Imagine the following situation: It is fall. T the rain has not stopped falling for three days. Your whole front yard is now a colorful mess of yellow and red leaves fallen from your usually lush yard tree line, and you cannot wait to blow the leaves away to make a bit of space so you can actually walk through without the danger of slipping. Finally – the rain stops and you rush to your garden shed to get the leaf blower and to make the most of the time you have until it starts raining again. First try – nothing. Second try – nothing. Third try – still nothing. You look in despair at the rake in the corner of the shed, still indecisive about whether to try to fix the machine before the clouds give it another go or do what you can manually, with a good old rake.
Having any device gives up on you during or just before your hard work can be backbreaking, in both psychological and financial sense. Since leaf blowers are not used a whole lot outside of the fall season, this means that people can forget that they should take them out for a spin every once in a while, just to keep the parts in check. Otherwise, a situation just as described above may happen to you too.
This article will outline some of the most common reasons why a leaf blower might not want to start and how you can check your own leaf blower for issues. While we will focus on gas-powered leaf blowers, we will also mention a couple of possible reasons why an electric-powered leaf blower would not want to start as well.
Common leaf blower issues
- Spark plug
The spark plug is a device that delivers current from the ignition system to the engine where a spark occurs and ignites the fuel. A spark plug is present in virtually any machine which uses gas as fuel – from cars to lawnmowers, and yes – in your gas-powered leaf blower. Since it is used every time the machine starts, it is not unreasonable to expect some damage over long periods of time. Therefore, you can see if there’s any obvious damage such as cracks on the porcelain insulator or burns on the electrode. If yes, it is highly likely that the spark plug is the problem and you should change it. This is not a massive issue as new spark plugs cost around 10$, so your wallet should be relatively safe.
Another very important part of gas-powered devices is the carburetor. It is responsible for mixing air and fuel in such a ratio which makes the combustion possible and keeping the device fuel-powered while working. Carburetors are not as common as they used to be, but they are still common on smaller machinery, such as leaf blowers or lawnmowers.
We already mentioned that leaf blowers are not commonly used outside of the fall season. This means that sometimes there will be some fuel remaining in the leaf blower if you did not use it all up last time. It is quite common to forget about it and leave the leaf blower in a corner somewhere – but the fuel itself is a mixture whose ingredients can evaporate and leave behind others which are much denser and stickier. This can clog the carburetor up, which will prevent enough fuel entry to start up the engine. Check the carburetor and clean it, then try again.
Other leaf blower issues
- Fuel filter
The same issue as with the carburetor may arise with the fuel filter. Fuel filters are used to prevent the passage of rust particles and dirt into the combustion engine itself, to prevent damage to the delicate systems. If your fuel is known to be on the less clean side, over time your fuel filter may become clogged just like a carburetor would. It may also happen by evaporation from leftover fuel, so you might want to drain that fuel and clean the filter.
- Recoil starter
A recoil starter, in layman’s terms, allows you to pull on the rope to turn on the engine. This part of the starting system has a lot of moving parts, but the easiest way to describe how the assembly works is the following – when you pull the rope, the engine should turn, and when you release it, the engine will go back and with it, enough voltage should run through the spark to ignite the fuel mixture. If any part of this system does not work, the engine will not start. If this is the problem, we recommend taking your leaf blower to the shop so a professional can look at it and fix it since it is much harder than simply cleaning the filters or changing the spark plug.
- Air filter
Apart from the fuel filter, there is an air filter as well. As we described in the carburetor part, for the device to function properly, there needs to be an exact mixture of fuel and air. A blockage in the air filter may not allow this and the fuel will not be able to ignite or sustain its ignition.
Potential electric leaf blower issues
- Cord damage
This one is an easy one to check. If your leaf blower is corded, look along the whole cord and check for any irregularities. The wire might have got frayed or bent too much which caused snapping. It should not be too common since the insulation on the wires is meant for outside work, but it may happen.
- Drained battery
If you have a battery-powered leaf blower, do check your battery. The battery can drain on its own, even if the device is not powered on. So, if there’s been a longer period of inactivity even if the battery was charged before storing the device, the battery may still be empty.
In this article, we have stated some of the most common issues that may arise in leaf blowers and not allow them to start properly. These problems are not that hard to check on your own even if you do not have too much experience with fixing similar machinery, but we do advise following the instruction manual that came with the blower and deferring to expertise when you find yourself out of your depth – while you may have to pay for someone to fix your blower, it is nothing compared to having to buy a completely new one if you make a huge mistake, or god forbid, injuring yourself while attempting to fix something.