Is Your Lawn Mower’s Pull Cord Snapped? Here’s How to Fix It!

You’re ready to tackle your lawn, but when you pull the cord on your lawn mower, it just… doesn’t. The cord is limp, the engine doesn’t sputter to life, and your hopes of a pristine lawn are dashed. A broken pull cord is a common problem, and it can be incredibly frustrating. But don’t despair! This article will walk you through the steps of diagnosing and fixing a broken pull cord, helping you get your lawn mower back in action in no time. We’ll cover everything from identifying the problem to replacing the cord itself, making it a breeze to get your lawn mower back to its former glory.

What Causes a Broken Pull Cord?

A broken pull cord on a lawn mower is usually a result of wear and tear, particularly the fraying of the cord itself. Over time, the cord can become brittle and snap, especially if it’s subjected to harsh weather conditions or repeated use. Sometimes, a faulty recoil spring can also contribute to a broken cord. When the spring doesn’t recoil smoothly, it puts extra stress on the cord, leading to a break.

Diagnosing the Problem: Is It Really the Cord?

Before diving into repairs, it’s crucial to be sure the issue is actually a broken pull cord and not something else. Here’s a quick checklist:

  • Check the cord itself: Is it frayed, snapped, or loose? If yes, you’ve found the culprit.
  • Examine the recoil spring: Is it stuck, broken, or not retracting properly? This could indicate a problem with the spring itself.
  • Ensure the engine isn’t jammed: If the engine is seized, the pull cord won’t be able to turn the crankshaft.

Step 1: Gather Your Tools and Materials

To fix a broken pull cord, you’ll need:

  • A new pull cord: Make sure you buy the correct length and type for your specific mower.
  • A Phillips screwdriver: This is for removing the starter housing cover.
  • A small pair of pliers: These will be helpful for maneuvering the cord and securing it in place.

Step 2: Accessing the Starter Housing

With your tools ready, you can start the repair process:

  • Locate the starter housing: This is typically on the top or side of the engine, and often has a pull cord attached.
  • Remove the starter housing cover: Use your Phillips screwdriver to remove any screws securing the cover. It may be held on by a few clips.
  • Inspect the old pull cord: Observe how the cord is routed through the starter housing. This will guide you when you install the new one.

Step 3: Installing the New Pull Cord

Now that you have access to the starter housing, you can install the new pull cord:

  • Detach the old cord: Carefully pull the old cord out of the starter housing, taking note of how it was routed.
  • Thread the new cord: Feed the new cord through the starter housing, following the path of the old cord. Make sure it runs smoothly without any kinks.
  • Secure the cord to the starter housing: Most starter housings have a small hook or a slot for securing the cord. Connect the new cord to this point.
  • Connect the cord to the recoil spring: The pull cord typically has a loop or a small hook at one end. Connect this to the recoil spring. You may need to use your pliers for this.

Step 4: Reassemble and Test

Once the new cord is installed, it’s time to put everything back together:

  • Reattach the starter housing cover: Put the starter housing cover back in place and secure it with the screws.
  • Test the new cord: Give the pull cord a few test pulls to make sure it’s working correctly.
  • Check for snags or resistance: Ensure the cord is pulling smoothly and retracting properly. If you encounter any issues, double-check your work.

Maintenance Tips for Preventing Future Issues

Even with a new pull cord, it’s important to keep your lawnmower well-maintained to prevent future breaks:

  • Regularly check the cord: Inspect the pull cord for any signs of wear or fraying. Replace it if needed.
  • Lubricate the recoil spring: Applying a light lubricant to the recoil spring can help it move smoothly and reduce stress on the cord.
  • Store your lawnmower properly: When not in use, store your lawnmower in a dry, covered area. This will protect the cord from weather damage.

Troubleshooting: Common Problems and Solutions

Even after following these steps, you might still encounter issues. Here’s a quick guide for troubleshooting some common problems:

  • The new pull cord is too short: If the cord is too short to reach the recoil spring, you’ll need to buy a longer replacement cord.
  • The recoil spring is broken or worn: If the spring isn’t retracting properly or is visibly damaged, you’ll need to replace it.
  • The pull cord is catching on something: Inspect the starter housing and ensure the cord is routed correctly and isn’t snagged on any parts.

Conclusion: A Fresh Start for Your Lawn

By following these steps, you can fix a broken pull cord on your lawn mower and get your lawn looking its best in no time. Remember to check the cord for wear and tear regularly, and store your lawnmower properly to prevent future problems. With a little effort and the right tools, you can keep your lawnmower running smoothly for years to come!


What are the common reasons why a lawn mower’s pull cord snaps?

The most common reason for a snapped pull cord is wear and tear. Over time, the cord can become frayed and brittle, especially if it’s exposed to the elements. Another reason is improper use. Pulling the cord too forcefully or using a damaged starter can also lead to a broken cord. Additionally, if the engine is difficult to start, this can put extra strain on the pull cord, increasing the likelihood of a snap.

If you’re noticing signs of wear and tear on your pull cord, such as fraying or cracking, it’s best to replace it before it breaks. This will prevent unexpected interruptions to your lawn mowing and ensure a smoother starting process.

How do I know if my pull cord is snapped?

You’ll know your pull cord is snapped if you pull the cord and it doesn’t recoil back into the housing. You might also hear a snapping sound when the cord breaks. If you try to start the mower and the engine doesn’t turn over, this is another indication that your pull cord is broken.

If your pull cord is snapped, it’s essential to replace it as soon as possible. A broken pull cord can prevent you from starting your lawn mower, making it impossible to mow your lawn.

What tools do I need to replace a pull cord?

To replace a pull cord, you’ll need a few basic tools: a screwdriver, pliers, a new pull cord, and possibly a pair of wire cutters. The specific tools you’ll need will vary depending on the model of your lawn mower. Some models might require additional tools, like a socket wrench or a hex key.

It’s always a good idea to check the owner’s manual for your specific lawn mower model to determine the exact tools required for the repair. This will ensure you have everything you need and will help you avoid any unexpected complications.

How do I remove the old pull cord?

The process for removing an old pull cord can vary depending on the model of your lawn mower. However, in most cases, you’ll need to remove the recoil housing, which is the part that contains the spring and pull cord. This can be done by loosening a few screws that hold the housing in place.

Once the housing is removed, you can disconnect the old pull cord from the engine. This is usually done by pulling the cord off of a hook or a small metal bar. If the cord is stuck, you may need to use pliers to help remove it.

How do I install the new pull cord?

Once you have removed the old pull cord, you can begin installing the new one. The process is essentially the reverse of removing the old cord. First, thread the new pull cord through the housing, making sure that it’s routed correctly. Then, connect the cord to the engine by hooking it onto the hook or bar.

After connecting the cord, put the recoil housing back in place and tighten the screws. Make sure that the housing is securely attached to the lawn mower before you start the engine.

How do I test the new pull cord?

Once you have installed the new pull cord, it’s important to test it to make sure it’s working properly. This involves pulling the cord several times to ensure it retracts smoothly and the engine is turning over. If the cord is not retracting or the engine is not turning over, double check your installation process.

If the new pull cord still isn’t working, there may be a problem with the recoil mechanism itself. In this case, you may need to contact a professional for repairs.

How can I prevent a pull cord from snapping in the future?

To prevent your pull cord from snapping in the future, it’s important to follow a few simple tips. Always start your lawn mower with a gentle pull. Avoid pulling the cord forcefully, as this can put unnecessary stress on it.

It’s also important to keep the pull cord clean and free from dirt and debris. You can do this by wiping it down with a damp cloth after each use. Additionally, storing your lawn mower in a dry place can help prevent the cord from becoming frayed and brittle.

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