might be so dirty that cleaning it isn’t going to be enough. You may also find that the part becomes damaged over time which is completely normal but this does mean that it will need to be replaced.

toro carburetor

4. Plugged Up Fuel Filter

Over the course of time, the fuel filter in your Toro lawn mower will gather a build up of dirt and debris causing your fuel filter to become full and clogged up. When this happens, fuel can no longer flow freely and this will prevent your lawn mower from starting up as it should.

To determine whether this is the problem, you will need to check the fuel filter. Look to see whether it is allowing fuel to flow through. If not, this is likely the root of the problem.

How To Fix It

Clogged fuel filters can either be cleaned or replaced. As with the carburetor, it depends on how dirty it is and whether it is damaged as to which of these methods will work best.

5. Bad Or Old Fuel In Your Toro Mower

It is so important to use fresh gas in your Toro lawn mower; or any lawn mower, for that matter. When you use old gas this can cause the fuel system to become clogged and the result is that the engine doesn’t get the right amount of fuel it needs to run properly.

Surprisingly, gas doesn’t last very long and after around just 30 days, it’s condition will start to deteriorate.

Gas contains ethanol and this gathers moisture as this moisture then evaporates, a sticky substance is left behind which is what clogs up the fuel system. Moreover, leaving ethanol in your fuel tank for long periods can cause corrosion and damage.

How To Fix It

For this, you will need to drain out any old fuel and flush the fuel tank. Then add in some fresh fuel. It’s best to use fuel that contains a stabilizer as this will help to keep the fuel system clean and unclogged.

6. Incorrect Operation

When you first purchase your Toro lawn mower, it’s worth checking out the user manual. Here, you will find all of the manufacturer’s safety information and how to properly operate the lawn mower. If these steps are not followed then it may result in the lawn mower not operating as expected. 

How To Fix It

If you feel unsure about how to correctly operate your Toro lawn mower then the best thing to do is look over the manual once again. Not only will this ensure that the mower starts but it’ll also encourage safe use of the tool.

7. Blocked Fuel Line On Your Toro Mower

Earlier, we talked about how the fuel filter can become clogged. The same can be said for the fuel lines which may also be clogged with the same substances. It’s important to check the fuel hose to make sure that there is nothing blocking it and you can do this by taking out the end of the hose and putting it into a container.

Using the shut off valves, you can then start and stop the flow of fuel to see whether it runs freely through the hose. If it doesn’t, you’ve just discovered why your Toro lawn mower won’t start.

How To Fix It

If the fuel line is clogged then you’ll need to remove it and clean it using a carburetor cleaner. Spray this into the tube and then take a can of compressed air to force it through. This should remove any residue that has built up inside.

Sometimes, this might not be enough and the line may remain blocked. In this case, it’s time to replace the fuel line.

8. Clogged Air Filter

As well as gas, your Toro lawn mower needs air to get going. However, while the Toro lawn mower does have an air filter to ensure good air flow, this can often become blocked. As you use the lawn mower, things like grass, dirt and other debris fly up and get stuck in the air filter.

It’s good practice to regularly check the air filter to make sure that it’s free of debris and this will limit any associated problems. However, sometimes, it may become clogged and this will stop the engine from starting. Moreover, you’ll find that, when it does start, the engine overheats very quickly which can cause some serious damage.

toro air filter

How To Fix It

You’ll need to take the air filter out of its housing and check it to see how dirty it is. If you have a paper air filter then the best way to clean this is to tap it on a hard surface so that any dirt falls off. Once you have done this, hold the filter up to the light to see if you can see light through it. If you can’t then you’re going to need to replace it.

Some Toro mowers use a foam air filter in which case, you’ll need to inspect it for damage. If there are any brown spots or the filter feels brittle or is torn then you’ll need to replace it.

However, you may be able to clean it if it’s just dirty and you can use something as simple as dish soap. This will get rid of oil and dirt. You should fully rinse the filter and allow it to dry before you put it back into the lawn mower. Air dry it in the sun on a warm day for the fastest drying.

9. Bad Ignition Coil

Sometimes, you will find that you insert the ignition key but the engine doesn’t start up. This could be due to a couple of reasons and one of these is that the ignition coil is bad.

How To Fix It

You’ll first need to check that the spark plug is working. If it is then you’ll move on to check the ignition coil using a multimeter. If there are any breaks in the continuity then this tells you that the ignition coil needs to be replaced.

10. Damaged Recoil On Your Toro Mower

With Toro push mowers, you’ll likely be using a recoil start which involves pulling a rope to get the mower going. However, these ropes are liable to failure if the spring comes loose as well as because of things like broken clips, bad pulleys and missing parts. 

How To Fix It

It is possible to replace the spring in the recoil start and this may solve the problem. But there is a chance that this might not work if other parts of the recoil, like the pulley or clips are broken. In this case, it’s much better to just replace the whole thing.

11. Damaged Or Dirty Spark Plug

Your spark plugs will become dirty over time; there’s no getting away from that. However, when too much oil and carbon builds up on the spark plug, this might cause engine misfire.

There may also be problems with the spark plug connection and this can mean that your Toro lawn mower won’t start.

toro spark plug

How To Fix It

Make it a habit to regularly check your spark plugs. But if you have noticed problems, take the spark plug out and have a look to see if there is any carbon build up. You might also notice that the porcelain insulator is cracked and in this case, you will need to get a replacement. 

Of course, if the spark plug is just a little dirty, you can clean this and replace it and your Toro lawn mower should start up without any problems. 

12. Dead or Bad Battery

If the battery on your Toro lawn mower isn’t working then the whole machine is never going to start. You will need to check the battery to make sure there are no loose cables and that no corrosion has occurred to the terminals. Also make sure that the terminals are properly connected to the battery. 

How To Fix It

If you have noticed any corrosion then you can clean this using a solution of baking soda and water. Apply this with a wire brush to remove the corrosion and this should solve the problem.

It’s also a good idea to test the battery using a multimeter. When you do this, the reading should be around 12.7 volts. If it is any lower then you will need to charge the battery until the reading improves.

Sometimes, old batteries just won’t hold their charge. If this happens, then you’re going to need to replace it.

13. Bad Starter Solenoid

On a Toro lawn mower, there will be an electromagnetic switch known as a solenoid. This is similar to an on/off switch which is there to turn over the engine. When you turn the ignition key, you might hear a click and this could tell you that there is something wrong with the solenoid.

You may also notice that the wire that is connected to the solenoid becomes hot and it might even give off smoke. In some cases, this wire could melt which clearly tells you that there is a problem.

How To Fix It

One of the first things you will need to do here is to test the solenoid. You can do this by removing it and testing it with a battery charger. If you discover that the solenoid is bad then the only solution for this is to replace it.

14. Bad Ignition Switch

If, when you insert the key into the ignition but nothing happens, then this could indicate that there is a problem with the ignition switch.

toro ignition switch

How To Fix It

The best way to test whether the ignition switch is the problem is to use a multimeter. If this shows that there is a problem then you will need to replace the switch.

15. Damaged Fuel Cap

On the gas cap, if you look closely, you will see that there is a small hole. This allows air to flow through in order to vent the tank. Sometimes, this hole will become clogged which makes it impossible for air to pass through. This essentially results in a vacuum forming.

Not only does this stop airflow but it’ll also stop the fuel from being able to flow through and this means that the mower just won’t start.

In order to determine whether the gas cap is the problem you will need to remove it and allow the Toro mower to run for a couple of minutes. Then, put the fuel cap back on and see if it begins to sputter or just shuts down entirely. If it does then it’s likely that the gas cap is blocked.

How To Fix It

It is possible to clean the gas cap to remove debris and unclog the little hole. However, this can be difficult. So, if you can’t do this then you might need to purchase a replacement cap.

Further Reading

Andrew Fisher

Andrew Fisher

Andrew is a dedicated father of three who really takes pride in his lawn and garden. You'll find Andrew behind the scenes of almost everything Edge Your Lawn produces. When he's not helping readers find all the information they need, he's in his backyard working on his lawn and garden landscaping. This year he hopes to build an outdoor deck and sort out his veg patches.

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