Toro TimeMaster Won’t Start(10 Proven Hacks to Kickstart)

Have you ever been excited to mow your lawn with your trusty Toro TimeMaster, only to find that it won’t start? Don’t worry; you’re not alone.

Lawn mower starting issues can be frustrating, but they are not uncommon.

In this post, we’ll walk you through a step-by-step troubleshooting guide to help you get your Toro TimeMaster up and running again.

Let’s jump in.

Toro TimeMaster Won’t Start

1. Check the Fuel level.

Sometimes the simplest solutions are the most effective. Ensure that your lawnmower has enough fuel to operate. If the fuel level is low, fill the tank and try starting the mower again.

2. Inspect the Spark plug.

The spark plug plays a crucial role in igniting the fuel mixture. Over time, spark plugs can become fouled or worn out. Remove the spark plug, clean it, and check the electrode gap. If it’s out of specification, replace the spark plug.

3. Examine the Air filter.

A clogged air filter can restrict airflow to the engine, causing starting issues. Remove the air filter and inspect it. If it’s dirty, clean it or replace it.

4. Review the Oil level.

Insufficient oil levels can lead to engine problems. Check the oil level using the dipstick. If it’s low, add the recommended oil to the appropriate level.

5. Look at the carburetor.

The carburetor mixes fuel and air for combustion. If it’s clogged or damaged, the engine won’t start. Clean the carburetor and its components to ensure proper fuel flow.

6. Inspect the Ignition system.

A faulty ignition system can prevent your lawnmower from starting. Check the ignition coil, magneto, and spark plug wire for any damage. Replace any components that are not functioning properly.

7. Check the Safety features.

Toro TimeMaster mowers are equipped with safety features such as a blade engagement lever and a safety key. Ensure that these features are engaged properly, as the mower won’t start if they’re not engaged.

Read Toro TimeCutter Valve Adjustment(In 5 Quick Steps)

8. Clean or Replace the Fuel filter.

A clogged fuel filter can hinder fuel flow to the engine. Clean the fuel filter and check for any blockages. If it’s severely clogged, replace the filter.

9. Examine the Starter cord.

The starter cord can wear out over time. If it’s frayed or damaged, it won’t effectively start the engine. Replace the starter cord if necessary.

10. Inspect the Flywheel key.

The flywheel key aligns the flywheel and the crankshaft. If it’s sheared, the engine’s timing can be off, leading to starting issues. Replace the flywheel key if it is damaged.

11. Review the Blade Engagement Lever

If the blade engagement lever is engaged, the engine might not start. Disengage the lever and try starting the mower again.

12. Check the Wiring

Inspect the wiring for any visible damage or loose connections. Damaged wiring can prevent the electrical components from functioning properly.

13. Review the User manual.

When all else fails, refer to the user manual for troubleshooting tips specific to your Toro TimeMaster model. It might provide insights into issues you haven’t considered.

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What causes a Toro lawn mower to not start?

Fuel Issues

If the fuel in the tank is old or contaminated, the mower might not start. Make sure to use fresh, clean gasoline.

Spark Plug Problems

A faulty spark plug can prevent proper ignition. Check the spark plug for fouling, damage, or wear, and replace it if necessary.

Air Filter Clogs

A dirty or clogged air filter can restrict airflow and cause starting issues. Regularly clean or replace the air filter as recommended by the manufacturer.

Carburetor Blockage

A clogged carburetor can impede fuel flow to the engine. Cleaning or rebuilding the carburetor might be necessary.

Ignition System Faults

Issues with the ignition coil, magneto, or other ignition components can prevent the engine from starting. Check these components for proper functioning.

Safety Interlocks 

Some mowers have safety features like seat switches or blade engagement interlocks. If these safety features aren’t engaged properly, the mower might not start.

Stale Fuel 

If the mower has been sitting unused for a long time, the fuel might have degraded, leading to starting problems.

Compression Issues

Low compression due to engine wear or damage can make starting difficult. This would require a professional inspection and possibly engine repair.

Read How to Start a Toro Lawn Mower without Primer(step by Step)

Why is my lawn mower cranking but not starting?

If your lawn mower’s engine is cranking (turning over) but not starting, it indicates that the starting system is working but the engine isn’t igniting and running. Potential reasons include:

  • Fuel Supply Problems: The fuel might not be reaching the combustion chamber due to clogs, blockages, or fuel line issues.
  • Ignition System Issues: Faulty spark plugs, ignition coils, or other ignition components can lead to insufficient spark for combustion.
  • Airflow Restrictions: A clogged air filter or intake can limit the amount of air entering the engine, affecting combustion.
  • Fouled Carburetor: A dirty or malfunctioning carburetor can prevent proper fuel mixing and combustion.
  • Stale Fuel: Old or degraded fuel can cause starting issues. Try using fresh fuel or fuel stabilizer.
  • Ignition Timing: Incorrect ignition timing can prevent proper combustion. This might require adjustment by a professional.
  • Safety Interlocks: Ensure that all safety switches and interlocks are engaged properly.
  • Engine Compression: Low compression due to engine wear or damage can prevent combustion.

Read How to Charge Toro Electric Start Mower(In 5 Steps)

How do you start a Toro Timemaster pull-start?

To start a Toro Timemaster with a pull start, follow these steps:

  • Preparation: Ensure the mower is on a flat surface and the cutting blades are disengaged.
  • Fuel: Check that there is enough fresh gasoline in the fuel tank.
  • Choke: If your mower has a choke lever, set it to the “Choke” position.
  • Primer Bulb: If your mower has a primer bulb, press it 3-5 times to draw fuel into the carburetor.
  • Engine Speed Lever: Set the engine speed lever to the desired setting. This might be a throttle lever or a speed control lever.
  • Pull Start: Stand behind the mower, firmly grip the pull cord handle, and give it a quick, smooth pull. If the engine doesn’t start on the first pull, give it a couple more pulls while maintaining a firm grip.
  • Choke Adjustment: As the engine warms up and runs smoothly, gradually move the choke lever from the Choke position to the “Run” position.
  • Engage Blades: If you intend to start mowing, engage the cutting blades according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Read Timemaster Vs Turfmaster(A Detailed Comparison)

Final Remarks

In most cases, troubleshooting and fixing your Toro TimeMaster lawnmower’s starting issues can be a straightforward process.

By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can save time and money by diagnosing and resolving the problem on your own.


Why is Toro TimeMaster’s starter cord difficult to pull?

A jammed blade or engine components can make the starter cord hard to pull. Inspect for obstructions and clear them if necessary.

Can old fuel cause starting problems?

Yes, stale fuel can lead to starting issues. Use fresh, clean fuel for optimal performance.

How often should I clean the air filter?

Cleaning or replacing the air filter once a season, or more often in dusty conditions, is recommended.

Is there a way to test the ignition coil?

Yes, you can use an ignition coil tester to check the coil’s resistance. Refer to the user manual for specifications.

What should I do if none of the troubleshooting steps work?

If you’ve exhausted all troubleshooting options, it might be best to consult a professional for further assistance.

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George Bill
George Bill

George Bill is a Mechanical Engineer by Profession and an avid gardener and has been mowing his lawn for over 20 years. He has used a variety of different mowers during this time.
George is an expert at maintaining his mowers and over the years, he has learned many tricks and techniques for getting the best results from his mowers and is always happy to share his knowledge on this site.