Ask the Mechanic

Sensitive Choke

(Steve Thompson)

READER: Here it is winter again, and I am having a heck of a time starting my JD 175 garden tractor. I use it in the winter to blow snow, and I use it in the summer to blow grass. It has a problem of slow starting in the summer and an easy time not starting in the winter. The Kawasaki engine has been great, but I need some help with the slow-starting problem.

STEVE: I bet we can get you back to work, summer or winter. The Kawasaki engine with the carburetor like your tractor uses is very sensitive to the choke setting.

As the years go by, the cable (see photo above) will lose its setting on the choke and not completely choke the engine when starting. The engine needs an extra amount of fuel to start, and the choke is what makes this happen. If the choke is not completely closed when starting the engine, it will not start.

The choke "butterfly" has a small hole in it to keep the engine from choking too much, so the carburetor doesn't force too much gas in the engine. The linkage must be set to completely close the choke. Check the choke cable linkage, and I bet you can blow snow this winter.


-- Write Steve Thompson at Ask The Mechanic, 2204 Lakeshore Dr., Suite 415, Birmingham, AL 35209, or email


Past Issues