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Can You Start A Lawn Mower Without The Pull String? Easy Options - Find Out Here!

Written by William
Last Updated on January 24, 2023

Starting A Lawn Mower Without The Pull String

Lawn mowers are very useful tools for homeowners who want to keep their grass neat. They come in various sizes and shapes, and some even include attachments such as edgers and trimmers.

That said, different lawn mowers work differently, so there's no one answer to the question, "can you start a lawn mower without the pull string." It will depend on the mower you have. 

Although, there are some ways that you can start a lawn mower even when you have starter rope or pull string issues.

For us to be able to get around this issue, we first need to understand what we're dealing with. 

So, we need to learn,

How Lawn Mower Pull Strings/ Starter Rope Work

The pull string is wound around the recoil spring, which engages with the engine flywheel.

Once the pull string is pulled, the flywheel rotates, and that, in turn, will rotate the crankshaft and move the piston.

The flywheel has two magnets on its outer ring. These magnets build up magnetic energy as the flywheel spins. Once they do, they cause the spark plug to fire off a high voltage spark that ignites the fuel in the combustion chamber.

The combustion of fuel is what keeps the lawnmower engine running so you can use your lawn mower.

How to Start Lawn Mower When Pull String Breaks

You may be in a situation where you can't have your lawn mower fixed or replaced, but the grass won't grow on your schedule.

But don't panic; there are things you can do as a temporary fix to start your lawn mower.

Option 1 

The first thing to do is to unscrew the recoil housing with a socket set or screwdriver to expose the pull string and the starter mechanism. 

If you still have some lawnmower pull cord or string attached that you can pull wound around the recoil spring, then try that.

If the string is still long enough but not attached anymore, put the old rope back through its hole and retire to reattach it, then try pulling it.  

It would be great if any of those work, but if the problem is that your string is frayed and is falling apart so much, or if it's too short that it can't rotate the wheel, we should look for another way to rotate the wheel.

Option 2

From the previous topic, we learned that, basically, the pull cord starter work by setting off the flywheel, which in turn triggers the power of your mower.

So, we can bypass pulling the string if we have another way to initiate rotation on the flywheel.

To do this, we can use a hand drill.


Safety first - Place the lawn mower on a level surface. The mower needs to be stable for your and the machine's safety. Do not tip the mower over on its side while working on it, as that may cause oil and fuel leakage.

Access the recoil starter mechanism - We need to remove the recoil starter housing to access the engine flywheel. To do this, use a socket set or screwdriver to unscrew the recoil housing. 

Remove the pulley system - The pulley system or recoil starter assembly is basically where the pull string is attached. When the pull string is broken, the whole pulley system loses its purpose. Remove any parts attached to the flywheel. 

Access the flywheel - The pulley system is attached to the flywheel. Once you remove the pulley system, you should see the flywheel. Make sure that there is a bolt exposed in the flywheel. That's what we need to be able to start the lawnmower engine. 

Rotate the flywheel - Again, the rotation of the flywheel is what triggers the start of the lawn mower engine. To rotate the flywheel, we need a hand drill and an appropriately sized socket. Place the socket on your hand drill and set it to clockwise rotation. Place the socket firmly in the exposed bolt and rotate.

By then, it should only take a few seconds for your lawnmower engine to start. Safely remove your hand drill.

That's it! You can now use your mower.

However, fixing or replacing your pull string is still the best thing to do. It could be frustrating if your lawn mower shuts off while you're far away from your hand drill, especially if your hand drill is not wireless. You'll have to push your mower back to your house to start it again. 

So, here's 

How To Repair/Replace Lawn Mower Pull String

First, you need to remove the cover or the recoil housing.

Do not let the mower fall over on its side because this can cause oil and gas to spill out.

Check out the motor coil wheel. Depending on how the rope broke, you may have some rope left on it. You can reattach the pull handle by feeding the old rope back through the hole and tying it again.

If you don't have enough rope, you'll need to replace it with another one.

Take a wrench and loosen the nut that holds the coil housing in place. When you remove the wheel, you should be able to get the winding spring that coils up the rope.

Loosen the bolt holding the coil pulley in position. Remove the coil spring by cutting it off. Mark the correct direction by making an arrow pointing to the direction the rope was coiled.

Then, wrap the new rope around the coil pulley in the opposite direction of the arrow you marked. 

Next, bolt the coil pulleys back into place.

Unplug the spark plug and test if the string coils and uncoils properly.

Pull the end of the string through the hole in the housing, tie the old pull handle to it. Cut some of the pull string if it's too long.

Then, place the housing back into its spot.

Finally, put the spark plug wire back into place and start your mower as normal.

In Conclusion

Starting a lawn mower can be difficult work if something goes wrong with the pull string, but that doesn't make your lawnmower unusable. 

That said, there are still things you can do to be able to use your mower. Even with a broken pull string, you can still use your mower for months.

You can either fix the problem by replacing the part or start it using another method.

To avoid the hassle, lawn mowers should be serviced regularly. 

Lawn mowers are generally made to be easy to use and maintain. 

As they say, "prevention is better than cure."

About the author
Written by William
I have always had a passion for gardening and that with a background in selling lawn mowers for the past 10 years, I have become very knowledgeable in all types of gardening tools. The site was created as a hub where I can review and write about all of the tips around gardening.
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