Why Penn Foster?

  • Accredited
  • Self-Paced
  • Supportive
  • Low monthly payments

Program Overview

You can begin your career as a small engine mechanic in as little as four months. With Penn Foster you can train for a rewarding career at home and at a pace that’s right for you. Small Engine Repair training students even receive discounts on tools and supplies through the Snap-on Student Excellence Program.

You’ll learn how to troubleshoot and repair small gasoline engines with hands-on exercises and tools, as well as disassemble and rebuild all types of small engines, including two-stroke, four-stroke, outboard, and riding mower engines. Our accredited program provides everything you need to prepare for your future—including preparation for the Outdoor Power Equipment Association (OPE) national certification test—all for a cost significantly lower than that of other schools.

Curriculum Details

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal

The Small Engine Repair program provides students with a working knowledge of basic small engine repair to gain employment in the small engine repair field.

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Understand the role of a small engine technician and the career opportunities in the outdoor power equipment field
  • Describe the basic operation of small engines and identify the parts of a typical small engine
  • Discuss the theory and operation of the cooling, lubrication, and fuel of a typical small engine
  • Describe the theory and operation of the electrical systems of a small engine, including the operation of the ignition system
  • Describe how to disassemble, rebuild, and reassemble a typical two-stroke and four-stroke engine
  • Identify the types of drive trains found in outdoor power equipment and summarize how to service lawn and riding mowers as well as garden tractors
  • Identify the typical troubleshooting and repair procedures for the most common types of outdoor power equipment
  • Describe the ownership and management of an outdoor power equipment repair business

Unit 1

Starting Your Program

Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program.

Objectives:

  • Understand how to use your Student Portal, including your My Homepage and My Courses pages.
  • Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers.
  • Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.
Introduction to Small Engines

Learn about the expanding field of small-engine servicing.

Objectives:

  • Describe small engine uses in equipment for commercial, residential, and industrial applications.
  • Understand technical terms, tools, and safe work methods associated with small engines.
  • Identify career opportunities and the professional qualifications you’ll need to succeed.

Unit 2

Small Engine Parts and Operation

Learn about basic engine operation and components of two-stroke, four-stroke, and diesel engines. 

Objectives:

  • Describe how fuel is used to create energy to make an engine operate.
  • Visually identify the external components and internal components of a small engine.
  • Describe the operation of carburetors, ignition systems, and starting systems, and explain how a transmission can be used to increase the output horsepower and torque of an engine.
Practical Exercise 1

The purpose of this small engine practical exercise is to help you apply your knowledge of engine components and operation to some real-life examples. Answer questions related to hypothetical scenarios and photos of actual engines.

Unit 3

Small Engine Lubrication and Cooling Systems

In this course, you'll learn how lubricants reduce friction and help cool an engine.

Objectives:

  • Identify types of small-engine lubrication and cooling systems.
  • Properly service and maintain these systems.
Small Engine Ignition Systems

This course will provide detail about how an engine's ignition system operates.

Objectives:

  • Explain the difference between voltage, current, and resistance.
  • Describe how a spark plug operates.
  • Troubleshoot various ignition systems.
Practical Exercise 2

The purpose of this small engine practical exercise is to help you apply your knowledge of small engine lubrication, cooling, and ignition systems to some real-life examples. Answer questions related to hypothetical scenarios and photos of actual engines.

Unit 4

Practical Exercise 3

The purpose of this small engine practical exercise is to help you apply your knowledge of small engine electrical systems and fuel systems to some real-life examples. Answer questions related to hypothetical scenarios, photos of actual engines and parts, and electrical diagrams.

Small Engine Electrical Systems

In this lesson, you’ll learn about the types of electrical systems used on outdoor power equipment.

Objectives:

  • Understand how the starting, charging, and accessory electric systems operate.
  • Troubleshoot and repair electrical systems for small engines.
Small Engine Fuel Systems

In this course, you'll learn how the carburetor delivers air and fuel to the engine in the proper ratio and volume.

Objectives:

  • Identify different types of carburetors used by small engines.
  • Understand how a carburetor operates.
Additional Unit Materials

Learning Aids:

  • Carburetor
  • Screwdriver
  • Adjustable Wrench

Unit 5

Engine Disassembly

Engine disassembly is a process in which all the parts of an engine are removed from the engine block. 

Objectives:

  • Disassemble small gasoline engines.
  • List and describe the basic steps that can be used to disassemble any engine, including two-stroke and four-stroke engines.
Engine Rebuild, Part 1

Learn the procedure of rebuilding an engine.

Objectives:

  • Understand the process to inspect, measure, and recondition an engine’s “lower-end” components, which include the crankshaft and the cylinder.
  • Examine the measuring instruments and tools involved in typical rebuilds.
Engine Rebuild, Part 2

Continue your investigation of the engine rebuilding process by examining the procedures used to rebuild the “upper end” of the engine.

Objective:

  • Understand the procedure to inspect, measure, and recondition pistons, valves, and cylinder heads.
Engine Reassembly

Once properly reassembled, a rebuilt engine should perform as though it were new.

Objectives:

  • Reassemble engine components.
  • Understand general reassembly procedures.
  • Apply these procedures to four-stroke and two-stroke engines.
  • Competently troubleshoot small engine problems.
Practical Exercise 4

The purpose of this small engine practical exercise is to help you apply your knowledge of small engine electrical systems and fuel systems to some real-life examples. Answer questions related to hypothetical scenarios, photos of actual engines and parts, and electrical diagrams.

Unit 6

OPE Transmission Systems

The power train is designed to transfer power from the engine to the machine’s work point, which is the part of the machine that’s driven by the engine—the driving wheels, blades, tines, auger, and so on. 

Objectives:

  • Understand different types of drivetrains that are found in outdoor power equipment systems.
  • Explain the power flows through the system.
  • Systematically test, observe, evaluate, and repair transmission systems.
Servicing Lawn Mowers and Riding Mowers

Learn the basic operation of rotary lawn mowers and riding mowers.

Objectives:

  • Know and operate various components of rotary lawn mowers.
  • Apply routine maintenance procedures that are used to keep rotary lawn mowers in good running condition.
  • Troubleshoot problems in lawn mowers and riding mowers.
Servicing Garden Tractors

Riding mowers and garden tractors contain many of the same components.

Objective:

  • Understand the construction and operation of riding mowers and garden tractors.
  • Maintain and troubleshoot riding mowers and garden tractors.
Practical Exercise 5

The purpose of this small engine practical exercise is to help you apply your knowledge of lawn mower, riding mower, and garden tractor servicing to some real-life examples. Answer questions related to hypothetical scenarios, illustrations of actual machines and parts, and manufacturer's information.

Unit 7

Servicing Outdoor Power Equipment, Part 1

See how to keep gasoline and diesel engines—and the equipment they power—running smoothly.

Objectives:

  • Develop a schedule of preventative maintenance based on a machine’s hours of operation, the seasonal changes, and the performance record for that type of equipment.
  • Advocate preventive maintenance by informing customers of the cost benefits of periodic service.
Servicing Outdoor Power Equipment, Part 2

As a technician, you’ll need to constantly apply the information you learn in this unit to the machinery you want to repair.

Objectives:

  • Select the right nuts and bolts for a specific repair situation.
  • Describe the working components of a wide selection of outdoor power equipment.
  • Explain how to avoid many repairs through better care and service of equipment.
Practical Exercise 6

The purpose of this small engine practical exercise is to help you apply your knowledge of outdoor power equipment servicing to some real-life examples. Answer questions related to hypothetical scenarios and illustrations of actual machines and parts.

Unit 8

Outboard Engines

An outboard engine is a special type of small engine that’s used to drive a boat. If you live in an area where watersports and fishing are common recreational activities, you may be called on to repair outboard engines.

Objectives:

  • Understand the components of the outboard engine.
  • Describe the basic operation of outboard engines.
  • Troubleshoot, maintain, and repair outboard engines.
Your Small Engine Repair Business

If you’re interested in opening small engine repair businesses, this course provides information about how to get started.

Objectives:

  • Identify the steps necessary to start your own small engine repair business.
  • Efficiently manage a small engine business.
Practical Exercise 7

The purpose of this practical exercise is to help you apply your knowledge of outdoor power equipment servicing and business ownership to some real-life examples. Answer questions about provided business scenarios.

Graduation Gift

When you graduate, you'll receive

(Sent to you when all program requirements and financial obligations have been met.)

  • Four-Cycle Service and Repair Manual (Briggs and Stratton)
  • OPE Certification Exam Prep Book

Computer Specifications
You will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. You will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows XP® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running OS X® or later, and an email account to complete your program with Penn Foster.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Microsoft, Windows, and Windows XP are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
Apple, Mac, and OS X are trademarks of Apple, Inc registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.

Sample Lesson

To view a Small Engine Repair sample lesson, click here.

Certification and Snap-on Student Excellence Program

Outdoor Power Equipment Association (OPE) is a voluntary national certification test. The only way to become OPE-certified is to successfully complete their certification exam. This program contains the OPE Certification Exam Prep Book to help you pass the examination.

Snap-on Student Excellence Program

Students enrolled in the Small Engine Repair Program are eligible to participate in the Snap-on Student Excellence Program. This program allows students in trades and technology education programs to purchase high-quality Snap-on tools at a preferred student discount. Some restrictions may apply for total purchase and quantities of certain items. Click here to see the new Snap-on Catalog.

 

small engine mechanic training school

Small engine repair technicians maintain and repair a variety of small engines, ignition systems, and fuel systems. Penn Foster provides a small engine repair training program leading to a career diploma. Here are a few qualities that effective small engine repair technicians have in common:

  • Detail oriented: It’s important to have a sharp eye and check things twice.
  • Problem solver: Finding the missing piece can be rewarding and fun.
  • Persistent: You work until the job is done, and done well.
  • Honest: You are ethical in your work for customers.

Since I have taken the Small Engine Repair Program, I have received a pay increase. With Penn Foster, you work on your program on your own time and still can work full-time. It's a great way to get a better paying job or to start your own business.

Mark B., Small Engine Repair Graduate

After I received my Small Engine Repair diploma, I opened my own shop. After one month, my income average is $1,500.00 a week! If you have an interest in small engine repair for a job or just to save money, this is the way to go! Penn Foster gave me what I was looking for!

Sam D., Small Engine Repair Graduate

We make sure you have everything you need:

  • Customized payment plans with 0% interest
  • Books and learning aids, including a carburetor and tools
  • Snap-on Student Excellence Program offering up to a 50% discount on Snap-on products
  • Study Planner App to customize your study plans and keep track of your progress
  • Instructional support from our world-class faculty
  • Access 24/7 to Penn Foster’s online campus, plus immediate membership in the Small Engine Repair academic group
  • Your personalized online student homepage and learning portal
  • Additional resources such as our online library and career guidance from Career Cruising

What certifications are linked to the automotive and engine repair programs?

Students are able to sit for numerous certification examinations upon completion of automotive and engine repair programs. An overview of the certifications for each program can be found on the program specific pages. Students also receive preparation materials for the Outdoor Power Equipment Association (OPE) national certification test.

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