How To Replace Small Engine Pull Cord on Mower. Pull string lawn mower

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

How to fix the pull rope on any mower, pressure washer or generator

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.

EASY! HOW TO FIX a Briggs and Stratton lawnmower STARTER PULL ROPE

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.

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?

replace, small, engine, pull

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 Replace Small Engine Pull Cord on Mower

Own a lawnmower long enough, and eventually, you will experience small engine pull cord failure. Whether your lawnmower pull cord has seen its fair share of uses or it fails before its time due to quality, these seven simple steps will show you exactly how to replace pull cord on mowers to get you back up and running before your next mowing mission.

Supplies Needed for Lawn Mower Pull Cord Replacement

First things first, you’ll need a few tools, like:

replace, small, engine, pull
  • Screwdriver
  • Needle Nose Pliers
  • Nut driver
  • New pull cord — preferably one that’s more reliable than a generic pull cord.

Our Replacement Pull Cord Recommendation

SGT KNOTS Dacron Polyester Pull Cord is the heavy-duty, ultra-reliable replacement pull cord and starter rope every landscaping business, homeowner, or neighborhood lawn care kid should have hanging in their garage for on-the-fly fixes.

This cord is as cost-effective as it is reliable with a Dacron polyester solid-braid construction resistant against abrasion and wear. Snag this cord in either #4, #5, or #6 diameters and lengths of 10ft and 25ft, or spools of 50ft, 100ft, and 1,000ft for a never-ending supply of replacement pull cord perfect for everything from mowers, generators, leaf and snow blowers, and more.

Stay In the Loop

Now that you know how to replace a mower pull cord, you can move onto your next DIY repair or improvement project. Thankfully, you can count on SGT KNOTS to provide you with the best Rope and Cord products and all the information you need to get back up and running no matter what type of mission is next on your list.

Stay in the loop with DIY tutorials at the SGT KNOTS blog. and follow us on Instagram. and to see how loyal customers like you are using and loving their trusted favorite and new release SGT KNOTS products !

How To Start A Lawn Mower Without The Pull Cord

A lawn mower pull cord breaking can be a pain, to say the least. Would you like to know how to start a lawn mower without the pull cord? Well, we have researched this topic and have the answer for you. It is vital to know how to start a lawn mower without the pull cord, so if it ever breaks, you can still mow your grass.

To start a mower without the pull cord, wrap a thin rope around the flywheel. Now, pull the rope off the flywheel, and the mower will start.

In this article, we will learn how to start a lawn mower without its pull cord. We will also learn the answers to other interesting related topics such as what causes a pull cord to lock up and which mowers don’t need a pull cord. Keep reading to learn more!

How To Start A Lawn Mower Without The Pull Cord

Most lawn mowers get their power from combustion engines. While a combustion engine can deliver a lot of energy quickly, it does have the drawback of requiring a lot of force to get it started.

The primary method to start a lawn mower engine is a pull cord. A pull cord is just a thin rope that wraps around a flywheel connected to the engine. When you pull the cord, it starts the combustion engine.

Since the pull cord on a mower endures repeated high stress from being pulled regularly, it will eventually wear down and break. Once the pull cord breaks, you won’t be able to start the engine without finding a way to turn the flywheel.

The best way to turn the flywheel without the pull cord is to wrap a rope around it and pull. To wrap a rope around the flywheel, you must first remove the plastic guard covering it.

The plastic guard covering the flywheel is held in place with two to four screws depending on which mower you have. Once all the screws on the plastic guard are removed, you can lift it off and see the flywheel.

The flywheel will have a raised metal ring in its center, called the flywheel nut. The flywheel nut is the part of the flywheel you will want to wrap your rope around.

Wrap your rope around the flywheel nut, leaving enough rope unwrapped so you can pull it. Next, pull the rope off the flywheel fast enough to start the engine.

You will notice that the rope comes off the flywheel once the mower is started. The rope comes off because it isn’t attached to the pull cord starter which automatically retracts the cord after starting. Be sure to store the new start cord where you won’t lose it so you can quickly start your mower when you need to.

What Causes A Lawn Mower Pull Cord To Lock Up?

One of the most likely causes of your mower’s pull cord locking up is a hydraulic lock. A hydraulic lock is when oil floods the cylinders in your mower’s engine and makes pulling the cord and turning over the engine nearly impossible.

One of the most common causes of hydraulic lock is tilting the mower while it’s on. Sometimes, your mower may suffer from a hydraulic lock while mowing a steep hill.

Whatever the cause for your mower’s hydraulic lock, you need a way to remedy the issue quickly. To fix the hydraulic lock, you will need to release the pressure built up in the cylinders.

To release the pressure in the cylinders, remove the spark plug from your mower. Next, pull the mower’s cord, and the excess oil in the cylinders will be forced out.

replace, small, engine, pull

Once the cylinders have been drained, you will be able to pull the cord again. It may take a few pulls to ensure enough oil is drained to start the engine.

What Mowers Don’t Need A Pull Cord?

While most mowers need a pull cord, there are some types of mowers that don’t. The two main mowers that don’t require a pull cord are electric start mowers and electric mowers. Let’s look at each type of mower and see its advantages and disadvantages.

Electric Start Mowers

Electric start mowers use a battery to turn the starter for your engine, allowing you to turn it on with just the press of a button. Not only is turning on an electric start mower easy but you also don’t have to worry about the cord breaking and not being able to start it.

There are also a few disadvantages associated with electric start mowers, primarily that the battery for the starter will occasionally need to be replaced.

Also, since self-starter mowers are more complex to build, they cost more. You can expect to spend twenty to thirty percent more for an electric start mower over a standard mower of the same size.

Electric Mowers

Electric mowers are similar to electric start mowers in that they are both started with the press of a button. The key difference between electric mowers and electric start mowers is their power source. While electric start mowers use a battery to start the engine, electric mowers use a battery to start and power the engine.

Not only are electric mowers easy to start but they are also quieter. While a typical gas mower may run at 90 decibels, an electric mower will run at 70. The softer sound of electric mowers makes them safer for your hearing than gas mowers.

Also, electric mowers don’t require gasoline which can cost a lot and has hazardous fumes.

While there are some significant advantages to using an electric mower, there are disadvantages. One of the main drawbacks to electric mowers is charging the battery.

While the battery in an electric mower may have enough power to mow your front and back lawn, you will have to wait for the battery to charge if you have a particularly large yard or need to mow multiple yards.

Some electric mowers try to get around this by having a power cord, but then you have the drawback of needing to drag a power cord around your yard.

Should I Get A Mower With Or Without A Pull Cord?

Now that we know the advantages and disadvantages of different mowers without a pull cord, we can answer whether you should get a mower with or without a pull cord.

One indicator that you may be best with a mower without a pull cord is if you find it challenging to start the mower with the cord. If you aren’t physically capable of starting your mower with the pull cord, it may be time to upgrade to a mower without one.

If you have a smaller yard, then an electric mower may be an excellent choice for you. It is easy to start, and you won’t have to worry about filling it with gas.

There are situations where an electric mower may not be powerful enough for your yard, but this doesn’t mean you have to get a regular mower. If you need the power of a gas mower but still have a difficult time starting a mower with a pull cord, try an electric start mower.

Electric start mowers are great for when you need the power of a gas mower but need an easier way to start it. If you need help starting your mower with a pull cord, then it would be best to choose one of these two mowers without a pull cord.

There are still situations where a mower without a pull cord may not be the right choice. Professional yard maintenance is one of the best examples of a place where a mower without a pull cord may not be the right choice.

When a landscaping crew performs professional yard maintenance, they often mow several lawns during the day. If you need to charge your mower’s battery between yards, it will significantly reduce how much you can earn in a day.

Now it may seem that the solution is an electric start mower that runs on gas, but this isn’t ideal for professional yard maintenance either. Electric start mowers aren’t suitable for professional yard maintenance because they are more expensive to buy and repair than standard mowers.

While being able to start your mower easily is convenient, the additional maintenance costs for repairing the extra parts on an electric start mower outweigh the advantages. There is also the fact that most people who work on a professional yard maintenance crew have the strength to start a pull start mower quickly.

As you can see, if you only mow your residence and find starting a mower with a cord difficult, then a mower without a cord is best for you. And if you are running a landscaping business, it would be most economical to purchase mowers with a pull cord.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we learned how to start a mower without the pull cord by manually using its flywheel. We also learned how a hydraulic lock can cause your pull cord to lock up. Remember, keep your mower as level as possible to prevent hydraulic lock.

We hope you enjoyed this article. If you want to learn more, check out some of these other posts:

Why is My Lawn Mower Pull Cord Hard to Pull?

Lawn mowers are great when you can roll them onto your lawn, top up the fluids, pull the chord, and get to work. Unfortunately, as your mower gets older, that smooth startup seems to happen less and less. Frayed pull strings, a clogged air filter, faulty valve plugs, or even a dirty spark plug could make your motor putt putt but never start.

If you are experiencing more difficulty pulling your starter rope or if you cannot pull it at all, know that it happens to the best of us. Lawn mowers have a lot of built-in safety functions as well as counterbalances and a recoil mechanism, all of which can act up and make it hard or impossible to pull start your mower.

If you can’t get your engine to fire, read below to find out what to do.

Why is it Hard to Pull Start my Mower?

Before you go tearing open your engine, you may want to look at some possible physical hindrances. Some older lawnmowers need a lot of umph to get going, and it’s possible you aren’t putting your all into it. If the pull cord begins smoothly and then catches, that could be a different issue than if it won’t move at all.

I have even found that the ground I am standing on can affect how easy or difficult it is to pull the starter handle. If I can’t get a good footing, then the starter flywheel won’t turnover, and there will be no ignition in the combustion chamber. The grass under the mower can also present a problem with easy starting.

Whenever I need to start a finicky mower, I put it on a hard flat surface. This allows me to really get a good footing and pull the cord smoothly. With no turf underneath to slow the blades down, eventually, I can get the motor cranking. If my mower starts to get like this, I usually begin replacing parts that are wearing out.

Why Can’t I Pull the Starter Rope?

There are quite a few reasons why new lawn mowers might not pull start right away, and a quick look-over can ensure that everything is assembled correctly. The blade needs to be attached tightly, and the flywheel brake needs to be unlocked. If anything is loose or not attached right, find the special tools that came with your mower, like the flywheel key and the tool to adjust your mower blade.

If everything is unlocked and connected correctly, it may be an issue with the recoil spring, hydro-locking, or a disconnected spark plug. Remove the spark plug with a spark plug removal tool, and then you can check the lawnmower blade for debris or a blade obstruction. The recoil starter can also be examined. If the issue is still not clear, you may need to do more detailed troubleshooting.

Pull Chord Troubleshooting

To really get to the bottom of what is wrong with your lawn mower starter rope, you will need to look at all the components that are responsible for starting the engine. If there are no obvious steps that can fix the problem, you may need to begin taking things apart and looking at individual problem areas. Inspection of a mower should always be done safely.

Unplug and remove the spark plugs and ground the spark plug wire to make sure the mower will not fire suddenly. Check the spark plug hole for signs of oil, and look at the recoil starter. Finally, check the blade for debris jamming before moving on to more detailed looks at the trouble zones.

Possible Cause What to Check What to Adjust
Factory Safety Lock Where the handle extends below the mower deck Remove any pieces that obstruct the blade shaft
Fly Wheel Brake Stuck Handle and Cable Tighten or loosen the cable and open and close hand grip
Debris Jam Under Mower Deck and Blades Remove clumps and anything stuck or tangled
Hydro-Lock Engine and cylinder head Pour the oil out of the spark plug hole
Snagged Starter Rope Recoil Assembly Replace the whole unit; do not take it apart
Loose or Missing Blade Mower Blade and Hardware Replace or attach the blade and tighten the nuts
Damaged Crankshaft or Engine Engine Cylinder and started mechanism near the crankshaft Replace any damaged or faulty parts

Factory Safety Lock

Some mowers come with a block or wedge to keep the mower blade stationary in transport. Other brands have a handle that holds down where the blades sit for transport and then needs to be removed before starting. Check to make sure that everything restricting starting has been removed before investigating further.

Flywheel Brake Stuck

This slows the mower down quickly to prevent injury or to help keep lawn cuts clean. The flywheel brake can get sticky with lawn debris and other grime and may stay engaged even when you have released it. With the brake engaged, it will be hard to generate the pulling power needed to start the motor. The recoil spring uses the flywheel to counter the pull and start the blades, so if that can’t occur smoothly, it is unlikely your mower will start.

Debris Jam

While it is usually a good idea to clean your mower between uses, that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes pesky weeds or fibrous material can get tangled around the blade and make it hard to start. There have even been occasions where something like wire or rope has worked its way under and jammed up the blades.

Whatever is causing the obstruction, you will need to remove it. Make sure the mower is safe to work on, and then while wearing gloves, try to remove all of the jammed materials and free the blades.


This is an issue when a mower has been flipped upside down or tilted aggressively. Oil makes its way into areas of the engine it shouldn’t and prevents the mower from starting. To reverse this process, you will need to remove the spark plug and dump any oil out of the hole. Make sure you don’t spill fuel or anything else into the engine while trying to clean it out. Once it is drained, reconnect everything and try to start it again.

Snagged Start Rope

Anywhere between where you hold the starter and where it cranks the engine, there is a chance for the cord to snag. If the rope catches, it may not direct enough energy into the engine to start the mower. Enough snags can fray the wires and lead to snapping. Older mowers may have cords tied back together, and the knots have the potential to catch regularly. Make sure the line from the handle to the engine is clear before yanking on the starter rope.

Loose or Missing Blade

I have forgotten to put the blade back on after sharpening. The counterweight was wrong, and the mower wouldn’t start. Once I replaced the blade, it fired up on the 3rd tug. A loose or wobbly blade can also prevent an engine from starting since the flywheel will recoil in a jerky motion and not give a smooth glide that fires the cylinders. Also, check that the blade is tight before operating your mower.

Damaged Crankshaft or Engine

The crankshaft is what turns over inside the engine and leads the combustion. When you pull and hear what sounds like cables moving and gears churning, that’s the crankshaft. If there is damage or slippage, your engine may not fire. Rocks and other hard pieces flying around can sometimes lead to damage, but often it is improper storage, and lack of maintenance can mess these parts up. Often you will need to get it repaired or replace the entire piece to fix this problem.

Should I Replace My Mower’s Pull Cord?

If, after all the troubleshooting, you are still unable to get the cord to work, you will need to start replacing parts. It makes sense to start with the cord and the rest of the recoil box before moving on to the more expensive mechanical and electrical components. The cords can become old or be subpar material and need to be replaced.

To get a return in combustion, you can replace a mower cord that is too short, damaged, too long, or that has a difficult-to-use handle. By adjusting and customizing your pull cord, you can make it easier for you to start your mower without investing in expensive upgrades or engine components. If you need to work on the recoil housing, it is usually best to replace the whole thing unless you know what you are doing to avoid it whipping out and causing injury.

Matt Hagens

My name is Matt, and I am the founder of Obsessed Lawn. I am very passionate about my lawn. keeping it looking beautiful but also safe for my family, friends, and our dog Liberty. I hope you find my website helpful in your quest for a great-looking lawn!