Since my first blog post was centered around mower maintenance, I decided that because we are in the height of the mowing season, that for the second entry I should focus on weed eater maintenance. As many of you already know, weed eaters can be very frustrating at times because they won’t start, won’t run at full RPMs, will start but cutoff when you throttle it up, etc. Fortunately, some of these problems can be avoided by taking a few minutes to perform a little home maintenance. Not only will these maintenance procedures help keep your weed eater running reliably, they will also help prolong the life of your weed eater. Regardless of the brand or model that you have, the maintenance guidelines are similar for all of them. Here are a few in general tips that may be useful:
- DO No throw away your Owner's Manual! Because the majority of us have owned or used a weed eater at some point in our lives, when we get a new one, we tend to toss the owner’s manual aside or it gets thrown away with the box. Every Owner’s Manual will have a section dedicated to maintenance. This section will provide you with all of the necessary service information and specifications needed to keep you unit running properly. Store in a convenient location so that you can use as a reference in the future for things like when to change your air filter, oil/fuel mixture ratio, spark plug gap, etc.
- The trimmer should be inspected before each use. Check the unit for loose parts and loose screws. The constant vibration will cause parts and screws to loosen over time. Also check the grass deflector to make sure it’s not loose or broken.
- While you’re checking the grass deflector. take a look at the head of the trimmer to ensure that there is no debris wrapped around it from previous usage.
- You should check the fuel tank for leaks. If you are certain that you didn’t run the trimmer out of fuel when it was last used and the tank is empty, then you probably have a fuel leak.
- When you start the unit, let it idle for a couple of minutes so that the engine can reach normal operating temperature before you start trimming. Be sure to release the throttle while idling to prevent the head from spinning.
- If the trimmer doesn’t seem to be idling correctly, your carburetor may need a slight adjustment (See Your Owner’s Manual for the correct settings). If you are not comfortable with adjusting your carburetor, we will be glad to adjust it for you here at MTC. (ECHO and Shindaiwa ONLY)
- Once you’ve brought the weed eater up to operating speed, if it seems to be vibrating more than usual, check the anti-vibration bushings to verify that they aren’t broken or missing. Too much vibration can cause weariness and numbness in the hands and fingers.
- When you have finished trimming, remove all debris from the trimmer. Some weed eaters are equipped with a catalytic converter exhaust. On those weed eaters, you should check the muffler spark arrestor screen to verify that it is not blocked with trash or debris. If it is blocked, you may need to replace the muffler screen.
- As a general rule, you should change the spark plug approximately every 100 hours. This may vary across brands and specific models. Check your Owner’s Manual for specific information on how often to change the spark plug and the proper gap setting.
- Check the grease/oil in the cutting head gearbox often. If it appears to be low, add grease/oil as needed being careful not to overfill. It should not be filled to the top (refer to your Owner’s Manual).
- Last but certainly not least and one of the most important things you can do to ensure that your weed eater runs properly at the beginning of the next season ~ DO NOT store your weed eater through the winter with fuel still in the tank! Fuel that is not used and does not have a fuel stabilizer added to it will cause gum, carbon and varnish to build up in the fuel lines, carburetor, valves, etc. On your last usage of the trimmer for the season, try to run the fuel completely out. If you have fuel left over, empty the fuel tank and pull the cord several times to clear the fuel from the lines, carburetor etc. This holds true for fuel that has sat in a gas can through the winter. If you have not added a fuel stabilizer to the gas can, it is bad fuel, dump it out and fill with new fuel.
MTC is a full line sales, service and parts dealer for ECHO and Shindaiwa residential/commercial weed eaters and all other related lawn maintenance equipment. We recommend that our customers use TRUFUEL ready mixed 2-cycle fuel to keep their 2-cycle equipment running at peak performance. TRUFUEL is ethanol free and is suitable for long term storage. If you would rather mix your own fuel, we also recommend using STAR*TRON enzyme fuel treatment. STAR*TRON is a fuel stabilizer that also helps to prevent carbon, gum and varnish build up in your engine. Our parts department keeps a generous supply of these two products in stock.
I hope you find these few tips helpful. Remember, our entire staff is here to help you with whatever your equipment needs may be. Please don’t hesitate to call or contact us if we can help you!!