Can Lawn Mowers Explode? (How to Avoid Overheating & Fire)

Can Lawn Mowers Explode

Have you ever wondered if lawn mowers can explode? It’s a valid question, especially given how often we use these machines during the warmer months. If you combine the summer heat with a full gas tank, that definitely sounds like a recipe for disaster. Can your lawn mower actually explode, though?

It’s rare for a lawn mower to explode, but unfortunately, it can happen.  It often happens when it’s misused or not maintained properly. However, lawn mowers have been known to explode in the past due to faulty parts from the manufacturer. 

You can take steps to prevent common lawn mower fires and explosions from ever happening. In this article, we will cover what makes it possible for a mower to explode, what causes it to happen, and how to prevent it from happening. 

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Here’s a Quick Pro Tip!

To keep your lawn mower in good working condition, make sure to maintain your mower and replace any damaged or worn parts.

Also, keep safety equipment around in case something goes wrong. 

Here are the best common lawn mower replacement parts and safety equipment from Amazon:

1. Kidde Fire Extinguishers: Here are two fire extinguishers that are small enough to stow beneath kitchen sinks and in a small shed. Having two will make them more accessible when a fire occurs. 

2. Lithium Lawn Mower Battery: This battery is a rechargeable lithium battery that comes fully charged and is ready to install.  It doesn’t have acid or sulfate in it and doesn’t require water. So it is less likely to leak and create a fire. 

3. Parts Club Lawn Mower Deck Belt: A deck belt is a common replacement that’s needed on a mower. This belt is one of the most sturdy belts. It will fit most Craftsman, John Deere, and Aries mowers. 

Are Exploding Lawn Mowers Possible?

When you combine the summer heat with flammable fuel and electricity, there’s cause for concern when it comes to your lawn mower.

In this section, we will answer the question: is it possible for a lawn mower to explode?

Can a Gas Lawn Mower Explode?

A gas lawn mower can explode, but it is a rare occurrence. However, it happens often enough that you should take the proper precautions. A lawn mower explosion or a mower on fire has been the cause of huge forest fires and a multitude of house fires. 

To prevent a lawn mower explosion, store your mower and fuel in a ventilated space away from the house.

Additionally, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to maintain the mower, and use the mower. And try to avoid letting the grass get too high and becoming dry at the tips. 

Can a Lawn Mower Catch on Fire?

A lawn mower can catch on fire. The leading cause of gas-powered mower fires is the fuel either leaking into the motor or fuming around a hot muffler. Electric mowers can also catch fire due to a shortage in the circuit board or misuse of the mower.

Nearly all lawn mower manufacturers have had a mower on recall for faulty parts that lead to fires.

Cooling fans failed in a line of John Deer mowers which led to 83 fires, after which the mowers were recalled. 

Craftsman had a make of a mower that was recalled for the fuel connections being faulty and starting fires. 

Can a Lawn Mower Battery Explode?

Unfortunately, lawn mower batteries can explode. This generally occurs while the battery is being charged because this is when the battery produces potent hydrogen and oxygen gasses. If these gasses are near fuel or fuel exhaust, it can lead to an explosion. 

The best way to prevent this is to charge the lawn mower battery in a ventilated area and to keep the fuel parts stored away from the charging area.

It’s also suggested you have a nearby place to wash out your eyes and skin in the event you get battery acid on you. 

Can Lawn Mowers Overheat?

Lawn mowers can overheat. The engine can get up to 200 degrees, and the exhaust from the motor is 240 degrees. This means that if anything too flammable gets too close, it can catch fire. 

Because the engine is so hot, it’s best to always let the mower cool off before working on it. It’s also best to cut the grass when it’s cooler to prevent the mower from overheating.

And it’s good to keep the grass clippings cleaned out to prevent buildup that could overheat and catch fire. 

You might also enjoy our post on What to Do if Your Neighbor Keeps Cutting Your Grass

How Hot Does a Lawn Mower Exhaust Get?

Lawn mower exhaust can get up to 240 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of this the mower can overheat and catch fire in certain situations. If the exhaust is entering other hot areas of the motor then it can catch fire!

To prevent the mower from catching fire, be sure to clean out grass clipping often, so they don’t clog up the engine. Also, try to cut the grass in the cooler parts of the day if possible. 

Additionally, clean up the mower deck after each use so that grass will not build up underneath and catch fire. 

Why is My Lawn Mower Blowing Out White Smoke?

When a lawn mower blows out white smoke, it typically means oil is being burned. If your mower is new, the white smoke is the oil the manufacturer put on the motor. White smoke can be produced when oil spills due to turning the mower for maintenance. 

Blue smoke also has similar causes as white smoke. Blue smoke can also be caused by a dirty air filter, clogged breather tube, and seal leakage.

Basically, blue and white smoke happens when oil isn’t where oil needs to be.

Why Does my Lawn Mower Shoot Flames?

Your lawn mower might shoot flames if it’s being pushed to work while it’s already overheated. It might also shoot flames if it has too much fuel in the combustion chamber. If it shoots flames, shut the engine off right away and let it cool down. 

Another reason your lawn mower might shoot flames is if you cut grass that’s too tall. The grass can get stuck in the extremely hot muffler and start shooting flames.

Also, using old fuel can cause shooting flames. It’s best to change your fuel every month. 

What Could Cause My Lawn Mower to Explode?

Now that you know it’s possible for a lawn mower to explode, you probably want to know what could cause it.

In this section, we will go over how a lawn mower can explode and the most frequent causes.

How do you Know if your Lawnmower is Blown?

If your lawn mower is blown, it might still turn on, but the power will be very low. You might also notice an oil leak and there’s smoke coming from the exhaust. To further test it, turn off the engine, let it cool, and then change out the gas and oil. 

The cause of a faulty motor can simply be the gas is the wrong kind, or the gas has been sitting too long in the mower.

Ethanol gas is one type that doesn’t work well in a mower if left too long. If you used ethanol gas, be sure to add a fuel stabilizer. 

What Causes a Lawn Mower to Explode?

There are many causes of an exploding lawn mower. The most common are fuel leaks and spills, and overheating. Overheating is caused by pushing the mower past its capacity or being clogged with grass. 

It’s best to clean your blades of grass routinely with a hose or when the spark plug is disconnected.

Also, keep the lawn clear of any rocks because when rocks come in contact with the metal blades, they can spark and cause a fire that could lead to an explosion. 

Why Would a Lawn Mower Explode?

A lawn mower can explode if it overheats or is clogged with grass. Another cause is spilled fuel or fuel leak. It is best to be careful when pouring your gas or oil into your motor. If you do spill anything, clean it up before starting your mower. 

To reduce fuel spills, use a funnel or a gas can with a spout for pouring control. You should also clean out your mower deck and blades routinely to remove any grass.

You should do so either with a hose or with your protected hands after you detach the spark plug. 

What Causes a Lawn Mower to Overheat?

A lawn mower will overheat when it is used in extremely hot weather, when it is pushed past its capability, and when something clogs up the muffler. It can also overheat due to faulty equipment, like a faulty spark plug. 

To reduce the risk of overheating, here are three tips you should follow:

  1. Always mow the grass during the coolest part of the day during the warmest months
  2. Keep the deck and muffler clear of grass or debris
  3. Stop using your lawn mower when you notice it starts becoming sluggish. 

You might also enjoy our post on How Short You Should Cut Your Grass Before the Winter

Would Wet Grass Cause a Lawn Mower to Explode?

Wet grass tends to stick to lawn mowers more and will clog up lawn mower parts, like the muffler or blades. The muffler is the hottest part of a mower, and when wet grass dries, it will catch fire. 

When wet grass clogs up the blades, they don’t work as well, and so the mower won’t work as well and can overheat from working too hard to catch up to how it generally performs.

This will take more fuel and therefore produce more exhaust which is flammable. 

When is the Best Time to Mow the Grass?

It is best to mow the grass when it starts growing before it gets too tall. It’s also not good to mow wet grass or very dry grass. Also, to prevent overheating, mow the grass during the coolest parts of the day before it becomes very warm outside. 

Most of the time, grass needs to be cut once a week in the summer and spring months, but this is not the case for all areas or all types of grass.

However, do not wait too long to mow the grass because tall grass can clog up the mower quickly. 

What Causes a Lawn Mower to Backfire When You Turn it Off?

When you turn off your lawn mower and it backfires, that means your lawn mower is using more fuel than it used to. And it needs more fuel because it is not generating the same amount of power it used to have. 

Here is a list of causes for why this happens:

  1. Intake valve and/or exhaust valve are bent: When one or both of these are bent, exhaust fails to pass through as fuel burns, and the exhaust builds up until it backfires. 
  1. Too high or too low air to fuel ratio: This usually happens in older lawn mowers, but it’s when your engine is letting in too much air or too much fuel at one time. 
  1. Overheating: Your lawn mower naturally heats up when it’s powered, but if it heats up too much, it will start backfiring after a while. This can happen while you’re using your mower as well. 

What Causes a Lawn Mower to Backfire When Starting?

A lawn mower that backfires when it starts up can be caused by the same things that cause a mower to backfire when you turn the mower off or anytime during use. However, if it consistently only backfires when starting, it could be a faulty ignition timing. 

A faulty ignition timing is caused by a faulty ignition coil. It provides the spark plug with the electrical current.

If it messes up on the timing and the spark plug doesn’t spark at the right time, the engine will not run as well and then lead to backfiring. 

How to Prevent My Lawn Mower From Exploding.

It’s frighting knowing that it’s possible for your mower to explode or catch fire. So in this section, we show you how to prevent that from happening. Ease your mind and read on!

How Do I Protect My Lawn Mower From an Explosion?

To protect your lawn mower from an explosion, before starting your mower, be sure the deck is clear of spilled fuel and grass. Also, mow the grass in the cooler parts of hot weather days. This will help prevent overheating.  

Do not service your mower or clean the deck until you have disconnected the spark plug!

Another safety measure to prevent an explosion is to properly store your mower and its fuel in a ventilated area away from fire hazards or flammable substances.

What are Three Lawn Mower Safety Tips?

There are three main safety tips for protecting your lawn mower and for protecting you, your family, and the area around you. Lawn mowers have been the cause of many house fires, field fires, and forest fires.

It is believed that a clogged and overheated lawn mower muffler is what caused the 2015 Oregon wildfire.

Here are some safety tips to prevent this from happening to you:

  1. Store your lawn mower in a ventilated area where it will not get direct sunlight, and store it away from the house. 
  2. Before using your lawn mower, make sure the fuel is less than a month old and is stabilized.
  3. Before and during using your mower, be sure the deck, muffler, and blades are clear of any grass and are clean of any fuel that spilled. 

You might also enjoy our post on How to Get Dead Grass to Grow in Your Yard

How Do You Prevent Your Lawn Mower From Catching on Fire?

To prevent your lawn mower from catching fire, keep it from overheating. You can do this by mowing the grass when it’s not too hot and mowing sections at one time if you have a large field or yard. Additionally, clean and maintain your mower.

Store your mower in a ventilated space away from your house, like a shed. Additionally, to prevent fire, replace your blades every year rather than sharpening them too much.

If blades become too thin, they are more likely to spark when it hits a rock. 

Related Questions

Can I Sue if My Lawn Mower Exploded?

If your lawn mower exploded, you can sue the manufacturing company if the explosion was from a defect of the mower. However, if the fault was yours or an external event that caused the explosion, suing may not be possible. 

You can also sue the retailer the product was purchased from in some cases.

You are able to sue anyone who was involved with you purchasing a defective mower, especially if they were aware of the defect. 

Can I Fix My Lawn Mower if it Exploded?

You can fix a lawn mower if it explodes, depending on the damage. If the whole lawn mower caught fire and burned the majority of the parts, then it’s not worth trying to fix. However, if only the engine exploded, you can probably restore the mower. 

After an engine explodes, do not attempt to fix it right away. First, turn off the engine and then remove the fuel tank if possible to prevent a fire.

However, you should have a fire extinguisher on hand just in case. If you do not, sand, water, and baking soda are other safe alternatives.


Call 911 instead and keep anything flammable away from the motor.

Final Thoughts

I hope you have learned what to do in regards to the safety of your lawn mower and that we haven’t scared you too much.

It really is a rare occurrence that a lawn mower explodes or catches on fire, but it is worth following a few safety tips!

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