Starting the lawnmower without a cable - this is how it works

Starting the lawnmower without a cable - this is how it works

What is the function of a cable pull?

Tools with small combustion engines are usually started with a cable pull, also known as reversing starters. The purely mechanical start function has the advantage that there is no need for complex components such as an alternator or starter. The pull rope is wound onto a rope drum which is located on a freewheeling hub on the crankshaft stub of the lawnmower engine.

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By pulling hard on the rope, the engine is started by the crankshaft coming to the appropriate speed. The rope is then automatically pulled back into its starting position with the help of a spiral spring. If the cable on the petrol lawn mower breaks, an alternative has to be found to start the crankshaft.

How to start a lawnmower without a cable

First, remove the broken cable because it has become unusable for the start. For the rest of the procedure you need a drill (€ 43.99 at Amazon *) or a cordless screwdriver and a socket wrench that fits onto the crankshaft stub. To get the engine going:

  • Attach the socket wrench to the drill
  • Set the throttle lever on the lawn mower to a maximum of half power
  • Place the drill on the crankshaft stub
  • Start the drill

As soon as the rotating drill starts the engine, remove the socket wrench. It is important to note that you use a drill whose speed is higher than the speed of the lawnmower. Otherwise there is an increased risk of injury because the drill could be torn from your hands or the socket wrench could be thrown around. For this reason, the throttle on the lawn mower must not be at full throttle when you start.


If the lawnmower does not start, it is usually not due to the broken cable. Lack of fuel, dirty spark plugs or a clogged carburetor are some of the most common causes of a lawnmower engine on strike.