How To Start a Generator Without A Pull Cord?

Generator pull cord broken? Use emergency recoil, electric start, or crank the starter motor manually.

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Uh oh, the unthinkable happened – you went to start your trusty generator and the pull cord snapped!

Now what? Don’t panic, there are several ways to get your generator going again without needing that pesky pull cord.

In this post, we’ll explore a common question “How to Start Generator without a Pull Cord” so you can get the power back on quickly and safely.

How To Start Generator Without A Pull Cord

First Steps – Consult the Manual

Before attempting any alternative starting methods, always check your generator’s manual first. The manufacturer likely included guidance for starting the generator without the pull cord.

The manual will provide useful details on how the pull cord works with the ignition and starter systems. Some generators even have built-in redundancy like electric start capabilities to accommodate a broken pull cord.

Can You Fix the Existing Pull Cord?

Next, inspect the pull cord itself. Even if the cord appears fully detached, a portion may still be connected to the starter motor inside the housing.

If you find some cord left, terrific! Try tying a strong knot to connect the broken ends, then rethread the cord through the starter housing as before. This quick fix can get you up and running until you can properly replace the pull cord.

How To Start Generator Without a Pull Cord

If the pull cord is a lost cause, don’t worry – you have options:

Use the Emergency Recoil System

Many portable generators have an emergency recoil system designed for this scenario. Locate the emergency starter mechanism and tie on a new rope to start the generator manually.

Electric Start

If your generator has an electric starter option, use it with a sufficiently charged battery to start the engine.

Crank the Starter Motor

Some generator manuals explain how to manually crank the starter motor without the pull cord. This takes more effort but can work.

Power Drill Method

Removing the starter motor cover reveals the center nut. Use a powered drill with the correctly sized socket attached to turn the nut and engage the starter.

Starting Tips

Once you’ve started the generator with an alternative method, let it reach full speed before connecting any electrical loads. Check for odd sounds or smells and have a fire extinguisher nearby just in case.

And that’s it! With some ingenuity, you can improvise a way to start your generator without that pesky pull cord. Just take proper safety precautions.

Now let’s look at some frequent questions about this dilemma:


How do I manually start my generator?

Use the emergency recoil system if available. Remove the pull cord assembly cover and crank the starter motor nut with a drill.

Can I run a generator without a load?

Yes, though it’s ideal to allow the generator to warm up under a load. Avoid running for extended periods with no load.

How to start a generator without a battery?

Try the manual recoil method or use a power drill on the starter motor nut. No battery is required!

What if my generator has no pull cord at all?

Assess if you can connect a new pull cord to the starter motor components. If not, try manually cranking the starter or using a power drill.

How to fix a broken generator pull cord?

If some cord is still attached inside, tie the broken ends together and rethread through the housing. Replace if fully detached.

The Bottom Line

There you have it! Let me know if this gives you a good grasp on starting a generator sans a pull cord. With some resourcefulness and safe practices, you can MacGyver a solution and get the power flowing again. Just don’t forget to properly replace that pull cord when you can!

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Jennifer Smith

Jennifer Smith, with a rich background marked by a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, boasts over 10 years in the power generation sector. Her journey includes a notable 5-year tenure as a Senior Engineer at a reputed energy firm, alongside numerous publications and speaking engagements in industry events, reflecting her deep-rooted expertise in generator design and development.

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