By Matt Weber
Replacing a spark plug is a simple task, but some plugs are easier to access than others.
Most of us have experi- enced the frustration of repeatedly jerking on a lawnmower's pull cord while the machine just sits there stubbornly refusing to start. This same prob- lem can show up with practically any small gas engine, from trim- mers and chainsaws to blowers and pressure washers. This arti- cle explains how to troubleshoot common small-engine problems and how to prevent future prob- lems with better maintenance. FIRST STEPS If your outdoor equipment won't start, make sure the engine is filled with fresh gas. Old gas can cause problems starting. If you have last season's gas in your mower, drain your fuel tank and fill with fresh gas. Other possible causes include a loose, dirty or disconnected spark plug in your lawnmower. Check it out, clean off debris, re-connect and tighten the plug. In some cases, you might need to replace it completely. Weak or bad spark plugs lead to problems with cold-starting or misfires dur- ing acceleration. Without healthy plugs, your engine can’t sustain maximum power and will suffer a drop in fuel economy. Over time, deposits can form on spark plugs from interaction with the air-fuel mixture, which can lead to pre- ignition of the fuel and a jerky,