What Does a Lawn Mower Choke Do

The sound of the engine revving up when you first turn it on is familiar to any homeowner who mows their grass. The choke is critical to getting the engine started and going forward when cutting the lawn.

Automatic chokes are standard on some engines, while manual chokes are not. Combustion engines feature a device for regulating how much gas is mixed with how much air in the carburetor.


How Does A Choke Work On A Lawn Mower?


On smaller engines, like the ones found in lawn mowers, you’ll frequently find a choke lever. They either permit or limit the flow of air into a carburetor in order to get a high density of fuel to air, which ignites at a high temperature and kickstarts the engine. Some types of motors don’t have a choke; rather, they have a primer bulb that can effectively improve the air-to-fuel ratio by introducing additional fuel into the combustion chamber.

The choke valve, also known as the throttle, on a lawnmower gets its name from the function it performs. The valve “chokes off” or “throttles” the flow of air into the combustion chamber of the engine’s carburetor, which enables the fuel to rapidly heat up and allows the engine to start.

When the metal is cold, the engine has a harder time burning fuel, but when it heats up, it becomes much more efficient at doing so. A cold start refers to the process of starting an engine when the metal is still cold.


Should The Choke Be Open Or Closed When Starting Lawn Mower?


During the starting process, the choke lever is moved to its closed position to limit the amount of air that enters the combustion chamber. The use of a choke and a spark plug provides a solution to the problem that arises while trying to get the fuel and the engine up to operating temperatures. The spark plug is what ignites the gasoline, and because there is not a lot of air, the gasoline burns at a faster rate, which in turn quickly heats up the engine.

Running “rich” refers to a situation in which the ratio of air to fuel in the engine is high. Because there is less air in the combustion chamber, a fuel combination that is rich in carbon tends to burn more quickly. This helps to maintain a high rate of combustion. The consistent delivery of power to the mower is ensured by maintaining a high temperature in the combustion chamber, which is maintained by warm air.


Is It Bad To Run A Lawn Mower With The Choke On?


As soon as the cold engine has been warmed up for a few seconds, the choke does not need to be engaged anymore. If you leave it on, the fuel will continue to burn rich, which will result in the use of more gasoline in a shorter amount of time and could cause the engine to overheat.

Because of this, controlling the amount of air that goes into combustion engines is critical. When there is just the correct quantity of air in the mixture, it will heat up as the fuel burns, which will keep the engine warm as it continues to take in air.

When there is an excessive amount of air in the mixture, it can cool down too quickly, which can result in the engine sputtering, stalling, or turning off altogether due to a lack of energy. This high air to fuel ratio is referred to as a “lean” mixture, and as long as it is maintained in the appropriate proportions, it will be efficient and ensure that the engine continues to operate smoothly.

When the engine is operating regularly, the choke will either be off or open since adequate air intake is necessary for good engine health and fuel economy.


Is My Choke Manual Or Automatic?


Some versions of lawnmowers come equipped with a manual choke, which consists of a handle, lever, or button connected to the spring tension on the valve and used to open or close it. Other models come equipped with an automatic choke that responds to changes in temperature, is activated when the engine is started, and can open and close itself as required.


Common engine manufacturers such as Honda and Briggs and Stratton, whose engines can be found in high-end mowers made by Craftsman and Husqvarna, are among those who are progressively adding automatic chokes to the engines they produce.

Users who prefer to have fine-grained control over their mower’s settings continue to favor mowers with manual chokes since they allow for the most precise adjustments.


What Control Symbol Indicates The Choke?

The symbol for the choke varies by manufacturer, but there are a few that are widely used:

  • One type looks like a propeller in between two lines, representing what the choke looks like in the carburetor. When it’s tilted, it’s in the closed position, and when vertical, it’s open to allow airflow.
  • Another common symbol is the rabbit and turtle pair, where the rabbit means open or high energy, and the turtle indicates a slow, steady fuel.
  • Some models of mower don’t have a symbol but rather have choke controls that are labeled “open/close,” “on/off,” or” push/pull.” In any case, your mower’s choke symbol is clarified in your model’s manual.

Where Is The Choke On My Mower?


If your mower has a manual choke, you can find it by following the cable that runs from the trigger to the engine. This will lead you to the choke. The choke can be found in the same place as a manual choke, which is close to the air intake and next to the carburetor, if your vehicle is equipped with an automatic choke.


Final Thoughts


With a little practice, you’ll find that lawn mower choke valves are really handy and easy to use. It may appear difficult, yet it all comes down to a simple lever or button.

To avoid flooding and burning from your lawn mower, be sure to follow the steps outlined above. When you really need your lawnmower, the last thing you want is for it to break down.

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