Having a lawn mower pull cord hard to pull is not an uncommon issue in this mechanical device, and it is worrisome if you have already tried your best to start your lawn mower through its pull cord but did not succeed.

Solving the Hard to Pull Lawn Mower Pull Cord

You may consider this a major problem because when your lawn mower does not start, it means that it is not in perfect condition. However, in this article, you will understand that you just have to do a few minor adjustments and it would be an easy fix.

Let’s start to figure out the possible issues that is causing your lawn mower to have problems affecting its pull cord.

Why Is Your Lawn Mower Pull Cord Hard To Pull?

Your lawn mower pull cord hard to pull is because of the way you pull the cord, the area where your mower is located when you are trying to start it, because it has a blade obstruction, or because of a starter mechanism-related issue.

Let’s begin to talk about each of them.

– Wrong Way of Pulling

Pulling the pull cord should be straight away from the mower, and if you are doing it in any other way, then it could cause a problem. It is possible that you are just adding friction when you are pulling the cord without being attentive to the direction your hand is going.

– Having a Blade Obstruction

Blade obstruction occurs when something is blocking or stopping the blade from moving and makes your pull cord hard to pull. This issue commonly occurs when there is small debris lodged between the blade and the mower deck or when you are starting your lawn mower in the yard.

The height of the grass in your lawn might be causing an obstruction and creating resistance when you make your mower start.

– Broken Handle and Cord

The moment your mower pull cord becomes harder to pull, the handle and cord are the first things you should observe. A damaged handle and cord would make it hard for you to pull, especially because some lawn mower owners just try to reattach a broken cord and put up with a damaged handle.

Reasons for Lawn Mower Pull Cord Hard to Pull

Remember that it is best to replace the parts with new ones if your mower handle and the cord are already damaged.

– Hydro Locked

The hydro lock happens when a lot of oil spills into the exhaust area. The engine oil blocks the engine, and it affects the piston by preventing it from moving. This will result in the oil going on the piston as it has nowhere to go, and most of the time, this makes it hard to pull the cord.

To diagnose this issue, you have to detach the spark plug. After doing that, start the engine. As you remove the engine pressure that was released by the spark plug, it will make it easier to pull the starter rope. You will also notice that there is oil and fuel being ejected out of the hole where the spark plug is located when you try to pull the cord.

How Can You Fix It?

To fix your lawn mower pull cord that is hard to pull, you can try improving your way of pulling, removing any blade obstructions, changing the lawn mower handle and cord, or fixing the hydro lock.

These methods will help you fix the mower in no time.

Now that you know the possible reasons that could be causing this issue, you are better equipped to fix your lawn mower pull cord that is hard to pull.

– Improving Your Way of Pulling

Observe your lawn mower and observe the direction in which the rope comes out of the recoil starter. Then, go into a position where you can pull the starter rope without adding resistance. This way, you would end up having a smooth and easy pull.

Solution for Lawn Mower Pull Cord Hard to Pull

Here’s an additional technique: brace the mower in its place using your off-hand while your main hand pulls the cord. This action will make sure that as you pull, the energy that you are releasing would apply to the rope alone and not to the mower.

– Removing Blade Obstruction

The next time you start your mower’s engine, observe the length of the grass where your mower is sitting, and compare it to your mower’s height. If you see that the blades of grass can create an obstruction, then try moving your lawn mower to your driveway or any flat surface where the blade can turn freely to prevent the starter rope from becoming hard to pull.

Here’s another tip: try lifting the front part of the lawn mower before pulling out the starter cord, and it will be easier to pull.

– Changing the Handle and Cord

As soon as you discover that the handle and cord are broken, replace them immediately as they are essential components for your lawn mower start engine.

Changing this part requires plenty of steps, so we have below a step-by-step guide on how you can carry it out.

Here are the tools you will need:

  • Socket Wrench
  • Needle Nose Pliers
  • C-clamp
  • Pair of Scissors
  • New Cord
  • New Handle

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Detach the engine cover: Using a socket wrench, detach the bolt that stabilizes the engine cover.
  2. Detach the Recoil House: Once you have removed the engine cover, lift it up and set it aside.
  3. Tie a Knot in the Cord: In the next step, hold the cord and tie a knot in it. The purpose of this knot is to prevent the cord from returning back into the recoil house in case you accidentally let go of it.
  4. Cut the Cord: Disrupt the starter handle, and set it aside using a pair of scissors. Be careful not to cut off the knot while cutting the cord.
  5. Pull out The Cord: Pull the entire length of cord in the housing until there is none left.
  6. Clamp the Recoil Hub: By this time, get the C-clamp. Use it to keep the fully extended cord in place, and put it on the starter. Make sure that it is tightened just right to prevent damaging the starter.
  7. Remove the Old Cord: In the interior of the starter hub, you will see the end of the cord that has a knot, take a hold of it, and pull the cord out of the interior.
  8. Engage the New Cord in the Starter Hub: Put on the new cord throughout the house, and keep in mind that its length should match that of your old cord.
  9. Tie the New Cord in the Starter Hub: With the brand-new cord in hand, look for the inside end of the cord, and tie a firm knot on it. Make sure to cut the excess cord in the knot using your scissors.
  10. Engage and Tie the New Cord to the Handle: After tying a knot, engage the cord through the handle and tie a knot at its end.
  11. Remove the Clamp: Hold the cord close to the starter hub. Expect the recoil spring to draw back the cord into the housing as you remove the clamp, so get a firm grip on it.
  12. Push in the Cord and Test: Release the cord slowly, and let the recoil spring take it in. Once it is done, do a test run by pulling the handle and letting the spring take back the cord.
  13. Reattach the Recoil: If everything is perfectly fine with the cord, the last step is to reattach the recoil back into your mower and give it a try again.

– Fixing the Hydro Lock

Actually, you are halfway through the process of fixing the hydro lock as you inspect the engine by removing the spark plug. Another thing you have to do is to remove the oil from the engine by removing the spark plug, covering its area, pulling the starter rope, spraying an engine starter, installing the spark plug, and then trying to start the engine.

Solving the Hard Pull Cord Issue on Lawn Mowers


Having a lawn mower pull cord that is hard to pull is an uncommon issue, but it is definitely an easy fix.

Just keep these key points in mind:

  • Use the right technique when pulling the cord.
  • Make sure that there are no obstructions before you start to pull the cord.
  • Make sure that the handle and cord are in good condition.
  • Fix the hydro lock as soon as you diagnose any issue.

While your lawn mower pull cord becomes hard to pull because of a variety of reasons, there are also a lot of ways for you to deal with it. With the problem solved, you can go back to maintaining your beautiful lawn in no time!

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