Why Your Lawnmower Cord Won’t Pull and How to Fix It

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Your lush green yard is bushy, and you’ve decided to mow it. However, you realize that your lawnmower cord won’t pull and throws you out or jerks violently whenever you try starting. This dreadful experience can be confusing without knowing how to identify the problem. 

The good news is our experts have the answers and will tell you how to address it below. 

Why Won't My Lawnmower Cord Pull?

You may have issues pulling the lawnmower cord due to many reasons, such as hydrolock, stuck debris/grass, low oil level, etc. It will be hard, as a beginner, to identify the exact problem. You’re not the only one experiencing this, but thanks to our mower engineers, you can resolve them in just five steps.

lawn mower cord won't pull

5 Steps to Fix a Lawnmower Cord That's Stuck or Won't Pull

Step #1: Clean Grass and Debris Stuck on the Mower

You may not know this, but grasses and debris buildup on the blade shaft can obstruct the cord from pulling. The blade can also get stuck on the debris skirt that attaches to the lower end of your cub cadet deck.

The blade shaft is connected to the deck and runs through the engine, where it meets the starter cup. This component connects to the pull cord. 

Remove the rubber spark plug boot to see if grasses are on the blade. If there are any obstructions, it will affect the shaft, then the pull cord. A deep clean will suffice. 

Step #2: Check Oil Level

Next is to check the oil level in the crankcase. If it’s low or empty, the metals in the engine will warp, resulting in engine overheating. It could cause the mower cord not to pull.

checking lawn mower oil level

What’s needed here is an engine top-up. Ensure the oil is at the required level by using the dipstick to measure it. If the oil is older than three months, replenish with a fresh batch.

Step #3: Check for Damage on the Recoil Starter

When you release the cord after pulling, it winds up on the recoil starter – a round, giant spring. Sometimes, they can get damaged, and you won’t be able to discover them until you open up the assembly. 

Checking this requires some expertise. Therefore, our technical team suggests you hire a professional if you’re not well-versed to handle this component.

This way, you can address the problem accurately while considering your safety. Lawnmower injury statistics are gradually increasing so make sure to prioritize your safety over anything else.

Step #4: Check for Hydro-Locking and Remove the Spark Plug

Hydrolock is when gas or oil enters the combustion and sits on the piston. Because of this, compressibility is hindered, resulting in no movement. 

lawn mower spark plug

If the piston can’t compress, the blades won’t spin, which affects the recoil cord. This is one of the reasons your lawnmower cord won’t pull. An excellent way to know if the hydrolock is responsible is to check for oil seeps from the exhaust during pulling. 

To fix this problem, remove the rubber boot, then the spark plug, and press the brand lever to pull out the starter cord [1]. Pull it up a few times like you are about to start the mower to let the gas and oil escape. 

Step #5: Pull the Cord

After checking and resolving all the issues mentioned above, you should try to pull the cord again. If resolved correctly, you should have no problem pulling the cord or starting the mower. But, if it is still stuck, check if you missed anything during the inspection. 

If not, consult your nearest service center for a more thorough inspection and repair.

Tips to Avoid Lawnmower Cord Issues in the Future

You can prevent your used lawnmower from developing cord issues by indulging in consistent maintenance practices. Most lawnmower issues develop due to a lack of proper maintenance. Below are some tips to keep in mind before and after mowing.

red lawn mower tune up

Tip #1: Clean the Mower Regularly to Avoid Debris Buildup

Make it a point of duty to keep the mower clean after use to avoid debris and grass buildup on the blade. Doing this will prolong the mower’s lifespan and cut down repair costs.

Tip #2: Clean and Maintain Mower Blade

The zero-turn mower blade should be cleaned after each use. It means removing debris, stick, or grasses on the blade. You risk leaving the edge blunt and having less work productivity if you neglect this practice. 

Tip #3: Check the Recoil Starter Regularly

Our engineers talked about the role of the recoil starter earlier. Like other components, you should regularly check them to avoid any lawnmower cord problems.


Several things can cause your lawnmower to have cord issues. Like most machines, identifying the problem is a prerequisite to solving it. That is what our professional team has done in this article. We hope the steps and tips mentioned here solve all your lawnmower cord problems and prolong the machine’s lifespan. 

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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