2 Reasons your Lawn Mower String doesn’t Pull all the Way

A push mower needs its string pulled to start… and usually, you only need to pull twice and the engine starts without a hitch so you can get your work done…However, if the lawn mower string breaks or it doesn’t start like it normally does.

What could be the problem?

Well, there are usually two reasons, which are not that serious and could be fixed easily.

The engine could be the problem with the recoiler start acting up.

If you have been oiling it regularly, then this should not happen, but you can still make a quick oil check to see whether the level has fallen below what is recommended.

On a rotary mower, the starting mechanism connects to the blades, and so a build-up of debris could cause this hitch. Again, this is something that you can fix fast without having to postpone your mowing session.

Don’t know whether you should use mower oil or motor oil?

Quick Fixes

For the above problems, these quick fixes will work instantaneously so you can start your mower and get to work.

1. Check if Brake is engaged

If the mower is new and you are using it for the first time, then check the brake as some manufacturers engage it for safety.

You would have to disengage it to start the mower, which is quite a simple procedure.

picture of a mowers brake

2. Check the Level of Oil

Every new mower comes with a manual that tells you the recommended level of oil, and so you want to keep it at that all the time. If it runs out or goes below the level, then you will expect issues with your lawn mower.

picture of someone checking mower oil

It may even prevent it from starting.

If it runs out while the mower is still in operation, it could suffer damage that will need repairs before you can use it, but a cold mower makes it easy to free the piston and oil it for normal operation.

To check the level of oil, check the oil dipstick and add some if the crankcase is empty. Then, with a pair of leather gloves on, push the blades until they no longer feel stuck, and then pull your strings to start the mower.

A combination of vacuum pressure and sharp blades gets the job done.

3. Clean Underneath your Rotary Lawn Mower

When off season, you want to check underneath your rotary lawn mower and clean off the debris. Small rocks could have lodged themselves in the blade, preventing it from turning, and therefore unable to start.

If your mower has a brake lever, you want to depress it when pulling the started rope or the mower won’t start. That is of course, after checking that the underside is clear of any obstacles.

4. Too Much Oil

If you stored your mower standing on its front wheels or you overfilled it with oil, then it could seep into the piston cylinder and prevent it from moving. However much you pull, it won’t start until you remove get rid of the excess oil.

To do this, remove the spark plug to open the cylinder and pull out the cord. Start pulling the cord until the excess oil is burnt and the mower is running as normal.

It will smoke a lot while at it, but at least it will get rid of the excess oil.

Get up to speed with the basics of how a mower throttle works with our guide below.

More Serious Problems

These are not the only reason your starter is acting up. There could be more serious issues that could require the attention of a professional.

Faulty Starter

If your mower is well oiled but the pulley still won’t respond, then the problem could be with the starter itself.

image of mower starter

The cord wraps itself 5-6 times inside the starter pulley, and it could be tangled too much to respond when pulled.

One other thing is the spring that allows the cord to retract.

If it is unseated, then it won’t connect with the pulley, and so you won’t be able to start your mower.

To fix this issue, you will have to disassemble the starter from the engine housing. When they are separated, you can then fix the cord and screw it back to try starting it.

Faulty Engine

If you still can’t start your mower even after checking the above, then it could signify a faulty engine.

Engines are ruined by poor storage – in moist places and failure to add oil, but only over prolonged periods of time. A failed engine has but one remedy: replacement.

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