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Trouble with a Lawnmower Pull Cord Hard to Pull? Fix It Fast & Easy!

A lawnmower pull rope that is hard to pull can frustrate any homeowner. Sometimes, it may require more physical strength if you have trouble starting your pull-start lawn mower. When troubleshooting a lawnmower pull cord that is hard to pull, it is important to start by checking for common causes.

First, ensure the spark plug is in good condition and securely connected. Next, check for any obstructions in the blade or blade shaft that prevents the engine from turning. It is also essential to check the starter mechanism for any damage or wear and tear that may prevent it from working properly.

If the issue is not a faulty plug or blade obstruction, checking for excess oil or debris jamming blades and mower engine components may be necessary. Replacing certain parts, like the starter mechanism or recoil spring, may be necessary.

In our guide, you can learn more about what makes starter on lawn mower hard to pull. By the end, you’ll have enough troubleshooting tips for how to make the lawn mower easier to pull start, no longer how long your lawn mower has sat idle. (Read Why Is My Grass Turning White)

Lawn mower hard to pul

Why Can’t I Pull The Starter Rope?

If you’re struggling to pull the lawn mower pull cord on your lawnmower, it could be for a few different reasons. One potential cause is that the piston inside your mower’s engine has seized up, preventing the cord from turning the engine over. This can occur if there isn’t enough oil in the engine or it hasn’t been properly lubricated.

Addressing this issue as soon as possible is essential regardless of what’s making it hard to pull the starter on your mower. Not only can a stubborn starter rope make mowing more challenging and time-consuming, but it can also put unnecessary strain on other parts of your mower and potentially lead to additional problems.

Starter Rope Troubleshooting

If you’re having trouble pulling the cord on your lawnmower, check a few things before giving up and calling in a professional. First, ensure that the lawn mower blade isn’t stuck. If the lawnmower blade is engaged, it will add resistance and make it challenging to pull the cord. Once you’ve disengaged the lawnmower blade, try pulling the cord again.

If disengaging the blade doesn’t solve the problem, it could be because of debris build-up or grass clippings around the blade or in other parts of your mower’s engine. If both options cannot fix your lawnmower’s hard-to-pull cord issue, it may be time for mower repairs.

However, if it needs repair work, remember that if everything works fine once the mower started, chances are you only need minor fixes.

Factory Safety Lock

If you have difficulty pulling the lawnmower cord, there might be an issue with the spark plug or spark plug wire. These components power your lawnmower’s engine and ignite the fuel that provides the energy to move your mower’s blades.

If they aren’t functioning correctly, easy starting is challenging, if not impossible. A factory safety lock prevents accidental ignition by locking out the system during maintenance or repairs. This will give you peace of mind while working on potentially dangerous parts. (Read Pros And Cons Of Mulching Blades)

Flywheel Brake Stuck

If you’re having difficulty pulling the starter handle on your lawnmower, the flywheel brake may be stuck. Various issues, including debris build-up or rust on the flywheel brake mechanism, can cause this problem.

To fix this issue, disconnect the spark plugs wire and remove any debris that may cause the problem. Examine the flywheel brake mechanism for rust, oil, or corrosion signs. Use a wire brush to remove rust build-up before lubricating with oil or grease.

Jammed Debris

Debris jam is a common issue that makes your lawnmower pull cord hard. When debris gets stuck in the blades, it can cause the engine to hydro lock and prevent it from turning over. This often happens when you try to mow through tall grass or wet leaves, but even small twigs and rocks can cause a debris jam.

First, turn off the mower and disconnect the spark plugs wire for safety. Then, inspect the blades and remove any visible debris with a rake or stick. If more stubborn debris is stuck in the blades or chute, use gloves and pliers to dislodge it carefully.

Once you have removed all the debris from your lawnmower’s blade area, reconnect the spark plug wire and try pulling the lawnmower pull cord.

Hydro-Lock Issues


Hydro-lock is a common issue when water enters an engine’s combustion chamber. If your lawnmower pull cord is hard to pull, it could be because of hydro-lock caused by water entering the cylinder through the carburettor or intake valve.

This can occur if you leave your lawnmower outside during heavy rain or accidentally leave the air filter off while mowing damp grass. Additionally, consider investing in a high-quality recoil starter with a comfortable pull cord handle that won’t wear out over time and make starting even harder than it already is!

If you have issues with the recoil starter, problems can manifest as a jammed starter rope. Luckily, it is easy to replace these rather than fix them.

Snagged Start Rope

Difficulty in pulling the starter cord might mean an issue with the engine. The most common cause is a snagged start rope that causes resistance when you pull it.

To fix this issue, check the spark plug hole and ensure no obstructions or debris. Hydro locking gives the same symptoms, and you would see water when you remove the spark plug and look into the spark plug hole.

Another reason your starter cord may be hard to pull is a damaged recoil spring. This can cause the starter rope to become stuck and make it impossible for you to start your lawnmower. In such cases, replacing the recoil spring can help solve the problem. (Read Oil In Carburetor Lawn Mower – What To Do)

Loose Or Missing Blade

One of the most common reasons why a lawnmower’s cord is hard to pull is a loose or missing blade. When the blade is loose or missing, it can cause the engine to become unbalanced and make it challenging to start your mower.

You will need special tools like a socket and torque wrench to solve this problem. First, turn off your mower and disconnect its spark plugs wire. Then, remove the bolt holding the blade in place using a socket wrench.

Bent Crankshaft Or Engine Damage

Struggling to pull the cord could indicate a damaged crankshaft or engine. This is common in older lawnmowers that have seen extensive use. A damaged crankshaft can cause the engine to seize up or lock, making it challenging to start and operate correctly.

One issue to arise with a damaged crankshaft is hydro locking. This occurs when fuel and oil mix with water and flood the engine, causing it to become unresponsive. Sometimes, repairing a damaged crankshaft or engine may not be worth the cost and effort required. If your lawnmower is showing signs of significant wear and tear, it might be more cost-effective just to replace it entirely.

One thing often done is strong the mower on its front wheels. This causes oil to run into the cylinder and causes issues like hydro locking, so an easier pull is almost impossible.

Replacing Mower’s Pull Cord

Should I Replace My Mower’s Pull Cord?

If you have difficulty starting your lawnmower, the issue might be with the pull cord.

  1. A worn-out cord can make it challenging to start your mower and lead to frustration. Replacing it is a simple task to save you from purchasing a new mower altogether.
  2. The first step in replacing your mower’s pull cord is accessing the recoil housing, which houses the cord assembly.
  3. This process may vary depending on your mower’s make and model but typically involves removing screws or clips that secure the housing.
  4. Once you’ve accessed the recoil housing, inspect the condition of both the old cord and pulley for any signs of wear or damage.
  5. Once you’ve determined it’s time to replace your pull string, disconnect any attachments linking it to the engine before removing it from its pulley assembly.

If Your Mower Still Won’t Start After Pulling The Cord Hard Enough

If your lawnmower still doesn’t start after pulling the cord hard enough, other underlying issues may need to be addressed.

Check your mower blade to ensure that it is properly installed and sharp. In addition, inspect the air filter and spark plug for signs of wear or damage. A dirty or faulty air filter can restrict airflow and prevent proper combustion in the engine, while a worn-out spark plug may not provide enough ignition for fuel to burn efficiently. (Read Is SAE 30 The Same As 10w30)

Check The Spark Plug

Spark plugs are essential components in small engines like lawnmowers and a leaf blower, as they provide the necessary spark to ignite the fuel system. Over time, however, they can become worn out or fouled with deposits from the fuel system.

To check if your spark plug is the culprit, remove using the proper tools, like a spark plug socket. Inspect for any signs of damage like cracks or erosion on its electrodes. If you notice any issues here, replacing the spark plug should solve your problem.

Check The Valves

Check the valves if your lawnmower pull cord is hard to pull. The engine’s valve clearance may be causing the problem. Valve clearances are critical for proper engine operation. If they are not adjusted correctly, it can cause issues like hard starting, reduced performance, and even damage to the engine components.

Remove the spark plug first to check the valves on your lawnmower engine. Then turn over the engine by hand until it reaches Top Dead Center (TDC) on the compression stroke.

Check You Have Enough Fuel

If you’re having trouble pulling the cord of your lawnmower, it may be time to check the gas levels. Running out of gas is one of the most common reasons a lawnmower won’t start or has difficulty starting. Before attempting to pull the cord again, take a few minutes to inspect your gas tank.

If you find that there isn’t enough gas in your mower, fill up the tank with fresh fuel. Using clean and unleaded gasoline is important since dirty or stale gas can clog up your mower’s carburetor or fuel lines.

Build Up Your Arm Muscles

If you’re struggling to pull your lawnmower’s cord, it could show your arm muscles need some work. Luckily, various exercises help build up these muscles and make pulling the cord easier in the future.

Trouble with a Lawnmower Pull Cord Hard to Pull Fix It Fast & Easy!