The Craftsman Mower You’re Using Is Melting Down (Troubleshoot)

The engine of any Craftsman mower, be it a push mower, riding mower, or zero-turn mower, can overheat. If you feel the engine growing too hot, you should stop operating the mower before any serious damage is done.

It’s possible for the engine of a Craftsman lawn mower to overheat if the oil level is too low, if you use the wrong kind of oil, if the air filter is clogged, if the cooling fins are blocked, or if the engine guard is missing.

Overheating can also occur if you run your Craftsman mower too rapidly for long, thick, or wet grass, or if the mower deck is clogged, the blades are dull, or the ground speed is too high.

Before working on your Craftsman, make sure the spark plug wires are disconnected. Wait for the engine to cool down and observe all of the other security measures outlined in the handbook.

Craftsman Lawn Mower

Before diagnosing, repairing, or operating the equipment, be sure you’ve read and understood all of the safety recommendations in the operator’s handbook. If you don’t feel confident in your ability to conduct the repair safely due to a lack of experience, training, or health, it’s best to call in an expert.

Why Is Your Craftsman Lawn Mower Heating Up?

1. Putting the Wrong Oil Type in Your Craftsman Lawnmower

On a Craftsman mower, the engine oil has two purposes: it lubricates the engine so moving components don’t get stuck and it stops the engine from overheating.

Different oils are needed for air-cooled and liquid-cooled tiny engines because of the design of the engines.

Craftsman riding mowers, lawn tractors, and zero-turn mowers all employ gas-powered little engines, and those engines require zinc-rich engine oil for their air-cooling systems. It’s common practice to utilize zinc as a refrigerant ingredient.

Because water in liquid form is required to cool the engine, standard motor oil, such as that used in a car, does not contain much zinc.

See the table below for details on the optimum oil to use at various temperatures. Oil recommendations may be found in your user handbook or on this handy table.

Use SAE30 or 10W-30 engine oil in your Craftsman mower’s engine, as recommended by most manufacturers of small engines.

However, you may need to switch to 20W-50 oil while running in warmer temperatures and 5W-30 oil when running in cooler temps.

SOLUTION: Drain the incorrect engine oil and replace it with the right air-cooled engine oil.

Kawasaki Engine Oil Viscosity & Temperature Chart
Kawasaki Engine Oil Viscosity & Temperature Chart

2. Craftsman Lawnmower With Low Engine Oil

The engine’s interior moving parts need to be properly lubricated to function properly. Low oil levels cause the engine to overheat due to increased friction.

Constantly using an engine with an insufficient amount of oil causes the oil to thicken. As a result, the engine may suffer serious damage.

Be sure to check the mower’s oil level before each use. If you discover that the oil level is low, add some.

Keep an eye out for the following if your Craftsman mower is often needing oil:

  • Oil Leak – Examine the engine area for symptoms of an engine oil leak. Once you’ve identified the source of the leak, replace the gaskets that are allowing the oil to escape.
  • You should also examine your filter if your mower has one. Check that your oil filter is correctly sealed.
  • Oil Burning – Look for a clogged air filter. A clogged air filter causes oil to burn from the engine, increasing the engine’s workload. You can clean the air filter or replace it if it is really dusty and cannot be cleaned.
  • Using Oil – An engine may utilize oil owing to overheating while in operation. It might potentially indicate a valve or ring issue. You must bring your mower to a repair shop for an engine diagnosis.

SOLUTION: Check the engine oil level and top it off if it’s low. If this is the source of your engine’s hot scent, perform a full oil change to verify you’re running excellent, clean oil. Oil that has been heated may have thickened.

Running your Craftsman with little engine oil may have caused substantial damage if you continue to have troubles after doing an oil change.

Repair your lawn mower at a Craftsman maintenance dealer or a small engine dealer. Additional tests will be required by the technician to establish the degree of the damage.

3. A Craftsman Lawnmower has broken or Clogged Engine Cooling Fins

Forced air from the engine cooling fins is what keeps the cylinder head and engine block cold.

  • There is a fan on the very top of the engine. It draws in cold air from outside and directs it downward into the engine
  • Heated air is evacuated from the bottom of the engine after being routed through all of its hot components.

Failure to flow enough air around the engine might occur if the cooling fins get clogged with dirt or are broken. The engine may overheat as a result of this.

SOLUTION: Take the engine cover off and clean the cooling fins. You need to repair any broken fins you locate. Clean the area surrounding the engine and the lid.

Make doing this every year a part of your routine upkeep.

As dirt and water are pushed into the engine area while washing your Craftsman’s engine, the situation will only become worse. Avoid making a bad situation worse by spraying water into the engine when cleaning your lawn mower.

4. Craftsman Lawnmower Missing Engine Guard

The engine shield is essential for preventing overheating by allowing cold air to circulate around the engine. When the watchman isn’t there, the neighborhood loses its calm atmosphere.

SOLUTIONS: Make sure the engine guard is in its proper location. Assuming the guard isn’t properly fastened, the mounting screws should be tightened or replaced. Restore the original guard if it has been broken or lost.

5. Craftsman Lawnmower with Clogged Air Filter

With a properly functioning air filter, you can avoid having dirt and debris wear down your engine.

If the filter isn’t regularly inspected, cleaned, and maintained, it can get so clogged with dirt and debris that the engine is deprived of oxygen.

The Craftsman engine may overheat if it has to work harder to dissipate the excess heat.

SOLUTION: I’ve included cleaning instructions for a number of typical Craftsman air filters. There are many different types of filters used in Craftsman mowers, so if you need to know how to clean the air filter on your mower or what kind of filter it is, you should go to the handbook that came with your mower.

How to change the paper air filter in a Craftsman mower:

  • Take off the filter from its housing.
  • Remove any lingering grime from the housing by wiping it down. Don’t let any grime get into the machine’s air filter.
  • The filter can be tapped against a hard surface. It is your goal to loosen and dislodge as much dirt from the filter as possible.
  • Be sure that light can still pass through the paper element of your air filter by holding it up to a light. You should reuse the air filter if at all possible. If you can’t fix it, then it’s time to replace it.
  • Put back the air filter and cover the housing.

How to clean a Craftsman lawnmower’s FOAM air filter:

  • Take off the filter from its housing.
  • Get rid of any grime in the filter housing by wiping it down. Make sure the air intake stays clean.
  • Verify the filter. When a filter develops black patches, rips, or becomes dry and brittle, it must be replaced. If it looks like it’s in decent shape, go ahead and clean it.
  • Use water and a little bit of mild dish soap to clean your foam filter. Get the soap out of the filter by giving it a good rinse.
  • Just lay it flat and let it dry. If you put your filter somewhere sunny, it will dry more quickly.
  • Apply foam air filter oil once the filter has dried thoroughly. You want it oiled well, but not so much that oil is leaking off the surface. If you get too much oil on the filter, you may either wring it off or soak up the excess oil with a paper towel.
  • Put back the air filter and cover the housing.

Don’t skimp on maintenance by letting the air filter deteriorate prematurely. Despite my frugal nature, I often shell out cash for necessary upkeep goods.

If debris gets into the engine, I’ll have to spend a lot more money fixing or replacing it than I would on an air filter.

6. Craftsman Lawnmower with a Clogged Deck

Under the mower deck, grass trimmings, dirt, and other debris will accumulate. This necessitates frequent scraping of the Craftsman deck to maintain its cleanliness.

For a clean shave, the space under the deck is redirected to generate wind. The blades, baffles, and cutting deck of the mower are all engineered to work together to create a powerful vacuum that lifts the grass and cuts it cleanly and evenly.

The engine has to work harder to spin the blades through the debris, which negatively impacts your cut quality.

SOLUTION: Use a deck scraper to clean the mower deck. You may also use a putty knife or wire brush.

Keep the mower deck clean by inspecting it frequently.

Although there are coatings available for the underside of the mower deck, which can assist diminish accumulation, they are not standard. They won’t work like a miracle and you’ll still get some buildup, though.

Check out DuPont’s spray if you’re in the market for a mower deck treatment.

If you want to prevent clumping and accumulation under the deck, don’t mow while the grass is damp and always mow at full power.

7. Craftsman Mower with Dull Blades

Having dull mower blades just makes the issue of a clogged mower deck worse.

The engine will have to work harder, and it may overheat as a result, if the blades have to be turned through trash under the deck when they are dull.

SOLUTION: Mower blades should be maintained and sharpened on a regular basis. Mower blades need to be sharpened around every 25 hours or twice each season for the average household.

For guidance on balancing and honing your Craftsman mower’s blades, see the dedicated guide, Change & Sharpen Your Craftsman Mower Blades.

8. Abuse of the Craftsman Power Tool

Your Craftsman mower will work better if you take the time to assess the conditions in which you will be using it.

Grass that is too long, too thick, or too damp to cut can place a strain on the engine. It might overheat if you do this.

SOLUTION: Use a slower ground speed while cutting long, thick, or damp grass. You may lighten the burden on the engine and get a good shave by following these instructions:

  • Don’t mow the grass while it’s damp.
  • In extreme cases, you may need to double or even treble cut the long grass. An integral part of this procedure is elevating the mower deck to its maximum possible position. Create the initial slash. The next step is to make another cut when the deck is somewhat lower.
  • Mow the lawn quickly using the mower’s engine on high gear.
  • When mowing lengthy, thick, or damp grass, slow the mower’s forward momentum.

Cool Down Your Craftsman Mower After Mowing The Lawn

The engine of a Craftsman lawn mower has to cool down after use before it can be put away.

Mowers from Craftsman are designed to be used outside. In order to access the engine on a Craftsman riding mower, you must first raise the hood.

Maintain a little load on the mower as it operates. Your engine’s natural cooling system will start working to bring the temperature down.

Check read our post Lawn Mower Engine Cooling Times Explained to learn more about engine cooling and the elements that effect it.

Is Your Craftsman Lawnmower Still Giving You Trouble?

To have a mower that is completely reliable would be fantastic. To my knowledge, however, they do not exist. If you keep a lawn mower for a significant amount of time, you will inevitably have issues.

Most frequently seen are issues with starting, smoking, dying, vibrating, and slicing.

I’ve compiled this helpful checklist of potential problems and their solutions for your Craftsman. This tutorial is available at Common Craftsman Lawn Mower Problems & Solutions.

Repairing your Craftsman lawnmower yourself might be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.

You’ll save yourself from harm and the lawnmower from further destruction by doing this. If you’re having trouble with your lawn mower, take it to a Craftsman dealer or a lawn mower repair business in your area.