How to Repair a Sprinkler Head That Won’t Rotate

by Michael on June 12, 2011 · 18 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.

{ 18 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


bob May 19, 2013 at 4:37 pm

i used a hammer….. it worked; thanks


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.


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.


Ray May 10, 2015 at 4:26 pm

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


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.


Bennett June 2, 2016 at 8:19 pm

I concur! You sir are in fact a genius!! Four out of six heads in my front yard had lost their mojo or so I thought. A few taps on each with my handy estwing and away they went. Had been dreading digging four holes in my yard and now I don’t have to. Neighbors saw me and asked to borrow my hammer fix his. Much obliged to you for your enginuity.


John June 11, 2016 at 2:07 pm

Absofrigginlutely! After watching 10 or so youtube’s not addressing non-rotation………………..I read yours……….. three stomps while it was active and bingo! It started rotating! Thank you


Jim February 7, 2017 at 7:49 pm

I hate to say it, but it worked. I tried everything else but this. Gave up, said what the he44. Whacked it 3 times and the little rotator head popped up and started rotating. Go figure.


Georgia May 5, 2017 at 5:11 pm

Ha! Clever man! It worked like a charm.


DIY-er May 24, 2017 at 3:11 pm

Shut the front door! It worked. Thanks for sharing this tip!


Barbara A Loewen July 12, 2017 at 3:00 pm

Thank you!! I was skeptical but gave it a whack and it works!


Greg August 5, 2017 at 12:14 pm

Wow! Wish I had read this months ago. I have a head that was only rotating one way then would get stuck. I finally bought a new one and before I installed it said maybe I can fix the old one easier. I was ready to take it all apart af then read this. 3 whacks with the back of a screwdriver and we’re back in business. Great tip!


83Lanny August 13, 2017 at 11:14 am

Hello admin, i must say you have high quality content here.
Your blog should go viral. You need initial traffic boost only.
How to get it? Search for; Mertiso’s tips go viral


Mobetta August 17, 2017 at 11:18 am


I tried your method; tapped it a little on the right, then tapped a little on the left, and viola nothing happened. So, I figured what do I have to lose. With my mighty screwdriver in hand, I gave the top of the non-rotating sprinkler a VERY GOOD tap. Bam! The damn thing started working like new.
Thanks man!!!! You saved me from digging another hole and saved me a trip to the hardware store for an exchange. You are making America great again by keeping this Chinese junk working. Thanks again.


Dave December 19, 2017 at 6:19 am

I’m not sure if another comment supporting this advice helps at all but it worked brilliantly for me too! Thanks mate!


Chester April 21, 2018 at 5:21 pm

Genius! It sort of work … the verdict is still out there but at least it started rotating in one direction (whereas it was just stationary before) when I knocked at the sides a few times with a rubber mallet. Be careful not to be over zealous and break the sprinkler head!


Candace July 8, 2018 at 8:55 pm

This is hilarious, but I was scouring the internet after one of my sprinkler heads stopped rotating (new build, been here 2 months). I banged the sprinkler heads a few times with my screwdriver handle and it started working again. Haha! Thanks for the suggestion.


Cancel reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: