Honda Lawnmower not pulling

You are thankful that your garden has just received a few days of refreshing rains. It seems like you can almost see the grass growing, so you pull your trusty old Honda self-propelled lawnmower out of the tool shed, start it, engage the blades, and press the smart drive control and…. nothing happens.

If your Honda self-propelled lawnmower is not pulling, the cause is probably one of the following components: the engine needs attention; the drive cable needs adjusting; the drive belt is loose; the gears on the axle are worn; the drive pulley needs replacing, or the transmission is damaged.

Honda’s self-propelled lawnmowers are well-designed robust machines if used within their limits. Treated right and maintained properly, they will faithfully mow your lawn year after year. That’s why it is so frustrating when they fail.

How To Fix Honda Self-Propelled Lawnmower Not Pulling?

Honda Self-Propelled Lawnmowers are generally very reliable machines. As with any device, parts do wear and sometimes fail over time.

If your Honda Self-Propelled Lawnmower is not pulling, the most efficient way to find the fault and repair it is by following a checklist, checking and eliminating each item until you find the cause of the problem.

Check each component of the Honda Self Driving Lawnmower in the following order;

  1. The engine
  2. Drive cable needs adjusting
  3. Loose drive belt
  4. Worn gears on the axle
  5. Worn out drive pulley
  6. The transmission is weak

The Engine Is Not Starting Or Producing Enough Power

Remember, being an internal combustion engine, it needs three things to run – Ignition (Fire), Oxygen (Air), Fuel (Petrol).

If the engine won’t start, runs rough, or lacks sufficient grunt (power) to self-propel, check the following.

The Lawnmowers Petrol Tank Is Empty

Sometimes the petrol tank is empty, and you don’t notice. As embarrassing as it is, it is easiest to fix. Just put your hands behind your back, look around casually, while whistling tunelessly with as much enthusiasm as you can muster.

Refill the petrol tank pretending this always was what you were planning to do.

The Petrol In The Lawnmowers Tank Is Old Or Contaminated

After not being used for a while, petrol starts to degrade and goes “gummy.”; this reduces the ignition qualities of the fuel and begins to attack the soft materials in the fuel system.

The fix is simple, empty the fuel tank and refill it with fresh petrol.

The Lawnmowers Air Filter Is Clogged Or Dirty

The second step is to check whether enough air reaches the piston chamber.

Remove the air filter and check just how much crud is on it.

Gardens are a very dirty environment for lawnmowers and, more often than not, the air filter will be contaminated.

The Lawnmowers Spark Plugs Are Damaged, Installed Incorrectly, Or Worn

Lastly, we need fire! If you have dirty or worn spark plugs, they may not be providing sufficient spark to create the fire. To check if the spark plugs are working.

  1. Take the HT lead off the plug.
  2. Use a sparkplug socket, insert it over the spark plug and gently loosen it (anti-clockwise).
  3. There will be initial resistance, after which the plug will begin to rotate.
  4. Remove the plug and check the electrode. If it has black oily deposits, you can remove them with an emery cloth. Do not change the gap between the electrode and the earth. You can also use a spark club cleaner. (Check Spark Plug Cleaners on Amazon).
  5. Test the spark plug by using any of the available spark plug testers. (Get Spark Plug Testers on Amazon).
  6. A lawnmower spark plug is not expensive, and if you have any doubt, replace it. ( Get Lawnmower Sparkplug on Amazon).

If the engine starts and produces sufficient power, but it still won’t move under its own power then check the following:

The Honda Self Driving LawDrive Cable Needs Adjusting

The easiest part of the Honda drive system to check is to check, is the drive cable. The most common issue with Honda Self Propelled Lawnmower Not Pulling is that the drive cable has stretched and is out of adjustment.

The most obvious sign that the drive belt is worn is that the Honda Self Propelling Lawnmower starts pulling slower and slower. You can adjust this cable by opening the lock nut screw and turning the adjusting nut counterclockwise.

Be careful not to over-tighten it because that will also make the mower lose power. There is a perfect spot between too loose and too tight. When you find this, the operation of the mower will be restored.

Tightening this adjustment screw also takes up the slack on the drive belt.

The Honda Self Driving Lawnmower’s Drive Belt Is Loose Or Worn

The drive belts are very durable, however as with all things, over time, they do stretch and wear out. You will know the belt is slipping when it starts to make a lot of noise and vibration. If the drive belt is slipping, the engines power will not reach the wheels, and the lawnmower will stop self-propelling.

An easy way to check if it is worn is by squeezing both ends of the belt. If it is worn, you will feel that it is loose. If adjusting the drive cable doesn’t fix it, you will need to buy a new one.

A handy tip is to take the worn belt into the lawnmower parts shop so you can match sizes.

The Honda Self Driving Lawnmower’s Gears On The Axle Are Worn

If you still haven’t found the problem, it’s time to move on and check the gears on the axle. There are two potential issues that you may find here, either worn gears in the drive axle or a worn driveshaft pin.

On Honda Self Propelled Lawnmowers, of the two issues, the most likely culprit is a worn driveshaft pin. The pins keep the gears attached to the axle. If the pins wear, then the connection between the gears and axle is loosened, and the lawnmower will either move slowly or not at all.

You will need to buy a new set of pins and replace them; this is not difficult.

If the gears have worn, the bad news is this is one system that you cannot purchase in components. You will have to buy a complete drive axle and transmission, which is expensive.

The Honda Self Driving Lawnmower’s Drive Pulley Is Worn Out

The engine connects to the axle via the drive pulley. The gearbox won’t engage the wheel assembly if the pulley is worn, and the lawnmower won’t move.

Unfortunately, changing this requires specialized tools. Although these can be hired, we suggest that you take the lawnmower to a repair shop.

The Honda Self Driving Lawnmower’s Transmission Is Weak

If none of these fix’s work, the transmission may be weak. Honda Self Propelled Lawnmowers have very durable gearboxes; however, they can fail with age and rugged use.

As we mentioned, the transmission and axles are sold as one complete component.These are expensive, and if it comes down to needing a replacement, it may well be the time for you to buy a new machine.


The Honda Self Propelled Lawnmower is an excellently designed and durable piece of equipment, which likely will give you years of faithful service.

The most likely reasons for a Honda Self Propelled Lawnmower not pulling could be one of several simple adjustments, easily changed engine components or belts and pulleys which may have worn.

In the unlikely event that it is a more major repair, you will need to weigh up the cost of a new lawnmower against the cost of new parts and the associated labor charges.

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