Weed Eater Won’t Start? Here’s Why + Fixes that Work

String trimmer, also known as the weed eater, is a great gardening tool for trimming grass in tight spots where a lawn mower can’t reach. The weed eater not starting indicates a problem in the engine that may result from various issues.

A weed eater won’t start because of insufficient fuel, loose or worn-out spark plugs, clogged air filters, and a dirty carburetor. In electric string trimmers, this problem can be caused by moisture, a flat battery, or a faulty electrical component.

Using a string trimmer is an effective way to cut grass without a lawn mower. You may need to contact a specialist if your string trimmer is not starting. If you decide to do it yourself, exercise safety. Power off the machine and disconnect the spark plug wire before doing anything.

Why a weed eater won’t start

The following list contains reasons why a weed eater won’t start. We will also provide information on how to fix your weed eater.

  1. Fuel related Issues
  2. Spark plug ignition related issues
  3. Dirty Carburetor
  4. Clogged Air Filter
  5. Moisture problems
  6. Electrical problems

1. Fuel related issues

A weed eater won’t start if the fuel is running low. The engine burns gasoline to provide the required power for trimming grass. If you have fuel in the tank, there are also chances that it has gone bad. Gasoline can go stale when stored for 30 or more days.

If you add fuel without mixing with engine oil in the required ratio, you may have more oil than fuel in the mixture or vice-versa, which will likely impair how the engine starts and runs. It is the same problem if you use incorrect gas or engine oil.

How to fix weed eater’s fuel related Issues

  1. Check the tank to ensure that there is a substantial amount of fuel. If the tank is almost empty, you must top it up and start the engine.
  2. If you have been storing your weed eater for more than one month and did not stabilize the fuel, you must drain the gas and add a fresh one.
  3. Mix gas and oil in the right ratio as recommended in the owner’s manual
  4. Use 2-cycle oil and gasoline grade recommended for your weed eater model

2. Spark plug ignition related issues

Spark plugs are a very important part of the engine ignition system. The device converts electric current into a spark required for the ignition and combustion of an air-fuel mixture. Fouled or loosely fitted spark plug won’t deliver an ignition. Similar to damaged spark plugs occasioned by engine overheating.

How to fix weed eater’s spark plug issues

  1. Spark plugs fouled with oil or gasoline should be cleaned using a wire brush and a spark plug cleaner. This also applies to dirty spark plugs that are sooty or brownish in appearance.
  2. A spark plug with melted electrodes or white deposits on the insulator tip should be replaced.

3. Dirty carburetor

A carburetor serves a very important role in the engine. It is responsible for mixing air and fuel before the mixture enters the engine for combustion. A weed eater won’t start if there is any serious problem with the carburetor. Clogging is one of the issues that affect a carburetor.

Engine overheating, backfiring, and overheating indicate that the carburetor needs cleaning. If you don’t take action, you will soon be unable to start your machine.

How to fix weed eater’s dirty carburetor

The carburetor should be cleaned to remove any clogs in its chambers. This should be done using a recommended carburetor cleaner. When cleaning, check if there is any part that needs replacement. You need to install a new gasket before installing the carburetor.

Cleaning a carburetor is simple since you don’t need special tools or equipment. You simply need to remove the filter cover and unscrew the carburetor from the engine. Unscrewing a few nuts or screws should lead you to the carburetor innards.

4. Clogged air filter

Air is usually needed in the engine for the proper burning of the fuel. Air has to go through a filter to remove dirt and debris before it enters the carburetor to be mixed with fuel. Over time, air filters get clogged due to prolonged use without cleaning.

Dirt can block airflow into the engine, so you may have a problem starting your weed eater. Signs that you need to clean the air filter include; strange noise from the engine, reduction in power, strong fuel smell, and when the filters visibly appear dirty.

How to fix weed eater’s clogged air filter

Cleaning the air filter is a direct solution to the problem. Unscrew and wash the air filter using mild soap and clean water. Pat to dry using paper towels, apply little oil on it, and refit the engine. If this is what makes your weed eater not start, it should start immediately after fitting it back.

5. Moisture problems

Although designed for outdoor use, a weed eater should not be rained on or flooded with water. If you leave your weed eater outdoors in the rain or overnight and it’s not starting, then excess moisture or water has mixed with sensitive parts such as oil, gasoline, and spark plugs.

Water or excess moisture will cause rust or corrosion in the fuel line, spark plugs, and other exposed metal parts. Even if your machine looks like it’s working well, this may not take long before you experience issues.

How to fix weed eater’s moisture problems

Water-contaminated oil has to be drained from the tank, and a fresh one is added. Before starting the engine again, corroded parts, including the carburetor and spark plugs, have to be cleaned. If that helps, then know that a weed eater should be stored in a clean, dry place after use, preferably in a shed or garage.

6. Electrical problems

If you are operating a battery-powered weed eater, the machine’s loss of charge or a damaged electrical component will not allow it to start. This is the same problem if the battery is dead. The battery may lose charge after long storage or when it expires.

How to fix weed eater’s electrical problems

Try to recharge the battery and start the machine. If it’s not working, then you need to have it inspected by an expert. If it’s an electric corded model, try to check if you have power in the electric outlet or if the cable is firmly plugged in. If nothing works, then there is a need to have it inspected.

Weed Eater Care and Maintenance Tips

Following the manufacturer’s directions in the owner’s manual, the following are helpful maintenance practices for a weed eater:

  • Always clean the exterior parts after using your string trimmer. A wash with water and mild detergent will clean off grease, dirt, and debris.
  • Clean or replace the air filter as directed in the user manual. This should be done using water and a mild detergent. Replacing it after 90 days or earlier, depending on wear and tear.
  • Regularly inspect and clean the spark plug. Replace the spark plug if damaged or when having problems starting your weed eater.
  • When storing for a long, drain the fuel and add fresh stabilized gasoline and run the engine for a few minutes. This drives the stabilized fuel into the entire fuel system to prevent corrosion.
  • Always mix oil and gas as directed in the user manual. Consider draining bad oil/fuel from the tank before adding a fresh one.
  • Replace the string trimmer line regularly, especially when the spool is brittle or damaged
  • Store the weed eater in a clean, dry place like a garage or shed, preferably hung higher off the ground.

Most of the reasons why a lawn mower won’t start also applies to string trimmers. They are all small engines that operate on a similar principle, and their maintenance is more or less the same.

Final Thought

Weed eaters are helpful machines for keeping yards clean and tidy. Cleaning and replacing the parts, changing the oil, and proper storage are essential maintenance practices that should not be ignored, or else you will have a problem starting or running your string trimmer.

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