How to Repair an Electric Mower

A lawn mower cuts grass.
What You'll Need
Air compressor or leaf blower
Insulated work gloves
Wire cutter
Wire stripper
Heavy duty male and female 3-prong plugs
Screwdriver and wrenches
Electrical tape

Like anything else with moving parts, every now and again your electric mower is going to need some repair work done. An electric mower doesn’t necessarily break down in the same ways as a gas powered mower, and many repair shops don’t have the same expertise with electric mowers that they do gas mowers.

For those looking to troubleshoot and repair their electric mower, here are some tips on a few of the most common problems.

1. Overheating

Perhaps the most common problem with an electric mower is that cut grass and other debris gets caught in the air vents. When enough debris has clogged them up, air circulation to the engine is cut off and the mower overheats. If possible, remove the casing with the air vents to clean it. If it can’t be removed, use an air compressor to blow the debris out. You can also use a leaf blower for this.

2. Mower Won’t Start

This is typically caused by a faulty connection somewhere. If you're using an electric mower with a power cord, check that the cord is plugged in properly at both ends, and that the outlet carries enough power for that particular electric mower. Also check the circuit breaker to be sure the power is on.

If it still won't start, it may be a connection within the mower itself. Wearing insulated work gloves, and with the extension cord unplugged, start going over all of the electrical connections that you have access to. Make sure not only that everything is connected, but that there are no broken or frayed wires. For any connections that easily plug into each other, try removing and reinserting them several times. This may remove small amounts of corrosion and dirt that can cause a faulty connection. If noticeable corrosion is still found, it will have to be removed or the part will need replacing.

3. Mower Slows or Stops Mid-Cutting

If your mower stops in mid-cut all of a sudden, it may have too much grass built up on the underside of the deck. When this happens, the drag on the blade increases, and the motor attempts to compensate for it. Other signs include slowing of the blades with increased motor noise before shutting off. This will cause the mower to pop the breaker. Clean out your deck (after unplugging, of course), and reset the breaker.

Another common cause here is that vibrations from running the mower have caused connections to come loose. Unplug your mower and check all other connections. For some, it may be a good idea to secure them better with electrical tape.

4. Frayed or Broken Cord

If your mower comes with a cord permanently attached and it becomes frayed or broken, you don’t necessarily need to go through the trouble of replacing the whole thing. Use wire cutters to remove the damaged section. Strip about an inch off the end to reveal the black, white, and green wires. Get a male plug end and, using the wiring pattern that comes with it, wrap the three wires around the appropriate contacts (your green wire is always the ground wire). Repeat this with the other cut end using a female plug, or simply plug the remaining cord into an extension cord.

There are more extensive repairs that may be necessary, for which you’ll need new mower parts and possibly professional help.