Troubleshooting The Most Common Leaf Blower Issues

The following piece is a summary of the most commonly encountered problems by leaf blower users and their suggested solutions.

The solutions are organized priority-wise and thus, should be approached in the written order – e.g. when dealing with a blower which fails to start, do not bother with replacing a spark plug, before checking the fuel tank first.

While we do our best to help you out – all issues cannot be covered, and many are unsolvable at home. Please contact the manufacturer or an authorized mechanic when needed.

Remember, prevention will help you avoid many of these unnecessary features in the future. Check out our maintenance guide for further reference.

Leaf Blower Won’t Start

There are many different reasons why a leaf blower may fail to start. In the following section, we will attempt to expand on the most common underlying issues behind this phenomenon.

Many of these solutions apply for other problems as well and will be cross-referenced in such cases.

Gas Blowers

Fuel

Check the fuel levels first. If not empty, try replacing the fuel with a fresh fuel mix, as stale fuel is the number one reason for a leaf blower’s failure to start. Secondly, old, evaporating fuel may clog the carburetor, leading to blockage – Use a carburetor cleaner or a carburetor cleaner kit, if this is the case and follow this kind of tutorial.

Engine

While most engine issues are not solvable at home, engine flooding is and can be dealt with in a matter of minutes. A flooded engine can be detected easily, as the engine will leak fuel. Most models allow you to drain the engine simply by tilting it. Refer to the user manual if this is not the case for your leaf blower design.

Air

Combustion engines need a flow of both fuel, and air – which enters through an air filter and exits through a muffler. Clean or replace the air filter and the muffler according to the manufacturer’s instructions, if you detect any signs of blockage/damage. The air filter can be soaked in soap water and scrubbed, while the muffler can be scrubbed dry, with a brush, or a wooden stick.

Spark Plug

Without sparks, there is no combustion. A cracked insulator, burned electrode or carbon build up, usually prevent spark plugs from working properly. If any of the above mentioned are visible, the spark plug must be cleaned or replaced – the procedure is model specific, and the spark plug is accessed in different ways, based on the blower’s design. Therefore, refer to the user manual if not sure how to do so.

You can easily find a new spark plug for your blower on eBay. Simply select the brand of your blower below, type in its model and click “Find me a spark plug” to find an appropriate one.

Electric Blowers

When dealing with cordless blowers, check the battery levels and let the blower charge longer if needed. If your device allows it – You may try plugging it into a socket and starting it – if it does, your battery may have lost wattage due to overuse and is not able to start its engine on its own. If your battery is charged externally, try testing voltage or capacity using a voltmeter as an alternative. Better yet, if you have a spare battery, pop it in and see if that helps!

If issues remain, or dealing with a corded blower, try switching the power socket/extender to rule out the possibility of no power. Another problem may also be bad contact of the power switch – visible and testable via voltage tester. Lastly, you may have blown a fuse! Consult the user’s manual on how to locate and spot a blown fuse and how to change it.

If none of the above apply, seek help of an authorized mechanic!

Leaf Blower Won’t Start When It’s Hot

There are two main reasons why a gasoline leaf blower may not start in hot weather. Firstly, there may be a pressure build up due to evaporating fuel in the fuel tank – Users have reported that this can be solved simply by opening the fuel cap. Secondly, the fuel may have gone stale, causing blockages – refer to the section Fuel above, if this is the case.

Leaf Blower Won’t Stay Running

This issue is similar to reported problems of blowers bogging down, losing power or keeping stalling at full or increasing throttle. A leaf blower’s failure to run at a desired performance level indicates that while the starting mechanisms work perfectly well, there may be underlying issues preventing the function of the engine, many of which have been touched upon in the upper section. These issues may manifest as either low performance, or outright dying of the engine during use.

Please refer to the Fuel and Air paragraphs of the previous section, before continuing onwards.

Carburetor Adjustment

Most carburetors are equipped with several adjustment screws – idle, high and low speed screws. Their adjustment may improve the performance of the device. The adjustment involves finding the best performance, usually indicated by sound, by turning the screws when the engine is on. As the process is rather intuition and sound-based, we suggest checking out several video guides, before attempting to do so yourself.

Leaf Blower Overheats

Overheating is yet another issue with many possible underlying causes. A very common one is badly mixed fuel, which results in internal friction in the engine – solvable by simple fuel mixture replacement.

Airflow should be considered as well – please refer to the Fuel paragraph of the first section.

Engine Cooling Fins

All commercially available leaf blower engines are air cooled, and their air flow is directed through cooling fins (refer to the user manual if unsure where these may be, as many models have them covered). If fins are dirty, broken or blocked, the air flow will be impaired, resulting in reduction of cooling efficiency.

Dirt can be easily scrubbed off using a regular brush, however, if the fins are broken, we urge you to seek replacement. Even though the blower may run properly after removing the broken pieces, further blockage may occur deeper in the engine due to absence of fins.

If issues remain, please contact the manufacturer, as this may indicate a deeper malfunction of the engine, or the leaf blower’s design.

Leaf Blower Leaks Gas

Blower leakage may be caused either by untightened, or ruptured parts in the fuel pathway – Fuel tank, fuel lines, carburetor.

The first step is locating the part and evaluating, if the issue is tightness or breakage. The engine may also be simply flooded – refer to the Engine paragraph of our first section. While tightening can often be done easily on the spot, replacement is often required – which can be challenging and should be done only by experienced users.

Leaf Blower Excessively Vibrates

Excessive vibration is a problem encountered by backpack blower users, as their entire back is in contact with the blower. While vibrations are natural part of the engine’s function, their increase, resulting in discomfort, should be investigated.

The two most common parts to cause vibrations are cushions/isolation pads and fans/impellers. These can wear off over time, or in the case of fans, break. Thus, their replacement is the only solution in these cases.

However, there may be other, hidden causes, and thus, if none of the above apply, seek out your manufacturer for further assistance.

Leaf Blower Smokes

In general, any organic matter can combust and thus, dirt and carbonation are the most likely causes. However, caution is advised due to possible fire hazard. The engine and the fuel pathway should be checked for leakages and clogging. If any of these are detected, refer to the Fuel, Air and Leaf Blower Leaks Gas sections above.

 

Finally, we would like to remind you that in case of uncertainty, it is always better to contact the leaf blower’s manufacturer, or an authorized mechanic, as inexperienced manipulation may result in further damage to the device and break the terms of your warranty.

Patrick

Patrick

Founder of leafblowerguide.com. He worked over 10 years for a well-known global company manufacturing outdoor power equipment, before starting his own landscaping business.

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