How to Repair a Sprinkler Head That Won’t Rotate

by Michael on June 12, 2011 · 6 comments

Do you have an irrigation system for your lawn? We do, and it’s been great. Unfortunately, I noticed the other day that one of the sprinkler heads wasn’t rotating. The good news is that I fixed it without spending a dime.


For background, our system consists of a bunch of Hunter PGP rotary sprinkler heads in various zones. While I was adjusting the heads to make sure everything is in tip-top shape for the summer, I noticed that one of them wasn’t moving.

While replacing a sprinkler head isn’t a big deal, I didn’t happen to have a replacement on hand, and I didn’t really want to drop $10-$15 to get new one. Thus, after thinking a bit about the gear-driven design, I decided to give it a few whacks.

Guess what? It worked. I simply struck it a few times with the heel of my palm and voilà – it started rotating. I’m not entirely sure what was wrong but, given the gear-driven design, I think it was one of two things. Either there was some gunk that preventing it from rotating, or the gears had gotten mis-aligned.

Regardless of the cause, this quick fix is definitely worth a shot. For what it’s worth, I suspect that a similar approach might also work for other brands with a similar design, including Rain Bird, K Rain, Toro, and Orbit sprinkler heads.


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Ron July 2, 2012 at 5:42 am

Dude! what a way to keep it simple. Saved me a trip to the store. I pushed it up and down a few times while it was charged, rotated it manually then hit it with the back side of screwdriver…it took right off.

thanks, Ron

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bob May 19, 2013 at 4:37 pm

i used a hammer….. it worked; thanks

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tgrizzle October 25, 2014 at 1:04 pm

When I first read this I thought a hamster must of wrote it. I did not have any faith, let alone a little faith it would actually work. “yea right, just go out, bang it, and it will work”

Well after going outside, messing with the head with 0 results…i figured what the hell…I struck the head while it was running a few times on top and on the side…AND WOULDNT YOU KNOW IT WORKED!!!

Trust me before you go and dig up a head and replace, try it…It probably will work for you too.

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Dale April 3, 2015 at 7:10 pm

the first time I smacked mine didn’t do anything. So, I snacked a little harder…..and it broke. Oops.

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Ray May 10, 2015 at 4:26 pm

Thanks, worked like a charm. Used a rubber mallet…3 strikes and no digging.

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Andy June 12, 2015 at 7:22 am

You, sir, are a genius! I also tried your trick and it worked like a charm. Worse than having to spend the money for the sprinkler is having to dig out the old one and replace it without getting dirt in the line. Thanks for posting this simple, yet effective solution.

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