Craftsman Lawn Mower Cord won’t Pull(3 Quick Ways To Fix)

Craftsman lawn mowers are renowned for their durability and reliability, but even the most robust machines can encounter issues over time.

One common problem that many lawn mower owners face is when the cord won’t pull.

This issue can be frustrating, especially when you’re eager to get your lawn in pristine condition.

In this post, we’ll explore the reasons behind this problem and guide you through troubleshooting steps to get your Craftsman lawn mower back in action.

Let’s dive in.

Craftsman Lawn Mower Cord won't Pull

Craftsman Lawn Mower Cord won’t Pull

1. Engine Seized

Lack of maintenance

One of the primary reasons for a seized engine is neglecting regular maintenance. Over time, dirt, debris, and grass clippings can accumulate in the engine, impeding its functionality.

It’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule to keep the engine running smoothly.

Stale Fuel 

Fuel that has been sitting in the tank for an extended period of time can lead to engine problems.

Old, stale gasoline can cause varnish and carbon buildup, which can seize the engine’s internal components. Always use fresh, high-quality gasoline in your lawn mower.

2. Blade Obstruction

Debris Buildup

During lawn mowing, sticks, twigs, and grass clippings can accumulate around the blade area. If these obstructions aren’t cleared regularly, they can obstruct the blade’s movement, preventing the cord from pulling.

To avoid this, inspect and clean the blade area after each use.

Craftsman Lawn Mower Cord wont Pull

Foreign Objects

Sometimes, foreign objects like stones, toys, or pet debris can get lodged in the blade area. These objects can jam the blade, making it difficult to pull the cord. It’s crucial to remove any foreign items from the lawn before mowing.

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3. Faulty Spark plug

Wear and Tear

Spark plugs are critical for igniting the fuel-air mixture in the engine. Over time, they can wear out or become fouled with carbon deposits, affecting their ability to produce a spark.

What to do when the lawn mower string won't pull?

Regularly check the spark plug and replace it if you notice signs of wear or damage.

Incorrect Gap 

Each lawn mower model has a specific gap requirement for the spark plug. If the gap is incorrect, it can lead to ignition issues. Ensure that the spark plug is correctly gapped according to your mower’s specifications.

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4. Overfilled oil


Lawn mowers require a precise amount of oil to function correctly. Overfilling the oil reservoir can lead to what’s known as a hydraulic lock.

This occurs when excess oil interferes with the engine’s movement, making it impossible to pull the cord. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for oil levels.

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What to do when the lawn mower string won’t pull?

When the pull cord on your lawn mower refuses to budge, it can be a frustrating experience.

Here are steps to help you troubleshoot and resolve the issue:

  • Safety First: Ensure the lawn mower is on a level surface and the spark plug wire is disconnected to prevent accidental starting.
  • Inspect for Obstructions: Check the area around the blade and underneath the deck for any debris, such as sticks, grass clippings, or foreign objects, that may be obstructing the blade’s movement. Remove any obstructions.
  • Examine the Spark Plug: Remove the spark plug and inspect it. A fouled or damaged spark plug can prevent the engine from turning over. Replace the spark plug if necessary.
  • Check the oil level. Excessive oil in the engine can cause hydraulic lock, preventing the cord from pulling. Ensure the oil level is within the recommended range.
  • Fuel Quality: Ensure you’re using fresh, clean gasoline with the appropriate octane rating for your mower. Stale fuel can lead to starting issues.
  • Try a blade rotation:If everything else seems fine, attempt to manually rotate the blade by gently turning it. This can sometimes free a stuck engine.

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How do you unlock a pull cord on a lawn mower?

Unlocking a stuck pull cord on a lawn mower can often be accomplished through the following steps:

  • Inspect for obstructions: Check the area around the blade and beneath the deck for any debris or foreign objects that might be jamming the blade or pull cord. Remove any obstructions.
  • Oil Level Check: Verify that the engine oil level is within the recommended range. Overfilled oil can lead to a locked engine.
  • Spark Plug Examination: Inspect the spark plug for damage or fouling. A faulty spark plug can hinder starting. Replace it if necessary.
  • Attempt Manual Blade Rotation: Gently try to rotate the blade by hand. This may help release any engine locks.
  • Lubricate the Pull Cord Mechanism: Apply a small amount of lubricating oil to the pull cord mechanism to ensure it moves freely.
  • Check Throttle and Choke: Ensure that the throttle and choke controls are in the correct position for starting.
  • Slow, pull, and steady:When attempting to pull the cord, do so slowly and steadily. Jerky or forceful pulling can worsen the problem.

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What causes a lawn mower to lock up?

A lawn mower can lock up or become seized due to various reasons:

  • Engine Overheating: Continuous operation in high temperatures without sufficient cooling can lead to engine overheating and seizing.
  • Lack of Lubrication: Insufficient or contaminated engine oil can result in inadequate lubrication, causing the engine components to seize.
  • Debris and Obstructions: The accumulation of grass clippings, sticks, or foreign objects in the blade area can jam the blade or engine, causing a lockup.
  • Hydraulic Lock: If the engine is overfilled with oil, it can lead to a hydraulic lock, where the excess oil prevents the engine from turning over.
  • Mechanical Failures: Internal mechanical failures, such as a damaged piston or connecting rod, can also lead to engine lockup.
  • Stale Fuel: The use of old, stale gasoline can result in carbon buildup and poor engine performance, potentially leading to a lockup.
  • Improper Maintenance: Neglecting routine maintenance, such as oil changes, spark plug replacements, and air filter cleaning, can contribute to engine problems.

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Why won’t the cord pull on my gasoline lawn mower?

If the cord won’t pull on your gasoline lawn mower, several factors may be responsible:

  • Obstructions: Debris, grass clippings, or foreign objects lodged around the blade area can obstruct the blade’s movement, preventing the cord from pulling.
  • Hydraulic Lock: Excessive oil in the engine can cause hydraulic lock, making it impossible to pull the cord.
  • Stale Fuel: Old or contaminated gasoline can lead to starting issues and difficulty pulling the cord.
  • Spark Plug Issues:A damaged or fouled spark plug can disrupt the ignition process, resulting in starting problems.

Read How to Start a Riding Lawn Mower Without a Key(5 Steps)

How do you fix a stuck throttle cable on a lawn mower?

  • Locate the Throttle Cable: Identify the throttle cable, which is usually connected to the engine’s carburetor or governor.
  • Inspect for obstructions: Check the throttle cable and linkage for any debris, rust, or dirt that may be causing the cable to stick. Clean or remove any obstructions.
  • Lubricate the Cable: Apply a lubricating spray or oil designed for throttle cables to the entire length of the cable. This will help it move smoothly.
  • Manually Move the Throttle: Gently move the throttle lever on the carburetor or governor by hand to ensure it moves freely.
  • Check for Kinks: Inspect the cable for any kinks or sharp bends that may be restricting its movement. Straighten or replace the cable if necessary.
  • Verify Proper Connection: Ensure that the throttle cable is correctly connected to both the throttle lever and the carburetor or governor.
  • Test the Throttle: Reconnect the spark plug wire, start the engine, and test the throttle control to ensure it operates smoothly and adjusts the engine’s speed as intended.

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Final Remarks

A Craftsman lawn mower with a cord that won’t pull can be fixed with some troubleshooting and basic maintenance.

By following the steps outlined in this article, you can get your mower back in top shape and have your lawn looking pristine in no time.


Can I use any type of gasoline in my Craftsman lawn mower?

It’s best to use high-quality gasoline with the correct octane rating recommended in your mower’s manual.

How often should I change the spark plug in my lawn mower?

It’s advisable to replace the spark plug annually or as specified in your mower’s manual.

What should I do if my cord still won’t pull after trying these steps?

If troubleshooting doesn’t work, it’s recommended to consult a professional lawn mower mechanic.

Can I use synthetic oil in my lawn mower?

Synthetic oil can be used in some lawn mowers, but it’s essential to check your mower’s manual for compatibility.

How can I prevent these issues in the future?

Regular maintenance, such as cleaning the blade area and changing the oil, can help prevent these problems from occurring again.

George Bill
George Bill

George Bill is a Mechanical Engineer by Profession and an avid gardener and has been mowing his lawn for over 20 years. He has used a variety of different mowers during this time.
George is an expert at maintaining his mowers and over the years, he has learned many tricks and techniques for getting the best results from his mowers and is always happy to share his knowledge on this site.