How to Get Your Lawn Mower Started When the Pull Cord is Broken

Having a broken pull cord on your lawn mower can be very frustrating, as it leaves you unable to easily start the engine. However, there are a few ways to get your mower started without the pull cord so you can get your yard work done.

Assess the Damage

The first step is to inspect the pull cord and determine exactly what is wrong. Some issues are easier to remedy than others:

If the cord is detached or the recoil spring is broken, using emergency starting procedures will be necessary to get the mower running.

Emergency Starting Methods

There are a couple methods you can use to start a mower with a broken pull cord:

Remove the Spark Plug

  1. Disconnect the spark plug wire and use a socket to remove the spark plug.

  2. Pour about a tablespoon of gas directly into the spark plug hole. This adds fuel to the combustion chamber.

  3. Replace the spark plug, but leave the wire disconnected.

  4. Push the mower to move the pistons up and down. This will build compression.

  5. Once you've moved the mower 4-5 feet, reconnect the spark plug wire. The spark will ignite the gas vapors and start the engine.

Rotate the Blade Manually

  1. Disconnect the spark plug wire.

  2. Tip the mower back so the blade is facing upward.

  3. Use gloves to rotate the blade several revolutions. This manually cycles the piston.

  4. Return the mower to normal operating position.

  5. Reconnect the spark plug wire and the engine should start up.

The manual blade rotation method requires some physical effort, but avoids having topour gas directly into the engine.

Long-Term Fixes

While the emergency starting procedures allow you to use the mower temporarily, you'll want to properly repair the pull cord for a permanent fix. Here are a few options:

With some determination and mechanical skill, you can overcome a broken pull cord and get your lawn mower running again. In a pinch, the emergency methods can get the job done so your grass doesn't get too tall. But ultimately, repairing or replacing the pull starter provides the most reliable solution.