How to Start a Weed Eater

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]]It can be challenging to start a weed eater especially if this is your first time to use one. There are two kinds available, gas and electric, with battery models falling under the electric category. In this guide I am going to show you how easy either type is to start step by step.

To start a gas weed eater, set the on/off switch to on. Pull the cord repeatedly until the engine starts. If you have an electric weed eater, plug the cord into a power source and press the trigger. For battery models, simply charge the battery and when full, you can start using it.

Note: The terms “weed eater’, “string trimmer” and “weed wacker” are interchangeable. I will use these terms as such in this guide,

How to Start a Gas String Trimmer

Important: Exercise caution when handling gas powered devices. Follow the safety guide in your operating manual.

Step 1

Add fuel to the weed eater. If it has a 2-stroke engine like the Wild Badger, you have to mix oil and gas, usually at a 40:1 or 50:1 ratio. If your trimmer has a 4-stroke engine, oil and gas are stored separately.

To mix fuel for a 2-stroke weed eater:

Pour gas and oil in a container according to the exact ratio given by the manufacturer. Do not pour the mix in the trimmer fuel tank.

After pouring, close the can and shake it well. Pour the mixture in the fuel tank. Shut the fuel tank tight.

Step 2

Take the weed eater outdoors. Place it on the ground away from any tools or objects. You want to make sure that once the weed eater starts, nothing gets caught in the string. If the string is frayed or damaged, you have to replace it first.

Related. How to change a weed eater string

Double check the fuel tank and make sure that it is sealed. Once you are sure, proceed to step 3.

If you want to watch a video of the process, check this out. While it focuses on a Troy-bilt model, the basic principles apply to other weed eaters too.

Step 3

Turn on the switch. This is known as the on/off or kill switch. Check your operating manual for its location but usually it is near the handle.

Important: if you are cold starting the weed eater, proceed to step 4 and then 5. If you are not cold starting, skip to step 6.

Step 4

If you are cold starting the trimmer, set the choke position to “closed” or “on”.

A cold start means the engine temperature is lower than what it typically starts with. Cold starting usually happens in late fall or winter.

By setting the choke on, you limit the amount of air that goes into the engine. With more fuel than air it becomes easier to get the engine going.

Again I want to emphasize this option should only be used when cold starting at engine. Once your weed eater runs, turn the choke off.

Step 5

Press the primer bulb 6 times until the weed eater starts. Like the choke, you only use this for cold starts. If you haven’t used the trimmer in a long time, you might have to press the primer bulb several times.

Step 6

Grab the lever and pull the starter rope (also known as the cord). The lever or throttle lock is often located on the shaft’s upper part. Do not press the trigger under the shaft because that will send the gas in the system.

Pull the cord repeatedly until the engine catches on. It might take 3-5 pulls. If it wont start, this troubleshooting guide can help.

Step 7

Let go of the starter rope when the engine starts. When you stop pulling, the engine is going to die out, that’s normal.

If you did a cold start, turn off the choke (if you haven’t done so already). Never leave the choke on all the time because engines need a proper balance of air and fuel to work..

If you leave the choke on the air to fuel mixture becomes too rich (heavy on fuel, light on air). Your string trimmer will use fuel at a faster rate, which is impractical and expensive.

Step 8

After the engine “coughs” and stops, pull the cord once more. Keep pulling until the engine starts, and this time it will keep going. You can start using the string trimmer now.

How to Start an Electric Weed Eater

Safety reminder: exercise caution when handling electrical devices and tools. Make sure the cord and power outlet are in working order before you proceed.

Step 1

Plug the cord into an electrical outlet. If the area you are going to trim is far from the outlet, I suggest you buy an extension cord. I recommend the Go Green Power GG 13800. Connect the extension cord and plug it into an outlet.

Step 2

Press or squeeze the trigger after it is plugged in. You know the trimmer is running because the line begins to spin. If you have a cordless weed eater, charge the battery first before you press the trigger.

Safety Guidelines

  • Always put on eye safety protection when using a weed eater. Do not remove your safety goggles until you have turned the machine off and unplugged (if electrical).
  • Weed eaters can cause serious injury when operational. The spinning line is sharp enough to cut you. This is why you should wear long pants, long sleeves, gloves and shoes. This is also the reason why people and animals should be as far from a weed eater as possible to avoid accidents.
  • Do not start a gas string trimmer indoors. You run the risk of inhaling fumes. If you are going to start a gas string trimmer, do it outdoors.
  • Keep the handle oil and gas free. You need to have a good grip on the trimmer to use it properly.
  • Follow all safety rules when using an electric string trimmer. Do not use damaged cords or power outlets.
  • Always read the operating manual that comes with your string trimmer.

If you have a gas powered string trimmer, use whatever fuel the manufacturer suggests. Most string trimmers run on 2-stroke engines so you have to mix gas and oil.

Do not use a string trimmer near flammable objects. These tools should also be operated on flat surfaces only.

If you have a gas string trimmer, always turn it off prior to refueling. I also suggest you let the engine cool off for a couple of minutes. Wait a bit longer if the temperature is really high.

Whether you are using a gas or electric string trimmer, always keep the blade below waist level. Do not raise it any higher.

This might be obvious but it is worth stating. You should only use it when there is full sunlight. It is too risky due to the string’s cutting power.

Troubleshooting Guide

My string trimmer won’t run. Why?

If you have an electric weed trimmer, make sure the cord is plugged in and that there is power. If power is available, there could be a problem with the motor or other electronic components.

If you have a cordless trimmer, make certain the battery is fully charged.

When it comes to gas powered weed eaters, there are many possibilities. Wrong fuel mix, old fuel, spark plug needs replacement, or it could be the carburetor.

I am pulling the cord but the trimmer refuses to start.

There could be a lack of fuel or one of the engine parts needs to be cleaned / replaced. There could also be a problem with the pull cord itself.

If your trimmer has not been used in a while, old fuel might have stagnated and turned into sticky residue. Check the tank and pour fresh fuel if needed.

Nothing happens when the primer bulb / valve bulb is pressed.

The bulb needs to be replaced as it is probably damaged. You might also want to check the rest of the engine.