Why does my engine start and then shut down?

Many engine performance problems can be linked to maintenance issues such as stale fuel, dirty air filter, fouled spark plug, and deteriorated oil.

A great way to help avoid these problems would be to perform an annual tune-up using a Briggs & Stratton engine Maintenance Kit.

If untreated fuel is more than a month old, this fuel will start to break down and engine stalling (in addition to fuel system component gumming) can result. That’s why it’s important to either drain the gas from your outdoor power equipment before it sits idle during the winter, or add a fuel preservative/stabilizer to the fuel. 

  • To prevent the fuel from going stale purchase a Fresh Start Fuel Cartridge or purchase STA-BIL® Storage fuel stabilizer and mix the prescribed amount with your gasoline.
  • Even better, keep a gas can solely for your outdoor power equipment filled with gasoline treated with fuel stabilizer. That way, you will always have a supply of fresh, treated fuel used specifically for your outdoor power equipment.

If you’ve got stale gas in your equipment, drain the gas from the fuel tank completely and dispose of it properly, following your local municipalities’ regulations. NOTE: In most cases, this older fuel can be added to your car's fuel tank with no harmful effects.

Sometimes removing the old fuel and replacing with fresh, treated fuel may just solve the problem. If not, drain the old fuel and spray the inside of the fuel tank and carburetor with some carburetor cleaner. Finally, remove any sediment from the fuel tank and add fresh, treated gas.

Another thing to consider is that certain equipment manufacturers place a plastic packing plug between the gas cap and gas tank. In order for there to be proper venting, ensure that this plug is removed.

If stale fuel is not at fault, next look at the ignition system. Did the engine suddenly stop after striking an object? If so, you likely sheared the flywheel key, which upsets the engine's ignition (spark) timing.

Your best source of information would be to consult your local Briggs & Stratton Authorized Dealer.

Your Briggs & Stratton Authorized Dealer has all the information relating to Briggs & Stratton warranty information, replacement engines, short blocks, parts, pricing, service/repair, specifications, etc.

For your convenience, we offer three easy ways to locate your nearest Briggs & Stratton Authorized Dealers:

  • Use our website's Service Center Locator.

  • Call the Briggs & Stratton Automated Hotline at (800) 233-3723. This hotline is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week and features voice recognition technology to assist you in finding the Briggs & Stratton Authorized Dealers in your area. Automated maintenance tips, product information and FAQs are also offered through voice activated menus.

Please read and abide by any applicable Safety Information contained in your engine Operator's Manual. The material provided above is not intended to replace work performed by a Briggs & Stratton Authorized DealerTerms and Conditions apply to all of the information presented on this website. Always be sure to completely read and understand your engine Operator's Manual.