P&P Blog

MTD Troubleshooting Guide

Whether it's your mower, tractor, or handheld equipment, P&P Small Engines is here to answer all of your MTD troubleshooting questions. With a number of frequently asked questions, we'll guide you through easy at-home steps to troubleshoot your MTD outdoor power equipment from the comfort of your own garage.



Troubleshoot your MTD Mower 


Mower won't start? 
If you can't get your mower to turn over, it might be one of these seven common issues:

–– The control handle's not engaged
–– You need to reconnect the spark plug wire
–– Replace the fuel tank with new gas
–– Clean the fuel line
–– Clean or adjust the spark plug gap, and replace if necessary
–– If your engine's flooded, don't prime the mower – wait to restart
–– Clean your air filter of debris and dirt, and replace if necessary 

Mower vibrating more than usual? 
This will usually happen because of three main issues:

–– You need to tighten the blade and adapter, followed by balancing the blade
–– If you notice you have a bent blade, replace it
–– Finally, check to see if the mounting bolt on the engine is loose – tighten or replace the bolt if necessary 

Engine is running inconsistently? 
Consider these six possible solutions:

–– The spark plug should be connected and properly tightened
–– Make sure the fuel line is clean and the tank is filled with new gas
–– Inspect and clean the gas cap vent
–– If you find that your fuel system has been compromised by dirt or water, drain the fuel tank and refill with fresh fuel
–– Refer to the model's engine manual if you need to adjust the carburetor
–– If you've overfilled the engine with oil, drain it and refill to the proper level 

Engine is idling poorly? 
Try these four tips:

–– Check the spark plug to see if it's turned foul or faulty – replace if necessary
–– Check the spark plug to make sure its gap isn't too wide – if so, refer to your manual to reset the gap
–– Check the air filter to see if it needs to be cleaned or replaced
–– Refer to your engine manual for the proper carburetor adjustment


Troubleshoot your MTD Tractor


Tractor won't crank? 
Your tractor might not crank at all for five different reasons, but try these simple fixes:

–– While sitting in the operator's seat, check that the safety switch button is pressed down, the deck completely disengaged, and the parking brake fully engaged
–– Your battery should be properly installed: negative terminal attached to the black ground wire, positive terminal attached to the big red wire going towards the solenoid
–– If you suspect your battery is weak or dead, check the fluid levels; if the fluid is low, fill just below the split rings with water and fully charge your battery
–– Check the fuse box for loose connections, pinched wires, or bare wires – replace with an automotive type fuse if necessary
–– Check to make sure the black ground wire is running from the engine to the frame or mounting bolt 

Engine cranks but won't start? 
Try these four easy fixes:

–– Ensure the throttle/choke is in the starting position
–– If the tank is properly fueled, check to see if the fuel line or filter is compromised by debris or dirt; clean your fuel line and replace the filter if necessary
–– Connect your spark plug wire and check with a tester; clean and reset the gap, or replace if necessary
–– Inspect the air filter for any debris or dirt – clean and replace if necessary

Smoking engine? 
This one may need professional help for intense maintenance, but you can try these two steps first:

–– You might have overfilled the engine oil – check oil levels
–– Your engine might have lost its crankcase vacuum, in which case is caused by a broken or improperly sealed dipstick – replace the defective part if necessary, which may also include the engine breather 


Troubleshoot your MTD Handheld Equipment


Engine won't start? 
Check these five things:

–– Make sure your fuel tank is full
–– Press the prime bulb slowly and fully 10 times
–– If you suspect old fuel, flush it out and replace with new fuel
–– Clean the spark plug and replace if necessary
–– Clean the spark arrestor and replace if necessary

Engine stalling, or doesn't have as much power as usual?
These three tips might do the trick:

–– If you suspect old fuel, flush it out and add new fuel
–– Refer to your operator's manual and double-check that your carburetor is properly adjusted
–– Inspect the spark plug and arrestor – clean and replace if necessary 

Engine won't idle? 
Three more tips to try:

–– Empty out and replace old fuel with new
–– Check your operator's manual to ensure your carburetor is properly adjusted
–– Clean the air filter and replace if necessary 

Engine starting, but not accelerating? 
It might be one of these five issues:

–– Drain any remaining old fuel and add fresh fuel to the tank
–– Stop the engine and see if the cutting attachment needs to be cleaned – clean if necessary
–– Refer to your operator's manual to ensure that your carburetor is properly adjusted
–– Clean the air filter – replace if necessary
–– Inspect the spark arrestor – clean and replace if necessary 

Need more intense maintenance on your MTD mower, tractor, or handheld equipment? Contact a specialist at P&P Small Engines today, and schedule your appointment for annual maintenance. 

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