When it comes to yard work, nothing is more frustrating than a malfunctioning weed eater. This can be especially annoying if you're almost done with your chores and would have had a relaxing Saturday ahead of you. Happily, when you practice proper maintenance, breakdowns are preventable and a broken weed whacker is actually an easy fix with the right information, tools and parts.

Regular maintenance promotes safety and is often a required warranty condition. In this guide, we'll discuss a few guidelines to help you get the most out of your gas trimmer. These recommendations fall into two categories: preventative care and repairs.

Preventative Care

The key to proper weed trimmer upkeep lies in the product manual. The manual often contains a maintenance section specific to your model. This is where you'll find a schedule telling you what to check and when to check it. The maintenance section often covers spark plugs, air and fuel filters, performance and cleaning the unit. You'll also find information specific to different engine types.

Now let's a go a little more in-depth on these tasks, which apply to most, if not all, gas trimmers.

Spark Plugs
Bad spark plugs can cause the weed eater not to start or to stall during use. On a cool engine, clean around the spark plug and then remove it to see if it requires replacement. Follow the instructions in the manual when returning the spark plug to the engine.

Air & Fuel Filters
Dirty filters allow dust and debris to enter the machine, which negatively affects engine performance. You can easily remove and wash most air filters, although in some cases you may need a new filter. Some air filters require a coating of oil that you need to reapply after cleaning. Clogged fuel filters typically need to be replaced.

Performance & Cleaning
Sometimes it's necessary to adjust the idle speed if you live at higher elevations. Similarly, the driveshaft connection that allows the use of attachments may need greasing. The manual usually shows the process for these so you won't damage the weed eater. You can clean most weed trimmers with dish soap and a damp cloth.

Engines, Oil & Fuel
Different engine types have different maintenance needs. The proper oil-to-gasoline ratio for two-cycle engines is frequently listed in the specifications. A four-cycle engine needs a regular oil change, which you do in a similar fashion to how you would for a car. If you're not going to use the unit for more than a month, it's a good idea to drain old fuel from the tank.


If your yard trimmer is still under warranty, it is best to take it to a certified repair center even for the simplest repairs. The service center may have weed eater parts on hand for your model and can often repair the unit quickly. However, if your warranty has expired or you don't live near a service center, it is possible to make the repairs on your own.

Only conduct the repair yourself if you understand what needs to be fixed and you have no other option.

Repairing a weed whacker requires instructions, parts, tools and effort. Many user manuals include a repair diagram and parts list, but some companies provide this as a separate document. Once you know the part number, you can usually order the correct replacement parts directly from the manufacturer. If this is not possible, look for a reputable dealer with the appropriate weed eater parts.

Familiarize yourself with the process before conducting repairs so you don't void the warranty or damage the machine. Determine which tools you will need. You can repair many grass trimmers with a screwdriver and a socket wrench. Once you know the tools, see if you have the proper sizes, grab your replacement part and set up a clean workstation, and then you're ready to go.

During the repair, carefully set aside every part and keep track of where it came from. Refer to the repair diagram to keep from removing more pieces than necessary. After you remove the broken part, attach its replacement and then reassemble the weed whacker by putting its parts back in the reverse order. If all goes well, you'll be able to fire up the weed eater's engine and resume the task of keeping the perfect lawn.

As we conclude our brief guide about how to maintain your weed eater, it is important to give you one last word of advice. Whether or not you fulfill the maintenance and repair requirements of your weed whacker is entirely up to you. But that choice will be a little easier now that you have the proper knowledge to keep your weed eater running for years to come.

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