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Is Your Lawn Mower a Ticking Time Bomb? Myth or Reality?

Is Your Lawn Mower a Ticking Time Bomb? Myth or Reality?

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Lawn mowers can generally be dangerous to use, especially if you are not careful about how to handle them. Modern lawn mowers are generally available with two-stroke engines, though many modern variants also come with chargeable batteries.

You might have heard that lawn mowers are likely to explode if they are not properly cared for. Unfortunately, many of the tall claims made about lawn mowers are slightly overblown, and it is one of the reasons why people usually feel a bit intimidated when working around machinery that contains engines or motors.

If you are new to using a lawn mower, understanding the different components inside and how they are all supposed to function is very important. Lawn mowers are generally big and clunky, and they make a lot of noise.

Despite the fact that most companies have been working hard to introduce newer variants, they still are a chore to use. But, can a lawn mower actually explode? Well, not in the way you might be thinking.

A lawn mower is likely to explode if it catches fire, or if there are unauthorized changes made to the fuel supply and the engine. When used normally, the chances of a lawn mower exploding are virtually negligible.

On top of that, you can regularly maintain the lawn mower and service it to ensure that it does not sustain any kind of damage. If you have just bought a conventional lawn mower and are worried that it might catch on fire, it is important that you read on to find out how to keep it in prime condition.

What Can Cause a Lawn Mower to Explode?

One of the most common ways by which a lawn mower can explode is by catching fire. If the lawn mower catches fire, it can spread to the fuel supply system, and owing to poor maintenance, the machinery might completely explode.

So, the question is, how can a lawn mower catch fire? More importantly, which kinds of lawn mowers can catch on fire?

Virtually all kinds of lawn mowers can catch on fire if they are not maintained properly. It doesn’t matter if you have a battery-powered lawn mower, an electric or a gas model, any of these can catch on fire if the conditions are right.

To fully understand the risks that most people face when using a conventional lawn mower, it is important to talk about the different situations in which a lawn mower can catch on fire.

The Clippings

The lawn mower is designed for one purpose: to cut the grass regularly. By regularly mowing the glass and keeping it as low as possible, you won’t just be doing a good job in keeping your garden clean, but it will also benefit your lawn mower.

Tall grass blades can prove to be hazardous if you are not careful. In fact, grass is perhaps the number one cause of fires in lawn mowers. Many lawn mowers can catch on fire if you don’t know what you are doing when trimming the grass clippings.

The bigger grass clippings can get over the lawn mower and fall at the back. This may bring them in direct contact with the hot motor, or the clippings may get sucked inside the muffler or any other exposed component.

As it gets incredibly hot and starts to burn, the other components might catch on fire as well.

Furthermore, you should know that collisions with foreign objects can also cause your lawn mower to catch on fire. It is a commonly known fact that grass should only be cut when it is dry.

However, while it’s common practice in most parts of the world, you should know that cutting the dry grass poses a unique set of challenges. First of all, the mechanism under the lawn mower usually consists of steel blades that spin at high speeds.

If these spinning steel blades come into contact with a rock or any other metallic object on your lawn, it could produce sparks right away. If these sparks then come into contact with the grass or other dry leaves, they could ignite.

Many people are not particular when they are mowing the lawn, and they are not focused on the ground. If there is a bit of a breeze in the air, the air can quickly cause the fire to spread throughout the yard before you know it!

Another thing that you need to consider is the weather conditions. During the summer months, the temperature can often rise quite high in some parts of the country.

When the temperature is too hot, you might want to avoid mowing the grass during the afternoon. The best time to mow your grass is during the evening or the early morning.

During these periods, there is a strong risk that your lawn mower could overheat, and when combined with the incredibly dry grass, there is a chance that it could catch on fire. If you don’t have any other option but to mow your grass during the afternoon, you might want to take some safety precautions.

For instance, you might want to spray a bit of water on the lawn to dampen the grass a bit. Be careful not to dump a lot of water on the ground otherwise the grass is simply going to stick to the ground, and your lawn mower won’t work effectively.

Mowing wet grass is a whole other problem, and you won’t be able to do it right.

Then, you have to consider the fuel and the oil inside the lawn mower, which is perhaps the most important concern for most people. These are some of the most flammable substances in the lawn mower and can catch on fire quite easily.

If there is accidental fuel or oil spillage in your garden, it could catch on fire. Gasoline usually has a pretty low flash point, and the motor in your lawn mower is generally running at a much higher temperature than the flash point of gasoline.

If you are going to refuel your lawn mower, it would not be a wise idea to do so when the motor is still hot. If you accidentally spill fuel over the hotter parts of the mower, it could turn into a serious fire hazard.

Finally, there’s also the risk of fire if you do not properly clean the deck of your lawn mower. The lawn mower deck must be kept properly clean and you need to make sure that you take maintenance seriously.

When you are cutting the grass, you should know that it tends to accumulate under the mower deck. This is obviously going to cause a bit of a problem and lead to serious difficulty in cutting.

Ultimately, it’s going to increase the stress on your lawn mower’s blades and the engine. This can eventually cause the lawn mower to overheat, and could blow the engine components.

If there are favorable conditions on the outside, the chances of a fire outbreak seem quite realistic.

Other Ways it Can Explode

Then, you have to consider the unauthorized tinkering. All lawn mowers sold by major manufacturers come with a warranty, and they explicitly tell you not to interfere with the internal components.

If you try to tinker and make changes to the motor, the fuel system, or the carburetor for any purpose, there is a strong chance that your lawn mower could explode.

For instance, if you disconnect the governor system of your carburetor and fail to connect it back, the engine will start running at much higher speeds from the get-go.

While it may seem like a wise idea in the beginning because it helps cut the grass faster, you have to understand the toll it takes on the lawn mower itself.

The engine of your lawn mower could overheat, and there is a chance of a potential explosion. That is one of the main reasons why if you notice a problem with your lawn mower, you should call a professional right away.

There is absolutely no reason for you to tinker with your lawn mower without any expertise, and it’s always a big risk. Thankfully, lawn mower repair doesn’t cost a lot of money, and you can easily get your lawn mower fixed for an affordable price.

Lawn Mower Blowing Smoke – How Dangerous Is it?

Most people often get scared when their lawn mower starts blowing smoke and back off. However, you need to understand that a lawn mower blowing smoke doesn’t necessarily have to be dangerous.

It just doesn’t mean that there’s something bad happening under the hood. For instance, the color of the smoke can give you a pretty good idea about what’s wrong.

If the smoke is white or blue, it’s a clear sign that oil is being burnt by your engine along with the fuel. If the oil reaches the crankshaft of the motor, it could seep in and start burning.

White smoke can also blow from the lawn mower if a bit of fuel mixture is spilled on the motor. When the motor heats up, the white smoke will start to burn, and this will release the smoke.

You have to understand that newer lawn mowers also produce white smoke. This happens due to the residue of oil that burns off on the motor. It’s usually applied by the manufacturer to keep the motor in prime condition.

Finally, you have to know that in case the lawn mower is tilted to one side, there is a chance that some of the oil might spill into the combustion chamber of your engine. Eventually, it will cause white smoke to blow from the engine as well.

Furthermore, if you notice blue smoke coming from your lawn mower, it’s probably due to a dirty air filter or a clogged breather. Again, if you know a thing or two about how to maintain your lawn mower, you can easily check it.

On the other hand, if there is black smoke coming from your lawn mower, it’s a clear indication that the machine is burning too much fuel, and the air intake is choked.

If there is black smoke coming from the lawn mower, it’s probably because you are using higher quality fuel. The combustion will be easier that way, so the amount of air in the chamber will reduce.

Similarly, you might want to check to determine if the air filter is dirty and needs to be properly cleaned off.

How to Prevent a Lawn Mower From Exploding

Like all other machines that make use of a combustion engine, there are some pretty simple things that you can do to make sure that your lawn mower does not explode.

Obviously, the first thing you would want to do is go through the user’s manual and see what it has to say regarding maintenance.

Regular maintenance can go a long way in preventing your lawn mower from exploding or sustaining any kind of damage. Apart from that, here are some simple things that you can do to minimize the chances of lawn mower explosions:

  • Never refuel the lawn mower when the motor is still hot. Even if you are careful, there is a risk of a spill, and that could translate into a bigger problem.
  • Avoid cutting excessively tall or wet grass with your lawn mower; just cut it with some garden shears and then use your lawn mower.
  • Do ensure that you get the lawn mower blades sharpened on a regular basis.
  • Always clean the air filter thoroughly after a few uses. You can use compressed air or a blower to get rid of any debris or dust inside.
  • Check the ground to ensure that there are no rocks, toys, branches, or other solid objects on the ground.
  • Avoid using the lawn mower during excessively hot days throughout the summer months. It would be a wise idea to avoid mowing the lawn on these hot days, and do it in the morning or the night.
  • Then, you need to make sure that you use the recommended fuel mix. If you have a lawn mower with a 2-stroke engine, check the owner’s manual for the recommended fuel mix.

These are just a few things that you can do to make sure that your lawn mower remains in pristine condition and does not sustain any kind of damage through prolonged use.


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