The pull cord on my lawnmower is loose and might have detached from the crankshaft. I am unable to start the lawnmower.

I don't have much experience fixing things, but is this easy to fix, or should I take it to be repaired?

  • Have you tried removing the casing? That's usually easy to do for replacement. You'll notice a broken crank immediately. But if it doesn't start, there might be two issues. Care for a photo from below? What model is it?
    – dakab
    Feb 25 '17 at 7:20

This is actually a very difficult fix, depending on if any cord remained. The inside of a pull start mechanism contains a coil spring and a ratcheting mechanism. When you pull it, the ratchet pawls engage, turning the motor while tightening the spring. When the motor starts, the ratcheting pawls disengage (or your hand would be ripped off), you release the cord, and the spring retracts the cord.

Because the coil spring is always under tension, it is difficult to service. If you accidentally lose tension, it's very difficult to rewind.

In short, it's possible, but difficult, and I wouldn't recommend it.

  • Replacement was a fairly simple DIY on my mower. Probably varies by brand. It's not hard to find the manuals for old mowers online, for free. Many manufacturers have them available for decades old mowers. That'll tell you about your specific mower. Feb 25 '17 at 20:21
  • Replacement is a bit different from repair. If the OP can get a replacement cord/spring unit, I would be inclined to agree with you. I'd still, however, recommend against it unless the OP is comfortable working on the lawnmower.
    – Hari Ganti
    Feb 26 '17 at 4:12

Don't try to fix it yourself, as @Hari explains, but do take it to your local repair shop. It's by no means the end of the machine. I've had a 1/2 dozen cords bake over the years and my local mower repair shop fixed them quickly and inexpensively.

  • You would think that this would be an easy fix. What a headache! Definitely this is a good time to take to a 2 stroke engine repair shop and get a good cleaning, get filters replaced. Have it 'adjusted' for air and gas professionally. I always butt in to learn what they are doing and they actually like your involvement! Make sure you never use gas with ethanol and always measure your oil before mixing in your gas tank! If you can keep these machines DIRT FREE they will last almost forever.
    – stormy
    Feb 27 '17 at 19:37

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