How To Fix a Lawnmower’s Pull Cord, step by step


If you are a garden enthusiast, a lawnmower is a perfect companion to help you keep your lawn in perfect condition. But since it is a mechanical device, you can face several problems. The tearing or breaking of the pull cord is one of the more common ones. A pull cord acts as it is the starter of a lawnmower. Without one, you won’t be able to start it. Even though it might seem like a big problem, it mostly isn’t. Even in the worst-case, the recoil spring is broken, you can fix it quite quickly. If you don’t know how to replace the pull cord on a lawnmower, this blog post will teach you with the help of a step-by-step procedure. And after this, changing a pull cord will be an easy task for you.

How to fix a Lawnmower’s pull cord, step by step:

  • Step 1: Gather the necessary tools
  • Step 2: Prepare the Lawnmower
  • Step 3: Disconnect the spark plug cable
  • Step 4: Remove the rewind housing with the help of a screwdriver
  • Step 5: Remove the damaged cord from the pulley
  • Step 6: Rotate the pully till the new string settles down and the pulley’s pellets are at the same place
  • Step 7: Attach the new pull cord in its place extremely carefully. Knot it at its location and heat it with a lighter.
  • Step 8: Cut off the extra length of the pull cord after it has been installed.
  • Step 9: Reinstall the recoil housing back in its place
  • Step 10: Reconnect the spark plug
  • Step 11: Test the newly installed pull cord by starting the lawnmower

How Does a Pull Cord Work?

When you pull your lawnmower’s cord, it spins a hub connected to the crankshaft. As the crankshaft spins, an electro-magnetic connection starts the spark plug while the carburetor pushes the gas into the combustion chamber. Once the gas starts burning, the engine starts operating, and the lawnmower’s blades start turning. The area around which the cord is wound is connected to the motor by a recoil spring that automatically rewinds the thread every time after pulling it. When everything is adjusted correctly, there shouldn’t be any limp in the cord.

But if the pull cord is damaged, you won’t be able to start your lawnmower.

How to Fix a Lawn Mower’s Pull Cord:

In a lot of cases fixing the lawnmower pull cord means replacing it. This is the case when the cord is broken or when the recoil spring is damaged, and it does not return properly to the housing. If the pull cord is damaged, it is probably also a good idea to replace it. The step-by-step procedure will help with this. It is also possible that the pull cord is stuck. In that case, there is probably no need to replace it. You can follow the first five steps to reach the pull cord. Then untangle it, check it, and reattach all parts.

Before you start disassembling the various parts, it is good to know what is inside a lawnmower’s pull cord housing. The pull cord housing’s major components are a handle, a pulley, a starter pull rope, and a recoil spring.

Now let us get into more detail.

● Step 1: Gather the Necessary Tools

You will need a screwdriver, lighter, needle-nose pliers, a wrench, a new pull rope of exact thickness, and protective gear like safety gloves and safety goggles.  

● Step 2: Prepare the Lawnmower

Place the lawnmower in a well-lit environment, preferable on an even flat surface. If you have a slopy driveway, get some wooden wedges and place them under the mower’s wheels. Placing the wedges will stop the lawnmower from moving. Also, enable the parking brake.

● Step 3: Disconnect the spark plug cable

Disconnect the spark plug cable. This ensures that no unintentional starting of the engine can occur when you are working on or close to moving part of a lawnmower.

● Step 4: Remove the Rewind Housing

Find the lawn mower’s rewind housing. Remove engine parts to gain access to the recoil starter housing. Remove the screws of the housing with the help of a screwdriver. Lift the housing off. The starter pulley and the remains of the old pull rope should come with it.

● Step 5: Remove Old Broken Pull Cord

To open the rewind housing, lightly hit the casing. Find the edge of the broken rope and hold the edge tight and pull out. The region from which the broken rope is pulled will be used to insert the new cord. You can find pull cords at any hardware store or buy them online.

● Step 6: Install the New Pull Cord

Take the new pull cord. Place a knot on one end of the pull cord and enter the new cable in the same place as the old cord. Slowly rotate it in the right direction around the pulley and fasten the cord. Keep turning the pulley until you start to feel some resistance.

● Step 7: Wind The Starter pulley

Wind the starter pulley clockwise through five or six complete revolutions, being careful to hold the pulley securely. Keep the pulley rotating until the recoil housing pores and the pulley’s pellets are in the same position. Align the hole in the recoil starter housing with the hole in the pulley. Insert the screwdriver through the holes. It will prevent the pulley from rotating in the opposite direction.

● Step 8: Insert the New Cord In The Housing

Feed one end of the new cord through the holes, and tie a single knot at the end of the wire. After inserting the cord through the rewind housing hole, please give it a knot. Heat the cord with a lighter flame. Hold the cord tightly while you remove the screwdriver and let the pulley unwind slowly. The cord will wrap around the pulley as it unfolds. Make sure to pull the pull cord tightly before allowing it to go to its previous position.

● Step 8: Cut off The Extra Length of the Pull Cord

Remove the screwdriver. Allow the pull cord to get fastened around the wheel. After everything has returned to its previous position, cut it off if any excessive rope is left.

● Step 9: Reinstall The Rewind Housing

Carefully reinstall the rewind housing to its previous position. Reinstall all the screws that you removed with the help of a screwdriver. Tighten the screws. Make sure it is perfectly secured in its place by giving it a gentle jolt.

● Step 9: Reconnect the spark plug

Reconnect the spark plug so the mower is ready to start.

● Step 11: Test the Mower

After all the things are done, now is the time to start the engine. Start the lawnmower engine as you would typically do. If you did all things right, the mower should work perfectly.

Some general tips when working no a lawnmower pull cord:

At the start of the replacement process, specify a place to hold the screws. A screw holder will prevent you from losing the screws. Be careful when removing the screwdriver from the housing so that your finger does not stick to the spring. Use the user manual from the manufacturer. Keep your workplace clean; ensure there is no potential electric or fire hazard. Always start such repairs when you are stress-free and relaxed because tension can cause serious harm while working with such machinery.

Other Pull Cord Fixes

The section above explains the procedure for pull cord replacement, the fix for the broken pull cord. However, a faulty pull cord doesn’t necessarily mean a broken pull cord. Your pull cord might not be working correctly because of worn-out recoil housing or spring issues. If the recoil housing is worn out, you should replace it with a new set. You can solve spring issues by replacing the spring winding with more turns on the spring to increase its tension.

Related Questions:

1. What makes a pull cord hard to pull?

The likely reasons that can make the pull cord hard to pull are not holding the bail lever while starting, an out-of-adjustment engine brake, a broken flywheel key, and blade obstruction.

2. What causes a lawnmower pull cord to become loose?

A lawnmower pull cord becomes loose when the recoil spring has lost its tension. To fix this issue, remove the pulling assembly and give it a couple of turns to tighten it. Replacing the spring would be even better.

3. How much does a lawnmower pull cord cost?

A lawnmower pull cord generally costs between 5 to 10 dollars. We recommend you buy a good quality pull cord even if it is a bit expensive. A good quality cord will last longer. If you get your pull cord replaced by a mechanic, expect it to cost between 20 to 25 dollars or more. 

Final Remarks: 

The guide mentioned above is the general process for replacing a lawn mower’s pull cord. But keep in mind that this guide is for a small lawnmower. It would be best to take precautionary measures like wearing safety gloves and disconnecting the spark plug so the engine can not suddenly start when you are working on it. We hope that this guide has helped you to fix the problem with your pull cord.

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