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What To Do If Your Lawn Mower is Blowing White Smoke

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You just went out to mow the lawn, you turned on your mower, and white smoke is pouring out of it – now what?

What caused this fiasco and what can you do about it? Fortunately, a smoke-blowing engine may not be a serious issue unless you don’t pay attention to the smoke.

Here’s a list of things you can do to if your lawn mower is emitting white or blue smoke.

White smoke is usually caused by excess fuel burning – Many times this is a very simple issue to resolve. If you’ve recently turned over or tilted the machine, a portion of the oil may have leaked out and started to burn, which creates white or blue smoke.

The solution is the same for those times when you have overfilled the oil reservoir – just let it smoke and burn off the excess oil.

There are times when white smoke isn’t an infrequent problem but is continual.

The first thing to do is to examine the crankcase and check if there is an air leak.

Air leaks will let more air into a mower’s crankcase than necessary and will cause a greater quantity of oil mist than the breather of the crankcase can handle, which then results in too much oil being burned off.

A professional mechanic will cost you a bit more money upfront but will save you time and headache in the long run.  Angie’s List is a good place to start if you don’t have a shop in mind already.

To sum things up, white smoke emerging from your lawn mower is not a sure sign that it’s broken.

Your mower might just need a bit of TLC. Before you take that drive to the mechanic’s place, take a little time to smell the smoke and note what color the smoke is.

Your problem might be as minor as having to buy a new inexpensive air filter, and not serious enough to require a significant expenditure on labor and parts.

This video may help you out as well:

Side Note: I am not a mechanic, so my suggestion is if you aren’t comfortable digging into this issue, take your mower to a pro.

Author: Matt Hagens

Matt Hagens

Hi, I’m Matt the owner of Yard Care Life. I love to be outside working on my lawn, planning my next project. I created this website to help people like you find the best products for yard care and great advice. Learn more about me and find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

10 thoughts on “What To Do If Your Lawn Mower is Blowing White Smoke”

  1. I have a Briggs Stratton yard machine. I’ve only used it 8 times and its smoking, the smoke is coming out the round aluminum circular thing and oil is coming from where the filter is located. I believe it was tampered with. What do I need to do?


    • It’s impossible for me to diagnose without seeing the machine. I would take it to a shop. It should still be under warranty if you’ve only used it 8 times.

    • Cynthia, it sounds like your mower has been tipped wrong and oil has moved into the combustion chamber , it needs cleaning out and the oil level should be checked and the mower running until it clears, you may need the carb cleaning . I would replace the spark plug and air filter element.

  2. I have a County Line Briggs and Stratton weed trimmer had bought UT five yrs ago at a tractor place and had it saved did not use it until two days ago someone came to help me cut weeds. Started fine but doesn’t cut thick weeds. When the person put oil and started cutting again it started leaking oil all over on both sides and blowing white smoke she stopped it then tried to start it and didn’t start anymore. What could it be? It is no longer under warranty. I just called someone to come check it out, hope I don’t lose it I paid $300 or something like that for it to lose it? And it was brand new first time use.

  3. Got a used Troy built mower, started no problem, did not smoke. Needed oil, put oil in recommended by sales clerk. Now it spews massive white smoke, smells like pure carbon monoxide, stank up whole neighborhood.

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