5 Common Causes of Lawn Mower Starter Cord Won’t Pull

When attempting to start your lawnmower, you may find that the starter cord does not pull. There are many reasons why your lawn mower is having trouble, which can be frustrating.

Problems with the starter cord assembly, the recoil starter mechanism, debris in the mower deck, a bent blade, and hydro locking are the most common reason for a more difficult-to-pull lawnmower starter cord.

This article will enlighten you with the most common reasons why the lawnmower starter cord won’t pull and how to fix the problem.

5 Common Causes of Lawn Mower Starter Cord Won’t Pull

5 Most Common Causes of a Lawnmower Starter Cord That Won’t Pull

A list of the reasons why lawnmower starter cord won’t pull and their respective solutions are provided.

Pull Cord Assembly JammedRepair the recoil spring: replace the damaged parts, pulley; lubricate the ball bearings. 
Recoil Starter ProblemsRepair the seized engine or filthy spark plug, untangle the cord, replace the stale fuel.
Debris in the Mower DeckRemove any obstructions from the deck, replace dull blade.
Bent BladeRemove any obstructions from the deck; replace the blade.
Hydro-LockingRemove the spark plug and pull the cord to clean the piston of any liquid gas or oil.

1. Pull Cord Assembly Jammed

The only visible component of the system is the starter cord. But within the mower, the cord activates a sequence of engine-starting mechanisms.

There is no doubt that a jammed pull cord assembly can lead to a difficult-to-pull lawnmower starter cord. When the starter cord is pulled, the pull cord assembly is responsible for activating the engine’s flywheel. A jammed pull cord assembly prevent the starter cord from engaging the flywheel and starting the engine.

The pull cord assembly might get jammed for a number of reasons. Damage or breakage of the recoil spring within the assembly is a common cause of this problem.

The pull cord is attached to the pulley. A damaged pulley causes the cord to slip or even break. Again, the cord might get crossed around the pulley.

Sometimes ball bearing may get rusted, preventing the cord to retract.

The Fix

The problem could be resolved by taking apart the pull cord assembly and checking its parts for signs of damage or wear.

  • It will be necessary to repair the recoil spring if it has been damaged.
  • Replace or fix additional parts as well if they are damaged, worn, or corroded.
  • If the pulley is broken or damaged, remove the starter housing and unwind the cord from the pulley. You can untangle or replace the damaged cord with a new one. If the teeth or grooves are broken, replace the pulley.
  • Ball bearings that have deteriorated can be lubricated by spraying them with lubricating oil; otherwise, they should be replaced.

2. Recoil Starter Problems

A common component used to start the engine on lawnmowers is a recoil starter. Any issue with the recoil starter makes the lawnmower’s starter cord difficult to pull.

Problems with the recoil starter of a lawnmower might be brought on by filthy or damaged spark plugs, a seized engine, a defective starter mechanism, tangled starter wires, or stale and old fuel.

The Fix

Lawnmower recoil starter problems can be difficult to identify and require a specialized approach to fix. The majority of issues with recoil starters can be fixed by following these steps.  

  • If the spark plug is filthy or broken, it may require washing or replacement.
  • The engine may need to be serviced if it has become seized or stuck.
  • If the starter cord becomes tangled, you should either attempt to carefully untangle it or replace it if it is severely damaged.
  • You should change out the fuel if you suspect it is stale or has been sitting for a long time.

Recoil starter problems can be prevented in the first place with routine maintenance like oil changes and spark plug replacements. Having the lawnmower serviced by a professional may be required at times.

3. Debris in the Mower Deck

The accumulation of debris in the mower deck might make the starter cord tougher to pull. Common causes include accumulation around the blades, twisted or damaged blades, clogged air filters, and engine damage.

These faults produce an imbalance in the blades, clogged air filters, or difficulty starting the engine, making it more difficult to pull the starter cord.

The Fix

To fix the issue, remove any obstructions, including sticks, rocks, and leaves, from the deck before beginning to mow. Keeping the grass from getting too long by mowing more frequently will help keep the mower deck cleaner.

Mower blades need to be inspected frequently for wear and sharpened or replaced if they become damaged or dull and prevent the mower from doing its job. 

Related Post: 5 Most Common Problems with Kubota Mower Deck and Fixes

4. Bent Blade

Blades can be bent or otherwise damaged in usage, perhaps making them unable to spin freely or even damaging other parts. When you pull the cord, the blade won’t be able to freely spin.

It is possible that debris has gathered on the mower deck, preventing the blade from operating freely and altering its shape.

The Fix:

  • You should first tip it over to release any debris stuck in the blades, with the air filter facing upward. Grass or other debris could be tying up the blade more likely and make it bent.
  • Remove any kind of dirt and obstructions.
  • The problem can only be fixed by purchasing a new blade if the current one remains bent. 

5. Hydro-Locking

The term “hydro lock” refers to the situation in which fuel has made its way into the combustion cylinder and is now resting above the piston and the excess pressure stops the piston from compressing, rendering the mechanism inoperable. It is one reason of a jammed starter cord.

Hydro-locking typically occurs when the mower is inverted and the air filter is pointed downward. As a result, the crankshaft can’t turn because the high viscosity oil plugs the cylinder and the starter cord become hard to pull.

The Fix:

  • You need to conduct a diagnosis to determine whether or not hydro-locking is the actual cause of the problem.
  • To check that this is the case, With the spark plug removed, depress the brake lever and slowly pull the starter cord. If it pulls, then you had hydro lock.
  • Replace any broken engine components, such as pistons or connecting rods. This will resolve the hydro locking issue and eventually the problem in pulling the starter cord.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How does a starter cord work?

The starter cord rotates a hub. The mower blade is connected to the crankshaft, which is attached to this hub. A spark plug is activated by an electromagnetic link, and fuel is directed to the carburetor of the engine simultaneously. When the fuel ignites, the motor moves forward. 

How to start a lawnmower without a pull cord?

Wrapping a small rope around the flywheel is a good alternative to the pull cord for starting a lawnmower. Get a hold of the rope and release the flywheel to start the mower.

What is the best rope to use for a pull cord?

Nylon Rope is the best to use for a pull cord.

What type of material is used to make a starter rope?

Dacron Polyester is the material used to make starter cords.

How much does a new starter rope cost?

A new starter rope for a lawn mower costs between $10 and $20.

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