Fix lawn mower starter. How To Fix A Lawn Mower Pull Cord That Is Stuck

How To Troubleshoot a Lawn Mower That Won’t Pull

If yes, it must have kept you wondering whether it is possible to troubleshoot such failure, and, if possible, you must have wondered how to do so.

First, measure the cord length and circumference of the winder, wind the cord 3 times, and test. Look for blade obstruction and recoil starter failure. Take the necessary action.

If you follow the instructions thoroughly provided in today’s article, you can easily fix your mower. So, learn how to troubleshoot a lawn mower won’t pull.

What Causes the Problem?

Your lawn mower might seem hard to pull or won’t pull due to wrong cord adjustment, stuck rope, or the blade dragging on the ground.

In most cases, simple cord adjustment works perfectly to solve the hard-to-pull problem, but in some cases, other faulty parts also lead to experiencing similar issues.

A lawn mower becomes hard to pull due to blade obstruction, disengaged spark plug wire, or recoil starter failure.

Steps To Troubleshoot A Lawn Mower That Won’t Pull:

Encountering such commotions every once in a while, is very common for every lawn mower user, but it’s still annoying to deal with such problems out of the blue.

If you follow the available online consumer forums, blogs, and YouTube vlogs, you will find several DIY ideas to fix such problems. Unfortunately, not all of those ideas are reliable, and most of them are not even confirmed by the users whether those fixing techniques worked or not.

Thus, I have enlisted an easy-to-do yet effective troubleshooting method to fix the problem quickly when your lawn mower fails to pull:

Things you will need to troubleshoot the lawn mower won’t pull:

Look at the checklist of the required tools or materials:

¼ Nut driver
Measurement Tape

Step 1- Measure the length of the Cord:

First, remove the recoil assembly with a ¼ nut driver to fix the lighters.

You will see a couple of quarter-inch screws so, carefully excuse them with the nut driver.

Now you can lift the upper cover off and wind it back to correct tension, you need to know the accurate length of the cord.

If you see, you will find the cord mounted up on your lawn mower handle just like most mower models.

Tip: Remember that while you are calculating the cord length, you are not going to wind the entire cord.

If you measure the cord length the way it was done in the earlier picture it will measure around 85 inches (it can differ from model to model). The entire cord length might be 35 inches.

Step 2- Measuring the Winder Circumference:

Next, you need to know the winder’s circumference, and to measure it use a measurement tape shown in the picture.

You might see a 17 and three-quarter measurement in there (it can also vary depending on your mower model and size).

Let’s do the calculation properly before proceeding further:[Overall winder – Outside winder] = 50/Circumference (17).So, our result will be 2.9 which means the wind is three times three ones.

Step 3- Winding the Cord:

Now you need to wind the cord three times. But first, get the hole lined up outside the exit and wind the cord three times by using your hand.

Next, insert a screwdriver to lock it up and hold it there.

After that prepare the cord end by cutting the damaged or worn end.

Tip: Melting the cord end will keep it safe from fraying and will help to feed through there too if it’s nice and flat

Now, thread the cord end through from the outside to the hole, which will look like threading a needle in.

When the cord gets fully through the hole line, make a simple knot by hand.

Next, put the recoil assembly again in place securely. Let’s try to wind again and see whether the cord is responding or not.

Step 4- Test the Cord:

If the three winds do not seem enough, you have to take it back out and again just wind it. Back up all the way and jam the screwdriver in for the cord lined up.

Next, undo the simple knot and let it go back. Also, take off the screwdriver line that you used before.

You can do it again and this time you can try 4 if three seem too much slack. So, this time follow the same procedures to wind 4 times.

Now mount the cord first in its original place on your mower. Then, just swivel it around and line up the holes.

Grab a quarter-inch nut driver and reinsert the nuts or connecting screws in both slides securely.

Now you need to pull the cord couple of inches before its agency engine and let’s check out the cord

Step 5- Blade Obstruction Recoil Starter Failure:

Next, you should check the condition of your mower’s blade.

If any strands of grass or debris get trapped in there, it will prevent the blade from spinning due to obstruction between the mower deck and the blade.

If you do not clean the obstruction out of the way on time, it will eventually cause the pull cord to get stuck.

To fix the blade obstruction trouble, thoroughly follow the Correct way to Tip a Mower for Maintenance.

If the blade is not the main culprit of your issue, check the recoil starter, which might be worn out or damaged.

lawn, mower, starter, pull, cord, stuck

Mower Cord won’t pull

In that case, open the blower housing first to inspect the recoil starter more closely. If it appears faulty, you need to replace the Recoil Starter.

Besides that, watch this video to learn how to fix the recoil starter easily.

Undertaking such maintenance can be hazardous. Thus, always remember to read your lawn mower’s instructions manual first before operating, servicing, or troubleshooting it. Make sure you have the minimum expertise to do this task alone.

Frequently Asked Questions: lawn mower won’t pull

Why does my lawn mower pull cord not catching?

The main reason behind a lawn mower cord catching failure is the failed flywheel starter assembly components like the broken/ worn out pawls or a damaged pulley system. They mostly fail or turn defective due to regular stress of use.

What causes the starting failure of my lawn mower pull start?

Such failure might occur due to a loose, dirty, or disconnected Spark Plug and dirty Air Filter. It can also arise if fuel is not reaching the mower engine properly and causing the motor to starve for fuel.

Why can’t I pull the string on my lawn mower?

Excess crankcase oil and storing the mower while it’s standing on its front wheels can cause the oil to bleed into the piston cylinder. This action will restrict the movement of the piston, and the piston will fail to move.

As a consequence, the crankshaft will not turn, and you won’t be able to pull the rope.

What causes the cord to get stuck on my lawn mower?

Such commotion can arise due to problems with the Recoil Mechanism. The pull cord sometimes crosses over itself while rewinding and gets stuck.

How to determine if my lawn mower engine is locked up?

Some obvious signs can help you to determine when your lawn mower engine is locked up or seized. You will see symptoms such as motor sounds rough, hard to start, stuck blades, the piston, as well as cylinders won’t move, insufficient or old oil in the tank, and deteriorated fuel.

Final Verdict

Now that I have explained the simplest way to troubleshoot your lawn mower that won’t pull, you can easily get your mower back in perfect mowing condition.

But remember, you can only get the best result if you thoroughly follow all the instructions without skipping a single detail.


How To Fix A Lawn Mower Pull Cord That Is Stuck

Before running to the repair shop, try out these fixes if your lawn mower pull cord is stuck.

Is your lawn mower pull cord stuck? We’re to help!

Your mower is out of the shed, ready to go, and just as you try to pull the starter rope on the handle, it seems badly jammed. It is a common problem and even the best lawn mowers on the market suffer from this issue.

When the pull rope gets stuck, you probably think that you will have to call a repairman to come and fix it for you. Well, you may not need to.

How To Fix A Lawn Mower Pull Cord That Is Stuck

There are several reasons why your pull cord might be stuck including a jam in the deck area, seizing in the engine, or a problem with the recoil starter. Here are some troubleshooting steps you can use to help you fix the problem.

Before you try these fixes, make sure you pull out the spark plug wire from the lawn mower. It is possible that the spark plug still has some charge that can ignite the engine. So, it’s best to be safe.

Remove any blade obstruction

Tip the mower on its side with the air filter up and inspect if anything is preventing the blade from spinning. If you see any branches or other debris under the mower deck, remove them. Now, reconnect the spark plug and see if the issue is fixed.

Check if the recoil starter is working fine

It is possible for the pull cord to cross over itself when rewinding. So, remove the housing off the engine and pull the starter rope to see if the unit is spinning smoothly. Unwind the cable, if it appears tangled. If the recoil starter appears to be locked up or cracked, you may need to replace the recoil starter.

Check for hydro-locking

Hydro-locking happens when you tip your mower the wrong way and consequently, oil flows into the engine cylinder, keeping the piston from moving. Keep in mind that the right way to tip a mower is with the air filter facing upwards.

To fix hydro-locking, first completely remove the spark plug from the engine. Then pull the starter rope several times to clear oil out of the cylinder. You will see oil spray out of the spark plug hole. Wipe off the oil and reinstall the spark plug and connect the spark plug wire.

Finally, pull the started rope to start the engine. You may see a lot of white smoke coming out of the muffler as the engine is burning off the oil inside the cylinder. Once the engine burns off completely, the mower should run smoothly.

Hopefully, one of the fixes will work for your mower. If it didn’t, you might want to call a technician to fix the problem.

If you are tired of watering and mowing your lawn, you may need to consider installing one of the best artificial grass on the market. In our opinion, artificial grass absolutely worth it, considering the fact that they are low maintenance. Also, you would be surprised to know how easy it is to clean artificial grass.

For more articles like this, take a look at our Tech page.

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How to Fix a Pull Start that Won’t Retract- 4 Effective Ways

A lawn mower has a pull cord that you use to start the engine. Most lawn mowers in the market usually come with the pull cord – where a few come with a switch or key.

When you want to start your mower, you pull the T-shaped handle outside the pull cord hub. The pull cord comes out when you pull, and it retracts after releasing it – in normal conditions. That is possible because springs are used to pull back the pull start.

However, the pull start may fail to retract, thus preventing you from starting your lawn mower. Therefore, we have created this guide on how to fix a pull start that won’t retract for you.

How to Fix a Pull Start That Won’t Retract

There are various reasons why your pull start will not retract. The problem is caused by different problems that you need to fix.

Damaged Pulley

A damaged pulley is one of the reasons why your pull start in the lawn mower will not retract. The pull cord and its recoil spring are found on the side of your lawn mower engine.

When starting the engine, you have to pull the cord, and it unwinds the recoil spring and pulley. In the end, the recoil spring will rewind itself, pulling the pull start cord back.

A cracked or broken pulley will not be effective because the recoil spring won’t maintain its tension. Therefore, the pull start will not retract. Sometimes, the pull start gets stuck in those crevices from the broken parts, even cutting the pull cord.

The solution to the problem is inspecting the integrity of your pulley. Remove the starter to check for damaged parts. Those you find damaged or cracked require replacing with new and high-quality parts.

Pull Cord Problems

The other reason why pull start will not retract is a problem with the pull cord. A pull cord should be made of high-quality material, but they get old, wear and tear with time.

The rope is attached to the pulley in the starter house. With many repeated engines starts, the rope wears out due to friction against the pulley. Sometimes, the rope is tangled, forming a knot that prevents it from retracting.

The chance of forming a knot inside is low. The space is enough for the rope to get inside or outside. In most cases, it occurs outside after you have pulled the rope out and knot larger than entry.

If a pull start won’t retract because of tangled rope, pull it out and undo the knot to solve the problem. But for an old and frayed rope, you must replace the rope with a new one.

Malfunctioned Recoil Spring

A recoil spring in the lawn mower is responsible for retracting the pull cord back after pulling during the starting phase of the mower. It is also responsible for enabling you to use over and over the recoil starter.

Sometimes, the spring will fail when worn out, lose tension, is broken, or get stuck won’t retract the pull cord into the starter. If you have experienced a sudden problem, most cases are where the recoil spring is stuck and sometimes comes off the pulley.

On the other hand, when it is a problem you have noticed for some time, such that the rope remains outside the pulley hub, the recoil spring has lost its tension.

Before taking any measures, examine the recoil spring and establish the cause of the problem. When you realize it’s a problem with the recoil spring, replace it with a new, high-quality spring that will not lose its tension fast.

Worn-out or Broken Friction Plate

There is a friction plate in the starter, one of the interlinked parts available. The plate undergoes a lot of friction, making it wear out and break.

How to fix a lawnmower /broken pull start

Some of these plates are made of plastic, making them not long-lasting. When worn out or broken, the pull cord will not move freely, thus stuck inside or outside after pulling out.

If you want to check the part of the starter, then you need to remove the starter. When you find it broken, you can see that straight away.

When not, pull the cord and see how the parts will behave, and when you hear a funny grinding noise, that means the plate is worn out. Replace with a new one and test the pull cord for a smooth flow before you can reinstall the other parts.

In addition, check any dirt and debris in the pulley system causing the pull cord to get stuck. Clean the area with blow air and a soft brush to remove dirt.

FAQ: How to Fix a Pull Start that Won’t Retract

Why does the pull start get stuck?

After pulling the starter rope, a pull starter has a spring to spin the engine crankshaft and lawn mower blade.

The rope will not cross over itself with a broken spring when rewinding.

Why does my pull cord not recoil?

After the pull rope or starter cord fails to recoil after pulling while starting the lawn mower engine, there is a problem with the mechanism inside. The rope may develop kinks or twists, preventing it from rewinding back.

Why is my lawn mower’s pull cord stuck?

When the starter rope doesn’t budge while pulling it, the recoil starter has problems. You have to fix the problems to avoid pull cord sticking.

lawn, mower, starter, pull, cord, stuck

All machines experience different problems in one way or the other. With your lawn mower, you may want to mow your lawn, but after giving it a hard pull of the cord, it fails to retract as it is supposed.

Subsequent pulls, but the pull starter won’t retract. Now what? This is among the common problems most lawn mowers experience.

We have provided you with tips on how to fix a pull start that won’t retract. You can quickly check the cause of the problem and fix it. If the problem does not end, call a technician.


Hi, I’m Ricky. I’ve been involved in lawn care and landscaping from when I was 15. To be honest, I didn’t like the idea of pushing mowers, collecting grass clippings, and maintaining flowerbeds at the time. But having seem the passion my parents had for gardening and outdoors and the effort they put in maintaining the health and beauty of our landscape, I couldn’t help but not only admire their hard work but also I became a part of it. As someone who loves to spend time with nature’s best, I find myself learning a lot more about gardening and outdoors on a daily basis. Not to mention I love to share the knowledge I’ve gathered over the years with my readers at We Mow Dallas. To be clear, I don’t have a Master’s degree in gardening or anything like that. Everything I’ve learned about gardening, landscaping, and lawn care spring from passion and engagement with my parents. And with a ton of free information out there, plus the ability to run tests and determine what works best for lawn care and landscaping, every day is an opportunity to learn and implement something new. My goal with We Mow Dallas is to teach you exactly how to maintain your lawn and landscape. And since I walk the talk in reality, you shouldn’t hesitate to join me in this wonderful world of landscaping and lawn care. View all posts

How to repair lawn mower pull cord?

ColumbiaFlorist Staff. 22 Mar 2022

I have not been able to mow my lawn for a while now, and this is basically because I did not know how to fix it and was not ready to call an engineer to help me fix it. Days turned into weeks, and my formerly well-mowed lawn was nothing to write home about. Something had to be done. I got my toolbox one evening and decided to experiment and see if I’d be able to achieve something. My lawnmowers pull cord was as good as new in less than 20 minutes. I was really surprised at how fast I repaired it. I hurriedly proceeded to mow my lawn.

Here’s how to repair lawn mower pull cord:

Remove the Housing Cap of the Recoil

This is the cap that holds the recoil and the pulley together. The first thing is to unscrew this cap. You can proceed with the repair if you notice that the spring is out of place. However, if you notice that the housing, the pulley, or the spring has completely failed or is broken, you might need to get the appropriate replacement before you can continue with the repair.

lawn, mower, starter, pull, cord, stuck

Loosen the rope

This will help you to remove the rope from the housing.

Replace Damaged Parts

Parts like the pulley, spring, and the housing itself should be replaced if the need arises.

Re-tension the Spring

To achieve this, you will need to wind the pulley in the opposite direction. This depends on how you want to return the rope to the housing. Once the pulley is in the housing, turn it six times and use a stick or screwdriver to hold the pulley in place and prevent it from spinning.

Fix the Cap

This holds the pulley in place. However, it is important to note that this would not prevent the pulley from spinning. It is therefore important to ensure that this is prevented.

Reinstall the Cord

The holes on the housing and also on the pulley should first be lined up so that the thread can pass through. Ensure the rope is of the appropriate length. If you are worried about the cord untying itself, you can add glue to the single overhand knot. It is also important to ensure that the knot does not interfere with the ability of the pulley to rotate in the housing.

Coil the Cord

First, remove the screwdriver while holding the recoil starter in place. Next is to pull tightly before letting go of the pulley. It is important to control the speed the pulley uses in winding the pull cord back to the starter.

These are easy to follow steps to fix a lawnmower pull cord within 20 minutes or even less, and you do not need more than a screwdriver or hammer to achieve this. | Adding colors to your life. | Adding colors to your life.