How To Troubleshoot A Lawn Mower Pull Cord Not Catching

What if it is time to mow the lawn, but when you pull that cord with sufficient force, it does not catch as it should. Pretty frustrating, isn’t it? 

A pull cord serves as the starter of a lawn mower. You won’t be able to start it without one. Therefore, you must be keen to know if it is possible to troubleshoot such an unpleasant issue and how?

At first, gather tools and prepare the lawn mower, then remove the pulley’s rewind housing and damaged cable. Attach the new pull cord in its position absolutely carefully. Heat it and tie it, cut off the excess pull cord, reinstall the recoil housing, and start the lawn mower to test it.

To find out how to troubleshoot a lawn mower pull cord not catching, keep reading this article.

What Causes a Lawn Mower Pull Cord Not Catching?

There are several potential causes if you discover that your pull cord is stuck.

Under the stress of constant usage, the fly wheel assembly may fail, worn or broken pawls, or a damaged pulley system, a buildup of grass or debris, damaged recoil starter, problems with automatic break are all the potential causes of this problem. 

Once you’ve figured out what’s causing the issue, you may take steps to resolve it and have your mower running smoothly once again.

6 Steps to Troubleshoot a Lawn Mower Pull Cord Not Catching:

The pull cord of your mower not catching is one of the most prevalent problems, and if you peruse a number of consumer forums and YouTube videos, you will find several solutions.

However, not all the fixes are dependable, and some are costly to perform. Or, certain methods may exacerbate the problem and cause more harm to your mower.

Thus, I have enumerated a simple do-it-yourself solution to the problem, which is also completely free.

Look at the checklist of the required tools and materials for troubleshooting a lawn mower that’s pull cord is not catching:

4-in-1 screwdriverNew pull rope
Nut driverCleaning wipes or a towel/rag and water
Needle-nose pliers
Safety leather gloves & goggles

Step-1: Gather Necessary Tools and Prepare the Lawn Mower

Start with all the tools. Place the lawn mower somewhere well-lit and level. Put wooden wedges under the mower’s wheels if your driveway is sloped. Using wedges stops the lawn mower. Engage parking brake.

Note: Start the repair by unplugging the spark plug. Whenever you work on your lawn mower, be sure to do this first to prevent any accidents.

Step-2: Remove the Rewind Housing

On some mower engines, removing the housing may need more effort. Find the rewind housing of the lawn mower. If you do not know where your mower is, go online for a schematic or bring out your owner’s handbook.

  • To access the housing for the recoil starter, remove engine components. Using a screwdriver, remove the screws holding the housing together.
Remove the Rewind Housing
  • Remove the housing by lifting it up. The starter pulley and the rest of the old pull rope should come with it.
Remove the Rewind Housing 2
  • Using a set of needle-nose pliers is the best technique to remove the knotted end of the broken rope.

Watch this video for a better understanding.

Step-3: Remove the Old Pull Cord

Detach the defective cord from the reel and pull the handle, then join the broken ends. A spring-mounted recoil housing is a good place to look for the other end of your broken or frayed pull cord.

If you do not know the precise length of the old pull cord, measure it and cut a replacement that is several inches longer (to account for the knots at each end and where it broke). Actual length is unimportant; as long as you stay within 6 inches of the original starter rope, you will be good.

Remove the Old Pull Cord

Step-4: Add a New Rope to the System

  • Before installing the new rope, you must rewind the spring by twisting the rope pulley in the same way as it goes when you pull on the rope. When you’re spinning the pulley in the correct direction, you will notice that it becomes more difficult to do so.
  • The pulley will get difficult to turn if you do not keep turning it.
  • When the hole in the pulley matches the hole in the rewind housing, let it unwind for about a half to a full revolution.
  • While threading the rope through the holes, use a screwdriver to restrict the spring from unwinding.

Pro tip: Use a match to melt the rope’s end while wearing leather gloves. Twist the end of the plastic while it is still hot to make it simpler to thread.

  • Tie a knot at the other end of the rope by passing it through both holes.
  • To prevent the knot from coming undone, light a match and tighten it.
  • Keep your finger on the pulley as you remove the screwdriver and gradually wind the rope onto the wheel.
  • After everything is put back together, you may have some extra rope to cut off. It is time to put everything back together, including the rewind unit.
Add a New Rope to the System

Step-5: Knot A Tie

  • Tie a knot in the rope by wrapping the handle around it. Tie the knot such that when you let go of the handle, there is a little stress on the rope.
  • The rope handle on your lawn mower should be in its final position before tying a knot and tensioning the rope slightly.
  • The rope should be re-wound by allowing the pulley to do the work.
  • Reinstall the rewind unit and any other parts that you have taken out of the machine.
Knot A Tie

Step-6: Reassemble Your Device, and After That, Perform Some Tests

Reassemble your starting home’s cap and screws using the same method that you used to take it apart. If you need to prime your mower, do so, and then give the ripcord a pull to ensure that it is functional and that it is put together correctly.

Drink some water and reapply your sunscreen at regular intervals. You are ready to begin mowing the grass now.

Reassemble Your Device, and After That, Perform Some Tests

If you are fixing a lawn mower pull cord, here are some general guidelines:

  • Specify a location for the screws at the beginning of the operation. Keep the screws safe with a screw holder.
  • Make sure your finger does not get stuck to the spring when withdrawing the screwdriver from its housing.
  • Use the manufacturer’s instruction manual. Maintain a safe working environment by ensuring that there are no electrical or fire hazards.

Watch this YouTube video for a better understanding.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Makes It Difficult to Pull On a Pull Cord?

Pulling the cord can be difficult if the bail lever is not held down while starting the engine, the engine brake is out of position, the flywheel key is broken, or the blade is obstructed.

What Causes the Pull Cord on a Lawn Mower to Loosen up?

When the recoil spring loses its tension, the pull cord on a lawn mower becomes loose. Remove the pulling assembly and tighten it up a bit to solve this problem. Even better would be to replace the spring.

Can I Start a Lawn Mower without the Pull Cord?

Yes, you can. There are various kinds of mowers that don’t need a pull cord. Electric start mowers and electric mowers are the two most common types of mowers that do not need a pull cord.

What is the Price of a Lawn Mower Pull Cord?

Typically, a pull cord for a lawn mower costs $5 to $10. Even if it can be a little pricey, we advise you to purchase a high-quality pull cord. A cord of higher quality will last longer. If you have a mechanic replace your pull cord, be prepared to pay at least $20 to $25.

Final verdict

When the pull cord on your lawn mower is not working, you may quickly fix the problem by following this article on the lawn mower pull cord not catching. The main procedure for changing a lawn mower’s pull cord is described in the preceding guide. Precautionary steps should be taken when working, and the lawn mower should be maintained on a regular basis.

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