The first step in troubleshooting a lawn mower starter is to see if the starter pulls out and doesn't go back in, meaning that the spring has broken or failed. Find out how to check to see if the starter pawls are coming out with help from the owner of a small engine repair shop in this free video on lawn mower repair.
Hi, I'm Mark Bauer with Bauer Small Engine Repair, I'm going to show you how to troubleshoot a lawn mower starter. This is a, this called a recoil starter, it's a manual starter. The first thing you want to do is, if the starter pulls out, say it pulls out and it doesn't go back in. That means that the spring has either broken or failed, and they can bend, they can break, typically they will just break, the spring. Unless somebody's assembled it improperly, they usually don't bend, but it can happen. So if the rope won't go back in, you know the spring is bad. The other thing that happens is, this starter has engagement pawls which most do, some people call them starter dogs. But the correct terminology would be the starter pawls. And these pawls are what engage into the cup that turns the engine over, the cup is attached to the flywheel. Then it actually turns the engine over, when you pull the rope. So it's important those pawls come all the way out and if you can see these pawls are just barely coming out. So that would, that starter would not function the way it is. So you want to make sure the pawls are coming out and then the spring will be or the spring is good, and the way you know that is if the rope retracts. The other thing is, if the ropes breaks, and that's pretty obvious when the rope is broken or frayed, you can replace the rope, simply by pulling the rope all the way out. The other thing you want to check is, at that pulley, this is your starter pulley, the part that rotates, is not warped. If it, if for whatever reason out there, that had debris underneath the mower that jammed the blade up and a person forcefully pulled on this, having the blade jammed up. Then it would, it could possibly warp this pulley, and when that happens, it will rub this housing and it won't retract. And that's how you troubleshoot a lawn mower starter.