Briggs and Stratton Starter Gear Keeps Stripping (Solution)

Starter gear troubles have plagued many Briggs and Stratton mower owners over the years. I, myself, had to deal with stripped starter gears quite a few times over the years.

So, I took a deeper look into the problem and tried to figure out why my Briggs And Stratton starter gear keeps stripping and what I can do about it. 

Briggs And Stratton Starter Gear Keeps Stripping: Causes & Solutions

Briggs And Stratton starter gears can strip because of excessive force, wear and tear, improper alignment, poor lubrication, and in rare cases, manufacturing faults. Let’s discuss them in more detail below:

Cause 1: Wear And Tear

The constant interaction between the teeth of a starter gear and the flywheel can cause wear and tear over time.

The friction and force involved gradually wear down the gear teeth, which can eventually result in stripping.  That’s why older Briggs And Stratton units are more susceptible to starter gear stripping. 


Regular inspection is a must to avoid such a scenario. Take a close look at the gear’s condition and keep an eye out for signs of wear, like teeth that are worn down or chipped.

If you spot noticeable wear, I’d advise you to replace the starter gear briggs stratton before it becomes a major problem.

Cause 2: Lack Of Regular Maintenance

Neglecting maintenance can pose serious risks to the health and functionality of the Briggs and Stratton starter gear.

Many of us have been operating a Briggs And Stratton mower for years, but we never bothered to maintain them properly because they have been working fine. That could prove to be a costly mistake. 

As I mentioned above, the gear picks up wear and tear as you use the mower for years. If you don’t do any sort of maintenance, the damage will accelerate and is more likely to be irreparable.

It might also make it difficult for the gear to engage properly with the flywheel. As a result, the mower will not operate at full efficiency. 


I would strongly recommend sticking to the maintenance schedule recommended by Briggs And Stratton. It differs from model to model, so I would ask you to go through the user manual to know for sure how often you need to do it. A thorough check every six months should keep your starter gear as strong as ever. 

Cause 3: Misalignment Issue

In simple terms, a misalignment issue refers to a situation when the starter gear and the flywheel do not line up properly.

When this happens, the gear teeth and flywheel teeth fail to make a seamless connection. The uneven contact between these two surfaces damages the starter gear. 

That’s not where the troubles end, I’m afraid! Misalignment opens up a Pandora’s Box. The uneven contact between the flywheel and the starter gear hinders a smooth transition of power from the latter to the flywheel.

So, the performance drops beyond the peak efficiency level. Also, misalignment can cause starting issues. 


If you have replaced the stock starter gear with a new one, make sure to align and position it accurately based on the manufacturer’s instructions. Be attentive to any alignment markers or guides included as they can serve as helpful references.

That said, the flywheel and the starter gear might move out of alignment even if you don’t replace the original starter gear. 

It’s possible for the starter gear and the flywheel to move out of alignment as time goes by. This could happen because of normal wear and tear, but I would say it’d be a stronger possibility if the mower takes a heavy hit or drops to the ground abruptly. Loose or decayed mounting brackets and bolts could be responsible too. 

Unless there are damaged components involved, you can realign the starter gear and the flywheel. No need to replace the starter gear if you don’t find visible signs of damage.

Tighten up the connections and you are good to go. Regular maintenance, as I keep on saying, can be helpful in staying away from a host of starter gear problems, including misalignment. 

Cause 4: Inadequate Lubrication

Good lubrication is essential for reducing friction between moving parts. Without enough lubrication, the metal surfaces of the starter gear and other components can rub against each other, causing more friction. This extra friction can create too much heat and cause the gear teeth to wear down faster.

Moreover, the starter gear might get jammed without proper lubrication and get more prone to stripping.

If the starter gear doesn’t move freely, it will make it increasingly difficult for the mower engine to start. It’s because the flywheel and the starter gear struggle to make a proper connection. 


So, make sure to lubricate the starter engine and surrounding components regularly. Pay special attention to the gear teeth and any contact points that may be prone to sticking or binding.

Before lubricating, clean the components with a soft piece of cloth to get dust, debris, or any other residue out of the way. 

Cause 5: Overload

Know the limit of your machine. Don’t expect your mower to eat through the thickest group of grass, if your equipment is not designed for it. The extra stress on your lawn mower can make the starter gear strip. 


Pay close attention to the engine noise. If it’s being too loud and you are struggling to cut the grass, stop immediately. Take a look at the engine and other internal components if you are convinced that you are not overloading the mower. 

Cause 6: Manufacturing Defects

In some rare cases, the Briggs And Stratton mower might ship with faulty starter gear. If you have recently bought your mower, that should be your primary suspicion. 


If the mower manufacturing defects, you would be able to tell right away. Take it to your nearest dealer to claim a warranty. You might choose between free servicing or a new unit altogether.

Final Words

If your Bear And Stratton starter gear keeps stripping, I’m confident that going through this article should help you out.

I have stripped a fair share of mine, but when I did the research and addressed the underlying issues that led to frequent tears, the situation improved. After stripping three starter gears in seven months, the fourth one has lasted more than a year.

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