Is Your Lawn Mower Pull Cord Giving You Trouble?

The sound of a lawnmower is a familiar soundtrack to summer. But what happens when that familiar “whirr” is replaced by the frustrating “clunk” of a broken pull cord? A broken pull cord can turn your weekend chore into a frustrating ordeal. But fear not! This guide will walk you through the process of replacing your lawn mower pull cord, from identifying the issue to installing a new one.

Replacing a lawnmower pull cord is a relatively simple task that can be tackled by anyone with basic mechanical skills and the right tools. This guide will break down the process step-by-step, covering everything from identifying the issue to choosing the right replacement cord and completing the installation. By the end, you’ll have the confidence to tackle this common lawnmower repair and get your mower running smoothly again.

Identifying the Problem: Is It Really the Pull Cord?

Before you dive into replacing the pull cord, it’s essential to confirm that it’s the culprit. A few common issues can mimic a broken pull cord, so take a moment to rule them out:

  • Stuck Recoil Spring: The recoil spring is responsible for retracting the pull cord. If it’s stuck or jammed, the cord won’t retract properly. You can test this by manually pulling the cord and seeing if it retracts smoothly.
  • Fuel Issues: A clogged carburetor or an empty fuel tank can prevent the engine from starting. Make sure your mower has fuel and that the carburetor is clean before assuming the pull cord is the issue.
  • Spark Plug Problems: A faulty spark plug can also prevent the engine from starting. Inspect the spark plug and replace it if it’s damaged or worn.

If you’ve ruled out these possibilities and your pull cord is still not working, it’s time to replace it.

Gathering Your Tools and Supplies

Before you start, gather the following tools and supplies:

  • New Pull Cord: Make sure to purchase a replacement pull cord that’s compatible with your specific lawn mower model. You can find these at most hardware stores or online retailers.
  • Phillips Screwdriver: This will be used to remove the cover plate that houses the pull cord.
  • Pliers: You’ll need these to remove any retaining clips or clamps securing the old pull cord.
  • Gloves: These will protect your hands from any sharp edges or dirt.

Step-by-Step Guide to Replacing the Pull Cord

1. Disconnect the Spark Plug Wire

Before you start working on the pull cord, disconnect the spark plug wire to prevent accidental starting. This will ensure your safety and prevent any unexpected jolts.

2. Remove the Cover Plate

Locate the cover plate on the engine that houses the pull cord. It’s typically held in place by a few screws. Using your Phillips screwdriver, carefully remove the screws and set them aside. Remove the cover plate, taking care not to damage it.

3. Remove the Old Pull Cord

With the cover plate removed, you’ll see the old pull cord attached to the recoil mechanism. Inspect the pull cord carefully. Is it frayed, broken, or missing a portion? You can now remove the old cord by releasing the retaining clips or clamps that hold it in place. This might require a little bit of force, but be careful not to damage the recoil mechanism.

4. Prepare the New Pull Cord

Now it’s time to prepare the new pull cord for installation. Locate the end of the new cord that will be attached to the recoil mechanism. It will likely have a small metal loop or a plastic hook. If the pull cord comes with a rope handle, attach it to the opposite end of the cord, ensuring it’s secure.

5. Attach the New Pull Cord

Align the new pull cord with the recoil mechanism, making sure the loop or hook goes through the appropriate opening in the recoil assembly. Secure the cord with the retaining clips or clamps, ensuring they are firmly attached. Pull the cord several times to make sure it’s securely fastened and retracting smoothly.

6. Reassemble the Cover Plate

Replace the cover plate, ensuring all screws are securely fastened.

7. Reconnect the Spark Plug Wire

Reconnect the spark plug wire to the spark plug.

8. Test the New Pull Cord

Start your mower and test the new pull cord. It should retract smoothly and start the engine without any problems.

Tips for Preventing Future Pull Cord Problems

  • Regular Maintenance: Regularly inspect the pull cord for any signs of wear or damage.
  • Proper Storage: Store your lawn mower in a dry, covered area to prevent the pull cord from being exposed to moisture or extreme temperatures.
  • Avoid Over-Stressing: Be careful not to pull the cord too forcefully, as this can lead to damage.

Replacing the Pull Cord: Not a Scary Task

Replacing a lawn mower pull cord is a simple and straightforward repair that can save you time and money. By following these instructions, you can easily restore your lawnmower to its former glory and get back to enjoying your lawn. Remember, a little preventative maintenance and regular checks can go a long way in keeping your pull cord in good condition and ensuring a smooth mowing experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What are the most common reasons my lawn mower pull cord is giving me trouble?

A: The most common reasons for a troublesome pull cord include a worn-out cord, a damaged spring, a clogged carburetor, or a problem with the engine itself. A worn-out cord can fray and break, while a damaged spring might not provide enough tension to properly retract the cord. A clogged carburetor can prevent the engine from starting, making it harder to pull the cord. Finally, a faulty engine might make it difficult to pull the cord due to internal issues.

Q2: How can I tell if the pull cord itself is the problem?

A: Inspect the pull cord for any signs of wear, fraying, or breakage. If you notice any of these issues, the cord might be the culprit. You can also try pulling the cord gently to see if it feels loose or if it’s sticking. If the cord feels stiff or doesn’t retract smoothly, it could be a sign of a problem.

Q3: How do I fix a broken pull cord?

A: Replacing a broken pull cord is relatively straightforward. First, disconnect the spark plug to prevent accidental starting. Then, locate the pull cord’s attachment points at the engine and the handle. Release the cord from both ends. Carefully thread the new cord through the same route as the old one, making sure it’s properly secured at both ends. Finally, reconnect the spark plug and test the new cord.

Q4: What should I do if the pull cord spring is damaged?

A: A damaged pull cord spring might not provide enough tension to properly retract the cord. To replace it, you’ll need to remove the engine cover and carefully detach the old spring. Install the new spring in the same position as the old one, making sure it’s properly secured.

Q5: Can I fix a clogged carburetor myself?

A: If you suspect a clogged carburetor, it’s best to consult a qualified mechanic. Attempting to clean the carburetor yourself can be tricky and could potentially damage it further. A mechanic will have the tools and expertise to safely clean the carburetor and ensure it’s functioning correctly.

Q6: How can I prevent further problems with my pull cord?

A: To prevent issues with your pull cord, maintain your lawn mower regularly. This includes changing the oil and air filter, and ensuring the spark plug is in good working condition. Keep the mower clean and free of debris to avoid clogging the carburetor. Additionally, store the mower properly during off-season to prevent damage and corrosion.

Q7: When should I consider replacing my lawn mower entirely?

A: If the pull cord is consistently causing problems, and other repairs are becoming too frequent or expensive, it might be time to consider a new lawn mower. A new machine will offer the latest features, reliable performance, and potentially lower operating costs in the long run.

Leave a Comment