How to prime a lawn mower without primer bulb? An effective guide with 5 simple steps

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This article will show you how to prime a lawn mower without primer. We have known that the carburetor needs the primer to function properly. However, for some reason, the primer can break. 

Can we start the engine without a primer? Of course, we have an effective method for you. Don’t hesitate to do it. The method is designed for the newbie.

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Why does your primer stop working?

how to prime a lawn mower without primer bulb

After a time of using it, the primer of your lawnmower is damaged. There are some reasons for the lack of performance:

The broken bulb

Most primers are bulb primers. The rubber of the primer is vulnerable. It is easy to get damaged, cracked, or broken. When a piece of the primer breaks, the fuel comes into the carburetor erratically. This is why you have some difficulty starting the engine.

The dirty fuel filter

The filter helps extract the clean air for the burning of the fuel. However, if you don’t clean it regularly, the filter will be full of dirt and debris. At that time, the filter is clogged. And the airflow is blocked. The fuel in the tank has no chance of reaching the oxygen. Therefore, the primer can’t play its role. 

The primer is run out of fuel 

If you start the engine after a long idle time, the primer will be lacking in performance. The reason is there isn’t any fuel for the work of the primer. In this case, you can’t start the engine. Nevertheless, how many times do you try to do it. 

It isn’t important which problems you are facing. You don’t need to spend a big sum of money on a new primer. We will teach you how to prime a lawnmower without a primer by yourself. 

How to prime a lawn mower without a primer

Starting the lawnmower without a primer seems like crazy work. However, the method does. 

We will tell you the detailed method which the expert mechanics use. Stop being afraid. The article will go straight to the steps. Although you are a newbie, the method will work effectively.

The necessary items:

  • A screwdriver that has a flat head.
  • The starter fluid for the primer.

Step 1: Have some checking

Checking helps the starting work go effectively. First, make sure that the prime has enough fluid, and there is nothing wrong: 

  • Look at the fuel tank to make sure that your lawnmower isn’t run out of fuel. If you think that the remaining fuel isn’t enough, pour some into the tank.
  • Check the connection of the primer bulb. Let’s remove the top casing. Then discover the carburetor and have a check.
  • Look through the fuel line, the filter, and the carburetor. Then check the connections between them. This is important. You can’t start the engine because the lawnmower has a lack of connection. 

After everything is alright, continue your work with the below steps. 

Step 2: Check the primer bulb

Most lawnmowers have the primer bulb. Let’s find the location of the primer and have a check:

  • Look around the engine and find the primer. It’s usually under the carburetor. Most of them are designed in red or black.
  • Look at the primer, then check if it is cracked or damaged. If it’s crack, cracking is the reason for lack of work. 
  • If the primer is in good condition, press it 3 times. By doing this, you supply the carburetor with some fuel.  
  • You try starting the engine. If the engine works, you can end the method here. If not, go on with the below steps.

Step 3: Check the air cleaner

  • You can find the air cleaner on the side of the engine. Use your screwdriver to remove the side part of the lawnmower.
  • Check the level of the damage that your lawnmower is in. If it is too harsh, you should replace it.
  • When you remove the air cleaner, remember the position of the parts. If you forget where it goes, you will have some difficulty installing them. 

Step 4: Spray the fluid for your engine

If everything is OK, it’s time to use your starter fluid. This is straightforward:

  • Spray the starter fluid into your air cleaner. Spray straight into the hole of it. 
  • Just spray a single squirt. If you spray it too much, the air cleaner will clog. 
  • Then spray the fluid directly into the bore and the bowl of the carburetor.

Step 5: Start the engine

Try turning the lawnmower on by the following process:

  • Start your lawnmower as usual. Hold the pull cord by one hand, then pull it. Or you can use an electric starter instead. 
  • The engine will start after 3 to 5 times. Don’t be afraid if it does not start right away.
  • After trying 5 times, if the engine doesn’t start, repeat spraying the fluid into the carburetor. 
  • Then try starting the engine again.

Keen on doing the process, you can start your lawnmower without a prime.


Although there is nothing difficult in the method, you should have some preparation before starting the work. Let’s start with the steps if the following thing isn’t a problem for you:

  • It will take you about 5 to 20 minutes to prime the engine. Depending on your skills, it can be longer. If you feel that 5 minutes is too long, the method isn’t for you.
  • You should prepare the starting fluid in case the primer runs out of fuel. You can make the fluid with the machine fuel. You will use this liquid to spray into the primer when starting the engine.
  • Be careful when you spray the fluid. Just spray the fluid when the time comes. Because the fluid is thick, it can cause clogging. In this case, the primer won’t work because the airflow is restricted.

Final thoughts

How to prime a lawnmower without a primer is useful knowledge. With this method, you can be confused at first. However, with good attention, you can succeed then. Don’t hesitate to try the method because its effectiveness is proven.

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