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How to Fix Lawn Mower Pull Cord: A DIY Guide. Diagnose&Fixes

Is a broken pull cord keeping your lawn mower from running? We have the solution. Our guide will walk you through the steps to fix it and restore your mower.

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

First, gather tools like a screwdriver, pliers, and a new pull rope to fix a lawn mower pull cord. Disconnect the spark plug cable, remove the rewind housing screws, and take out the old rope. Install a knotted new rope through the housing hole, wind it around the pulley, and secure it.

A broken pull cord is a common issue, but it’s not the end of the world. Our guide will walk you through the process of fixing it yourself. You’ll be surprised at how simple it can be. Let’s get your mower back on track!


How Does a Pull Cord Work?

When you pull your lawnmower’s cord, it spins a hub connected to the crankshaft. As the crankshaft rotates, an electromagnetic connection starts the spark plug while the carburetor pushes the gas into the combustion chamber.

The engine starts operating once the gas starts burning 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: Step-by-Step

In many cases, fixing the lawnmower pull cord means replacing it. This is the case when the cord is broken, or the recoil spring is damaged and does not return properly to the housing. Replacing the pull cord is probably also a good idea if it is damaged.

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, knowing what is inside a lawnmower’s pull cord housing is good. The pull cord housing’s primary components are a handle, a pulley, a starter pull rope, and a recoil spring. Now, let us get into more detail.

In my 20 years of experience, I’ve found that the most common issues with lawn mower pull cords are stuck, frayed, or broken. These problems often arise due to regular wear and tear or improper storage. It’s a common issue, but with the right knowledge, it’s easily fixable.

● 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, preferably on an even, flat surface. Place some wooden wedges under the mower’s wheels if you have a slopy driveway. 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, hold the edge tight, and pull out. The region from which the fractured rope is pulled will be used to insert the new cord. You can find removed 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 recoil starter housing hole with the hole in the pulley. Insert the screwdriver through the holes. It will prevent the pulley from rotating in the opposite direction.

If you’re attempting to fix your lawn mower pull cord for the first time, my advice would be to take your time, follow safety precautions, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if needed. Remember, everyone starts somewhere, and you’ll get the hang of it with practice.

● 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. Pull the pull cord tightly before allowing it to reach 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 everything is done, it is 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 on 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 your finger does not stick to the spring.

Use the user manual from the manufacturer. Keep your workplace clean; ensure no potential electric or fire hazard exists. Always start such repairs when 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 and the fix for the broken pull cord. However, a faulty pull cord doesn’t necessarily mean a damaged one.

Your pull cord might not work correctly because of worn-out recoil housing or spring issues. Replace the recoil housing with a new set if it is worn out. You can solve spring issues by replacing the spring winding with more turns on the spring to increase its tension.

Regular maintenance can help prevent pull cord issues. Regularly checking the cord for wear and tear, properly storing the mower, and not yanking the cord too hard can help prevent issues. These simple tips can extend the life of your pull cord significantly.

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 expensive. A suitable 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. 


The guide mentioned above is the general process of how to fix a lawnmower 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 from the engine. The starter cord cannot suddenly start when you are working on it. We hope this guide has helped you fix a lawnmower pull cord.

• Loading the Recoil Spring

Here’s a more detailed process: First, load the recoil spring and ensure the engagement lugs are in place. Then, tie on the new pull cord. Be sure to apply pressure on the recoil to ensure it’s secure.

Next, attach the recoil to the engine. Don’t pull too hard on the cord, or it will break. You might consider using a synthetic oil like Amsoil to lubricate the moving parts.

Finally, thread the cord through the hole on the mower’s handle and tie a knot you can easily undo if you need to adjust the cord’s length. Remember, always load the cord carefully to avoid any potential injuries. We hope this guide has helped you fix the problem with your pull cord.

  1. Melanie Pierce says:

    Is it necessary to wear gloves when fixing the pull cord?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Melanie, gloves are not necessary, but safety goggles are recommended. Follow the steps in our guide to fix your pull cord and get your mower up and running.

  2. Andy Snyder says:

    Such a useful article, thank you for sharing this!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Andy! I’m glad you found the article helpful in fixing your lawnmower’s pull cord. Let me know if you have any other questions or need further assistance.

  3. Herminia Thomas says:

    Can I replace the pull cord with a longer one for easier use?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Yes, you can replace the pull cord with a longer one for easier use. Follow our step-by-step guide for the process. You’ll have your mower up and running in no time!

  4. Danny Fletcher says:

    Definitely trying this out on my lawnmower, thanks!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Glad to hear you found the guide helpful! Good luck with fixing your lawnmower’s pull cord, Danny! Let me know if you have any questions along the way.

  5. Liam Lawson says:

    Can I use any type of rope for the lawnmower pull cord replacement?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Yes, any type of rope with the same thickness will work for the lawnmower pull cord replacement. Just be sure to follow the steps carefully. Good luck with fixing your mower!

  6. Genesis Evans says:

    What is the average time it takes to replace a lawnmower pull cord?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Replacing a lawnmower pull cord typically takes around 30 minutes to an hour. Just make sure to follow the step-by-step guide provided in our blog post.

  7. Erik Burke says:

    Great step-by-step instructions, easy to follow!

  8. Joseph Gardner says:

    This guide is a lifesaver, my lawnmower is working again!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Joseph! We’re glad our guide helped you get your lawnmower up and running again. Happy mowing!

  9. Michelle Bowman says:

    Awesome guide, saved me a lot of money on repairs!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Michelle! I’m so glad the guide was helpful and saved you money on repairs. Happy mowing!

  10. Terra Mitchell says:

    How do I prevent the pull cord on my lawnmower from becoming loose or hard to pull in the future?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for your question, Terra. To prevent the pull cord from getting loose or hard to pull in the future, ensure regular maintenance by checking for wear and tear and replacing it if needed.

  11. Everett Robinson says:

    So helpful, I fixed my lawnmower thanks to this guide!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Everett! We’re glad to hear you were able to fix your lawnmower. Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions or need more assistance. Happy mowing!

  12. Willie Ellis says:

    Great article, very informative and easy to understand!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thanks for the positive feedback, Willie! We’re glad you found the article informative. Let us know if you need any more help with your lawnmower. Happy mowing!

  13. Elmer Warren says:

    How often should the pull cord on a lawnmower be replaced?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Replacing the pull cord on your lawnmower should be done every couple of years for optimal performance. If it’s frayed or damaged, it’s time to replace it.

  14. Lucy Gordon says:

    I never knew it was this simple, will try it out!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thanks, Lucy! We’re glad you found the guide helpful. Let us know if you have any questions or need further assistance. Happy mowing!

  15. Owen Gonzales says:

    What should I do if my lawnmower pull cord keeps jamming?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Hey Owen, follow these simple steps to fix your lawnmower’s pull cord jamming issue. It’s an easy fix that will get your mower back up and running in no time. Good luck!

  16. Wilma Harper says:

    Should I take my lawnmower to a professional for pull cord replacement?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Yes, replacing the pull cord is a common DIY fix. Follow our step-by-step guide for a successful repair. You can do it!

  17. Joshua West says:

    Very informative, now I can fix my lawnmower!

  18. Clinton Fox says:

    Thank you for the detailed guide, really needed this!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Glad you found the guide helpful, Clinton! Let us know if you have any other questions or need further assistance. Happy mowing!

  19. Gerald Ward says:

    Is it possible to replace the pull cord with a thicker one for durability?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Yes, you can replace the pull cord with a thicker one for increased durability. It’s a straightforward process – check out our guide for step-by-step instructions!

  20. Eva Hunter says:

    Should I lubricate the pull cord after replacing it?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Yes, it’s a good idea to lubricate the pull cord after replacing it to ensure smooth operation. You can use a light oil or silicone spray for this purpose.

  21. Edna Walker says:

    Really appreciate the detailed instructions, very helpful!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Edna! We’re glad you found the instructions helpful. Let us know if you have any other questions. Happy mowing!

Comments are closed.