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How to Replace a Honda Mower's Starter Cord

Updated February 21, 2017

In addition to automobiles and motorcycles, Honda manufactures a line of lawn and garden equipment, including gasoline-powered lawnmowers, generators, snowblowers, tillers and more. With the exception of electric-start models, these Honda engines are started by pulling on a starter cord that is recoiled around a spring-loaded pulley in the top of the motor housing. If the starter cord breaks, you can replace a Honda mower's starter cord with a new cord and a few common hand tools.

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  1. Pull on the black rubber boot covering the tip of the spark plug to disconnect the spark plug wire from the spark plug.

  2. Loosen and remove the five screws that hold the starter housing on top of the engine. Lift the housing off the engine and place it upside-down on a work table.

  3. Hold the starter housing with one hand, and rotate the pulley in the centre of the housing counterclockwise until it stops rotating. Clamp the pulley in place using a pair of wide-jaw vice grip pliers.

  4. Locate the knot in the knot hole near the centre of the pulley. Pull on the knot with a pair of needlenose pliers to remove the broken starter cord from the pulley.

  5. Insert the open end of the new starter cord through the hole in the starter housing and into the pulley. Guide the cord through the pulley toward the knot hole. When the cord appears in the knot hole, pull about a foot of slack through the knot hole with a pair of needlenose pliers.

  6. Tie a knot in the exposed end of the cord, then singe the remaining end of the cord with a match to prevent fraying.

  7. Pull on the cord from outside of the starter housing to seat the knot firmly in the knot hole. Then release the clamp and allow the pulley to recoil, winding the cord around the pulley.

  8. Replace the starter housing on top of the engine, and secure it to the motor with the Phillips screws you previously removed.

  9. Reconnect the spark plug wire to the spark plug, and start the engine.

  10. Warning

    Always disconnect the spark plug wire from the spark plug before you begin to work on a Honda lawnmower engine, to prevent the engine from accidentally starting as you work.

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Things You'll Need

  • New starter cord with handle
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Wide-jaw vice grip pliers
  • Needlenose pliers
  • Matches

About the Author

Chris Baylor has been writing about various topics, focusing primarily on woodworking, since 2006. You can see his work in publications such as "Consumer's Digest," where he wrote the 2009 Best Buys for Power Tools and the 2013 Best Buys for Pressure Washers.

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