9 reasons your leaf blower is so hard to start

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Sometimes you have such days when you really want to do some work in your garden, you need your leaf blower, but it just does not start. In this blog post, I will discuss the nine most common reasons for the difficulty in starting your leaf blower.

Reasons why a leaf blower can be hard to start are:

  1. The air filter may be clogged
  2. The carburetor may be clogged
  3. The fuel filter may be clogged
  4. The recoil starter pulley is stuck or broken
  5. The ignition coil is defective
  6. The recoil starter assembly is defective
  7. The rewind spring is broken
  8. The spark arrestor is clogged
  9. The spark plug needs a replacement
9 reasons your leaf blower is so hard to start 1

Reason No. 1: The air filter may be clogged:

When the air filter of your leaf blower is clogged its engine will not get enough air and will get too much fuel instead. A clogged air filter prevents the air and the fuel from mixing properly inside the engine of your leaf blower which will stop it from working. To prevent this you must regularly clean the air filter of your leaf blower.

When it becomes too dirty and cleaning becomes impossible, you must replace it with a new one. Your leaf blower depends on the flow of fresh air into its engine to be able to function properly. The experts recommend you to clean the air filter of your leaf blower after every 10 hours of use.

You must thoroughly wash its reusable parts. You must remove the pieces of felt or any sponges that are part of the air filter of your leaf blower. You must then soak them in hot soapy water for a few minutes.

Now rinse them in clean water and let them dry fully. Finally, you must squeeze a couple of drops of oil into the sponges of the air filter of your leaf blower.

If your leaf blower has a paper filter you must tap it against a wall to loosen the dust, dirt, and debris off it. You must at least replace it once in a year, otherwise, it will become blocked with excessive layers of dust, dirt, and debris. If you use your leaf blower a lot then you should replace its air filter at least once a month.

Whenever you plan to work with your leaf blower, take a couple of minutes to carefully inspect and wipe its 3 most important parts that will surely capture a lot of dirt, dust, mud, twigs, and debris. i) The air filter, ii) the fans and iii) the vents of your leaf blower.

They need your special attention, care, effort and time to extend their lifespan. Keeping these 3 parts clean is the maintenance of the overall health of your leaf blower.

Remember never to use cleansers, detergents or other household solvents with ammonia or turpentine as the major ingredient to wipe the dust off the exterior casing of your leaf blower. You must use only warm water and mild soap to clean the exterior covering and the handle of your leaf blower to prevent any damage to its housing. Even if you are not actively using your leaf blower, you must check its throttle and trigger, weekly.

Reason No. 2: The carburettor may be clogged:

The carburettor of your leaf blower is responsible for combining the correct amount of air and gasoline to form a combustible gas. When the carburettor of your leaf blower is malfunctioning you will not see any bright spark. You must immediately check the carburettor of your leaf blower if the engine of your leaf blower is sputtering while starting, or stalling again and again due to the apparent lack of fuel.

The carburetor of your leaf blower becomes clogged when you leave fuel in it when storing it for a very long period of time. With the passage of time, the main ingredients in the fuel will evaporate, leaving in the tank a much dense, thicker, stickier, and viscous substance that will clog up the carburetor of your leaf blower.

A clogged carburetor will prevent the engine of your leaf blower from starting. There are three different options available to handle a clogged carburetor of your leaf blower.

  1. Clean the carburettor: You can clean your clogged carburettor with a carburettor cleaner, remove the external panel and spray a few bursts of carburettor cleaner into the choke of your leaf blower.
  2. Replace the carburettor: You can replace the carburettor if cleaning it is not effective. If you don’t have a rebuilding kit or experience to rebuild it, then it is cost-effective to replace the entire carburettor with a new one.
  3. Rebuild the carburettor: If you have a knack of turning the screwdrivers you can order a carburettor rebuilding kit from the manufacturer of your leaf blower which includes a set of diaphragms, gaskets, and seals.

Always remember to empty the fuel tank completely and dry it before planning to store away your leaf blower for the entire winter season. For this, you must locate the fuel tank of your leaf blower and look for the tube that extends from its bottom. Then you must detach this tube from the fuel tank and drain the fuel inside it.

You must then spray some carburettor cleaner into the hole from where you have removed the tube and then reattach the tube. The carburettor cleaner will remove any leftover residue when you use your leaf blower the next time. You must clean the carburettor of your leaf blower at least once a year for its best performance.

Reason No. 3: The fuel filter may be clogged:

The fuel filter of your leaf blower becomes clogged when you leave excessive fuel in your leaf blower when storing it for a very long period of time. With the passage of the entire winter season, the main ingredients in the fuel will get evaporated, leaving behind in the fuel tank a much dense, thicker, stickier and viscous substance that will clog up the fuel filter of your leaf blower.

The fuel filter of your leaf blower is responsible for trapping any dirt, dust or debris present in the fuel. The fuel filter will prevent the dust, dirt or debris from entering the engine of your leaf blower. The fuel filter is located at the end of the fuel line which supplies the fuel into the tank of your leaf blower.

To solve this problem, first of all, you must detach the spark plug of your leaf blower. Take a cloth hanger and bend it to make a narrow hook or take a wire and bend it to make a small hook. It will help you pull out the fuel filter from the tank of your leaf blower.

Replace the fuel filter with a new one and gently push it inside the assembly of your tank. But if the fuel line of your leaf blower is broken or cracked then it must be repaired by a professional mechanic in a service centre. The professional mechanics have special tools and techniques to handle this complex task properly.

For the best performance, you must replace the fuel filter of your leaf blower at least once a year. The fuel is the most important part to consider in your leaf blower. The quality of the fuel degrades after thirty days.

If you allow the same fuel to stay in your leaf blower for more than a month, its fuel lines and fuel tank will get damaged beyond repair. Before planning to store away your leaf blower for long-term, there are 3 most important steps that you must follow:

  1. Drain the fuel tank of your leaf blower,
  2. Run its engine for a couple of minutes, and
  3. Empty the fuel tank completely and allow it to dry in the open air.

You must make sure to mix the accurate quantity of two-stroke engine oil with the fuel for adding to the two-cycle engine of your leaf blower. (50:1 is the ideal ratio). NEVER mix for more than one month’s use. Remember the date and soon after the 30th day, remove the old fuel and refill fresh fuel into your leaf blower’s tank.

Never add motor oil to the engine of your leaf blower or it will get damaged beyond repair. If your leaf blower has a 2-cycle engine, it will need a mixture of engine oil and fuel to be added to the same fuel tank. And if your leaf blower has a 4-cycle engine, it will have two separate fuel tanks.

You will have to fill the engine oil into one tank and the fuel to the other. Both of which need a regular change. Experts advise you to change the engine oil in the four-cycle engine of your gas-powered leaf blower after the first twenty-hours of use. Afterwards, you must change the engine oil every fifty hours of use.

Reason No. 4: The ignition coil is defective:

The ignition coil of your leaf blower sends voltage to its spark plug while the engine of your leaf blower is still running. When the ignition coil of your leaf blower is defective, the engine of your leaf blower will not start. You must make sure that the spark plug of your leaf blower is functioning properly before planning to replace the defective ignition coil of your leaf blower with a new one.

When you are sure that the spark plug of your leaf blower is working 100% perfectly, you can go ahead to order a suitable ignition coil tester. If the test shows a defect, you must immediately replace the old, worn-out ignition coil of your leaf blower with a new one.

Reason No. 5: The recoil starter assembly is defective:

The recoil starter assembly of your leaf blower is responsible for engaging its crankshaft to turn its engine. Your leaf blower can never start if its recoil starter assembly has a defect in it. You must regularly take off the recoil starter assembly of your leaf blower to inspect carefully and find out if it is functioning properly.

The tabs extending from the cam and the pulley of your leaf blower must grab the hub on its engine to turn it on when you are pulling its starter cord. When you leave the starter cord, it must retract and rewind back on the pulley of your leaf blower. If the recoil starter assembly of your leaf blower is not retracting properly, then you must replace it at once for an easier and smoother starting of the engine.

Reason No. 6: The recoil starter pulley is stuck or broken:

The recoil starter pulley of your leaf blower is responsible for rewinding the starter cord when it is not in use. Sometimes the recoil starter pulley of your leaf blower becomes stuck or broken due to mishandling, so it will not rewind the starter cord after use. As a result, the engine of your leaf blower will not start. 

If you notice that the starter cord of your leaf blower has not retracted quickly then you must carefully inspect its recoil starter pulley and when you notice any cracks, you must quickly replace it with a new one.

Reason No. 7: The rewind spring is broken:

When you pull the starter cord of your leaf blower and release it, its rewind spring will recoil the starter cord around a pulley. If the rewind spring of your leaf blower is broken or damaged then the starter code will not recoil around the pulley. As a result, the engine of your leaf blower will not start.

The experts recommend you replace the entire recoil starter pulley and the rewind spring assembly, but you can also replace only the rewind spring individually.

Reason No. 8: The spark arrestor is clogged:

The spark arrestor of your leaf blower is a small screen that is responsible for preventing the engine of your leaf blower from emitting any sparks. With the passage of time, the spark arrestor of your leaf blower becomes clogged with dust, dirt, debris, grease, and soot. The engine of your leaf blower will not start if the spark arrestor is clogged.

The spark arrestor of your leaf blower is attached to its muffler. Your leaf blower also has a catalytic converter that is responsible for reducing the environmentally-harmful smoke and other emissions. The screen will capture the dangerous carbon deposit,  and prevent it from exiting the leaf blower.

To unclog the spark arrestor of your leaf blower, you must detach it from the exhaust pipe. You must remove the collected carbon deposits from the screen of the spark arrestor with a wire brush once a month. If there is too much deposit and it cannot be cleaned completely then you must replace the spark arrestor with a new one

Reason No. 9: The spark plug needs a replacement:

You must inspect the spark plug of your leaf blower for wear and tear. If you see any cracks on the porcelain insulator of your spark plug then you must replace it at once. You will also have to replace the spark plug with a new one if you see a heavy carbon deposit at its electrode or the electrode is burnt or damaged.

You must make use of a spark plug tester to find out any defects in it. When you crank the engine of your leaf blower you will see strong sparks between the terminals of the spark plug tester. If you don’t see any sparks between the terminals of the spark plug tester it means that you are spark plug is defective and it needs an urgent replacement.

If you use your leaf blower regularly throughout the week, then you must detach the spark plug to check for any corrosion. The spark plug provides a lot of power to the 2-stroke engine of your leaf blower, so you must make sure that it meets the manufacturer’s specifications. You must replace the spark plug of your leaf blower after every twenty-five hours of use or at the start of the fall season, whichever comes first.

After the replacement of a new spark plug, you must once again check for the manufacturer’s recommendations by using the spark plug tester to see if it matches them.

Why is my leaf blower so hard to start?

Some handheld gas-powered leaf blowers have a vacuum bag function or mode. When the built-in vacuum bag gets overloaded, your leaf blower will not start anymore. So you must remove it and clean it at least once every year.

If you own a wheeled, walk-behind leaf blower, then you must check the wheels before every use, whether they are plastic or pneumatic, to check for any deflations or damage. You must also grease its axle every month.

Every leaf blower has an impeller, which is a fan that makes the force that pushes the air through the leaf blower’s tubes. As the impeller on a walk-behind leaf blower is what allows it to produce a greater volume of air than a handheld leaf blower, it is very important to maintain it. You must detach the leaf blower’s spark plug, and then remove its housing, and inspect the impeller’s blades for any cracks and any damage.

You must see a professional mechanic if you can’t do it yourself.

Conclusion

To sum up this blog post, I would say that the proper care and maintenance of your leaf blower is very important.