How to fix a lawn mower throttle cable


Jeffrey Tung on Jan 1, 2024

Hand on lawn mower throttle cable

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A well-maintained lawn is everybody’s dream. A lush, green garden adds up to your curb appeal and a yard with all the works can be the envy of the neighbors. Who wouldn’t want a lawn that’s functional yet appealing at the same time?

However, maintaining an impressive one can be quite a work, especially if your lawn mower throttle cable just got broken.

In this article, Tools Official gives you a guide on how to fix a lawn mower throttle cable.

What is a lawn mower throttle cable

Before we go to step one of fixing a lawn mower throttle cable, let’s describe what a throttle cable is and understand its function. Knowing more about your throttle cable will help you in times of trouble, like in what you’ve just experienced.

Your lawn mower’s throttle cable controls the machine’s engine. It’s the part that kick-starts the engine and commands the speed of your mower’s blades. If the engine dies down or the mower doesn’t respond to adjustments in the throttle handle, you may want to troubleshoot the throttle cable.

A throttle cable may be very small but it coordinates the functioning of your mower’s engine parts the moment you pull it.

Modern lawn mowers have automatic throttle cables. Old models have the manual ones. Whichever you choose, make sure to consider your preferences and budget before buying one.

Locating the throttle cable on a lawn mower

The throttle cable of a modern push mower can be found connected to the carburetor’s intake valve.

How does throttle cable break?

When the throttle cable breaks, there won’t be power being supplied to the mower’s engine. As you use your lawn mower over time, the cable gets stretched, resulting in breakage. You will notice your throttle cable is difficult to push, giving you an idea that it’s already quite old.

When the throttle cable gets damaged, you may order a new cable or make one yourself. Fixing it on your own can save you a lot of dollars. Should you choose to order a new one, you can check out some universal throttle cable sold on Amazon. It costs around $15-16 while a DIY one can cost you $2-3 dollars. Doing it yourself will also allow you to mow your lawn immediately as you wait for the parts, if you plan to buy a throttle cable online.

Creating the Z-bend

If you choose to purchase a new cable or make one yourself, you’d have to create a Z-bend at one end of the lawn mower throttle cable. Some universal throttle cables online don’t have this specific product detail.

Repairing a broken lawn mower cable

A broken lawn mower throttle cable can be given a quick fix by working on a 7-inch #16 wire size aluminum landscape cable to your old throttle cable and attaching it to your original throttle cable.

To repair a broken lawn mower cable, here’s what you can do:

Step 1

Get a 7-inch #16 wire size aluminum cable and bend it in half. Since it’s made of aluminum, it will easily bend. Flatten it using a pair of pliers. If you have a wire flattener device, use it to press it together even more.

Step 2

Place the bottom two inches of the wire in between the wire flattener device (if you have one) or any device that can hold a #16 wire upright, so you can twist off the upper wire for a few times. If you don’t have any of the devices mentioned, you can hold the wire using a pair of big, sturdy pliers. Just twist it enough but be careful not to break it. Copy the Z-bend of the original cable by bending the top of the wire in a 90-degree angle using a pair of pliers. Then, take a pair needle nose pliers to hold the first 90-degree bend as you pull the other end to make a second 90-degree angle using the other pair of pliers.

Step 3

Take your Z-bend wire and snip off one of the aluminum wires at the bottom.

Step 4

The next step is to combine the old and new cables.

Before cutting and uniting your Z-bend wire to your original throttle cable, place your original throttle cable on a table. Put your Z-bend wire below the original one, so that, both of their Z-tip are parallel with each other. Use a marker pen to trace the part that you need to cut. Cut the original throttle cable just right at the marker. Snip a couple of centimeters more off from the marker of your Z-bend wire.

Step 5

Insert your original throttle cable to one of the holes of a wire union device or aluminum crimps, then, put in your Z-bend wire on the other hole. Tighten up the aluminum device to secure the placement of both wires. You may use a hammer or a wire flattener device to do so.

Now, you have replaced the broken Z-bend tip of your original throttle cable.

Adjusting throttle cable on lawn mower

You can adjust the throttle cable of your lawn mower if you notice the engine is idling or running on its highest level. If you think you have zero mechanical skill level, you can still do so. Just follow these steps before having your mower checked at the repair shop.

Tools required

  • Wire Cutters
  • Needle Nose Pliers
  • Replacement Throttle Cable
  • Z-bending Tool
  • Measuring tool

Step 1

Turn off the mower. Take off the old throttle cable of your lawn mower by removing the cable housings with a pair of pliers or twisting off the screws using your bare hands. This action will remove the housings off the base, allowing it to go down the cable. Separate the cable from the throttle arm that can be found on the engine. Open the unit and remove the lock screw on the handle to pull out the cable.

Using your smartphone, you may take photos of the mower’s different parts before you remove some of them to help you put back some pieces together after fixing it.

Step 2

Place the new throttle cable on your mower’s handle. Weave the cable wire into the housing. Look for the wire base on the engine’s back. Insert the cable through the throttle base and the throttle arm.

When installing the new throttle cable on your mower’s handle, you may need a drill if there are no holes yet, and a bolt to fasten the new throttle cable. This will depend on your mower’s original throttle and design.

Step 3

Calculate the size of the cable and give it an extra inch (in case of mistakes). The extra measure will also allow it to be loose so the mower handles can be folded down.

Remove a few centimeters off of the cable’s cover to make a Z-bend. This will create a full throttle functionality, which you will need. However, since the cable cover is coiled steel wire, it can be easily cut, so, be careful taking it off. Perform the Z-bend using a pair of pliers or a Z-bender once the cover is removed.

Fasten the cable to the throttle handle by slipping it through the housing first, then, into the handle next. The cable should be tight for you to have the throttle all the way down. Using a pair of pliers, pull the cable tighter. Twist the lock screw and put back the housings.

Step 4

Restore the throttle to check if the tension is enough. Turn on the mower. When the mower is running too high in idle status, loosen the cable. Twist the lock screw a little and slide a bit more cable through the slot and tighten the screw.

Step 5

Test your new or adjusted throttle cable to check if it’s working fine.

Wrapping It Up

There are different kinds of throttle cable repair you can do if necessary. Learning how to do it by yourself is very important especially if you need to immediately groom your lawn as you wait for the arrival of your new throttle cable. You can learn a lot of basic tips and tricks online via blogs or through video blogs, even if you have little or no mechanical skills.

A broken throttle cable is inevitable and lawn owners should expect it from happening by the time they buy a lawn mower. No matter how efficient a lawn mower is, you have to be ready for any breakage or quick fixes that can be applied.

Just remember that fixing it may not always be enough. Having it checked regularly, especially by the experts, is also important to ensure the longevity and functionality of your lawn mower. Check-ups are also significant so you can avoid accidents from any damages on your mower.

Consulting your dealer is also one of the best things to do when you have to fix a lawn mower throttle cable. So go ahead and make a little time tending to your lawn mower and reap the rewards of having a neat yard after!