Rowing Machine Not Retracting | How to Fix?

Looking for the solution of rowing machine not retracting! You hit the right spot.

Of course, it is annoying when you are ready to do workout and you find that your fitness machine is not working out. And if you have one of the cheap rowing machines, then there are more chances that retraction not occurs.

Why is it that the rowing machine doesn’t retract? It’s because of cheap shock cords that become inflexible in short time, worn out bearings and your negligence in lubricating a drying metal belt.

Let’s see the solution for the retraction of rowing machine.

There might be any one of the following problems you can encounter related to the retraction of machine.

Rowing Machine Not Retracting

Causes of Problem

Has it ever occurred to you that you are pulling the handle from the machine. But it does not retract (row back into the machine) and there is no tension in it when you wind it up.

There can be several causes for rowing machines to not retract. We will tell you these causes and how you can troubleshoot them.

Inflexible shock cords

The cords are routed through the pulleys and guides on the machine. If the cord is not routed correctly, it will get caught and become one of the reasons for rowing machine cord not retracting.

Worn out Bearings

Bearings are responsible for smooth functioning of pulleys and guides. When they are worn out, they can become noisy or even a hassle when retracting.

Rowing Machine Chain/Metal Belt

The chain, which serves as a metal belt linking flywheels and pulleys, needs regular lubrication to avoid drying out.

Troubleshooting Rowing Machine not Retracting

If your rowing machine is also not retracting, then, unfortunately, hectic and disturbing work is ahead. And you will require this gear.

Tools Required to unscrew bolts

You will need the following tools to take out the coil from the face of the machine.

  1. First, you will need a 10mm spanner.
  2. And, a 16mm spanner.
  3. You can also use a multitool spanner which is more suitable.

You have to take out the face of the rowing machine in which a recoil machine is present.

You might need to take the belt out to sort the issue. It may need realignment to retract.

First check the belt, to make sure that it is still elastic and able to be retracted. Because sometimes low-quality belts or shock cords become inflexible after time.

If you have checked the belt and it is fine then it’s good.

Now start unscrewing the components, starting from the top, using a 10mm spanner.

Now unscrew the bolts at the bottom around the coil using a 16mm spanner, and take the coil out. Also verify that the belt is on the flywheel. If it has slipped off, just adjust it, this might resolve the issue.

And then again start attaching the parts which you have taken out, but while screwing the bolts take care that all parts are aligned and installed exactly. So that none of the parts are held loose and maximum tension could be obtained from bungee cord.

Check that all the bearings or chain roller bearings are moving freely(they are not jammed).  They should move unceasingly without stopping.

Tight all the nuts as possible.

Also Read: Massage Gun Not Turning ON


Mostly the basic problem faced by the rowers about rowing machines is that retraction does not occur. So, I have provided you with the solution because I also do the same when my rower belt doesn’t retract.
Hope so you have got the solution and now you’re ready to row to do your workout.

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