Snow Blower Pull Cord Won’t Recoil: Issues, Solutions, and More

Snow Blower

snow blower pull cord won't recoil
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Clearing away snow is easier with a snow blower, but what happens when the snow blower pull cord won't recoil?

We understand how challenging this can be, so we will provide solutions to the common reasons why the problem occurs.

We will also help you understand how your snow blower works and if you can still use the snow blower when the pull cord is out.

What Happens When You Start the Snow Blower

The first thing you need to know is how the snow blower works by familiarizing yourself with its parts and what happens when you start the equipment.

Most importantly, you’re focused now on the starter rope or pull cord.

Generally, your machine has a small hole in its blower housing. You probably don’t see it because the handle for the pull cord is in the way.

You must yank on the pull cord to get the motor started, so you’re probably not paying attention.

Regardless, that small hole feeds out the pull cord to its maximum, and since you’re doing this quickly, the motion starts the engine for you.

Inside the blower housing, you’ve got a rewind spring, the rope, and more.

The Housing

The shape of the housing can be round or rectangular, and you can spot it from the vented holes around it. That way, the flywheel gets air.

The housing is what holds the pulley, rewind spring, and starter rope. These all work together for the pulling mechanism.

The Starter Rope, Pulley, and Rewind Spring

Often, the starter rope gets coiled onto the pulley, though the rewind spring puts tension on the whole thing.

The rewind spring is quite thin and narrow and always coiled tightly. There’s a small screw right in the middle of your pulley, which gives you access to the said spring.

When it gets inserted into its blower housing, the spring can engage the small tab inside.

While the pulley is turned on, the spring gets wound very tightly, ensuring it has the recoil required to put the pull cord back onto the pulley.

The Primer Bulb

There’s also usually a primer bulb that you need to press to put small bits of gasoline into the carburetor.

Once you’ve done that, you grab the starter handle and pull it to feel the tension.

Now, you need to pull hard on the starter rope, which should start the snow blower.

However, if it doesn’t, you should hold the pull cord while it recoils into the housing once again.

Don’t let it snap back because that can damage the inner workings.

You then perform the same action again in hopes of starting the machine.

Why the Pull Cord Doesn't Recoil and the Possible Solutions

There could be a number of things why the snow blower's cord doesn't recoil.

One is you might have pulled it out without jerking it but with enough force to run it around the motor.

Second, it didn't go back in, indicating that something happened with the pulley system, rewind spring, or the pulling mechanism itself.

Of course, you should check all of the components and ensure that they are working properly. You can do this before you try to use the pull cord.

Regardless, though, you know the immediate problem: the snow blower pull cord doesn’t recoil back to its starting position.

Here's a detailed discussion of the common issues and what you can do to resolve them.

The Cord Went With You

If you pull out the starter cord of your snow blower but it stays in your hand without any slack, you should give it a slight tug.

If it comes off in your hand, the cord might have broke at some point within the rewind spring or the pulley.

Resolve this by following the solutions for the two issues below.

snow blower pull cord won't recoil

The Pulley System Messed Up

The pulley system of your snow blower is there to house the cord when it's not being used, but sometimes, it can get jammed.

When this happens, it can be a bit annoying and cause your snow blower not to work.

For example, the pull cord might have gotten kinked or knotted in some way. That often happens when you yank on the pull cord while trying to start the snow blower.

What to Do

You can remove the housing system and check to ensure that nothing is lodged in the pulley system. If it is, you can follow the steps below to remove it safely.

  1. Remove the housing top and inspect the pulley. If there is any damage, you may need to replace the part. You can do this easily by pulling out the starter rope completely.
  2. Then, insert a screwdriver so that the pulley gets locked into place.
  3. Finish removing the rope and the screwdriver. It should release the tension on your rewind spring.
  4. Then, you may need to rotate the pulley by hand. Sometimes, though, this won't work.
  5. If you require a new pulley, you should remove the old one by loosening the center bolt.
  6. Install the new one and ensure that it is aligned with the housing post.

The Rewind Spring Failed

Primarily, the snow blower's rewind spring does most of the work once you’ve pulled the cord.

As such, if the pull cord doesn’t go back into the housing unit, this could be the culprit. If it breaks, you’ve got to replace it.

This issue is the most common, but keep in mind that other things could happen, too.

What to Do

When the issue is the rewind spring, you can try recoiling the cord manually.

To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Turn the Pulley: Remove the housing unit and manually turn the pulley to wind the pull cord back onto it.
  2. Pull the Cord: Close everything up again and try to pull the starter cord.

After pulling the cord, you may find two different issues. If the cord is slack, you may need to replace the spring.

If the snow blower pull cord won’t recoil, you may try recoiling the spring if it isn’t broken.

This step can be dangerous, though, especially if it doesn’t lock into place.

Thus, you may want to take the snow blower to a small engine repair shop and have a professional look at the issue.

If the snow blower is still under warranty, you can contact the manufacturer to determine what to do and how to proceed.

Can a Snow Blower Run With the Pull Cord Out?

At times, the snow blower comes to life while the pull cord is out, so most people wonder if it's still safe to run the machine.

Usually, a snow blower doesn’t cut anything, so you’re not risking the safety of the pull cord itself.

However, you walk behind the blower, which means you could inadvertently trip over the outstretched pull cord.

Thus, it’s best not to use the machine when the pull cord stays out.

On the other hand, some models can never work with the pull cord outstretched.

If yours does, the snow blower is likely to have an emergency shut off feature.

Use that to cut the engine and diagnose the problem.

Snow Blower Pull Cord Won't Recoil: The Summary

It's frustrating when your snow blower doesn’t work correctly.

We’ve gone through a few tips that you can follow to fix the problem with your pull cord.

However, there may be times when you can’t or don’t want to do it yourself, so it might be best to go to a professional to fix it.

This way, you can use the snow blower throughout the season!

About the Author

Steve has been gardening for over 20 years now. He enjoys sharing his experiences with others.

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