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How to Fix a Stuck Throttle

Get your lawnmower throttle cable moving again

lawn mower throttle cableFamily Handyman
Lawnmower throttle cables can get stuck because of rust and grit, making it difficult to control the mower. Here's how to access and lubricate it so it moves freely.

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Disassembly and lubrication

Photo 1: Soak with penetrating oil

Stick the end of the cable into a funnel and wrap electrical tape around it to create a seal. Spray or pour penetrating oil into the funnel. Position the opposite end of the cable over a small container to catch the penetrating oil as it drips out. Then lubricate the cable.

Photo 2: Reinstall the cable and adjust the choke

Remove the air cleaner assembly so you can see the choke plate. With the throttle control lever in the “choke” position, pull on the outer jacket of the cable near the clamp until the choke plate opens. Tighten the clamp with the cable in this position. Reassemble the air cleaner.

If your lawn mower’s throttle cable is hard to move or stuck, here’s a fix. Disconnect both ends of the cable from the mower. You’ll probably have to remove a bolt and disassemble the lever assembly near the handle to get the cable out. Take a digital photo to help you put it back together when you’re done.

At the engine end, loosen the clamp that holds the cable to the engine and unhook the cable from the carburetor. Pour penetrating oil into the cable (Photo 1). Grab the inner cable with pliers and work it up and down to loosen it. When the cable moves freely and all the penetrating oil has drained out, squirt silicone lubricant into the funnel to keep the cable sliding freely. Reinstall the cable (Photo 2).

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Rags
  • Socket/ratchet set
You’ll also need a small funnel

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • Penetrating oil
  • Silicone lubricant