When it comes to small engine repair, most people are more than willing to trust the mechanic. Small gas engines seem complicated and mistakes can be costly. While it is always a good idea to trust a mechanic when you think the job is more than you can handle, there is no shame in tackling some engine repair on your own. Here are some common repairs that you can handle on your own, provided you have a decent level of DIY smarts.

First, you need to get over the fear factor. Understand that it is very difficult to completely ruin a small gas engines. Yes, it can happen, but most of the time any mistakes you make can be fixed. That should help you feel calmer.

Also, make friends with your computer. The Internet is an invaluable resource for information about fixing cars. You can find detailed instructions, with videos or step-by-step images, to help you with your small gas engine repair. Often, seeing how it is done is the first step in doing it yourself. These guides will also help you decide if this is truly something you can do on your own, or if you need professional help.

Before you begin fixing anything, you will want to have the right tools. Most of the time you will need an adjustable wrench, a variety of screwdrivers, a jack, a torque wrench, a socket and ratchet set, and pliers. If you are missing any of these tools, then you will want to pick them up before you begin. As you shop for tools, make sure they have a good grip, so look for ones with heavy, solid handles.

So, what jobs can you tackle on your own? One is replacing a broken belt. Broken not hard to replace. When inspecting your lawn mower or other small gas engine, always check the belts for signs of weir, such as cracks or looseness. Replace them when you need to. If they are loose, you might be able to get away with tightening them using a tensioner pulley rather than replacing them.
The battery is another common type of lawn equipment repair that you can, realistically, do on your own. Before replacing a battery, make sure the car does not need to be jumped. If jumping does not work, purchase a multimeter to test the battery. Or have it tested at your local auto parts store. They usually will do this for free.

Finally, while not technically engine repair, you can handle many maintenance tasks on your own. Replacing filters, spark plugs, and old oil is not hard once you learn how, and you can save a significant chunk of change doing these on your own. For other jobs, consider hiring a professional, but for these simple tasks, you can try to DIY.

Not all of us can afford a brand new 2016 ATV with all the bells and whistles.

As with motorcycles or any vehicle for recreation we sometimes have to start out with buying an older model. There’s nothing wrong with purchasing a bike or ATV.

If you are going to buy used, you should know what to look for, especially with an ATV where you know that there is a chance the previous owner might have given the ATV some serious abuse on the trails.

Before you begin to cruise the adds you have a couple of decisions to make.

  • Who is the ATV for?
  • An ATV for an young adult is made differently than one made for an adult.
  • Do you want the ATV for purely recreational purposes or use on the farm?
  • Do you want to ride off-road for leasure, race or just enjoy some leisurely off-roading with your family?
  • Do you want to use the ATV as a utility vehicle?

Where is the best place to start if you have never purchased an ATV before?

  • Check with your local dealer first.
  • You may not be able to afford one off the showroom floor, but you can still go look and pick the dealer’s brain for information.
  • At the dealership you can ‘test’ the different classes of ATVs. Sit on a few to see how they fit, each ATV will be different and you might find that some are more comfortable than others.
  • Even though you are trying newer models, there really won’t be too much of a difference between them and the older versions.

After getting all the information you can, you will have some idea of what make and model you will be looking for.

Classified ads and specialized classified magazines,  And of course the number one source for finding used vehicles is the internet. Places like eBay and Craigslist  will no doubt have a lot to offer.

The problem with that is, unless the seller is in your area, you have a long way to travel to see the ATV up close.

Ok you find the ATV you want to purchase.

  • Definitely go to check it out personally.
  • When you look at the ATV for the first time.
  • Take note of the condition of the fenders, plastic and other parts.
  • The overall appearance of the ATV will give you a good idea as to how hard the previous owner took care of his vehicle.

You should lift the front end of the ATV up to inspect the under side.

  • Closely inspect the frame for any damage.
  • Make sure there are no cracks or dents in the frame.
  • Note check for rust and cracks.
  • Check the handlebars are they loose or have any play.
  • Check each wheel. Are the bearing loose? This is a good indication of worn or bad wheel bearings.
  • Check for damaged ball joints.
  • Check the oil. Is it dark in color or dose it smelt burnt?
  • Check the air filter box and air filter.
  • Talk with the owner ask if they have any records regarding oil changes and maintenance.
  • Ask the owners if they have the owner’s manual.
  • Take the ATV for a test drive. How does it feel and sound?

Most states require a bill of sale with the VIN (vehicle identification number) on it. Whether your state requires a bill of sale or not, it is always a good idea to have one to protect both you and the former owner incase a dispute crops up. Be aware that in most cases you are buying the ATV “as is”, which means the previous owner is not responsible for any problems you might find with the vehicle after you have purchased it and brought it home.

Should you replace or repair my small gas engine carburetor?

This question is becoming more and more common. And the answer may surprise you. With the cost of labor on the rise and the cost of OME parts “in some cases” going down, often the answer is buy new.

Lets start with some common Carburetors.

Now lets look at some repair kits.

When you consider the fact that you can spend all that time and money rebuilding a carburetor and still have problems. I am more and more often recommending installing a new unit.

Labor cost.

With the cost of labor in a repair shop running from $45 to $65 an hour “and sometimes more”. You can see where replacement can cost you less then repair.

So the short answer is compare cost and shop around.

Readying Your Tiller for use.

    • Before you do any repairs, inspect or even clean your tiller you should make sure that the sparkplug wire is disconnected form the engine. This will prevent unexpected starting of the engine.
    • You should start by emptying the fuel tank and filling it with clean fuel. It is a good idea to empty the fuel in the fall when you are finished using your tiller. Also you should always shut the fuel off and run the engine until it stops. This will help prevent build of fuel deposits that could cause problems.
    • I suggest changing the oil at least every other year. Check the oil level and fill as directed in your owners manual.
    • Check all the screws and bolts.
    • Some Tillers have gear drives. If yours is one of these check the drive unit and fill as needed.
    • Some tillers have air filled tires. You should check the tire pressure to make sure that it is to manufactures recommended pressure.
    • Check all the safety guards and covers. Make sure they are secure and in place.
    • Check and clean the air filter, or replace it needed.
    • Check the tines for wear and anything that might have gotten raped around them. Make sure the bolts or pins that hold them in place are sucure.
    • Remove the spark plug. Check the spark plug gap or replace as needed. Check the spark plug gap. Replace the spark plug if necessary.
    • A thin coating of grease on the tines after they are cleaned will help reduce rust and help keep dirt from sticking to them.
    • Use a light weight oil to oil any adjustment screws and control cables.

Did you know there are direct replacements for your Honda power equipment that can cost considerably less?  We have sourced many different ways to save you money and you can even order direct.  Take a look below.

Here are the things to consider if your replacing your small gas engine in your Honda lawn mower Engine.

What size is my Honda Small Gas Engine?

Horse Power to CC conversion

In most applications it is acceptable to go 2 hp larger. But you must consider, will it fit in the space where the old engine was with out modification.

What brand is my small engine?

It is important to know that in most cases the brand of the engine is not important. A Briggs & Stratton, Kohler or Honda small gas engines are pretty much the same. The question will be do you want to stay with original equipment or not?

Is it Horizontal or Vertical shaft?

small gas engine orentation

What direction does the output shaft turn in my small engine?

Not all engines output shaft turn the same direction. You can check by pulling the pull start and checking which way it is turning. Or by turning the engine over with the electric start. When buying a replacement small gas engine, usually the this information is listed in the specks.

Note: engine rotation is as seen from behind the flywheel or in most cases looking at the output shaft.

small gas engine rotation


Is my small Honda engine pull or electric start?

Even if you have a electric start engine most often you can replace it with a pull start engine. But going from a pull start small gas engine to and electric start will require modifications. Several of the newer replacement small gas engines come with the complete electric conversion already done and all you have to do is find a place for the battery.

Choosing Replacement Small Engines for my Honda Lawnmower.

Again changing brands these days is less complicated then it use to be. But it is important to check the specks. Most small engines universal bolt patterns. But you should check.

What size is the output shaft on my small engine?

It is important to check your output shaft most shaft are 1/2, 3/4 or 1 inch. And they can very even on the same horse power engine. So check!

Do I need an small replacement engine that will take a Jack Shaft?

Some lawn tractors have shafts coming out both sides of the engine. The shaft connected to the flywheel side of the engine is often called a Jack Shaft.

On most electric start engines can you can remove the protective screen on the front of the engine and attach a Jack Shaft. But is better safe then sorry. So check!

On pull start small gas engines it is a different story, Because the pull starter may be in the way. So make sure the pull starter is setup for a Jack Shaft system.

What Horse Power is your small gas engine?

The easy answer is – approximately 15 to 17 cubic centimeters of displacement for every unit of horsepower.

So 1 HP = 16cc Approximately.

So if you have a 16hp engine that would be 16hp X 16cc = 256cc

Or if you have a 256cc engine that would be 256cc / 16cc = 16hp

Counting your Horses on your small gas engine

  • Horsepower is a measure of the amount of work that an engine can perform and takes into account how efficiently engines do that work. The term horsepower comes from James Watt, who estimated that 33,000 foot-pounds of work could be performed by the average horse in one minute. In other words, if a horse pulled a load of 3,000 pounds, it could go 11 feet every minute. Every unit of horsepower that an engine has represents 33,000 foot-pounds of work. An engine with 500 horsepower could perform the work of 500 horses, which would equal 16,500,000 foot-pounds of work.

Cubic Centimeters or CC  for small Gas engines.

  • Cubic centimeters is a measure of volume that is used to describe the total volume of air/fuel mixture that the pistons in the engine displace. Engines that have the capability of displacing a higher volume of air and fuel have more power. Lower powered vehicles displace between 1,000 and 2,000 cubic centimeters, whereas higher powered vehicles displace between 7,500 and 8,200 cubic centimeters.

Carburetors can cause all kinds of small engine problems.

Small gas engines are not difficult to repair.

  • I always like clean the equipment before I start work. This is very important when rebuilding a carburetor.
  • There are lots of small ports and openings in a carburetor where dirt can get in and clog up the fuel flow.
  • Work in a clean area for the same reason.
  • Have a clean container to put the small parts in “including screws”. This helps when you try to reassemble and helps keep you from losing parts.
  • Good lighting is a must. Parts are small, so good lighting is important.

Here is a great video to rebuild your Briggs and Stratton Carburetor.


Cleaning a small gas engine carburetor

Other videos you may like on how to clean a small engine carburetor on a 11HP Briggs and Stratton small gas engine.