Repairing a Lawnmower Cord

April 28, 2009

pull start mowerThe starter pull cord on my lawnmower is a bit too long for my arm, so the mower is hard for me to start up. What can I do to simplify this? It's the only reason I dislike mowing!


By Nica from Big Bend, WV


May 3, 20090 found this helpful

Look in the end of the knob, there should be a hole where the end of the cord is knotted. You can pull the knob lower on the cord and re-knot it, thus shortening the cord.

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 969 Posts
May 4, 20090 found this helpful

Or, you can make a series of knots along the shaft of the cord. This makes things shorter. good luck!

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May 7, 20090 found this helpful

Thanks, guy. I'll try the suggestions, as soon as the rain lets up around here in WV. Nica

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April 7, 20180 found this helpful

I'm 5'4" and my new Lawnmower is a Very Long Pull Cord. Please help me by telling me what I need to Do in this predicament

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15 More Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

July 22, 2015

I have a 3 yr old Husqvarna selfpropelled lawn mower. I try to pull the rope to start and it won't pull out at all.

I can turn the blade by hand, but can't by rope. So what can cause this?


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
November 16, 20170 found this helpful

If the pull starter rope won't come out when pulling on it, that means it is blocked inside the pully. You'll need to remove the screws and try and look at the rope and how it is wound around the pully.


If the rope is damaged it will need to be changed.

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
November 16, 20170 found this helpful

The reel the rope is attached to may have to be replaced

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May 16, 2010

I have an advanced lawn mower issue. My wife loves to mow anything and everything. She has apparently hit something with the mower and now it barely pulls, and when it pulls sometimes it snaps back like to pull your arm out of its socket. Underneath the blade just spins free. It's a Sears hand mower about 4 years old.

My dad usually helps me with these sorts of issues, but he died last fall. Any help is appreciated. I am handy and can fix this if I can get the parts and have an idea how bad this really is.


By johnnyU from Baltimore, MD


May 17, 20100 found this helpful

Ours did the same thing. Turns out that the shaft was bent when we ran over something. Repair cost more than the mower was worth, so we had to get a new mower.

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May 21, 20100 found this helpful

The shaft may be bent, but before you take the mower in for repair, check to see if the metal key that locks the flywheel to the shaft is broken. This is a DIY job. Remove the piece covering the flywheel, then remove the flywheel (you may need to buy an inexpensive tool to loosen the flywheel from the shaft). If the key is broken, simply replace it and reassemble everything.


Depending on how old the mower is, there may (probably will) be an automatic braking device that locks the flywheel and prevents the blade from spinning if the "dead man's" safety bar is released. Be sure that everything is put back the way it was before replacing the cover.

You should also check to see if the blade hub key is broken. Again, it's a simple DIY replacement.

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April 27, 2010

I have a 22 inch Bolens pushmower I got at Lowe's last year. This year, the pull cord snapped and I had to replace it. While replacing the cord, I also took the blade off and sharpened it, and also changed the plug.

When I put the shroud back on and pulled the cord to start the mower, the flywheel only spins about half way around and stops. If I pull it easily, the cord will come all the way out and flywheel spins. When I pull hard to start it, it spins and stops. Nothing is blocking the blade, I do have the tank primed and the safety lever is squeezed.

Any ideas on why this happens?

By Doug Truter from Springfield, IL


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 147 Feedbacks
April 28, 20100 found this helpful

Take it back to Lowe's, good luck.

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May 1, 20100 found this helpful

Hi, I've been a small engine tech for about 20 years.
Just a couple of questions that may help me help you.

1. Is this a Briggs and stratton Engine?
2. Did you rewind the recoil spring before installing the rope?

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May 18, 2017

What does it mean when the pull string works off the mower, but not on the mower?

Mower Pull Cord Not Working - gas powered push mower


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
May 19, 20171 found this helpful

From YouTube: If you didn't find anything blocking the blade, you might have a problem with the recoil starter or the engine might be locked up. ... Disconnect the spark plug again and release the starter rope from the lawn mower handle.


Remove the screws from the blower housing and pull the housing off the engine.

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May 16, 2016

I have an old 3hp Briggs lawnmower and the pull rope won't retract properly. I took the shroud off to take a look and I can fix it, but I am worried about the recoil spring popping out.

How do I fix this without the spring being touched?Vintage 3hp Briggs mower


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
August 18, 20170 found this helpful

You have to remove the old cord, remove the rewinder unit, put in the new cord and replace the rewinder unit. Here is an article with

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August 5, 2010

The pull cord on my gas lawn mower has been replaced by a service technician three times. Why does the cord keep breaking?

By Teri


December 22, 20120 found this helpful

Is the cord rubbing on something sharp?

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September 3, 2009

I was just outside using my lawnmower on my yard which hasn't been cut recently. It was way longer than I should have been keeping it. While I was going through my backyard it quit. Multiple times.

At first I couldn't pull the cord and found out that was due to there being too much grass caught in the blade. Then I continued to cut and then it quit on me again. I thought there was more grass underneath so I lifted it up and looked underneath and it was all clear. I tried to start it again and could pull the cord just fine, but after trying to pull it over 20 times now it still hasn't started back up.

I need help. I also don't know much about fixing things so if you answer please try and put it in simple terms for me.

By clay from Jacksonville, FL


September 3, 20090 found this helpful

Could be a multitude of things; bad/old gasoline; spark plug needs replacing; debris in fuel line; if you've checked these things, your only hope is to locate a small engine repair service locally.

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March 16, 2015

When trying to start my self propelled mower the recoil is massive! I hurt my hand and my chest when the cord snapped back. Any help?

By Billy P.

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March 15, 2015

I have a lawn machine, Briggs and Stratton 550ex, pushmower. The carb was replaced by the manufacturer. It was returned and now the pull cable gets stuck. I took the cover off and tried to turn by hand. It stops, then gets stuck. What's wrong? Something is blocking it from turning. I checked the handles and they are where they are suppose to be. The safety cable, throttle, etc. are all attached properly. Any thoughts?

By john r

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April 13, 2011

I pulled the string on my self propelled lawn mower and it just turns. Is this normal or do I have to do something?

By jesus from PA

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November 11, 2016

This is a page about lawnmower cord won't retract. It is frustrating when getting ready to mow your lawn to have the mower cord fail to retract.

A man pulling on a cord to start a lawnmower.

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April 14, 2018

This is a page about repairing a lawnmower pull cord that has no tension. Repairing the pull cord on a mower is typically something the homeowner can do. Check below for some tips.

Man pulling start cord on lawn mower

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