Easy Fixes for Electric Mowers

June 30, 2015

An electric lawn mower can make gardening a breeze. Keep your electric mower is top working order with the below tips and tricks for mower maintenance.

Easy Fixes for Electric Mowers

My electric mower won’t start

Power it up by resetting the emergency cut-off

Electric mowers — and your home power supply — have many safety features, and it's likely that one of these has tripped while your mower was in use, preventing power from reaching the motor.

  • First, check the electrical socket by plugging in another appliance. Does it work? If not, you may have tripped your circuit breaker (or RCD; see below) or blown a fuse.
  • Chances are that you're connected to the main power supply through an extension cord. Many such cords have a built-in trip switch — press it to reset the supply.
  • Check that the lawn mower's safety mechanism is not preventing the motor from starting. Many models have a safety feature that stops children from starting the motor. Usually, a special button or lever has to be held down while you press the starter button.
  • On some mowers, the motor cuts out when the grass bag is full. Empty the bag and try to restart.

It still won’t go

Restore power to the mower's motor

With few mechanical parts, electric mowers are very reliable, but they can still suffer from problems that prevent them from starting or that make them cut out during use.

  • Unplug the mower and check its power cable. If it is frayed, or if the outer layer of insulation has split, buy a replacement. Don't attempt a repair.
  • Unplug and re-plug the power supply at the mower end — this is often enough to dislodge any grime that may be preventing a good electrical contact. If in any doubt, clean the visible electrical contacts with a wire brush.
  • With the mower unplugged, clear grass or other debris from the vents over the motor casing using a soft brush — these vents provide vital engine cooling.

The carbon brushes in the motor will wear out with time, causing the motor to cut out periodically or trigger the circuit breaker. When this happens, the mower needs professional repair, but you may be able to get a couple more cuts from the motor.

  • Put the mower on its side and take hold of the blade. Turn it in the cutting direction while wiggling it as hard as you can from front to back; this may help your motor's worn carbon brushes to make contact with the motor's armature.
  • Put the mower back into cutting position, reconnect the power and try again.

Word to know

Residual Current Device: A residual current device (RDC) is an electrical circuit breaker that sits between the power supply and an appliance, such as an electric lawn mower or trimmer. It cuts off the power immediately if it detects any unexpected leakage of current, such as through the body of the user, and can so prevent potentially lethal electric shocks.


Before working on your electric mower, unplug it, ensuring you can see the disconnected cord at all times. Never use your mower when the grass is wet, and always connect to power source via an RCD (see above).

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